Colt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The barrel on a recently acquired Early Smokeless Six Shooter has 2 issues: 1st - the original sight needs to be restored but the bore is questionable. It's described as dark with worn rifling, erosion and mild pitting. There is maybe 15% original finish on the barrel and all lettering is decent: Is this worth spending $ on ?

Option is to source a good quality original 1st Gen barrel with a good shootable bore with sharp rifling and free of pitting and erosion.

Please feel,free to chime in advice on merits of restoring my barrel and living with the poor bore - or - suggesting where Inmight find a nice condition barrel...

Thanks - Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,508 Posts
How would a replacement barrel match the rest of the wear on the gun?

Any 1st gen barrel is hard to find, a 44-40 FSS is tougher and more expensive, and what's the chance of matching the exact vintage of your gun; as in correct front sight and barrel address font?

How does the barrel shoot? Unless it shoots like a sewer pipe and you bought to shoot, I always prefer to leave an old 1st gen model all original.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,882 Posts
I am with Hondo on this. I do not have a 1st generation, but I have other guns that I keep the original barrel on, because it matches the wear of the rest of the gun. I have other pistols and revolvers that I can shoot if I want, and even in the case of my Colt 1905 Auto, I kept the original barrel, even though it is worn out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
A picture or two of this gun would go a long way in helping to determine what to do. What do you want, a shooter or an original gun. Some folks like restored guns and some like them the way they are. A legitimate repair is OK in my opinion and does not seriously affect the value as the defect would negatively affect it as well. A gun can only be original one time, once you start replacing major parts it becomes just that a parts gun. The question you ask can only be answered by you depending on what you want to end up with. If it has already had had refinish work or major parts replaced a new barrel will have little to no effect on the value. If the gun is still in the configuration the factory shipped it in with some original finish personally I would leave it as is. This is all my thoughts and others will vary depending on their tastes and wants. One last thought, good condition, period correct, original parts for these guns have gotten very difficult to find and the older it is it becomes near impossible. A gun of you age falls about in the middle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,851 Posts
It is in original condition...leave it as is. If you do replace the Barrel it will lower that value and cost you money out of your pocket. The guys above pretty much sums it up. The Barrel may be well worn, but it is still original.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
45 Posts
I'm in the if original, leave it alone camp. I don't know you and how and why you shoot, therefore I don't know your accuracy requirements. The gun may meet them as is. If shooting and a fairly high degree of accuracy is your goal I would suggest selling the gun, as a collector piece to a collector who cares less about its accuracy and invest the money in a good shooter grade gun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
This SAA is pretty good in terms off being a mostly intact matching original on the major parts - except of course the cylinder, hammer, horrid grips and barrel sight.

Somewhere along this was converted to 44 special. Ill add photos of the complete gun and barrel / sight in later post.

Thanks - Ed

SAA Grip Strap Right Exposed.png SAA Rear Frame Hammer Back .png

A picture or two of this gun would go a long way in helping to determine what to do. What do you want, a shooter or an original gun. Some folks like restored guns and some like them the way they are. A legitimate repair is OK in my opinion and does not seriously affect the value as the defect would negatively affect it as well. A gun can only be original one time, once you start replacing major parts it becomes just that a parts gun. The question you ask can only be answered by you depending on what you want to end up with. If it has already had had refinish work or major parts replaced a new barrel will have little to no effect on the value. If the gun is still in the configuration the factory shipped it in with some original finish personally I would leave it as is. This is all my thoughts and others will vary depending on their tastes and wants. One last thought, good condition, period correct, original parts for these guns have gotten very difficult to find and the older it is it becomes near impossible. A gun of you age falls about in the middle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Left side...

SAA Grip Strap Left Exposed.png

This SAA is pretty good in terms off being a mostly intact matching original on the major parts - except of course the cylinder, hammer, horrid grips and barrel sight.

Somewhere along this was converted to 44 special. Ill add photos of the complete gun and barrel / sight in later post.

Thanks - Ed

View attachment 381929 View attachment 381937
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Here is a view of the complete gun - to recap:

Left factory in March 1900 as a 5-1/2" FSS as part of a group of SAA's sent to Winchester RA - New Haven CT... BTW - Why would Colt ship SAA's to Winchester?

Anyway - obvioulsy I need a set of HR grips.. You can clearly see what was done to the original FSS barrel sight.

