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Guns magazine (digital version) recently posted a Colt SAA story by Mike Venturino.
I found his remarks on Colts black powder frame & smokeless powder frame very interesting. Here’s the excerpt:
“First let’s look at the two basic frames used to build Colt Single Action Army revolvers during its 133 years of existence. The first frame style used a screw angling in from the front to secure the cylinder’s base pin. Because this frame style was standard from 1873 until 1892 collectors dubbed it the “black-powder frame.” Starting about in 1892, but not becoming standard until 1898, Colt introduced a frame wherein the cylinder base pin was secured by a transverse spring-loaded latch. This is what is called a “smokeless-powder frame,” but since Colt did not warranty the SAA for smokeless powder until 1900, obviously the name is a misnomer. Although the frame style with transverse latch has been standard for over 100 years, it should also be mentioned Colt made the so-called “black-powder frame” available again in commemorative form in the 1970s, and on special order from the Colt Custom Shop in the 1980s. They’re not made now”
Thoughts? Comments? Reactions?
 

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I more commonly encounter the terminology of black powder frame vs cross pin frame. Smokeless frames, to me at least, are more associated with the VP markings, as the cross pin frames before then (1901 for example) are still black powder only guns.
 

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One of my favorite go-to articles to read is by Mike V titled something like “SAA Primer “ from handgunner mag in around 2011. the 1st Gen frame information remains consistent to what is said above. I often read through the article as a refresher on SAA’s. It’s concise and accurate ….what you need to know and nothing you don’t. :)
 

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I was unaware Colt had an official date of 1900 for smokeless ammunition in their SAA .
Think I would of remembered the easy date . Also ,Custom Shop BPF Colts and even production floor models were also made in the nineties - and twenty first century.
 

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Since Mike is here, better yet it would be fun to see what he thinks today.
My thought is "some info might well be dangerous". Better to have a clearer picture of what is involved in the discussion.

Colt did not warranty the SAA for smokeless powder until 1900
Is that a fact or just "common knowledge"? Or did Colt only VP proof guns that were stamped as such beginning around 1905/6?

The topic has been a long conversation here:
(30) Black Powder or Smokeless? Where to draw the line on a older Colt SAA? | Page 13 | Colt Forum
 

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Some people love to argue more than they love to eat. :) The discussion of the exact date and/or serial number may always cause some disagreement among Colt researchers, but I think at this point "blackpowder frame" is just a handy way of denoting the first type of SAA frame, at least for the hoi polloi such as myself. I like to eat more than argue . 🍰 Not that I don't appreciate the hard work and scholarship of serious collectors.

I have a 2006 SAA with the blackpowder frame (hah!), it's a peach.
 

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I'd rather eat :)

Educated discussions are generally enlightening. Easier to discuss a topic here than read an article and leave it at that. I believe that is what Hatman asked. "Thoughts? Comments? Reactions?"

Mike V knows a lot more about Colts than he put into the one short article.
 

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I’m going to try to write here. Just be forewarned that I had a medical procedure done this afternoon and was heavily sedated. I now think the bp frame was phased out by ‘96 instead of ‘98 but that’s a moot point. also I was fully aware that bp frames were still being offered After the 1980s and have several.

Also my wording about smokeless warranty is a bit vague. I said ”began warranty” in 1900 but that’s not an absolute, meaning they began but doesn’t necessarily mean they covered everything.
For a .45 with those thin cylinder walls I’d want that vp mark nowadays. I have a 1901 .41 I shoot smokeless in. It has thicker cylinder walls and I’m only shooting for 700 fps. I have an 1897 .44-40 and I do shoot mild loads with Trail Boss in it going about 750 fps. In articles I may not say that just to save my editors from dealing with irate readers but I figure you guys will figure “it’s his gun, he can do what he wants”.

