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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Several months ago I was offered a Colt SAA revolver that actually made my skin crawl to look at. Second Generation piece that had been rebarreled with a 4-1/4" octagon tube, no ejector rod or housing, and the cylinder (.45 Long Colt) had been hogged out to a point that the locking recesses showed light through. Other than that I was looking at a 2nd Generation Colt Single Action Army with correct action functioning, nickel finish, and no significant damage issues or wear issues. I decided to take on the project and restore this old Colt to the best of my abilities.

Serial number 114XX SA indicates 1957 manufacture, second generation Colt SAA. So I went on-line and started shopping. Found a 2nd Generation SAA barrel in .357 magnum and nickel finish at a reasonable price, so I bought that. Found a retired Colt parts distributor with all new ejector rod, housing, button, and spring, so I bought those. Cylinders seemed to be a problem, but I found a 3rd Generation cylinder in new condition at a reasonable price so I bought that.

Research on-line shows a number of companies that specialize in Colt SAA work. Contacted several and found that they like to price their work somewhere just this side of orbital height. Continued searching and found Colorado Arms Repair in Colorado Springs, just a 45 minute drive away. Contacted Henry and arranged to get this basket of parts to him last week. Within a couple of days he called back and reported the project was completed, and test-fired successfully.

Rebarreling a revolver is a little more complicated than just clamping the receiver into a vice and wrenching the barrel off, then pounding another into place. Replacement of a cylinder at the same time provides additional challenges, especially when going from a 2nd Generation SAA cylinder with separate bushing to a 3rd Generation cylinder with pressed-in bushing. Henry made it all work out right.

Another potential issue arises with the hand, that little armature that rotates the cylinder into position as the hammer is cocked. Others have reported no problems in this, some have indicated that a 3rd Generation hand would need to be installed. I left that up to Henry, and everything went smoothly. He reported just a tiny amount of file work on the hand to achieve correct timing and lock-up.

So I now have a fully functional nickel plated 2nd Generation Colt Single Action Army that shows very nicely, and I don't have a second mortgage involved in completing this project.\


Test-fired with not problems, firing pin strike is centered on the primers. Lock-up and timing are just about perfect. I am happy with the results.

Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Gun accessory Gun Revolver Firearm Trigger Gun accessory Revolver Gun Firearm Trigger Gun accessory Revolver

Revolver Gun Material property Trigger
 

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Looks great now. Since that gun was made at the start of the fast draw sport it might explain the thinned trigger guard for a right hand shooter. The best part about the gun is it came out the same year I did. I consider this the most quality conscious post war period for these guns.
 

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Bravo and a very fine rescue! I too have swapped 2nd and 3rd gen cylinders w/o changing the hand several times and no issues or fitting the hand at all.

Did you get a 2nd or 3rd gen ejector housing? The 1st and 2nd gens compensate (more metal between hole and barrel at the front end) for the barrel taper and is parallel to the barrel, but the 3rd does not.
 

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I gave it a well deserved "like". Bravo for re-creation or resurrection of a loser. I've done several myself, a SAA, New Services & 1902 & 1905 Colt autos. Glad when I see someone else doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bravo and a very fine rescue! I too have swapped 2nd and 3rd gen cylinders w/o changing the hand several times and no issues or fitting the hand at all.

Did you get a 2nd or 3rd gen ejector housing? The 1st and 2nd gens compensate (more metal between hole and barrel at the front end) for the barrel taper and is parallel to the barrel, but the 3rd does not.
The ejector housing I located is the 3rd Generation. Fit was perfect as received, slipped into position at the frame and screw stud, works perfectly. So, while not completely correct for a 2nd Generation SAA, I find it to be completely acceptable for this application.

The real challenge in finding all the parts I needed for this restoration was the nickel finish of the base revolver, which is in very good condition. By using all nickel plated parts I was able to complete the job without adding the expense of refinishing the piece.
 

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Good job.

One has to wonder what in the world the old owner was thinking by butchering that gun.
I'm with Weagle on this one....what the heck was the previous owner thinking?

Jerry
 

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Thanks for NOT showing us what it looked like before the rescue, that would be gratuitous violence on the same scale as as doing it in the first place. I can only imagine, sounds horrible.

Now it looks like it was intended, a very beautiful SAA indeed. She's gorgeous again! Congrats to you and your gunsmith, too.
 

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As a collector of 2nd Gen SAA's, I always like to see those that have been butchered put back into near original condition. Thank you!
 
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