Favorite Firearms: A Mystery Colt Single Action Army

posted on May 25, 2024
Colt Single Action Army

Perusing an expired paper-edition Gun List several years ago, I came across an ad for this old 1880-1881 Colt Single Action Army. Can’t remember what I paid, but at that time, it was too cheap to believe it was still for sale. I believe it now to be a .44-40 Win. etched-panel gun, which, at the time, was basically unknown to me. I just wanted what I thought was a Colt SAA from what I considered to be the prime 1880-1881 cowboy years.

The revolver has a blackpowder screw frame with a bullseye ejector rod. The bore is surprisingly bright with heavy rifling, all the numbers match and the action is very tight. There is a noticeably darkened area of etched panel. The seller stated that it looked like it had ivory stocks, but he was sure they were plastic. I couldn’t believe anyone would custom-carve plastic stocks, and I was convinced they were authentic ivory—which it turns out they were. Upon its arrival, I was understandably ecstatic at my good fortune.

I’d love to track down and find out any information on the law-enforcement officer/sheriff carved into the stocks, but I figure that 140 years later, that info is probably lost to the ages, though it does seem to have a recognizable look to it. Unfortunately, I made an amateur’s mistake of changing out the ejector housing that was slightly damaged for a better one … oh well! Probably damaged from a buffaloing arrest. It’s truly an “if only it could speak” Colt!

—Ron Bellville



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