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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to the Antique Arms Show in Las Vegas on January 19. This is probably one of the last big gun shows I will go to.

I want a Colt SAA. However, I’m a little overwhelmed with the possibilities of the various SAAs, so I would like to ask your advice, based on the following:

1) I have about $1300 to spend,
2) I want it to appreciate in value,
3) I would like to shot it 2-3 times a year, and
4) Caliber = Probably in .45 Long Colt,

There are so many possibilities that I don’t know what to look for — Or what to expect. What are some guidelines to follow?

Thank you.
 

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If you want a 1st generation, $1300 isn't going to buy you much. I don't keep up on prices for 2nd or 3rds so you may find something in your price range with those.
 

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I think for $1300 you'll be looking for a 3rd gen. I don't know what prices are like where you are but here you would be hard press to find one for $1300.
 

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With $1,300 you better get there real early and hope to find an under priced gem before everyone else, or show up at the very end and hope someone is desperate to sell one rather than pack it up and bring it back home.

Anything you find in that price range will probably have seen a lot of use. Like any gun produced for over 100 years there is are a lot of variations and much research is necessary.

One of the problems with gun shows is that you have no idea what is going to show up. I'd start watching online auctions to get a feel for what the going rate is for something similar to what you are looking for.
 

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$1300 probably isn't going to meet your needs. You might be able to find a commemorative model for around that, but those are going up in price as well. And they aren't going to appreciate in value.I would suggest tossing that requirement out the window since it's really hard to predict the gun market, especially if you want to shoot it. I say you're better off investing in your 401K for appreciative value than guns. 45 colt is also the most sought after, so if you really only have $1300 to spend, your best bet is to either get a colt cowboy, a clone, or revise your requirement list to something more realistic. Good luck
 

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I think maybe a commemorative, 2nd Gen, is your only shot. Most of those were 38 or 45, and they are undervalued right now. I have been picking them up for $1500.
Good Luck.
Oh, I don't think shooting and increasing in value are compatible. pick one.
 

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Hate to join everyone else on this, but 1300 for a gun that will be shot a few times a year and otherwise appreciate in value is quite a tall order to fill. I know guys get lucky in finding gems for around that price, but the search is long and arduous at best. I don't think you could touch one for 1300 even 2 years back that was in good enough shape to continue to appreciate in value, with some exceptions of course, but the majority absolutely not. Don't forget that with Colt not really pumping out SAA's, they command a premium that many are willing to pay.

But I have to say, I wish you the best of luck in your search and do hope you come up with a gem.

As a side note, new frontier's, for whatever reason, are usually priced in or around that range....at least I have seen a bunch of threads here and some for sale on gunbroker always wondering why they don't command the value of a "standard" SAA. So you might look into that as well?
 

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Unless you are really, really lucky, the closest you are going to get to meeting your requirements is a Colt Scout - .22 cal. But don't give up! Someone could always walk in needing cash fast carrying what you want. I just don't think you will find it on the tables.
 

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I have about $1300 to spend,
Caliber = Probably in .45 Long Colt,

While you can always hope to get lucky in Vegas, my words of wisdom are you need to either raise the amount you're willing to spend, or lower the caliber you're willing to accept.

 
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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
I have read all of your posts so far and here is where I’m at: I am not new to Colt's -- but I am new to the SAA. I still believe that it is something I need. Therefore, I will find some extra money and focus less on appreciation value. (I am old enough that I want to be able to shoot it once in a while.) I will also give myself a crash course on SAA's between now and Jan. 19th. It is my understanding that all Colt SAA's are hand fitted and, as such, are as good or bad as the craftsman assembling them, right? So, with a little help from above, I hope I can find a 3rd gen (1976 to 1993) with the "4 clicks", in 45 LC and 5-1/2" barrel. Sound like a reasonable plan?
 

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The SAA is a whole new ballgame so whatever you know about other Colts is not transferable.

If you do find one around that price it'll likely be a used 3rd gen, so beware of bubba having worked on it, and its hammer notches condition. Have someone at the show explain and let you handle one so you can "feel" good hammer notches and what correct timing looks and feels like.

3rd gens have lots'a pitfalls regarding quality. Here's some reading for you:

3rd gen quality variation periods
Here's my general guide to the 3rd gen Colt quality which has the greatest quality variances compared to the 1st and 2nd gen SAAs. Most Colt SAAs do not have an accuracy problem, they shoot good patterns, it's just that the point of impact is not always at the point of aim.

The very early 3rds with an SA suffix #80000SA, 1976 and early SA prefix SA01001, 1979 - 1980 are fine and compare well to late 2nd gens in quality; still having the trigger guard bevel, and proper barrel address font (instead of the later .22 Peacemaker font), but alas, no cyl base pin bushing any longer.

The peak of the worst period; about SA65XXX to SA705XX range, 1983-85 (pre strike production, strike in 1986), inspect very closely for:

Cyl end shake (fore and aft play), flattened hammer spurs, off center firing pins in the hammer, non-flush backstrap ‘ears’ to hammer base fitting, poor loading gate fit, crooked front sights, sloppy actions with more than four clicks, crooked rolled stampings on frame and barrel (sometimes patent dates on frame are missing altogether), murky case coloring, poor grip strap to frame fit, over polished edges or edges so sharp at front of frame you could cut yourself, etc., etc. Check cyl alignment with recoil shields. I've seen some cyls stick out on one side and in on the other side due to uneven finishing of the recoil shield. The cyl should be near flush on both sides. You know, several of us have reported this in the past. However the 3rds do still retain this 1st and 2nd gen feature. To be sure it's a little less pronounced as in the past, but it does remain. To see it easily, hold the gun as if you're aiming it. Now shift your focus from the sights to the top seam of barrel-to-housing and point barrel a bit to the right so the entire seam can be seen. You'll notice the seam is higher up on the barrel at the muzzle and the housing flute tapers wider towards the front.

Like all SAA features, the taper may vary from gun to gun.
Once the labor strike occurred in 1986, production was taken over by the custom shop and quality improved somewhat. Now having said all that, I have found an occasional decent gun in that 1983 thru the strike period.

After that period things start to improve with typically only one or two of the problems per gun but sometimes more, and sometimes none. The lousy backstrap 'ears' to hammer base fitting is still fairly common as are flattened hammer spurs. Once the SA in the serial number splits SXXXXXA in 1993, they continue to get better thru 1999.

Around #S26XXXA in 1999 the authentic removable base pin cyl bushing like 1st and 2nd gen guns is first re-introduced on the 2000 units made for the 125Th SAA Anniversary Model, with unused 2nd gen serial numbers. By post 2003 all production guns had it and cyl end shake is usually all but eliminated. Case colors really improve as well as fitting. Hammer spurs are correct as well as most backstrap ‘ears’ to hammer base fit. Now the guns are approaching late 2nd gen quality and do to this day.

However the trigger guard/front grip strap still does not have the bevel of the 1st, 2nd and early 3rds with SA suffix, or the wide loading gates of the 1[SUP]st[/SUP] gen and early 2nd gen, and probably never will again. The 2nds never had the 2 line short barrel address, although it is a unique shorter single line address than the other barrel lengths, or the 1/2" radius cyl flutes of the 1st gen. Even the post 1934 1st gens lost the case colored hammers and all vestiges of the front cyl chamfer. At least three pre c. 1936 features can be special ordered from the custom shop now on 3rd gens; CCH hammer, the 2 line barrel address on short barrels and the cyl chamfer (but it's not accurately done). Of course there's a two plus years wait. Hondo44

At least have a serial # list so you can date any gun you look at, or buy a handbook of serial #s when you get there.
 
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