Colt Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 2 questions for the more knowledgeable among us:
I have seen a number of 1st generation SAA's rebarreled to .38 special. Was there a certain time when these became popular, such as late 40's?
Secondly, what is the story behind the 3rd. generation B/CH .44 special SAA's with the nickel plated cylinders? Were they a special order by a distributor? Thanks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,472 Posts
Don Wilkerson notes in his book on 3rd Generation SAAs that in 1982 Colt made a run of 484 SAAs in .44 Special with Nickle cylinders, and 50 SAAs with Nickle cylinders with blue flutes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
I have heard that Winchester discontinued 38-40 ammo around 1937. I have a 1903 SSA that letters as a 38-40 but has an early 50’s 38 special barrel and cylinder. I have seen pictures of several other first gens with the so called “world war II” barrel in 38 special. My guess is that 38-40 ammo became expensive or hard to find after 1937 and some owners found it attractive to update to a more modern 38 caliber ammo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,886 Posts
After WWII the 38 Spl was a popular caliber, and a lot of SAA's of various calibers were changed to this caliber by the factory and private gunsmiths. The postwar bbls (before the 2nd gen guns) had the Colt address on the right side of the bbl instead of the top to distinguish them from 1st gen bbls.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
588 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, the first SAA I ever fired was a .41 converted to .38 special. I was curious if there were barrels and cylinders produced in the lead up to WW2 for converting the revolvers to a US Martial cartridge. It seems like market forces were at work.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,352 Posts
I have a feeling that it had more to do with the .38 Special being the other caliber introduced with the new production SAA's in 1956 rather than a lack of ammunition or any martial connection. Suddenly there were new cylinders and barrels available for the old SAA's, and 38 Special was one of them. With the .38 Special being discontinued early in production there were probably barrels and cylinders easily available.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,306 Posts
I owned one of those 1982 Colt .44 specials fitted with the left over nickel cylinders as they supposedly fazed the gun out. I loved the look ever since I saw them advertised in Shotgun News when they came out. Unfortunately mine was cursed with the bad match up and fitting of parts during that period so I sold it a couple years ago. I still have a picture of it, though.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
The barrels I was trying to describe as “ WW II” barrels had the address on the right side as mentioned by Swamprat and were made before the 2nd gen guns were introduced. The 1st gen guns like the one I have and several others I have seen advertised were converted to 38 Special prior to 1956. I think Wikipedia was the source of the 1937 discontinuation date for 38-40 ammo by Winchester although they apparently came back to it later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,352 Posts
I think Wikipedia was the source of the 1937 discontinuation date for 38-40 ammo by Winchester although they apparently came back to it later.
Regardless of what they say, don't believe everything you read on the internet, especially Wikipedia. The .38-40 cartridge was still a big seller for Winchester in 1937, and the Model 1892 Winchester had only been discontinued five years. Winchester along with makers like Remington and Marlin made hundreds of thousands of rifles in .38-40, as well as it being a popular pistol cartridge.

This is from an excellent book on Winchester ammunition, and shows the new "1939" box.

 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top