38-40 WCF 1st Generation Colt SAA - a rare animal?
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    38-40 WCF 1st Generation Colt SAA - a rare animal?

    First, Happy Holidays to everyone !

    Whenever I see early 1st gen. SAA Colts they are usually either in the then popular caliber .45LC or Winchester's
    .44-40 (more often than not the attraction of this cartridge was the fact that winchester lever action carbines & rifles were chambered for the same cartridge). Not very often do you see the .38-40 combination.

    Why was this cartridge so unpopular? And how rare are Colt's SAA models chambered in .38-40?

    And can someone please date a 1st Gen. SAA with ser. # 1917XX for me?

    Much obliged !
    bmcgilvray likes this.
    ". . . and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one."​ Luke 22:36

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    Traveling so don't have exact numbers but 38 w.c.f. Was third most popular caliber in 1st Gens. Not rare but less than the two you mentioned. I'm sure your serial number would be 1899.

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    I would add that even though there were less 38-40's produced by Colt, the 45 COLT and the 44-40 remain the two most popular calibers.

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    7 1/2” black powder 38-40 is a bit scarce.

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    Popularity is rising, though not a deer slayer it is still a nice shooting round. In the late 1800's and 1900's it was used by many Law Departments. I like mine and will buy a 38-40 Lever action and another Uberti SAA in this caliber.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by SFC Rick; 12-27-2019 at 05:59 PM.
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    Colt SAA and Colt 1st gen SAA,
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    Uberti Open Top 1872 model in .45Colt with 7 1/2" barrel, Colt M1945A1, Winchester 1873 & 94.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackpowder View Post
    Can someone please date a 1st Gen. SAA with ser. # 1917XX for me?
    Your gun was made in 1899. I'm not sure of the complete serial number, but #191744 reportedly belonged to David Odem, who was the Patricio County Sheriff in Texas from 1882 to 1886 and again from 1896 to 1914. In 1919, he served as a Texas Ranger. I don't know the caliber of his revolver.

    Rusty Edwards
    http://www.swshana.com/gun_website/Colt_SAA_SNs.pdf
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    I have an original Winchester 1873 third model in 38WCF. Last winter I rebuilt an early Marlin 94 in 38WCF. (They changed from 1894 to just 94 in 1907 until WWI stopped production.) Just a few months ago I snagged a Cimarron Model P old model in 38WCF. It has the early black powder frame and bullseye ejector. Our favorite gun shop has had several Colt SAA in 38WCF come through. Not long back he had a Bisley 4-5/8 in 38WCF. I just didn't want it for what he was asking.

    38WCF is becoming a popular black powder cartridge with the cowboy action shooters. Ruger made a run of 38WCF and 40S&W dual cylinders. They are bringing a premium recently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackpowder View Post
    First, Happy Holidays to everyone !

    Whenever I see early 1st gen. SAA Colts they are usually either in the then popular caliber .45LC or Winchester's
    .44-40 (more often than not the attraction of this cartridge was the fact that winchester lever action carbines & rifles were chambered for the same cartridge). Not very often do you see the .38-40 combination.

    Why was this cartridge so unpopular? And how rare are Colt's SAA models chambered in .38-40?

    And can someone please date a 1st Gen. SAA with ser. # 1917XX for me?

    Much obliged !
    No one mentioned it yet, but the .38WCF/.38-40 is actually a .41 caliber bullet.
    jringo8769, LEO918, Rick and 1 others like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwjhfs View Post
    No one mentioned it yet, but the .38WCF/.38-40 is actually a .41 caliber bullet.


    One can put a .41 COLT cylinder in the 38-40 and safely shoot .41 COLT ammo in it. Of course, .41 COLT ammo is more difficult to find than is 38-40 ammo.
    hwjhfs, LEO918, Rick and 3 others like this.

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    Taffin Tests: the .38-40

    Here is Mr. Taffin on the venerable .38 .40, I have read that it was well liked by gun hands back in the day as they thought it "shot hard" with less recoil and it was "flat shooting". Energy was about the same as the .40 S&W rd of today.


    My first SAA, was a converted in the 50's .38 special Colt. It was originally a .38 .40 -it had four notches on the gutta percha grips, the gun was borne in 1899. Grips had not been changed.
    Last edited by Ugly; 12-27-2019 at 05:36 PM.
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