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What is the golden era of Colt?

2977 Views 30 Replies 26 Participants Last post by  gruesome
What years would you define as the "golden era" of Colt and why? What I mean is what period of time in Colt's history do you think they excelled the MOST at quality control, level of finish quality, types of models offered, or any other characteristic which you deem relevant to determing such a thing?

I forget how to post a poll, but I would rather just have peoples commentary anyway... Thanks.
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I would vote for 1950 to 1970 Really good forged steel, excellent fit and finish work,Good quality overall
The "Golden Era" is from about 1900 to World War II. Many would say from the end of World War I to the beginning of World War II. The latter gets my vote because of the huge variety of models and the amazing quality, but leaving out the Colts with the high polish from the Pre-World War I era is a tough call. The "Golden Era" is not just confined to Colts. The Winchester, Smith & Wesson, Savage, Marlin, Remington, etc. lines also exhibit the same quality and variety that did not survive World war II.

I am surprised to see anyone claim that period encompasses the 1970s! I must assume thy have not examined any Pre-War guns. There is no comparison.
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Early 1900's (hammerless and 1911's) to early '60's get's my vote for the assortment of models then the exceptional finishes and the introduction of the Trooper and Python (50's) that elevated Colt's lineup substantially. Just the multitude of production of the PPS and OP that were widely accepted by LE community commands some notice.
My selection would be the period of 1847 through 1875. Nothing surpasses, in my mind, the old plow handle single action Colts. Sure, the 'Twenties (Nineteen Twenties) era saw some great DA revolvers, but they lacked the svelte looks of the SA models.

Bob Wright
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I am surprised to see anyone claim that period encompasses the 1970s!
1970's , golden is in the eye of the beholder . All opinions are welcome .

To me the Golden era might encompass 1860-1910 . Colt armed the US military in the largest battles of the century , LEO and civilians . Across the USA from the civilized East to the wild West . In all the world , when you said "Colt" , the name was recognized . Colt was becoming gun maker for the world . They had agents in North America , South America , Europe , Middle East , Far East and possibly elsewhere . They offered a wide variety of sizes , calibers and cosmetic options . Think of all the presentation guns turned out in this era . The now legendary master engravers .

And then to top it off , they of course also introduced John Browning's very successful early auto pistols . :cool:
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I think you hit the proverbial nail, right on the head Mitch. "golden is in the eye of the beholder."

For me it's quite simple. The Golden era of Colt is from 1836 to 2013

Bud


1970's , golden is in the eye of the beholder. All opinions are welcome .

To me the Golden era might encompass 1860-1910 . Colt armed the US military in the largest battles of the century , LEO and civilians . Across the USA from the civilized East to the wild West . In all the world , when you said "Colt" , the name was recognized . Colt was becoming gun maker for the world . They had agents in North America , South America , Europe , Middle East , Far East and possibly elsewhere . They offered a wide variety of sizes , calibers and cosmetic options . Think of all the presentation guns turned out in this era . The now legendary master engravers .

And then to top it off , they of course also introduced John Browning's very successful early auto pistols . :cool:
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My unqualified vote is the period of 1903 - pre-WWII.
Fit - Finish - overall quality - variety is unsurpassed. Colt, S&W, Winchester all had except exceptional quality then. I do wonder if the craftsmen of the day were paid adequately for their efforts.
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as far as i'm concerned, as long as colt stays viable and in business it is not only their golden era but ours too! :cool:
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I suspect that if you ask 100 Colt mavens, that you'll get 100 different answers. And that's likely a good thing.

I support Judge Colt's cogent reasoning but probably side a little more with Mitch and Bud on this issue. I thank the heavens for the birth of Mr. Sam Colt and the time he spent on this planet giving us the brand I so cherish!
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DITTO!!

Bud

I suspect that if you ask 100 Colt mavens, that you'll get 100 different answers. And that's likely a good thing.

I support Judge Colt's cogent reasoning but probably side a little more with Mitch and Bud on this issue. I thank the heavens for the birth of Mr. Sam Colt and the time he spent on this planet giving us the brand I so cherish!
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Great responses guys, and some great supporting statements...

Sounds like Ill just have to strive to get an example from every decade someday so I can say I have Colt from the Golden Era, no matter when it was!
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Now you're talking Dave, and what better way to increase your collection size?

Bud

Great responses guys, and some great supporting statements...

Sounds like Ill just have to strive to get an example from every decade someday so I can say I have Colt from the Golden Era, no matter when it was!
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Im a sucker for the early fire blue years! When you see that in perfect condidtion. Wow.. why did they ever stop!!! Wish I owned one.
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The pre-WWII guns are simply on another level from anything made since. Even the Python's Royal Blue finish can't equal the blued guns from the early 1900's.

The early 1980's were bad IMO.
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my preference would be post ww1 to ww2, quality in every area.
There never was a bad Colt ever made , just my opinion
The "Golden Era" is from about 1900 to World War II. Many would say from the end of World War I to the beginning of World War II. The latter gets my vote because of the huge variety of models and the amazing quality, but leaving out the Colts with the high polish from the Pre-World War I era is a tough call. The "Golden Era" is not just confined to Colts. The Winchester, Smith & Wesson, Savage, Marlin, Remington, etc. lines also exhibit the same quality and variety that did not survive World war II.

I am surprised to see anyone claim that period encompasses the 1970s! I must assume thy have not examined any Pre-War guns. There is no comparison.
Me thinks that our JudgeColt got it right again with this post, and here's why I think so. War speeds up technical innovation as well as needs for mass production. Manufacturing before the war was pretty much a hands on deal, but the need for production during WWII, brought an end to a lot of the hands on work as production techniques improved in order to meet production.

World War II saw the end of the era when firearms were made the way they should be and have been. The War brought the demise of the Colt Single Action Army & New Service, the Winchester Model 92, the Ithaca double guns, and many others. The war left the bigger companies with large payrolls as well as overhead in buildings, etc. The smaller companies just slowly disappeared.

By the mid 1950s the old school way of making and finishing arms was closing as labor costs kept creeping up. Many models couldn't be made profitably any longer. By the mid 60s the really nice guns were no more except on custom order.
Ken I would change one aspect . The SAA , NS and Win 92 were pretty close to being finished midway through the Great Depression if not earlier . At least based on posted production numbers .
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