Colt Single Action Army SAA 1873 US Artillery .45 Revolver, 1875 Antique

SOLD FOR: $4,200

WOA#: WY240120EC003

Make: Colt

Model: U.S. Model of 1873, Single Action Army, “Artillery” Model

Serial Number: 138296 K (Grip Frame), 1442 (In front of the trigger guard), 48629 (Trigger Guard Frame).

Year of Manufacture: The frame was made in 1874, The grip frame was made 1891. The trigger guard frame was made in 1878. The revolver was most likely altered by Springfield Armory in 1898.

Caliber: .45 Colt

Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate Cylinder

Markings:  The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.”. The left of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19. 1871. / JULY. 2. 1872” and with “U.S”. The bottom of the frame in front of the trigger guard is marked “1442”. The rear of the loading gate has assembly number “212”. The bottom of the trigger guard is marked “48629 / HN”. The bottom of the grip frame is marked “138 / 296 / K”. The bottom-right of the barrel, under the ejector rod housing, is marked “9357” “P”, “D.F.C.”.  The rear face of the cylinder is marked “L”, “B”.  The side of the cylinder is marked “5050”.  The hammer slot is marked “C”.

Barrel Length: 5.5”

Sights / Optics:  The front sight is a blade fixed to the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch at the rear of a groove in the top strap.

Stock Configuration & Condition:  The grip is one-piece smooth walnut. The grip has nicks, scratches, and a couple small chips. There are no cracks. There are more notable nicks and dings on the bottom of the grip. There are no cracks or chips.  Overall, the grip is in Fine condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued, Case Colored

Finish Originality: Original, Most likely arsenal refurbished

Bore Condition: The bore is gray with sharp rifling. There are some freckles of rust near the muzzle and some very faint scattered erosion. The bore is in surprisingly good condition.  In this writer’s opinion the bore rates 7/10 for antique.

Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion.  This is not only due to age but also to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively.  NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores.  In some cases, the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collector’s firearms.

Overall Condition:  This revolver retains about none of its original finish.  Remaining finish is scattered and mottled with wear and light erosion.  There is handling wear in the grip areas, trigger and hammer. Worn areas have generally gone to a dark patina. The frame has no visible case color. There are scattered nicks, scuffs, scrapes, and scratches. The action shows operational wear including a thick turn-line on the cylinder. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with a usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible in most places. Overall, this revolver is in about Very Good condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The cylinder has very little play when locked.  The action functions correctly. The trigger is crisp. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: Colt’s Single Action Army is, perhaps more than any other, an iconic American pistol. It was the U.S. issue sidearm for the last two decades of the 19th century, used by pioneers, outlaws and lawmen across the expanding nation, and captivated audiences on the silver screen and television (and still does, today). Many of the original 1873 Model revolvers were arsenal refurbished in 1898, including cutting the barrel down to 5 1/2″ from the original 7 1/2″, in preparation for use in the Spanish-American War. This appears to be one of those revolvers, referred to by collectors as “Artillery” models as most were issued to artillery units during the conflict. Unlike some refurbishment programs performed earlier, little care was given to preserving and none to re-marking matching serial numbers on the 1898 refurbished guns, resulting in mixed parts. This and service on the American frontier and/or in the Spanish-American War would certainly be consistent with this revolver’s present condition though it will still make an exceptional shooter. This would be a nice addition to a Single Action Army or American military small arms collection. Please see our photos and good luck on your bid! – L.S.

Colt Single Action Army SAA 1873 US Artillery .45 Revolver, 1875 Antique
Colt Single Action Army SAA 1873 US Artillery .45 Revolver, 1875 Antique