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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Where do the SAA\'s live?

Greetings, Colt Fans! Say, two items a-buggin' me, maybe you'd care to help? One, as this is the Colt revolver forum, how come I almost never see anything about Colt Single Action Army's? Odd, ain't it? Is there another forum that deals with these? And second, while we're talking about SAA, I'd like to hear from someone that owns or has owned a Buntline Special Colt. Where we live is about 40 miles west of Dodge City. Recently, Dodge has erected a statue to Wyatt Earp downtown. It's life size and very nicely done and features him holding his long barrel Colt in a sort of running pose. According to some sources, Earp never did use that gun for work and some say it didn't exist at all. What I'm after is info on Earp, of course - one of my favorite subjects and SAA's and shooting them ... What kind of differnce is there between them and the double actions I'm used to? What differences are there in the three standard barrel lengths? I've only handled a 4 5/8 incher once and thought it was great - but I've never shot one. I've used 2 and 4 and 6" double actions and can't really say there's any obvious difference in how to shoot them. Does this hold true with the SAA?
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

The biggest difference is the sight radius. A lot of folks say longer barrels are more accurate than shorter ones. As long as the barrel imparts spin to the bullet, a 2" can be as accurate as a 8". Put both in a machine rest and compare.

One difference, and it is subjective, is in the balance. I have had single actions in all three traditional barrel lengths; 4 3/4", 5 1/2" and 7 1/2". I prefer the 4 3/4", but I like all of them. If I were chosing a SA for hunting only, I'd go with the 7 1/2". For all around use, give me the 4 3/4".
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

rcwambold;Sadly,for us "men of action",SAAs tend to rest in well locked vaults,untouched by human hands,unless a gloved one(didn't Michael Jackson only wear one glove about 20 years ago,as we in New England,had a joke about "Jacko" and the first baseman for the Red Sox,who let a grounder get by him,costing the Sox the 86' series,Bill Buckner,both wearing a golve for no apparent reason!!)

Sorry,couldn't resist that one! SAA's are mostly "safe queens" in all three generations. Occassionally,you will find an imbecile like me that shoots them! I was able,over the years,to buy relatively cheap, 4 First Generation shooters,including a factory refinished Bisley,3 2nd Gens,and 2 3rds,in a variety of Calibers. Only 1 or 2 would be "worthy" of a second glance by collectors.

But,unlike most revolvers,there are "clones" to fire,and this also explains the SAAs lack of discussion. I will NOT buy foreign clones(Ok,I have 2,BOTH picked up as part of convoluted "deals,and both kept because they are exceptional shooters,one being a dual cylinder Bisley in 32/20 and the rare .32 mag.)

But,I do have "clones",no NOT Rugers(I tried for a decade to get accuracy out of an early Flatop .44 Mag,to no avail,and my "last" Ruger had 10mm and 38/40 cylinders.) In the latter,caliber,a Bisley and a pawn shop purchased 1901 SAA,consistently out shot the "new Ruger".My clones are the American made Great Westerns from ca.1954-1962;they see a lot of use as do the Colts.

SAAs will vary,in balance due to bbl. length,and caliber. A 7.5" "mixed numbered one I have in 32/20 is heavy(but not as heavy as a .22lr SAA).

They are also NOT accurate guns,not because of any inherent problems,but the same "balance" that makes them natural pointers,hurt their target ability(Sorry guys,read the old shooting records,from 100-125 years ago,when the S&W#3 was the usual winner). The SAA sits high in the hand,the axis of the bore is high,and most of all,it has a HEAVY and long hammer fall! While this assured firing of mistreated ammo,lanquishing in belt loops in the west,it throws the aim off. Look at the Bisley;Colt tried to make it more target user friendly,with a lower hammer spur,and a wider trigger;SAA is toothpick size!

So,if you wanna be accurate with an SAA,you have to use a different technique and hold,and NOT shoot any D.A.s for a while,at least in my experience. I have one of the first 1000 2nd Gen. in .38 Special,that collectors would drool over the condition(maybe not,bought it sans box,and it had been "fired,and "turned", heaven forbid,by its prior owner.) With hard cast 158 gr. over 5.5 Unique,it will shoot under 2" at 25 yards,Offhand,but slow fire. Recoil of the SAAs allow you to thumbcock it on the way down,and after a while it becomes as quick as a D.A. The same gun will also allow me to "roll a can" just by pointing,better than most D.A.s. No,I don't quick draw,as a neighbor nearly became a "she",after he shot himself,with a wax bullet in the crotch,in the 60's trying "crossdraw" with an SAA!

BY the way,shooting one of Colt's wonderful little Scout series,is not the "real deal". Ive had several,and they are great,but just too small, lightweight and different balance for my very short,but wide hand/fingers. But I can't think of a better "training" type revolver for a small youngster,as you have to cock it,not like the Darwin Award Winner,who was letting his 7 year old daughter "try out" Daddy's Ruger semi auto .22 at our town dump last year. Shots a flying everywhere! I left there PDQ;trash could wait for another day!

Bud
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

Hey RC: The SAAs are a little funny. They have almost a cult-like status, sort of like the Lugers, and the guys who collect them tend to be very, very focused on them. It seems that you either have one or you have a lot of them, not much in between, although these days the values are so high one needs a lot of dough to accumulate any kind of collection.

I think that there must be a SAA forum somewhere, maybe a SASS site, as I too see little discussion of them online at the sites I frequent. I suspect that there is very little cross-over between the SAA collector guys and those who like the Colt DAs and autos, or other brand handguns. I personally fall into the group of guys who own one example (a second gen. .45), and that is enough for me. Neat guns, but they are way too expensive and, frankly, for me not very comfortable to shoot.