The cylinder is a 2nd gen 44 Special (vs the original 44-40) and finally - The Hammer is a blue 2nd gen vs. the original case colored 1st Gen (the knurl pattern is different).

There is an original 5-1/2" FFS Barrel out there - but it has less finish than mine... an option if mine does not warrant repair...

So far I have options on a correct set of grips - a 44-40 cylinder - and a 1st gen hammer - the only question remaining is what to do with the barrel...

Thanks - Ed

SAA Barrel Top.png SAA Complete Left Good.png
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
482 Posts
Hi There,

Left factory in March 1900 as a 5-1/2" FSS as part of a group of SAA's sent to Winchester RA - New Haven CT... BTW - Why would Colt ship SAA's to Winchester?
I think you will find that Winchester, being a manufacturer of ammunition
(as well as other things), wanted the revolvers for testing its ammo to make
sure the ammo performed well in a revolver.

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
This gun is on the fence, it could go either way. The front sight is soldered on and will come off easily enough most likely with little to no damage underneath. You will need a cylinder and hammer, they can be found with patience. No matter what you do you can not make the grips worse. It kind of in the end comes down to dollars and cents, just plain how much do want to spend on the gun and what it will be worth when done versus as it is.

If it were mine I would balance the price I could get for towards a better complete gun. If offered for sale it would do better without the grips being pictured or shown with the gun. They are an eyesore and an instant turn off. You could probably sell this gun for a little better then half of what a better original one would cost.

If I was to keep the gun I would take my time and look for a cylinder and a better set of grips. If the barrel that you have found is not too much money I may buy it to have on hand as a backup plan. The hammer is easier then the barrel to find and there are many sources for finding one from people on the sight to places like eBay and Gunbroker. Parts do show up there from time to time you have to keep looking and be ready to bid high or you will miss out. I finally found a 22 Jet cylinder on eBay after two years of looking.

As for grips some may disagree but in my experience finding original grips that fit like they should is very difficult to impossible. Sometimes a set of old stags can found and fit to the frame without any signs of being worked on. Early Ruger Grips are the same shape as late 1st Gen Colts. I have a very nice 23-40 that had bad two piece wood grips on it. I traded for a set of Ruger grips with no medallions and redrilled the locating pin hole. The look and fit much better the most replacements.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,191 Posts
My question is what are you looking for? Just want a shooter in the original caliber or museum quality restoration? Or something in between. I'd bet just shooting some lead through your barrel would clean it up more than expected. With that out of the way I'd just have one of the better guys here salvage the barrel for you. The cylinder, hammer and grips are easy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I would like to do a realistic restoration - so ideally find a correct original cylinder with about 20%+ finish... Get a 1st gen hammer in about the same condition and replace the grips with a set of decent condition original Colt black HR. I have $1300 in the gun, I lettered it with Colt for another $100.

Have located a correct 44-40 cylinder with about 50% blued finish for what I think is a very good price ($200) -also found a correct 1st gen case colored hammer (also for about $200) and a period correct set of Colt hard rubber grips (for about $175). I have found some folks who are recommended - they suggested restoring the barrel sight would run about $250.

So all up I looks like I will have invested $2250 - to end up with a very early smokeless FSS (S/N 194xxx) back to original configuration at somewhere between a 20% and 40% original finish and the correct grips w factory letter...

Final thoughts / opinions are most welcome.....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,066 Posts
Go for it. You will not be in so deep that you could never recover. You may end up with a nice gun! If you end up unhappy with it sell and buy another. There is not a lot of financial risk at these numbers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,886 Posts
I would like to do a realistic restoration - so ideally find a correct original cylinder with about 20%+ finish... Get a 1st gen hammer in about the same condition and replace the grips with a set of decent condition original Colt black HR. I have $1300 in the gun, I lettered it with Colt for another $100.

Have located a correct 44-40 cylinder with about 50% blued finish for what I think is a very good price ($200) -also found a correct 1st gen case colored hammer (also for about $200) and a period correct set of Colt hard rubber grips (for about $175). I have found some folks who are recommended - they suggested restoring the barrel sight would run about $250.

So all up I looks like I will have invested $2250 - to end up with a very early smokeless FSS (S/N 194xxx) back to original configuration at somewhere between a 20% and 40% original finish and the correct grips w factory letter...

Final thoughts / opinions are most welcome.....
:cool:Sounds like a plan to me!
 
  • Like
Reactions: diluccio
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top