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I have often wondered about the thinking behind the Sheriff Model. As a retired law enforcement officer I get the idea behind smaller hideout guns but this one would be impossible to reload in a hurry. Perhaps it was intended to be a backup gun to the service gun? I am guessing that the barrel is too short for an ejector rod and shroud of sufficient length but don't know. I find very little about the design concept in my SAA books. Please school me, why did they build it?
 

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I don't know the origins of the names but it was also referred to as the "Shopkeeper's" or "Storekeeper's Model". I'm guessing it was supposed to be hidden near the cash register in a store in case of a robbery. In that case a quick reload was probably not a priority as the situation would have been resolved one way or the other by the time the revolver was empty. How that translates into a "Sheriff's Model" doesn't make much sense as I can't see a lawman carrying it...really too big to be a hideout gun and too impractical as a primary sidearm.

The names could all be nothing but legend or advertising hype with little historical accuracy.
 

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I just bought my first sheriff model ( 3rd gen. nickel 44 special) and am still waiting for it to be shipped. All single actions are slow to reload. With a sheriffs model, one just needs to keep a short rod with them or on the holster to eject the cases that don’t fall out on their own. But yes, a 4 3/4 with ejector is more practical. In modern times, Colt has made shorter than 4 3/4” guns with ejectors and with a provision for the ejector to get out of the way of the base pin for cylinder removal.
 

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No doubt the term "Storekeeper's" Model didn't help to sell as many as "Sheriff's Model."

Marketing...that makes as much sense as an answer than anything.
 

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What gunfights there were, happened in a very close space - rapid reloading wasn't a concern, despite what he 'Dime Novels' suggested and the 'Silver Screen' promulgated later on.

Backup guns (if carried at all) were of the 'Pocket Revolver' type, and most town law didn't even bother with either - the 'Wild West' tamed down pretty quickly - mid-1880's, when Buffalo Bill put on his first 'Wild West Show', and the towns were tamed and populated with civilians who didn't want much by way of 'excitement' to upset their wives and children, so most towns had city ordinances barring the carrying of firearms.

It definitely wasn't NYPD's 'Fort Apache', or LAPD's 'Shootin' Newton' - it was almost bucolic, what with churches and schools...

Small backup revolvers definitely saw more saloon, cathouse, opium den and clip joint action than the bigger, holstered .44s - those stayed in bedrolls and saddlebags, while the former went into coat and vest pockets 'just in case'.
 

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Someone here a year or so ago showed a picture of one with a "customized" short wood dowel or rod that was kept with the gun. That or a stiff pencil or whatever should be just as fast as the ejector, maybe even faster except fumbling in your pocket or whatever to find it. Short war story: In 1977 I bought a Citabria airplane and decided to fly it home to Wisconsin on vacation from my home in California. Weather forced me down in Murdo S. Dakota for about 3 days. Somehow I got hooked up with the county sheriff and rode around with him a couple days. He had no deputy's, a one man show. The city police there were more modernized. Anyway his name was "Mac" Mc something. He looked to be 60-65. He wore a nickle Colt SAA in .45 colt. He let me look it over. I wish I would have thought to write down the serial number. Someplace I have a picture of him standing by my plane wearing that gun.
 

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Most gun fights end with 3 or less rounds fired and under 10 yards, even today. In a modern world of high cap autos those stats still remains true. When everyone was limited to 5 or 6 and no one reloaded intentionally but pulled a second handgun if required. Light weight and smaller size make a gun a lot more user friendly, than does a longer barrel. No ejector rod housing makes sense when it comes to handy self defense handguns.
 

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I recall reading in one of the Colt books I have on my shelves, Colt never referred to the originals as Sheriff's Models or Storekeeper Models. The were called Ejectorless Models, an appropriately descriptive name. (smile)

Dave
 

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A Colt Sheriffs model is on my want list. I have a pair of first model Vaquero sheriff's in 357. Ruger only made a relatively small run of them. But a Colt sheriff's model would make me smile. Interesting to know a 'shopkeeper' has the 4" barrel as I traded for a custom shop Colt SAA with a 4" barrel a couple years back. Really a handy size.
 

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I recall reading in one of the Colt books I have on my shelves, Colt never referred to the originals as Sheriff's Models or Storekeeper Models. The were called Ejectorless Models, an appropriately descriptive name. (smile)

Well, the factory letter from the Colt Historian states in large dark letters "Colt Sheriff"s Model Revolver" in identifying the gun for which the letter was issued.
Ed
 

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I recall reading in one of the Colt books I have on my shelves, Colt never referred to the originals as Sheriff's Models or Storekeeper Models. The were called Ejectorless Models, an appropriately descriptive name. (smile)

Well, the factory letter from the Colt Historian states in large dark letters "Colt Sheriff"s Model Revolver" in identifying the gun for which the letter was issued.
Ed
Dave_T is correct. The Colt historian was born long after the 1st gen Ejectorless Models were anointed with the Sheriff and Storekeeper Model names by Colt collectors. If your gun is a 1st gen, I would send the letter back and have it corrected. If it was a 2nd or 3rd gen which is when Colt began using the collector terminology, then the historian is correct.

#1. The ejectorless models were made by Colt, only because they were ordered that way by customers. Many sheriffs bobbed off their own guns and are found with no front sight. They carried them in pockets, pants and suit coats.

#2. They often used slip hammers as well, with lowered and shortened hammer spurs and triggers just held back.

#3. Some carried two guns the same as in #2.

#4. And lastly, there were no reloads in a typical gun fight, ever. When bullets ran out the fight was over. In the days of percussion Colts, soldiers, Texas Rangers, and bandits carried extra loaded cylinders as portrayed by Clint Eastwood in a few of his movies (although he used cartridge converted cap & ball revolvers).

Non-fiction history reading is the only place one can find accurate gun usage in the old west. Never in the imaginations of modern collectors.
 

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The ivory on that Texas model above is outstanding! If one has ivory handles on their Colt, they should hope for aging like that!
Collectors Firearms in Houston has had several of the same cased commemoratives for sale recently, and all their ivory grips were/are still very white. When I bought mine 10 years ago it was just starting to turn that mellow yellow and has deepened since then.

As I posted some time ago, "my" elephant donor must not have brushed his tooth very often.
 

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That same color can be done by using potassium permanganate.
Interesting, but I've never put anything on those grips, have just kept the gun in the original plastic sack inside the Styrofoam box it came in. Haven't ever kept it in the felt lined presentation case.

Could they have started turning that color if the previous owner had put that potassium permanganate on them? When I bought the gun from Collectors Firearms 10 years ago, they were way more white than that yellow. I used to wipe the metal down lightly with Hoppe's gun oil once in a while, and have been using a silicone cloth the past couple of years. Never have wiped anything on the grips themselves.
 
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