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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an old Colt, SAA 38-40. S/N 159XXX on the frame and a 205XXX on space forward of the trigger guard , just a parts gun, but in pretty good shape, nickel plated. However, the S/N makes it strictly black powder. I have shot this using FFFG, but it clogs up after a few cylinders full and I would like to be able to shoot a lot more than that with out having to tear it all down and clean it.

I'd sure like to have one I can shoot the same loads as my Marlin 94 , 38-40. I just can't afford the $800+ for a clone or more for one of those Ruger Buckeye specials that were made in the 80's. A newer Colt SAA is totally out of the question.

Could I get $300-$400 for this Colt SAA that I have. I could the maybe swing $500 then for a clone.
Any and all advice appreciated.

Thanks for your time
 

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You really need to post some good photos of all sides of your SAA to get an estimate of value. But yes, I think you can get the $300-$400 you mention without the photos and probably 2X-3X more depending on photos. Hope this helps. (Frame was made in 1895 per your 159XXX posted number)
 

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I think just about anything that will cock and fire will probably bring up to $1000 or so on GB now a days.
 

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If you want to shoot that thing, one thing we do in our mounted shooting guns (you should take cylinder off to get at more) is to spray hydrogen peroxide into it. Breaks up black powder, and is a quick emergency cleaner. Shake it off, maybe hit a little oil and you should be good to go for more. I've also used 409 Stone and Steel.
 

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Double check your serial numbers on the parts....the frame has the spring loaded pin which indicates it should be serial numbered over 164,000.....if the frame was 159,xxx it would be a true blackpowder frame with the cylinder pin being held in with a screw in the front of the frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oops.had it mixed up.

on the frame itself , just ahead of where the trigger guard ends in front, the S/N is 2050xx, then on the trigger guard itself, just in back of the screw, S/N is 1593xx.
Does this mean I can shoot smokeless powder in it.
I slugged the bore and it is .406.

My relined marlin 94, 38-40 is .4015 andIi shoot .403 cast in it. I don't think I can't get .407 or .408 cast bullets unless I buy 41 mag, 190 gr bullets which are .409 and size them down maybe.

Thoughts and/or advice??????

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Elk hunting in Colorado. I live outside of Colorado Springs. I hunted units 12 and 25 in the Flat Tops. Either in the SE corner or 30 miles or south of Craig.

Then I also hunted north of Gunnison in Unit 54.

I'm afraid my elk hunting days are done as of this year. I got banged up pretty bad by a runaway mule and at 70 years old, I don't heal well from going splat when I hit the ground instead of bouncing like when I was young.

It's a lot of work. More so with horses and mules. My hunting pards have quit hunting or they can't hunt anymore due to health and young guys either don't want to work that hard top kill elk, or can only go for three -four days, leaving me all alone to tear down camp.
 

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I believe Colt started warranting their SAAs for smokeless in 1900 & serial # 192,000?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Further experimentation.
I made a sizing collar on the lathe and using an adjustable reamer I cut it to .4065 ID.

I have some .419 diameter pure lead round balls that I use in an old BP Kentucky pistol.

I pushed those balls thru the sizer, incrementally as I was reaming it, taking about .001 out at a time. Using a 4 place micrometer, I stopped when balls measured .4065.

Having a few old baloon head cases that I don't use, I seated the .4065 balls in them, crimped just enough to take the bell out the case + some.

Results were the cases were bulged enough that they would not chamber in this old 1902 or so Colt I have. .4040 seems to be the limit and the bullets I have are sized .403.

Checking the gun closer the S/N on the trigger guard is pre smokeless, but the frame is post BP so I can use regular smokeless in it, but I'll stick with mild loads and about 10K psi pressure and about 900fps.
I loaded up some 180 gr cast lead bullets ,unfortunately they are harder than I need, with 7.5, 8, and 8.5 gr of W231.

My old manuals only list Unique, and other obsolete powders but W231 is almost identical in burn rate,maybe a tad faster. I have no Unique.

Checking with a few gunsmiths, I can't find anyone to do relines and a new barrel is $400.

Seems all these early 38-40 (38WCF) were .406 and new ones are .401 or .410 depending if they are chambered to accept the .410, 41 mag bullets.

It is my thoughts that the .406 bores were done to for use of softer lead bullets that would expand to seal the bore/\bullet,or maybe to take in to account the BP fouling. Just a guess.

So weather permitting it's off to the range in a few days to check these out.
 
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