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Thread: Black powder frames vs. smokeless frames on SAA?

  1. #1
    Junior Member CHUCK W is on a distinguished road

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    Black powder frames vs. smokeless frames on SAA?

    I'm new to the SAA and would like to get more info. to buy one for occasional shooting. I'd like a 1st gen. but don't want to spend $5,000. What is the difference between the black powder and smokeless frames? More desireable? For shooting? Cost?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Thuer is on a distinguished road

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    I do not recommend a first generation for shooting. If you look for a good shooter, buy a thirt generation in .45 colt.

    The differende between a blackpowder frame and a Nitro frame is. The Blackpowder frame has a screw in front of the frame to secure the cilinderax. The Nitro has a crosbold true the frame. In first generation Colt SAA this do not mean that it is fit for nitro. Only the one made after 1900 are fit for nitro.
    Hope this helps
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  3. #3
    Senior Member ussmanlovede36 is on a distinguished road

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    i think any colt saa with a serial number below 200K is a black powder frame. i think that is a safe bet. you can't go by the crossbolt in the frame because when colt started using that method of holding the basepin they were still black powder only. i think the switch came around 198K serial number. be safe choose 200K or higher for smokeless.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnnyP is on a distinguished road

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    The frames of the SAA changed from wrought iron to steel in the 95,000 serial number range, but the cylinders were not changed at this time. This left the cylinder as the weak link in firing smokeless powder loads. It wasn't until 1898 that Colt authorized the use of smokeless powder in the revolvers. Colt again changed the cylinders when it brought out the .357 in the SAA.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Old-Colts is on a distinguished road

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    There’s a big difference between what “Collectors” refer to as a “Black Powder Frame” and when Single Actions were safe to shoot with smokeless powder. The switch to the frame with the transverse spring loaded base pin latch (collector referenced smokeless powder frame) from the old style frame with the screw in the front of the frame to secure the cylinder base pin (collector referenced black powder frame) occurred somewhere around serial number 164,100 in 1896. At that time Colt changed the headspace to accommodate smokeless powder, but the metallurgy still wasn’t sufficient and Colt noted in the shipping records in the 175000 to 180000 serial number range (per A Study) “NOT guaranteed for smokeless powder”.

    I pretty much use 1900 as my “safe point” (serial number 192000 upward) and as long as the Single Action is in perfect mechanical condition I’ll shoot it with smokeless powder, but I’ll only use tame loads on these old 100+ year old collector’s items!
    Frank V and P.Quig like this.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Frank V is on a distinguished road

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    I'd use the same "safe Point" as Old-Colts for using smokeless powder in a SAA.
    U.S.A. " RIDE FOR THE BRAND OR LEAVE!"


 

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