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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's my understanding that Colt switched to the spring-loaded, horizontal base-pin release with serial number 164,100. I recently encountered a SSA in the 163xxx range with the horizontal base pin release. The piece appears never to have been refinished, and all serial numbers match. Any thoughts? Explanations?

Harry Frank
Red River, NM
Ann Arbor, MI
 

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I need to look at some of my auction records but it seems like if they listed the serial number correctly Little John's Auction in CA had one that was spring loaded in the sub 164,000 serial range a few years ago.
 
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I have found that Colt never wasted anything, especially frames. Changes were phased in as the current inventory was used up. The screw retained base pin then the cross pin retention device do not indicate the frame material either. Only the "verified proof " stamp tells you the frame material is suitable for smokeless powder. The frame material change happened around 162,xxx but you will find the screw retained base pin around until 1902 or so.
 

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I have found that Colt never wasted anything, especially frames. Changes were phased in as the current inventory was used up. The screw retained base pin then the cross pin retention device do not indicate the frame material either. Only the "verified proof " stamp tells you the frame material is suitable for smokeless powder. The frame material change happened around 162,xxx but you will find the screw retained base pin around until 1902 or so.
Can you show us some screw retained base pin type frames in serial numbers above the mid 164,000 range?
 

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It's my understanding that Colt switched to the spring-loaded, horizontal base-pin release with serial number 164,100. I recently encountered a SSA in the 163xxx range with the horizontal base pin release. The piece appears never to have been refinished, and all serial numbers match. Any thoughts? Explanations?

Harry Frank
Red River, NM
Ann Arbor, MI
Unless you can see a plugged hole where the base pin screw would have been, I wouldn't be concerned about the number anomaly.
 

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I once owned a 44-40 7 and 1/2 ich gun serial nembered 164062 or something very close to that. It had a cross pin. Remember the cross pin was always on the Bisley which was made way before the standard SAA.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks. Am I correct that Colt introduced the lateral retention screw in 1896 (S/N 164,100) but did not completely transition from iron (black powder) frames to steel frames until around 1900?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've never seen a SAA with serial number in the mid 164xxx range with the old black-powder-frame vertical retention screw. Every SAA I've seen in that range had the familiar east-west spring-loaded base pin release.
 

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Thanks. Am I correct that Colt introduced the lateral retention screw in 1896 (S/N 164,100) but did not completely transition from iron (black powder) frames to steel frames until around 1900?
I don't think there was any change made in metallurgy, bore dimensions, chamber dimensions, or anything else other than the method of securing the cylinder pin. By 1896 it was clear that the Government would not be buying any more new SAA's, and perhaps that realization determined the timing of this change. Of course, other Colt models used the transverse release from their beginning. This "blackpowder" thing was likely a term started by collectors/dealers in the 1960's, and associated with that cylinder pin retainer. At least that is what I remember. That bloody 1968 gun law had a lot to do with launching the term "blackpowder" Colt SAA. I do see some definite changes made in 1911 that would better accommodate smokeless powder.
 
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