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I was told it is 100% original as far as screws so it should be shoulder screw.
Of course. I was looking at my 4 screw 1860 Colt cut for a shoulder stock, it is a different attachment with equal screws on each side.
Did you check for a number on the barrel and cylinder?
 

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As I was admiring the borders on the engraving, which I think are spectacular in uniformity I saw something lots of guys don’t get the opportunity to notice in these early guns.
This is an early gun which was made of iron before 2-3 percent of carbon was added to make them harder, hard as steel - that is.

But notice the inside cylinder window.
Unlike generations built after these early guns, these had a graceful angle, instead of just a square cut angle.

711212
 

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As I was admiring the borders on the engraving, which I think are spectacular in uniformity I saw something lots of guys don’t get the opportunity to notice in these early guns.
This is an early gun which was made of iron before 2-3 percent of carbon was added to make them harder, hard as steel - that is.

But notice the inside cylinder window.
Unlike generations built after these early guns, these had a graceful angle, instead of just a square cut angle.

View attachment 711212
Great eye, Bill.
 

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To the Colt enthusiast, this is an attractive gun, and aesthetics are worth something. I saw one just like yours hammer at a local auction about 10 years ago for $1700. With commission, it was a bit over 2k so saintclair's estimate of $3000 is about right, if one likes a showy but not original gun. Some call these barbecue guns.

In addition to all the discrepancies identified already, the profile of the front sight suggests to me the barrel is much later than the rest of the firearm.

A good hint to the beginner is to look for crisp serial numbers, barrel addresses, patent dates, etc. If they are not crisp on a gun with little wear, buffing and refinishing is most commonly the culprit.

If you have an interest in Colt Single Action Army revolvers, I strongly suggest you purchase a copy of A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, by Graham, Kopec and Moore.
 

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Lots of folks gave you good feedback here on this good looking (and quite a show-ee) gun. As you likely now realize, the engraving is fresh, the plating is fresh, and the gun has seen fair use, but not real abuse.

I suppose one of its past owners just wanted to spiff it up, and spent rather quite a lot money on it, and the type of work that was done to this gun is typically the kind of work (and cash) that one unfortunately cannot recover when reselling such a gun (although its previous owner did recover it from you, in this case). So, yes, at the end of the day you over-paid for this gun by quite a bit. Should you have sought advice here earlier? Yes, that would have likely helped you make more informed choices, but the question is, what can you do now? Are you happy with an antique gun that has been reworked on to this extent? Are you happy with the gun's look? If yes and yes, then enjoy your very nice gun.

If you're unhappy with it, can you (or do you want to) return this gun? If you decide that originality is important to you, that this gun's looks are not what you want right now, and if you are rankled by over-paying, then maybe return the gun. If you can't return the gun but don't want it in your collection, you can always put it in auction, and given what's going on right now, you may get the lion's share of your money back out of it (or not). Consider any money lost as "paying for your education" which is something most (if not all) of us here have done at some point in our collecting careers. Keep us updated!
 

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A few years ago I had to pass on what I thought was an overly engraved SAA due to financial shortcomings. Looking back now I should have borrowed the $$$. I think you have a very nice pistolero
 

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If you are very careful, or get someone who is good at it... you can possibly find the engravers i.d. under one of the grips on the frame. Sometimes an engraver will sign his work. Dont bugger the screw. Nice looking pistol. Enjoy. Welcome to the forum.
 

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Welcome aboard and congratulations on acquiring a beautiful revolver that I am very envious of.

If I’d had the money in my pocket, I’d have bought it just because I liked it so much. Is a beautiful black ‘57 Chevy 2 door hard with a 4-speed, big block and aftermarket air conditioning top worth $49,000 or $80,000 ? Depends on who wants it bad that day and how much they have in their pocket.

You didn’t overpay, you just bought early and maybe a little impulsively. I’ve done that a bunch. The last early SAA I saw was so heavily buffed and poorly re-nickeled that the gaps between the major components were atrocious and couldn’t be fixed, the serial numbers in the frame and trigger guard were barely legible and none on the back strap plus the barrel was cut off about 1/4” in front of the ejector housing and had a front sight dovetailed into it. Your revolver is beautiful and light years ahead of that one. That revolver’s frame and TG were manufactured in 1879 and it sold within a month at $2700.00. I think you made a lot better deal than the guy that bought that one.
 

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New Colt enthusiast so take it easy on me...

I bought this gun yesterday for $5,400. Guy said he doesn't think it's factory engraved so at least he was honest. Said he thought it might have been sent back to colt to engrave in the late 1890's... (questionable. I think he lied to me there based on my feedback from colt.)

I contacted Colt and they said it's unlikely factory original engraving due to Colt 45 roll mark on barrel wasn't used until 1890 and this was made in 1881.

However, every factory engraved gun I see looks VERY similar. There are no engraver marks or initials. I haven't looked under the grips but I'm scared to death to do so.

Thoughts on who / when might have engraved this or is it just a major crap shoot? Wondering if time frame it might have been engraved. The ridges feel somewhat sharp in some areas. I'm wondering if it is old engraving but sat in a display case for decades... Would be awesome if it was done by Cuno Helfricht... Is it possible the owner sent the gun back in to Colt to get engraved and Cuno did it? Did Cuno leave any markings in his design to tell if it was in fact him?

Was $5,400 too much to pay for this gun?
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This may be considered an apples-to-oranges comparison, but I was looking at the distributor price on a new factory engraved Colt SAA yesterday (not nickel) and it was more than what you payed. Suggested retail from Colt was $9800.
 

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The MOP grips have a Colt emblem which they didn't start using until the 1950's (I think). Without a factory letter, have to assume the engraving/plating was done much later in its life...
 

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New Colt enthusiast so take it easy on me...

I bought this gun yesterday for $5,400. Guy said he doesn't think it's factory engraved so at least he was honest. Said he thought it might have been sent back to colt to engrave in the late 1890's... (questionable. I think he lied to me there based on my feedback from colt.)

I contacted Colt and they said it's unlikely factory original engraving due to Colt 45 roll mark on barrel wasn't used until 1890 and this was made in 1881.

However, every factory engraved gun I see looks VERY similar. There are no engraver marks or initials. I haven't looked under the grips but I'm scared to death to do so.

Thoughts on who / when might have engraved this or is it just a major crap shoot? Wondering if time frame it might have been engraved. The ridges feel somewhat sharp in some areas. I'm wondering if it is old engraving but sat in a display case for decades... Would be awesome if it was done by Cuno Helfricht... Is it possible the owner sent the gun back in to Colt to get engraved and Cuno did it? Did Cuno leave any markings in his design to tell if it was in fact him?

Was $5,400 too much to pay for this gun?
Hi, I collect Pythons but want an SAA and am looking for the right one. Yours is beautiful. The only thing that would bother me is that it apparently does not have the original barrel. I don't know if the price was high compared to others but if you love it thats all that matters.
 

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I am late to the game, but here it is: The gun was poorly refinished and there is pitting in the flutes...bad pitting. The caliber marking on the left forward trigger bow dates from 1883 to 1888 and began around serial 100,000. Best I can say is don’t let one crook discourage you and the next one could just be a bargain.
 
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I will add that the search for the engraver is a red herring. I knew a doctor back in Nebraska in the early ‘80s who would buy up early rough Colts and he would take them down by the dozen to an engraver in Mexico who worked cheap. I am sure there are many of those guns running around today. It is doubtful, considering the condition of the gun, that the engraver is of any consequence.
 
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