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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone here tell me when exactly the factory started to ship the SAA with a 4 3/4" barrel?

I know that the first shipment of SAA with a 5 1/2" barrel shipped on March 30, 1874 to London, but I have not been able to find exactly when the first shipment with 4 3/4" barrels took place.

Any help would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The 4-3/4" SAA was introduced in early 1879 in serial number range 51,000. See page 37 of "A Study of the Colt Single Action Revolver" by Graham, Kopec and Moore.
Hmmm, I have one, shipped to the London Agency on December 30th, 1875.

Could it possibly be the very first 4 3/4" barrel SAA produced?
 

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Hmmm, I have one, shipped to the London Agency on December 30th, 1875.

Could it possibly be the very first 4 3/4" barrel SAA produced?
Does your 4-3/4" have a one-line Hartford address, a one-line London address, or a two-line Hartford address?
 
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Here is the Colt Letter and a picture.

Will try to get better pictures later. View attachment 723010 View attachment 723010
I see some crown on the muzzle of your barrel. But is the crown shorter than the end of the ejector housing? Usually "Short" barrel means a 5-1/2" length, but anything is possible.

In order to entirely remove the sight from a cut down 5-1/2" barrel, the muzzle has to be shorter than the housing.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
I see some crown on the muzzle of your barrel. But is the crown shorter than the end of the ejector housing? Usually "Short" barrel means a 5-1/2" length, but anything is possible.

In order to entirely remove the sight from a cut down 5-1/2" barrel, the muzzle has to be shorter than the housing.
One line Harford Address and the muzzle is slightly longer than the housing.

Been doing much more research and I'm beginning to think I have the very first 4 3/4" Colt SAA ever made.
 

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One line Harford Address and the muzzle is slightly longer than the housing.

Been doing much more research and I'm beginning to think I have the very first 4 3/4" Colt SAA ever made.
It is possible to roll a one-line address on a 4-3/4" barrel, but the sight blade must be installed last.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It is possible to roll a one-line address on a 4-3/4" barrel, but the sight blade must be installed last.
I believe this revolver was originally made as a 7 1/2" barrel, but remained at the factory where it was later cut down to a 4 3/4" before it left the factory. I'm working on documenting that now.

Thanks for the information.
 

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I am not a Single Action expert. But tool marks on the side of the barrel and a crown whose condition does not match the rest of the gun ( the gun has light pitting thru out and the crown is a smooth as a babies butt with no pitting or holster wear) tell me the barrel has been shortened since it left the factory. JMHO
 

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The front sight blade doesn't look even close to factory original either, along with the as-mentioned crown. A reasonable assumption based on the letter would be that it shipped as a 5.5-inch "short barrel" and was later cut down to 4.75.
 

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Yes, I agree. The crown is incorrect and is reblued. Also the sight appears to be set not as originally done. As others stated, there should be a two line barrel address.

On the frame, I see parts of an upside down "U.S". I cannot see the letter as it is not accessible on my phone, but if sent to London, these marks are likely faked.
 

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A lot of vise marks on barrel and housing . tweaked sight , witness mark on barrel . Still pretty cool . How the heck do people let these things get so pitted ? I freak on surface rust .
 

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Letter reads like this:

Serial Number: 1257
Caliber: .45 Eley
Barrel Length: Not Listed
Finish: blue
Type of Stocks: not listed
Special Notation: "Short barrel"
Shipped To: Address: Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Mfg. Company London Agency London, England
Date of Shipment: December 30, 1875
Number of Same Type Guns in Shipment: 50

In Dec of 1875 a number of older frames in the 1200/1300 serial number range were shipped from Colt "out of order". This when production was up to the 22000 range. The English preferred "short barrels", noted as 5.5" guns during 1875. 465 of them were shipped with 5.5" barrels in 1875. Data from, "The Official Record, 1873-1895", page 52.

That book lists the first 4 3/4" guns were shipped in 1877, to London as well. 56 guns in one shipment in. Page 67 of the Official Record.

Worth noting that there were 50 like guns in the shipment of 1257. That would mean either 50 4 3/4" guns as the OP speculates and never noted in inventory/shipping records of the Colt factory or Colt in London. Or the more than likely, 50 guns with 5.5" "short barrel" guns as noted in the archives letter, the London Colt records and verified as such since.

The OP's barrel has obviously been cut and sight replaced. Neither is Colt's work.
 
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