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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings

I just found this forum this morning, so this is my first post. I'm hoping to get some information on a Single Action Army that I just ran across.

I found an interesting Second Gen Colt. 7 1/2" Barrel, 45 Colt caliber, Serial #647XXSA. My Kuhnhausen Manual says it was made in 1973.

This one seems a little unusual. It comes with 2 cylinders. One cylinder looks like a regular 2nd Gen cylinder. The dealer calls the second cylinder a 'long flute' cylinder. The flutes are slightly longer on this one, and the front edge has been beveled, I think it may be more like a First Gen cylinder. All the numbers match on this piece, the frame, trigger guard and the backstrap, and both cylinders carry the last three digits on front. Grips are two piece walnut. The finish appears to be either an oil finish, or a varnish applied with no filler.

I don't know much about NRA conditions, but other than a few very minor scratches, this looks pretty good. I'd say just about 100%. Frame is casehardened, everything else is blue. None of the screws are bunged up at all, although the fit of the hammer screw is just a little bit sloppy in it's hole. The head is a little bit proud of the frame. On one side of the trigger guard, at the rear, a small 'P' has been stamped. At the front of the trigger guard, on the same side, there is small triangle with what looks like a 'VP' inside it.

One interesting thing I noticed is that the 'long flute' cylinder seems to have been polished and reblued at some point. The blue is more lusterous and the surface is shinier. Plus some edges have been slightly rounded over. This cylinder has a few scratches on it though, indicating to me that it was scratched a little bit after it was polished and reblued. The numbers on both cylinders match though. Is it possible this cylinder could be counterfeit?

The gun locks up extremely well with both cylinders. There is zero endshake, and lock up is tight with no visible slop.

The hammer pull is very heavy, much hearvier than other Colt's I've handled. It almost takes two hands to cock it. My other Colt and my Uberti both have after market springs in them, and are very light. I'm sure it would benefit from after market springs, but the trigger pull already seems very light. I did not have a scale with me.

The gun shows plenty of signs of having been fired with smokeless, but I don't see any signs of abuse. There is a little bit of lead in the forcing cone but the bore is spotless with no scratches. All 12 chambers are dirty, but I don't see any obvious rust or pitting.

Has anybody ever heard of a SAA coming from the factory with a second cylinder? Not an alternative caliber, just a second cylinder with a slightly different appearance.

I'd love to hear some estimates on it's value.

[This message has been edited by Driftwood Johnson (edited 09-04-2003).]
 

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The "P" and"VP" marks are standard Colt factory marks found on all modern Colt guns.
The"P" is an inspector's mark, and the "VP" is Colt's Verified Proof mark.

The condition of your gun will not be 100% since it does have some scratches and marks, and it's been fired.

The weight of the spring and the lightness of the trigger indicates that the action may have been altered by an amateur.
It's not uncommon for untrained people to attempt to "Improve" the trigger pull, and this often creates an unsafe action.
Usually this takes the form of a too-light trigger that won't stay cocked. It's not unusual for them to try to "correct" it by drastically increasing the weight of the spring.
Often, guns that have been damaged in this manner are quickly traded or sold off to unsuspecting buyers.

The cylinder is not too unusual, although this usually takes the form of a .45ACP and .45 Colt chambering.
Are you SURE both are the same chambering?
Is the serial number stamping the same on both? In other words, are they stamped in the same place by the same tooling, or is one stamped with a different stamp tool, or appears hand stamped?

The real question is: WHICH cylinder is the "original" cylinder? It's possible the refinished cylinder was tossed into a drawer or case and got scratched or lightly rusted.
The owner probably allowed a less than skilled local re-finisher to re-blue it, and this would account for the different luster and rounded off edges.

For a period in the 1980's the Single Action was a Colt Custom Shop/only item. In order to get one, it was necessary to order it with some kind of true "custom" touch, like a special serial number, grips, engraving, or finish. In this case the "custom item" likely was a spare cylinder.

Only a Historical letter from Colt will be able to answer all the questions about the gun. These letters reveal everything the factory knows about it. This includes the finish, barrel length, custom options, who it was shipped to, and the date made.
If the gun was factory-equipped with an extra cylinder, this will be noted.

As to value, the refinish work, the scratching and wear on the gun, the fact that it's been fired, and the disturbing condition of the action significantly lower the value.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
dfariswheel:

Thanks for your answer. Both cylinders appear to be for 45 Long Colt. Not ACP. Did not have a chance to chamber anything in them. Both have the last three digits of the serial number stamped on the cylinder face, one number each on the web between chambers. The tooling used to stamp both appears to be identical, the numbers appear the same. Interestingly though, the numbering on one cylinder is upside down from the other. So it appears that the same number set was used, but a different setup.
 
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