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A few years ago, a friend much my senior had a colt SAA which had been sleeved very nicely to 22lr. It was way cool, probably could have bought it... I love 22s, always have. I reckon 22LR, 357 mag, 243 win would be my calibers if I had to pick in each category. I’ve always been a double action man, I got to thinking, did anyone make a regular size SAA of “quality” in 22lr? I have a 83 freedom arms in 22, it’s a hog leg or maybe a mules leg is a better term. I’m almost positive colt never chambered a Traditional SAA in 22 LR. Did USFA do it in a full size? Thanks
 

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Many years ago, I saw an engraved Colt SAA that was in 22 LR and was factory engraved at Colt. It was a first Generation. A local collector had picked it up that day at the Denver gun show. I would guess it was 1972 as I recall. Wilson's guide indicates that there were 107 22LR Colt SAA's made and that there were 93 flat top targets made in 22LR.
 

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Many years ago I had a close friend, Ura "Duke" Duvall that was a gun collector and more than anyone else got me started collecting. Duke was a brother in law to Arnold Capone that owned King Gunworks. Duke had this colt saa that was a 45 converted to .22 LR. He said he bought it from a old gun writer Tommy Bish. He said Capone and Bish did the conversion. The muzzle is 45 but a half inch back it is sleeved to .22. The cylinder is .45 in front, sawed about 1/4" back and stationary. The rear of the cylinder revolves. In other words the gun "looks" like a 45 but is a 22! The gun was featured in Gun`s magazine around 1960? My friend Duke died about 25 years ago.
 

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The old Great Western Co. made several thousand of full size SA's in .22 cal. they went out of business in 1962. Colt made 2 sets [4 guns] of full size .22's for Rodd Redwing that I know of,he used them in his trick shooting shows,I've shot them myself several times when I was doing shows w/him.
 

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Freedom Arms makes a 22 on the full size 454 frame. I have one in 22 with a 22 magnum extra cylinder. The huge cylinders look different with 5 tiny holes in them instead of 45 size hole. They too are quite pricey. DSC_0029.JPG
 

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As stated, the Great Western is probably the closest and cost effective way to own a full size .22 SA. It's heavy and I've never seen a 4 3/4" barrel length. Most common is 5 1/2".
I've owned a few and they are nice shooters. The plastic grips cheapen them up a bit though.
 

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Around the 1970's when Uberti was getting into production of cartridge revolvers, they made a single action .22 called the "American Pioneer". It has a number of different markings with Italian proof marks and a date code of 1970. They were imported by Pacific International and sold through EMF Company in California. It is the same size as a Colt SAA and quite heavy for the reasons mentioned above. I have one with a 7 1/2 inch barrel with blue & case color finish and one-piece stocks. Reports differ on the quality of these guns. Some say they were crudely made with soft parts; other owners said they were pretty nice revolver. Mine is very nicely finished and functions correctly. I even have the original box for mine, something that I imagine is quite rare.
Here are a few photos.
- Buckspen
emf7.JPG emf2.JPG emf15.JPG emf19.JPG
 

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Not quite an SAA, but this is a Model 1877 "Lightning" that California gunsmith George Matthews converted from 38 Colt to 22 R/F in 1953. The gun was originally made in 1883. The conversion involved sleeving the barrel, putting inserts into the cylinder, modified hammer and recoil shield and changing the grip frame from the birdshead shape to the SAA shape. Grips are Ivory. The gun works in both single and double action. The receiver was re-casehardened, barrel, cylinder and grip frame are blued. There was an article about this gun in the 1966 issue of the Guns and Ammo Annual (hardback book) along with pictures and descriptions of other George Matthews work. He built this gun for his own use when taking walks in the desert near his home/shop. Along with the gun is a notarized letter from his widow identifying the gun as the one he re-worked. Some pics:

Lightning+22+11401176694.jpg Lightning+22+21401176706.jpg Lightning+22+31401176721.jpg Lightning+22+41401176738.jpg Lightning+22+61401176756.jpg
 

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Might try EAA Bounty Hunter.
They claim to be a full size 22 cal revolver.
German made.
I acquired an older one, appears almost new, 2 cylinders, but haven't shot it yet.

Also found a Pietta 22 on sale at Cabelas, less than 200 OTD. It is a 200 dollar revolver.

rayb
 

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Uberti SAA 22 L.jpg
I picked up this slightly used Uberti, full-size .22 at the last Tulsa show. Pretty heavy, especially with the 7 1/2" barrel, but well made. It is the 12 shot version.
 

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I've collected full size 22 SAAs over the years, and notated a list of whats been made for general retail by whom at a point. There are the following full size makes out there, and most of them are quite good and fun...


Great Western Arms 1954 -1962, Frontier model
JP Sauer / Hawes 1959 - 1979 (..alloy frame, which kinda gets a demerit). The modern form of this is the Weihrauch EAA.
Armi Jager Dakota 1962 - 1990
Uberti 1971 - Present. Cattleman in .22 provided to several importers
Armi San Marco - 1996. EMF New Dakota, IAR 1873 .22
USFA - 1996 - 2011. Plinker, 12/22
Pietta - 2012 - Present... several retailers selling this, has a transfer bar.


Those Pietta .22's they sell at Cabelas are an absolute bargain for a new gun the quality of these.... they ain't heritages....
 

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Around the 1970's when Uberti was getting into production of cartridge revolvers, they made a single action .22 called the "American Pioneer". It has a number of different markings with Italian proof marks and a date code of 1970. They were imported by Pacific International and sold through EMF Company in California. It is the same size as a Colt SAA and quite heavy for the reasons mentioned above. I have one with a 7 1/2 inch barrel with blue & case color finish and one-piece stocks. Reports differ on the quality of these guns. Some say they were crudely made with soft parts; other owners said they were pretty nice revolver. Mine is very nicely finished and functions correctly. I even have the original box for mine, something that I imagine is quite rare.
Here are a few photos.
- Buckspen
We've spoken about our American Pioneers. Mine's 7.5 barrel also, serial #3. I think the quality is dynamite generally and it shoots great. I've had it apart, it has a pressed in cam, which is a very authentic 'Colt' touch that Uberti has not reincorporated into their sixgun since. Leads me to speculate Uberti started out with a pretty high quality replica in 1970 but cheapened it up for Iver Johnson to sell in subsequent years in the 70s.
 
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