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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have any of you had the action or trigger of your SAA tuned to be smoother and lighter? I've read some articles by longtime SAA owners who really recommend getting the action and trigger worked. I've also had the opportunity to handle one and it was definitely smoother and the hammer pulled back very nicely, and the trigger pull was lighter than my gun so I was wondering if any of you here have had this type of work done or any other work on your gun that you think makes it operate or shoot better. And if so who did the work or who would you recommend for this type of work?

I know Colt performs some of these services but seldom do I hear anyone mention Colt when they have custom work done.

Also was thinking of replacing my factory walnut grips with the black colt grips. Are these grips sized for each individual handgun or could I purchase a pair of factory grips and slap them on the gun? I'd also be interested in a set of custom grips again I'd like to get a pair of black or dark grips on the gun that fit my hand better than the Colt factory walnut grips.

Thanks.

Dave
 

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You can do a few things yourself to slick up the action if you are comfortable working on the SAA (and understand how the correctly disassemble and reassemble the gun). New springs, reduced power mainspring or mainspring spacer, and a smoothing of the hand window using a Brownell's stone are just a few things that come to mind.

As good as a pro? No. But still very good, much cheaper, and a great learning experience.
 

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Getting your Colt "tuned up" opens up a huge can of worms. Start out by asking yourself and answering honestly: what needs to be done? Is the action rough? I have only encountered this once in the course of owning nearly two dozen 3rd gen SAAs. Is the hammer pull too heavy? This is easily solved with a replacement main spring. Is the trigger heavy or creepy? Springs may help a heavy one, a creepy trigger wants a good hand to work on it. Most of the SAAs I've owned needed nothing more than a bit lighter main spring. One I bought used had previously suffered at the hand of hack and needed professional TLC. One I own was quite rough and was much improved by a full action job. I have had Colts worked on at one time or another by Bob James in Phoenix, AZ; Eddie Janis in CA; Tom Sargis in MT; and Olglesbys in IL. All did fine work. I've also had Colts worked on my local gunsmith (no specialist, but competent) and had good results. My newest SAA, acquired this summer, was just right, out of the box, and needs no work at all.
 

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Why not try running about 500 rounds through the piece, before you decide whether or not it 'needs' any additional attention?

Then, if it does - disassemble, look for burring or high spots, and with a good stone - remove them.

Clean, reassemble and use a 'good' gun grease on the moving parts as you assemble the piece.

I'm fond of Pro-Shot's 'Pro-Gold', myself - but there are others that work well.

Following all this - head back out to the range with another couple of boxes, and see what's what.
 

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Also was thinking of replacing my factory walnut grips with the black colt grips. Are these grips sized for each individual handgun or could I purchase a pair of factory grips and slap them on the gun? I'd also be interested in a set of custom grips again I'd like to get a pair of black or dark grips on the gun that fit my hand better than the Colt factory walnut grips.
Thanks.
Dave

I can fix you up with a pair of one piece Ebony grips, but would have to have your back strap & trigger guard to fit them. I also think I have a pair of black Buffalo Horn that are thicker than the factory grips, but no guarantee they will fit your frame.
Hugh
 

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I'll put in another plug for Peacemaker Specialists.
If you've never had a true master go through your Colt, you can't understand what can be done to improve it.
There is a huge difference, far beyond a spring change. :)
Denis
 

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I have had both Hamilton Bowen and Alan Harton do action/trigger jobs for me on Colts and both have done excellent work. If there isn't a lot of creep in the trigger and you just want things lightened and smoothed up, you might try a Wolff spring kit, they are inexpensive and easy to put in, I have good luck going this route too.
 

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Most of my experience has been with the New Frontier, which, for all practical purposes, is the same situation.

The problem I've encountered is the very heavy trigger pull, which can go as high as twelve pounds. The first solution is simply to order a new mainspring. This helps the problem greatly, and a Colt replacement part is usually all that is needed. But such things as hammer/sear engagement and polishing the innards, I leave to my gunsmith.

I like a light trigger pull, not a "hair trigger" as many espouse, but maybe so going around two pounds, but no creep and a crisp let-off.

Bob Wright

And P.S.: As has been pointed out, its best to rund a thousand rounds or so through any new gun, as simply firing it often smooths up some roughness in the action.
 

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At the price of ammo these days, I prefer slickin' up my guns as soon as I get them, new or used. Factory springs are just way to heavy and start beating up the gun from the get go! So I start with lightening the springs. Grind the original main spring sides until it feels the way you like it or replace it and replace the bolt/trigger spring with a lighter one. I smooth and polish contact points of all machine and tool marks, where needed, and polish the screws where parts rotate on them. Grind about half of the cyl bolt cam on the hammer away and polish to keep from over flexing the cyl bolt spring arm every time the hammer is cycled. All the same things you pay the professionals over $100 to do.
 

