Hi all. I've been reading so much the last few days my eyes are killing me...and I'm still confused, every post and forum I can find. A good friend asked if I was interested in buying a revolver he had and I said I'd like to see it. I"ve shotgun hunted and shot handguns all my life but never had or shot a SA Colt....and I still haven't. Anyway, the research I've done makes me inclined to think it's a 2nd gen, with serial nuber beginning with 338XXX. No "s", no "a" that I can see. I took it to what I've been told is a reputable gunsmith in town and he said it's definitley a 3rd gen...but he couldn't explain the serial number not having the "S" or "A". It has a spring push pin and a removable bushing. The last two digits of the serial number are stamped on the cylinder. The serial number is also on the frame (twice) visable when the grip is removed. There appears to be a "1" or "I" with what looks like a tiny triangle stamped on to the left side of the trigger guard. I started a photobucket account and uploaded pictures to it, but I cant figure out how to let you all see them.....(where are my kids when I need them)..anyway any help you all would have would be great. I'm convinced I need to own a SA Colt!
Okay, I think I figured out how to post some pics and links. Thanks for the reply LEO918. I had found the serial numbers listed on a website and it matches what you said. What characteristic would have made the gunsmith confuse it with a 3rd gen?? Would more pics help??
If you click on one of the links I posted , it will take you to the Photobucket page and from there you can see about 17 pics I took of it. Neither my friend nor I know it's value and we want to be fair to each other about it....so...any thoughts on value? But even more puzzling to me was the gunsmith's response of it being a 3rd generation. He also said that some 3rd gens didnt have the "s" or "A" if they were special ordered. I could'nt find that on any website. Have you heard of that?
Being a gunsmith does not make you an expert on non-gunsmithing gun lore.
This gunsmith is talking through his hat.
Colt did not delete the "S" and "A" from serial numbers on custom order guns because per the Gun Control Act of the 1960's all firearms made after that have to have a unique serial number.
This means that Colt does not recycle older serial numbers.
Colt will stamp a unique custom serial number on a gun but it has to be something using letters and numbers and not an existing serial.
As example, John D. Jones wants a custom number. Number 1234 will not be acceptable because Colt will have already used it sometime in the past. JDJ1234 would be acceptable as long as no one else asked for it first.
So, all this means that you have a Colt First Generation Single Action Army, made in 1920.
This would be a smokeless frame model, using the push button cylinder retention.
I am NOT a Single Action expert, so this info is from The Blue Book of Gun Values:
1920 was a significant year for the SAA. That year is considered to be the end of the "cowboy era" in SAA revolvers.
During the 1908 to 1920 period many changes were made in the SAA, changing features like the black powder rifling and changing to a higher front sight. Since the 1840's Colt revolver serial numbers were stamped on the outside of the back strap and trigger guard. Beginning in 1914 the numbers began to be shifted to underneath the grips where they weren't visible.
This move was completed in 1920 in the late 338,000 range.
The Blue Book shows values of guns by the amount of ORIGINAL finish remaining.
For a 380,000 range gun values start around $1,800 for a gun in 10% condition up to over $16,000 in 98%.
Your gun may have been refinished, due to what appears to be pitting under the blue in spots.
Thanks dfariswheel. All of what you stated confirms what I had read reseaching on the web, this is why I was so perplexed over the gentleman's response after he examined it. As I initially stated I know nothing about these. Thank you very much.
Thanks dfariswheel. what you stated confirms what I had read reseaching on the web, this is why I was so perplexed over the gentleman's response after he examined it. As I initially stated I know nothing about these. Thank you very much.
It's a little hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like the original finish to me. Also in one of the pictures it looks like the hammer has polished sides, and in the one full picture of the gun, it looks like it's case hardened, which is what it should be for 1920. Overall to me, it looks like a very nice SAA, one that I'd be happy to own. For some reason, I've always preferred the post WWI and pre WWII Single Actions.