Just out of the Air Force, near Springfield, Massachusetts, moved to Hartford where Colt was working three shifts around the clock producing AR15 rifles (the military referred to these as AR15 prior to the M16 designation). Colt had just tooled up new 5.56 barrel machines and that was my initial position on the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift. My favorite recall was of the times around 3:00 a.m. when we would take a meal break I used to just wander through the plant, endless wandering. Great sized rooms fenced in with chicken wire and long tables one after another with vertical dowels upward and into the barrels of hundreds upon hundreds of SAA revolvers, some engraved, some nickle, some with gold highlights. It was like a kid at Christmas every morning at 3:00 a.m..
One story that comes to mind as I type here was the test firing range for the .45 ACP pistols. Remington nickle brass was used. Fired once and the cases put into metal drums to be buried (as I recall I was told). Several of those drums made it into the truck of my 57' Chevy and I still shoot and reload it to this very day. My only regret is that I didn't get more.
Discounts... back at the time (1966/67) as I recall the Python was retailing for either $125.00 or $140.00 and the Gold Cup about the same (the S&W Model 29 about the same). To me at the time, that was a lot of money. Being interested in the new and upcoming sport of "Combat Shooting" I opted for the Gold Cup. As I recall I obtained a piece of paperwork from Colt (possibly it could have been my pay receipt) and obtained my Gold Cup for $100.00 + or - at a local gun shop. The Gold Cup was the only Colt I purchased while in their employ. I loved that pistol.
While in the Air Force I was a member of a combat defense squadron at 8th Air Force Headquarters (SAC). We were in Massachusetts. Our issued long arm was an M2 carbine. It is my understanding that we were among the first troops to be issued the AR15, replacing the M2 (I can recall that day vividly). Later they replaced our issued 1911A1s with the Smith & Wesson Model 15 Combat Masterpiece. I never could understand the logic in replacing the 1911 .45 ACP with a .38 Special... still don't... of course Smith & Wesson was just down the street from us. General Curtis Lemay was head of SAC at the time, I believe, and he was known for doing some things by a different beat of the drum. He was the major player in having the AR15 to the Air Force.
My Wife and I took a bus to NYC a couple weeks ago and the bus drove directly by it. I've taken the bus to NYC many times and it has never gone directly in front of the old Colt building, I always see it from a long distance away. It was really kind of surreal. Very hard to describe how it felt to me. It was almost a little frightning because all the sudden...there it was, huge and right next to me. I was just thinking about how many guns in my safe started life in that old building.