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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just acquired an 1889 Colt SAA "Colt Frontier Six Shooter" acid etched left side barrel. SN128XXX. All specs look correct Colt cert letter states:

.44/40
4 3/4 barrel
Nickel
Simmons Hardware 8/7/1889

The Nickel plate has some oval machine marks/scratches... ? looks original finish all patent dates, sn's, frame markings... acid panel crisp...

What might these marks be?

More pictures available.

Thanks for any help?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What are the signs of a refinish job? How do the reapply the "acid etching" on the barrel? I have dozens of other 1880-1900 SAA all the sights - when I put micrometer - on them seem to vary several 100ths in height and width. How accurate was machining for that part in the 1880's :) ?

Thanks for help. :)
 

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Machining was very tight. The front sight was gauged and they were very consistent. I too thought the front blade looked suspect. Tell tale signs of a refinish is the poorly buffed scratches seen under the nickel in the flat sides and you can see the inside edges of the screw holes are rounded and not sharp - they refer to that as being "dished". It's still a nice piece, don't throw it away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Just noticed the ejector tube screw under magnification is "buggered"... Paid $1500 with Colt Cert letter. Am loading some .44/40 BP and some smokeless powder - light loads with same specs as BP MV and FP... to shoot. Definitely not throwing away... was hoping it was more orig. All parts appear orig sans maybe the sight. Have examined a bunch of SAA's in that era and measured the sights, they do seem to vary from several 1000's to several 100's +/- I assume they were stamped out of sheet stock during production???

Will still make good shooter for 127 yo gun :)
 

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Plus 3 above. The only guy I know that can reapply the acid etch is Dave Lanara. I am sure someone else will give you his contact info as he is a forum member. It is a very nice early SAA as is. Just enjoy and shoot it.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Sometimes, guns are like clay pigeons - throw one up and it'll be shot down! However, we must consider that not all BP guns were scrupulously cleaned and lubed (whale oil?). Rusted bores and peeling finish were the norm to some degree for working gun. There were far more users and far fewer collectors back then. I have a different view from some in that a good gun has intrinsic value apart from its collectability. Others are wall hangers. The lucky few have museum pieces that basically can never be used. If that SAA is solid, well timed and locks up tightly, it is every bit as functional today as it was the day that Washington became a state.
 
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Not just refinished, but over-polished when they did the job.

Look at the color - old plating has a mellowed look, while modern plating is 'white' - and that's the first tip-off.
 

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Uncommon. Don't be put-off by the fact that it is re-nickeled. Someone liked it enough to put some money into it. The bbl could be off a 3rd gen FSS. I'm very impressed the muzzle at the bore is not flaked...that's not easy to do and most Nickel guys can't pull off nickel that will stick. It is a nice looking piece. Can you pull the grips and take a pic of the back of them? To best completely honest at 1500 I'd jump all over it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Not put off by re-nickel. I suspected it was as it was too nice for 127 yo. Did see the "dishing" but not familiar with machining of the day... It will make nice addition to my collection. It DOES lock up tight, 4 clicks, very solid and all parts tight. Even refinished I thought worth the $1500 and the CERT letter too.
 

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The "dishing" comes from being polished on a cloth buffing wheel. The threads of the buffing wheel go down into the screw hole and eat out the sharp corners of the hole. It was originally polished on a large wooden polishing wheel which did not dish out the screw holes or round off corners.
 

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Even though it is refinished, it is a very nice looking SAA and worth what you have in it! The serial number on your SAA
must put this Colt Frontier Six Shooter near the end of those that had acid etched panels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That's a big no-no in this gun, BP only.
BP specs 225 gr (15 g) lead 750 ft/s (230 m/s) 281 ft·lbf

If I load smokless powder at same specs why would it matter? :) the stress on the gun would be the same...

Please educate me. Thanks
 

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I know this sounds backwards: smokeless is a progressive burn, hence the moniker "propellant". Black powder is an explosive. A black powder explosion has a milder, internal expansion of gases than smokeless. That said Black powder is so much fun to shoot! The smoke the smell. It's pretty awesome.
 

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I've never experienced it, but there's also a smokeless phenomenon called detonation. Mike Venturino had an article showing a blown up smokeless pre war Colt .45 that exploded with reduced loads. I'm too lazy to go read it again and might have some details wrong, but the point is, smokeless can be very unpredictable even in guns meant for it let alone old ones.
 
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