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I had one of these, with a very nice acid-etched panel and this gun dated from 1885 (Serial number 14055 or 16055 -- if anyone knows where it is, I would love to find it again). I owned it 15 yrs ago and sold it then, and have regretted it ever since.

I had never seen one before, and have not seen one since.

I believe the barrels are interchangeable with the Colt SAA. Is there a premium for a Colt 1878 DA Frontier with an acid-etched barrel? Most literature does not even mention them on the 1878 DA, let alone mention a premium. I would pay a premium for this. The one I had was about 80 or 90%, and was blued.

Do you think many of the barrels from these revolvers simply ended up on the Colt SAA due to the premium and the fact that more people collect the SAA and they are more valuable?

Does anyone have any idea how many Colt 1878 DA Frontiers were produced with the acid-etched barrel?

If anyone knows where 14055 or 16055 is, I would love to find it. :D
 

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Not sure how many 1878's were made but I have a nickel one in 44-40 that has the acid etched barrel. People in my parts go more for the SAA's instead of the 1878's. I know a lot less 1878's were made than the SAA's.
 

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30 plus years ago when I first started collecting single action armies we called the 1878 model "a life support system for a single action barrel" because they are the same barrel as used on the single action army and they were fairly cheap back then and many of them had their barrels pulled for use with a saa.

For some reason barrels were generally serial numbered on the SAA model up until approx. the year 1882 to 1883 year range and only the very earliest 1878's were numbered (like within the first few months production). The 1878 as well as other double actioned models have come into their own in the collecting world and the values have increased greatly in the last several years, and unless you have a very special saa, it doesn't make any economic sense to pull the barrel out of a perfectly good 1878 and put it in a saa. But sometimes economics doesn't matter and a person wants to put a correct barrel in a saa for a restoration project and they do what they have to do.
 
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