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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up this early Colt SAA today. This is the earliest .44-40 I have had. By serial number (455XX) the .44-40 was made in mid-1878. Most references stated that the .44-40 was introduced in 1878. However, it is believed serial number 38704 (1877) was the first commercial gun. The gun has matching numbers, including the cylinder. The barrel has been shortened during the period and the sight was removed in recent years. The gun has a fairly crisp barrel legend and a strong "44" under the barrel, but lacks the barrel etching. Since there is no evidence of the barrel etching, it may pre-date the etching. It has the ".44 CF" on the upper frame part of the trigger guard. The round extractor rod head is broke off. The hammer and several parts are replaced and the gun has been cleaned. The fellow I got this from had been shooting it, but he felt he needed something more modern. I, of course, agreed and obliged him with a 9mm.
 

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Since it has no front sight I wonder if the ejector rod head might have been cut intentionally? Perhaps to make it easier to draw from pants, pocket or belt?
 

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I have Ser# 444xx, also an early 44-40. The markings are the same as yours with the 44CF marking on the upper rear of the trigger guard. These pre date the etched panel 44's. It's my understanding that the 44-40 was introduced mid 1877 and 1878 was the first full year for this caliber. My gun is matching #'s and appears original, but the exterior is a dark patina with a lot of scattered pitting and poor condition one piece grips.
 

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GRI, I like it even though I know nothing about 1st generation or early ones for that matter. It looks straight and ready to shoot if you like. Congratulations on your acquisition.
 

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Nice find! Dunno about the trigger guard screws, but at the very least, the action screws are not all buggered up.
 
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That is a very nice looking old Colt. The caliber is what makes it great; I like the .44-40 cartridge!

My earliest Colt .44-40 is an 1882 manufacture date. It looks great with no finish to speak of, but after Jim Martin performed his magic with the action, it is as good today as when it was manufactured!
 

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belt gun. 'belly gun' front sight removed, rod tip taken down. makes it easy to remove if tucked into a belt.
'If it's not true, it oughta be!:
 

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I too had an early 44-40 but from '81 and of course it had the etched panel. It was 5 1/2 inch nickel with one piece walnut. I remember shooting it on the salt beach near Ogden and being able to see the bullet until it stopped, just lying on on the salt. It was my first SAA and I would still have it if it had not been stolen. Earliest one of the 6 I have now is 1894.
 

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I picked up this early Colt SAA today. This is the earliest .44-40 I have had. By serial number (455XX) the .44-40 was made in mid-1878. Most references stated that the .44-40 was introduced in 1878. However, it is believed serial number 38704 (1877) was the first commercial gun. The gun has matching numbers, including the cylinder. The barrel has been shortened during the period and the sight was removed in recent years. The gun has a fairly crisp barrel legend and a strong "44" under the barrel, but lacks the barrel etching. Since there is no evidence of the barrel etching, it may pre-date the etching. It has the ".44 CF" on the upper frame part of the trigger guard. The round extractor rod head is broke off. The hammer and several parts are replaced and the gun has been cleaned. The fellow I got this from had been shooting it, but he felt he needed something more modern. I, of course, agreed and obliged him with a 9mm.
Your Colt SAA once had the CFSS etching. Attached is #43255. The etching is faint, but still there.

Factory letter on #43255 confirms 44-40, BNL, Blue, SNL, Shipped to B. Kittridge & Co., Cincinnati, OH on July 16, 1878, 15 Guns. Kittridge added thep & grips.

Even cut down, your CFSS is an interesting piece to own. I once owned #41219, a CFSS that came from Mexico with the barrel cut to 5-1/4". Any CFSS etching on this gun was long gone. Does your gun have six lands and grooves?
 

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I picked up this early Colt SAA today. This is the earliest .44-40 I have had. By serial number (455XX) the .44-40 was made in mid-1878. Most references stated that the .44-40 was introduced in 1878. However, it is believed serial number 38704 (1877) was the first commercial gun. The gun has matching numbers, including the cylinder. The barrel has been shortened during the period and the sight was removed in recent years. The gun has a fairly crisp barrel legend and a strong "44" under the barrel, but lacks the barrel etching. Since there is no evidence of the barrel etching, it may pre-date the etching. It has the ".44 CF" on the upper frame part of the trigger guard. The round extractor rod head is broke off. The hammer and several parts are replaced and the gun has been cleaned. The fellow I got this from had been shooting it, but he felt he needed something more modern. I, of course, agreed and obliged him with a 9mm.
Does your 455xx have a serial number on the barrel and cylinder?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Your Colt SAA once had the CFSS etching. Attached is #43255. The etching is faint, but still there.

Factory letter on #43255 confirms 44-40, BNL, Blue, SNL, Shipped to B. Kittridge & Co., Cincinnati, OH on July 16, 1878, 15 Guns. Kittridge added thep & grips.

Even cut down, your CFSS is an interesting piece to own. I once owned #41219, a CFSS that came from Mexico with the barrel cut to 5-1/4". Any CFSS etching on this gun was long gone. Does your gun have six lands and grooves?
Thanks for the input! Unfortunately, I have packed the gun away. I will dig it out in the future and update.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Does your 455xx have a serial number on the barrel and cylinder?
I don’t remember, but when I get it out again, I’ll give you an update.
 
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