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I bought this one new in 2007 and shot it for about 600-800 rounds before I sent it to Hamilton Bowen to have a few things done including a trigger job. In speaking with Mr. Bowen I found out that the internals got battered pretty good from shooting it so it needed a new trigger and hand. Although the parts were relatively inexpensive to replace, I found it to be a valuable lessen. All of my SAA 's now receive a trigger job prior to shooting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks all, I appreciate the experienced responses. I have no problem replacing parts but probably won't be doing a lot of filing or grinding until someone shows me once or twice. It sounds like there are two camps here. One to get it done up front and another to wait and see after running a few boxes of shells through it. I've not shot it and will this weekend and then will think more about how soon I want to part with a gun for several months that I've only had for a week.

I'm hoping a little regular shooting is not going to beat anything up too badly.

Dave
 

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Bob James in Phoenix or Cody Connagher(Don Jones) in Berekely, W VA
Best 2 Colt action specialists in the US..and I have used most all of them!
Why get a Colt SAA tuned? For Cowboy Action Shooting Competition or any other competition where
you are shooting a Colt SAA, i.e., Western 3 Gun or even Steel Challenge among others where time is of the utmost importance.
There is a difference!
 

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I bought this one new in 2007 and shot it for about 600-800 rounds before I sent it to Hamilton Bowen to have a few things done including a trigger job. In speaking with Mr. Bowen I found out that the internals got battered pretty good from shooting it so it needed a new trigger and hand. Although the parts were relatively inexpensive to replace, I found it to be a valuable lessen. All of my SAA 's now receive a trigger job prior to shooting.
It appears Bowen's observation of battered parts after 6-800 rounds is a solid testimonial that speaks for itself about using the gun with factory springs for any length of time. This pretty much substantiates the "turn 1st" concept that several have espoused. But everybody ought to do whatever they want with their own guns.
 

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I have a 2005 model P1850. I purchased it new and had to send it back to Colt on account of excessive barrel to cylinder gap and extreme cylinder chamber demention variances. At the same time I paid for a "trigger job" by Colts custom shop. The action was terrible, gritty, rough, with a very heavy trigger pull. To be honest I'm not sure how in hell they sent this gun out of the shop the way it was. I actually called Colt just to verify that these new Colt SAA's are actually made to fire real live ammo, or maybe just an expensive wall hanger. I had a hell of a time with those clowns that answear the phone at Colt. But thanks to Brent, a forum member and custom shop manager, he got it all squared away. I will have to say that I am VERY pleased with the work they did. The trigger or action job is worth every penny. I think it was in the neighborhood of $100.00. I have felt several other tuned SAA actions and I will tell you that mine is as good as most I have felt. I know some folks charge as much as $500.00 for thier action work. Hey, if money's no object by all means spend it. But at the end of a long day at the range it really isnt much better. In my opinion they think way to much of themselfs and thus they set thier prices as such. Just my 2 cents. Good luck and happy shooting.
 

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I have had several saa's and I guess I have been lucky, even the factory out of box ones had a nice trigger. I have had two with tuned triggers, one by Jim Martin and one by who knows someowhere along it's modified life, but both were slick. The only thing about the unknown is until I fired it a few times I was a little leary about whether it was a reliable job. It has proven itself to be both a great job and safe with reliable ignition. I do not know who you should send it to, the other saa guys on here are much wiser with that than I but I can tell you it makes a world of difference, even over the more than acceptable examples I have had from the factory
 

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I own many Colt SAA's , but one matched pair of 5 1/2" 45 cal nickel w/ivory SAA's I use and have used for Cowboy Action Shooting competition for the past 12 years.I had the action worked on when new by Bob James(2# triggers, no creep, crisp let off, smooth as a hot knife through butter!) and after 12 years of constant competition and well over 75,000 rounds through each gun, not one glitch or broken part .The pair of Colts look new, and the actions are as perfect as when Bob James first did the action work.
Note: Colt will do a 'cowboy' action job on any Colt SAA...Colt uses no coil springs or piano wire, only profiles the mainspring, times and hand files and hones the internal 'metal on metal' parts for smoothness. Colt's lead gunsmith, Little John does all of the action work personally and his work is superb and done much as a gunsmith in the 1880's would do..He will not however do a trigger job under 2.5#'s
Jim Alaimo at Nutmeg Sports also does a cowboy action job much on the lines of the Colt Factory(Custom Shop) action jobs.
 
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