Also understand that an editor will set the length of your article so you have to cram what you want to say in those limits. Not with GUNS, AH or RIFLE or HANDLOADER, but with other magazines I’ve had editors put words in my mouth or delete things so my text sounds stupid. I quit SHOOTING TIMES mainly for that reason plus they said they wanted the word “Ruger” in every article possible.

I’m drifting off topic so I best stop now.
 

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I’m going to try to write here. Just be forewarned that I had a medical procedure done this afternoon and was heavily sedated. I now think the bp frame was phased out by ‘96 instead of ‘98 but that’s a moot point. also I was fully aware that bp frames were still being offered After the 1980s and have several.

Also my wording about smokeless warranty is a bit vague. I said ”began warranty” in 1900 but that’s not an absolute, meaning they began but doesn’t necessarily mean they covered everything.
For a .45 with those thin cylinder walls I’d want that vp mark nowadays. I have a .41 I shoot smokeless in. It has thicker cylinder walls and I’m only shooting for 700 fps. I have an 1897 .44-40 and I do shoot mild loads with Trail Boss in it going about 750 fps. In articles I may not say that just to save my editors from dealing with irate readers but I figure you guys will figure “it’s his gun, he can do what he wants”.

Also understand that an editor will set the length of your article so you have to cram what you want to say in those limits. Not with GUNS, AH or RIFLE or HANDLOADER, but with other magazines I’ve had editors put words in my mouth or delete things so my text sounds stupid. I quit SHOOTING TIMES mainly for that reason plus they said they wanted the word “Ruger” in every article possible.

I SAA I’m drifting off topic so I best stop now.
No justification needed Mike, but thanks for giving it the old college try anyway. As other threads are showing, many understand that written words are no different than spoken ones, except they stick around longer. Times change, knowledge changes and hopefully improves. The important part is to remember nothing is the absolute bible authority, some is fact based on what's known at the time, some is opinion and some is fluff. As a reader, I enjoy it all!! Guns and AH have been, and continue to be, my favorite among them all. I've actually been blessed to have known a handful of the writers, editors and support staff along the way, so maybe I'm a bit biased.

Hope you get some rest and get back up to speed soon!
 

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Also understand that an editor will set the length of your article so you have to cram what you want to say in those limits. Not with GUNS, AH or RIFLE or HANDLOADER, but with other magazines I’ve had editors put words in my mouth or delete things so my text sounds stupid. I quit SHOOTING TIMES mainly for that reason plus they said they wanted the word “Ruger” in every article possible.
Mike,
I always enjoy your books and articles. They are a standard reference when loading for my Winchester 1886 and my Shiloh Sharps (which shipped from your shop back in the day.) I recently bought a box full of old gun magazines, including quite a few Handloader issues. As I paged through them it was fun saying, "Hey! I know that guy!"

If you ever do decide to move to Arizona to find deals as Leo does, I hope you move close to me so I can learn in person.
 

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Alan, I was tempted to move to Prescott in the past. I discovered the place in 1973 and loved it. In 1983 Dave Wolfe called and asked if I was interested in moving thereto work for him. It was tempting but at the time Yvonne and I owned a small movie theater so neither one of us had to punch anyones time clock. I’ve been there many times and that Broken Spur is my favorite breakfast eatery in the whole world.
 

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Alan, I was tempted to move to Prescott in the past. I discovered the place in 1973 and loved it. In 1983 Dave Wolfe called and asked if I was interested in moving thereto work for him. It was tempting but at the time Yvonne and I owned a small movie theater so neither one of us had to punch anyones time clock. I’ve been there many times and that Broken Spur is my favorite breakfast eatery in the whole world.
In 1988 when we went to Livingston, Mt. to visit our daughter I remember seeing a movie theater in Gardiner, on the northern edge of Yellowstone. It was on the left driving north. When you mentioned a theater in one of your books or articles later I wondered if that was one you owned. My daughter’s in-laws were members of a religious group or cult run by a Mother Mary, I believe. But my daughter and son in law weren’t into it.
 
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