Mr. Croft had four models of Featherweight guns made up from S.A. Army and Bisley Colts, which I described in a previous issue of the Rifleman. He worked out and had made up his No. 3 grip, which is perfect. At about the same time, or a little later, J.D. O’Meara finished up his pet 6-gun grip. Both he and Croft used the Bisley back strap and S.A.A. When O’Meara had finished, I found that his grip and Croft’s No. 3 were almost identical. For a gun to be used with trigger this No. 3 is the latest and best grip ever put on a 6-gun.
The S.A.A. is one of the best-balanced and easiest handled of 6-guns. The regular S.A.A. back strap, while by far the best shaped of any on the market, and the only one for the slip gun, does not come up as high in back as it should to completely fill the hand. By bending and welding the Bisley back strap to the same general contour as the S.A.A., and combining with the S.A.A. guard and front strap, we have the No. 3 grip.
Needless to say, after playing with Croft’s guns a while I decided to have one of my S.A.A. guns worked over to incorporate some of Croft’s improvements, with a few ideas of my own thrown in. Croft supervised the job. He and Mr. Neal K. Houchins, of Philadelphia, made the sights, which are duplicates of the sights on the No. 1 Featherweight, with these exceptions: I had a cross pin put through the front-sight band, and a set screw put in the rear of the flat-top frame and bearing against the rear-sight base, to lock the sight against a possible blow.
Mr. Croft had Mr. R.F. Sedgley weld up the frame into a flat top, and extend it back over the top of the hammer; and also fit the new type base pin and catch. This pin is a tool-steel job, and is a very close fit. Mr. Sedgley also made the No. 3 grip, welded the base onto the S.A.A. hammer to fill the long cut in the top of the Bisley back strap, and made the wide trigger, which of course required some cutting out of the trigger hole in the guard. The hammer is one J.D. O’Meara had previously fitted with Bisley top for me, by dovetailing and brazing in the Bisley thumb piece. O’Meara also made and fitted the walrus ivory stocks. Sedgley made and fitted the new type mainspring. He and Croft designed this very excellent spring for the S.A.A. It is not as liable to breakage as the regular S.A.A. spring and is very much more sensitive and quicker than the standard spring; and the gun cocks as easily as when Newman’s “far country” spring is used. This Newman spring is unbreakable, and the best for absolute reliability. The Croft-Sedgley spring is without a doubt the fastest in action of any S.A.A. spring, and should improve the S.A. greatly for target-shooting.
We decided to call this gun model No. 5. The sights are square, or Patridge; the rear one adjustable for windage in the same manner as the S. & W. target sights. The front-sight blade is adjustable for elevation by the turning of a screw in the rear of the base. This gives very close micrometer adjustment, with a locking screw on the side of the base. This type of sight and blade gives maximum sight radius. The front sight elevates at the muzzle and not an inch to the rear, as on most target 6-guns. The front sight is fitted by means of a barrel band, base and band being one piece of steel. Two blades were made for this gun. One of them I am going to have fitted with a Call type gold bead.