Probably worth in the $2000 range. Check to see why the trigger guard does not 'snug up' with the bottom of the frame. That gap is very noticeable. A few of the screws seem to have been replaced.The bore is pretty nice for the age and the cylinder seems to be in good condition. The fit of the ejector rod housing to the frame and barrel looks good.
Thanks, much appreciated. I saw that gap. It looks like there are a few small grains of grit or something in between, I'll ask. The seller says it's in good shape and can be shot. I have the RCBS 45-270-SA mold, which makes a .454 280-285gr bullet. Would it be too heavy? Using a light load of BP of course (how much?). Would this gun be a "don't restore" deal or something that wouldn't suffer from a re-bluing? I assume leaving it as is would be the right thing to do... This would not so much be an investment, but more of a lifetime personal item... Would removing the light surface rust, maybe using electrolysis be a no-no? I certainly would not want to harm it, not so much from a value standpoint but from a preservation standpoint... Sorry, lots of questions... This would be my first antique piece and I am not very familiar with such old guns. Thanks again.
Black powder only! What do you mean by a light black powder load? You NEVER want to have a dead air space, so no such thing as a light load. Fill until 1/16" to 1/8" higher than base of bullet and hear the powder crunch as you seat it.
BP only of course! Well, the price here (I am now in France) is quite a bit higher given the import charges and 20% VAT... Oh well... As to a charge, I was thinking of 25gr of 3F, maybe with a wad if needed. I have two Lee molds also, 200 and 255gr but those are .452, probably too small. The RCBS is the only one I have that is .454 and I like its profile. I used that bullet in my Pietta SAA (sold) and it worked great.
well that looks like a nice looking SAA...this is not something u should try and improve on the looks...it will take all value out of it...
to your question...Would this gun be a "don't restore" deal or something that wouldn't suffer from a re-bluing? I assume leaving it as is would be the right thing to do... This would not so much be an investment, but more of a lifetime personal item... Would removing the light surface rust, maybe using electrolysis be a no-no? I certainly would not want to harm it, not so much from a value standpoint but from a preservation standpoint....Do Not try and Restore it...NO REBLUE...NO ELECTROLYSIS....make it safe to shoot...tighten all the screws and clean it of course...but any rust should be left...there is almost no blue left...just keep it clean and dry....i would clean the grips up and make them look a little nicer...i know i would love to find one of these in this condition....u have done well finding this too....God Bless,John
To perhaps resolve the triggerguard to frame gap; check the screw, in the bottom of the frame covered by the triggerguard, that applies the pressure to the loading gate. It could be protruding below the frame. It is an easy fix to just screw it in a turn or so to get it below the frame surface. All this is seen and done with the triggerguard removed. Regards.
Thanks guys, I would just change the grips then and find some nice leather for it, no alterations. I can keep the old grips, it's easy to swap em'. Any suggestions on loads with that 285gr bullet? Not that it would be shot often, but a few rounds every other month. Now the painful part, coughing up the money next week...
"Thanks guys, I would just change the grips then and find some nice leather for it, no alterations. I can keep the old grips, it's easy to swap em'."
gil, I'm assuming you're relatively new to the Colt game. You've done well with this purchase. I feel compelled, however, to caution you about "chang(ing) the grips". The grips appear original to the gun and are in very good condition. They are relatively rare and by themselves will fetch $450-$600. Having them as part of you Colt is a real plus. Clean them up and enjoy. You can verify their originality by checking the inside for scratched numbers of the last few digits of the serial number.
Hi, I would change the grips only to preserve them, keep them aside in a safe place. Handling the gun and occasionally shooting it would only add wear to those grips. So 285gr is a bit much... Darn, I'll be very broke if I go ahead with this purchase, so buying a new mold would have to wait. I found that Big Lube Bullets sells a nice 210gr six-cavity mold for $99, without handles. It's not a Keith design though. Couldn't pressure be kept reasonably low with a tad less powder?
I would think twice about shooting that gun. It has obviously seen a lot of use. Those early iron frames were weak, black powder still has a healthy recoil, and although safer than smokeless black powder still puts a lot of stress on the gun. There have been a lot of articles by metallurgists lately discussing metal fatigue. Old, weak metal gets to a point where it just says "I have had enough". The metal can look good right up to where it lets go.
I am a little late jumping into this discussion, but first, I think the revolver is a beauty. I like the "been there done that" appearance of it. It is a beauty in my opinion.
I did notice all the things the guys have stated about the revolver and they are correct. The one Main thing I would recommend is to have Jim Martin do an action job for you if you plan to shoot the revolver! I see there is a "drag line" on the cylinder and it "appears" that the Bolt is dropping way early. The Bolt should drop in the middle of the "lead in" to the locking notch. Unless the seller is very familiar with the SAA revolver action, he may think the action is perfect.
I see no problems with shooting the revolver with the correct bullet and Black Powder Only. As stated above, a "filler" can be used to compact the black powder and give you a lighter load. If you have Jim perform an action job, he will also check for any cracks, etc. Jim Martin learned how to do an action job from a real Old West Gunsmith. When you get it back, it will have a better action than Colt could do!!!!! The Old Girl deserves to be in perfect condition.
You might try looking at some LEE Precision bullet molds. They
are decent molds and can get you casting bullets for it for a
reasonable price. The two molds that jump out at me are:
DC 452-255-RF and DC 452-252-SWC.
The DC 452 255-RF is a classic Colt .45 bullet profile producing a 255gr.
bullet and the DC 452 252-SWC is a semi-wad cutter producing a 252gr.
bullet. Of course, bullet weight will depend on your casting alloy.
The nice thing about LEE bullet molds is they are cheap (MSRP $26.98)
and the price includes the handles. The molds are aluminum and in
general, aluminum molds won't last as long as steel or iron molds but
with reasonable care, they will cast many thousands of bullets.
There are other choices too. You can go to their website and see them.
Amazon carries them too (a little less that MSRP) with free shipping.
I have an 1883 in 44-40 that I occasionally shoot (but mine is in the 99
thousand range and that puts it in the range after Colt switched to steel).
If you are worried, you might be able to get a Magnaflux® inspection.
This would reveal cracks that are too small to see with the naked eye.
Wrought Iron is more ductile that steel and hence less likely to develop
stress cracks BUT wrought iron can have slag inclusions that can weaken
I've been reading a book on Confederate handguns and The South didn't
have a good source for steel and most revolvers were made from wrought
iron. The revolvers made by them during the war had a significantly high
failure rate when proofed. Of course, Southern forges couldn't produce
wrought iron that was of a consistently high quality as The North could
but it makes one wonder...