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Discussion Starter #1
I am still in a dilema. Today I called Colt for a Historical Letter for my 1st Gen Saa. I told the girl the serial number 85xxx. She put me on hold came back said it was a .45 cal no information about the stocks, then she told me no barrel length listed. I questioned why no barrel length? she told me to hold on again. After a minute she said there was a shippment of fifty guns to the store in New York and it looks like it was a 71/2 barrel. The Problem I have is my gun is a 4 3/4 She told me 7 1/2 was popular then. I told her the intermediate black powder guns were very common in 4 3/4 and 5 1/2. To make a long story short it is not convincing what she told me because at first she said no barrel length listed. I think I know Saa's pretty good this gun has all the matching #'s on the barrel and cylinder along with the rest of the gun.
How Am I ever going to know what the barrel length should be?
Hope someone can help.
 

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Hi Anaconda,
I had the opportunity to go back to Colt and do historical research in their shipping records for my book on the early DA Model 1889 and 1892 series revolvers. I also have some experience with the SAA revolvers of that era as well.

The shipping records at Colt are organized by the date the order was placed in a ten column ledger book. The buyer's name and how many guns he ordered are listed in the left hand column under his name. His order gun listings are GENERALLY (but not always) broken out by finish, caliber and barrel length below his name. Example:

ANACONDA GUN Co.
Blue, 7 1/2 inch .45 - 10
Nickel 4 3/4 inch .44 - 10
Blue, 4 3/4 inch .45 - 20

(sometimes some of the information is not listed)

Then the serial numbers are listed in the columns to the right of each gun type listing. There may be a spread of hundreds in the serial numbers (sometimes thousands)in the guns in the order depending on how long a particular gun sat on the shelf before shipping.

Each order has to be gone thru to find the particular serial number you requested. In the case of the SAA guns Colt has computerized the listings, but each request is verified in the actual shipping records before the letter is generated and it is sent out. Since you called for a serial number request, it would be looked up in the computer and the information given to you over the phone. Your actual letter that you receive will be verified in the shipping ledger before it is sent out to you.

When you questioned the computer entry. Kathy or Beverly put you on hold and went to the actual shipping record entry in the ledger and checked it for you. That was why the delay and the answer that it appeared to be 7 1/2 inch barrel as she most likely had to check the order in the actual shipping record to see if she could locate the barrel length for you. I have done this a considerable number of times with them on SAAs I have owned.

I certainly don't question your expertise in SAA revolvers, but let me say that Fakers now days are able to change barrels and cylinders, remark and properly age them so it is practically impossible to tell that they have been doctored. I know several collectors that have kept records on SAAs that they have observed back into the 1950s. One collector I know has over 20,000 descriptions on file... You would be surprised at how many of the guns that show up on the market today have been altered in barrel length and caliber over the last fifty years...

I would think that you should be confident that the information given by your Colt letter will accurately reflect the information in Colt's original shipping records. Bob Best
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Bob,
I agree with you about the fakes out there. The problem I have is at first there was no barrel lenght listed, when I questioned that I was put on hold the woman came back on and said that there was a shippment of 50 revolvers sent and they were mostly 7 1/2 inch guns. I don't understand how from not being listed to saying it was a 7 1/2 inch barrel because the shipment looked to be mostly 7 1/2 inch guns. My revolver is correctly serial numbered also the serial # on the barrel under the ejector rod is correct. The kicker is it is a 4 3/4 inch barrel with the 2 line address which is not a cut barrel. If it was and I'm sure you know the barrel address would be one line.
Thanks,
Joe
 

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Hi Joe,

You wrote:

"The problem I have is at first there was no barrel lenght listed, when I questioned that I was put on hold the woman came back on and said that there was a shippment of 50 revolvers sent and they were mostly 7 1/2 inch guns. I don't understand how from not being listed to saying it was a 7 1/2 inch barrel because the shipment looked to be mostly 7 1/2 inch guns."

When you call up on a Single Action serial number Kathy or Beverly look up the SAA numbers in the computer. The information from the original shipping records is entered into the computer if that information is available. If the entry in the original ledger book was confusing or not clear to the data entry person putting it in the computer, the field would be left blank. When you questioned the "no entry", Kathy or Beverly most likely put you on hold and pulled the original ledger book and looked up your gun. From the information you gave here in the post it appears that the data entry person was confused and it couldn't be determined exactly what barrel length your gun was. It also appears that when one of the girls checked the entry and they couldn't tell exactly what your gun's barrel length was when shipped either. It also sounds as though she could determine that "most of the shipment appears to be 7 1/2 inch model guns". That would be my guess as to the sequence of events from my experience in dealing with them and seeing the records first hand.

As for the second part of your question, your gun may be correct or it may not be... I can't tell without seeing and maybe not even then. I can tell you some scary stories about SAAs that have been made up that pretty much defy detection unless they happen to not letter or are recorded in someone's database as being different now than then... or as just happened recently to me, a gun was pictured in a magazine 21 years ago and now it has different markings ??? ... Go figure???

I certainly don't dispute your claim that:

"My revolver is correctly serial numbered also the serial # on the barrel under the ejector rod is correct. The kicker is it is a 4 3/4 inch barrel with the 2 line address which is not a cut barrel. If it was and I'm sure you know the barrel address would be one line."

Hope that helps... Take care, Bob Best
 
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