Antique status of Colt SAA
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Thread: Antique status of Colt SAA

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    Antique status of Colt SAA

    I have an 1883 Colt SAA I am going to sell, matching numbers, black powder frame. In the 1950s an early 2nd gen .45 barrel and cylinder were installed on the gun. I am trying to confirm the gun is still an antique. C&Rs must be in their original condition per the 1968 GCA. I have found nothing saying that of antiques. I have searched the ATF site, and there is nothing addressing this situation. I have called 20 ATF field offices, and get nothing but voice mailboxes. Anyone have any experience with this?

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    Barrel and Cylinder do not make the gun...The frame is what counts.
    NRA BENEFACTOR MEMBER

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    So long as the changes do not alter the original chambering to the serialized frame it stands as the same/original firearm.
    krag96 likes this.
    All SAA work. Check out my webpage.

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    Never ask the ATF anything that can get them thinking. It is how bad things happen. Pre 1899 and it is good to go no more info needed. I thought we all knew it is the frame or receiver that counts. The reason behind the C&R guns is entirely different. Their status is based on being collectible because of their age which is now 50 years old for any gun or historical value. They do not have to be 100 percent original but they do have to pretty close. One of the importers was selling Russian Nagant rifles with synthetic sporter stocks as a C&R and it was OK so long as the rest of the gun was original. If they had shortened the barrel then it would not have classified as a C&R. A stripped 1911 frame from 1915 is not a C&R but a stripped SAA frame from 1896 is an antique. A custom built sporter on a 1903 Springfield is not a C&R but a custom quick draw gun built from an 1886 Colt SAA is still an antique.

    Bill, what are you referring to?
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    This all started with one gun!
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    A pictures of the gun in question would be appreciate.
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    Johnh, I recently had the same dilemma, bought an 1887 SAA that someone used 2nd gen parts to make into a 38 spec. Dealer sent it thru my ffl because he was unsure and couldn't get an answer either. I've probably further confused the issue because now it's a 41 Colt.
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    The American Cowboy Chronicles: What is an "Antique Firearm"? The ATF Definition

    Many people misread the antique definition.

    Any gun built before 1899 is an antique. You can not make a short barreled rifle or shotgun or turn a rifle into a pistol without crossing into NFA territory. You can not build a replica of an antique gun using modern ammunition but an original gun using modern ammunition is OK. An example of this are the Percussion reproductions using a centerfire cylinder. These are then reclassified into a modern firearm. A model 1866 Winchester reproduction in 44 rimfire would be an antique but why build it there is no market or reason. The modern ammunition in a pre 1899 gun thing seems to be a gimmick used by FFL holders to wrangle a transfer fee out of an antique gun.
    Last edited by Mikebiker; 02-18-2020 at 08:39 AM.
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    This all started with one gun!
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    I agree with Mikebiker. I know that is how it used to be, I wanted to make certain no one had heard of any change in interpretation by ATF. The gun has been nickle plated, is tight and solid, and looks like a new gun. Someone looking at it, by it's appearance, would question it being an antique until they looked at the serial number. I spoke some ATF agents who set up at a local gun show. I asked them some specific questions, and got some fuzzy answers. These antiques, that shoot as good as the day they were made, are the most concerning to sell. A prohibited person, whose situation is unknown to me, could buy it and make bad. Perhaps a C&R, FFL, or CCW, are good requirements when selling to a stranger in another state. Thanks for your responses.

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    The old BATF created the rules based on how frequently the guns were used in crime, or how likely. Not on how "new the finish looks" or "if they shoot as good as the day they were made" or such. It was about being obsolete designs, calibers, or ages. The age thing is what got the focus of the law. So you can have an "antique" made one year, and a "modern" made the year after - and they are exactly the same model.

    If you ask an Agent any specific questions, they're not going to know the agency philosophy, nor the laws. The best person to know that, is a gun lawyer. When I took my concealed carry class the instructor said, "who should you call if you are unsure of the law in a situation?" Everyone answered "the cops". WRONG! he said, you talk to a lawyer, they are experts in the law, not cops.

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    You have more confidence in lawyers than I do. In my career I have seen lawyers argue about the interpretation of legal matters, with completely different opinions. Without specific case law an issue can get convoluted. Lawyers make guesses, judges interpret the law. In my experience "gun lawyer" is someone who wants a gun owners business. We had one set up at a local show. He continually confused antique and curio & relic. Maybe others have had better experience. It is always nice to have a specific answer from someone accountable. A statement like "an antique is determined solely by the age of the frame or receiver".
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