Charlie
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

Thanks, gents. This is the third time I've become interested in these, "magnificent anachronisms." I've handled one, twice, and just loved the feel. The Rugers don't get my check-writing hand itching. The barrel length of the SAA interests me. I wonder about how they determined the 3 SAA lengths? I find it curious, too, about 6" and 4" revolvers growing out of the SAA heritage and the 1911 staying with 5", like the mid-length SAA. Lately, that's one of my kicks, is 3" is better than 2 1/2" or 4" in 5" is better than 4" or 6". Maybe the homeworks already been done - on the SAA and the 1911 and the DA revolvers are off in their own traditions? I have seen several of the US Fireams SA's in the dealer's case and they looked great! I see, too, that they're making a 1910 and 1911 automatic pistol. And a SA called the Omnipotent, or some such and how it's supposed to not roll on recoil like SAA's usually do? Thoughts, gents? Anyone use of the these new Brand X guns? How do they compare to the real Colt? Enough from me ... love to hear back from you!
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

I too would like to see more talk about the great SAAs. There are bunches out there but few being used.
I'm looking for a second gen. .357 with a 71/2 inch bbl.
I happen to use two second gen. saas for cowboy action, a 45/8" .38 sp. and a 51/2" 357 mag.
Some have said I'm nuts for firing them, but what can I say. Ray Milbaum sized a pair of ivory-like grips to my 38.
Love those SAAs.
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

In the 'Book of Colt Firearms' Wilson states that true Buntlines were manufactured within a serial number range of 28,800 to 28,830, had flattop frames, folding leaf sights and barrels between 10 and 16 inches. He also regarded the presentation of 'Buntlines' to Dodge City law enforcement as fiction. Only about 4000 2nd gen SAA's were manufactured as Buntline Specials, which makes them quite rare. Dispite the rarity, Buntlines seem to sell for less than the standard Colt SAA. My only unfired Colt is an early 2nd gen Buntline. It is front heavy for sure but it sure is pretty.
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

I have a saa 38/40 [mfg. 1906] and a .41colt cyl [bore dia.is the same for both] I don't shoot it often it has a slight endshake and it is 100 now.when I do shoot it it's with low power "coyboy" 38/40's I have put a few .41's thru it but very few [the only place I can find to get .41colt ammo is "old western scrounger" at$70 a box of 50]

I shouid most likely get a ruger or italian clone to shoot but i don't shoot that often. And hell that is what they made it for.
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

Sorry , I don't have any Buntline history to share . I owned an early 3rd Gen nickel with factory ivories once . Beautiful piece .

Also , owned 7 or 8 at one time back in the 80's representing most all barrel lengths . All early 3rd Gen and 1 2nd Gen . 3" to 12" . My interests changed and I sold all but the 2nd Gen which I do shoot on occasion . Pic below .

I stayed away from the 1 Gen guns . They were over my budget . Also , so many had seemed to have been messed with , it was sometimes hard to tell what was original . Very much parts swapping taking place . /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

Mfg 1968

 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

I only have one, a 1905 SAA in 32/20. It has very little finish left on it but it is tight as can be and fairly accurate. Needless to say it is a shooter and yet still has some collector value becaue of no pitting, original grips and just the fact that it is a 1st generation. I think that the reason you don't hear about them alot is because they are so expensive, even in the 3rd generation models that younger shooters don't buy that many of them.
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

I currently have only one, an early 3rd with a SA suffix, 4 3/4 in. .357. I rarely shoot it, but of my 16 Colts, it-along with a 2nd gen. 4 1/2 in. Match Target-are my favorite handguns just to handle and admire. I've owned a few Rugers and realize they're stronger than a safe, but they just don't have the finish, history, or cachet of a SAA. If I just wanted utility, I'd own Rugers instead of Colts, Remington semi's or pumps instead of Fox Sterlingworths. It's just nice to own a piece of history, I guess. -Asa
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

I carry and shoot my 1905 SAA 4 5/8 .38-40 on occasion when the mood strikes me. 15% blue/trace of case with balance an attractive patina and sound as a dollar. I believe I paid either $300 or $325 for it in about 1983, talking the seller down from his $350 asking price. At the time this seemed like a primo price for what would make a good trotline weight but I had to have one. It's reasonably accurate and fun for an afternoon's outing on acreage we have on Lake Leon in Eastland county, Texas. I shoot handloads in it with velocities ranging from 700 to 900 fps. It's more accurate with the heavier load but hate to shoot many of them any more.

I will have to say that the 4 5/8-inch .45 Colt chambered SAA is much better balanced than my .38-40 which is a bit front heavy due to the smaller bore. I have a good friend who has a 1901 vintage SAA .45 with the same barrel length as mine and it is superior in balance. He frequently carries his SAA concealed.

My aunt has a SAA 5 1/2-inch artillery model serial No. in the 87,000 range, that my cousins and I used to shoot. My uncle bought it in Oklahoma in 1948 for $5. My dad was with him at the time. She still keeps it in the bureau in her bedroom for home defense. She fetched it out once too when she surprised a burgler as she returned home after being out. Police were amazed and impressed.
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

Here is a Third Gen .357Mag that I shoot pretty regularly.



They are addictive. I have a couple. Some engraved, all third generation.
Including a nickel Buntline .44Spl
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

I am sad to say that I missed out on a good deal, well atleast I thought so. I came across a 2nd generation buntline in the original box. Was made in 1958 I believe. I still kick myself for that one. My only SAA's are a frontier scout and a new frontier .22
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

I grew up watching Hopalong Cassidy, Hoot Gibson, Tom Mix .The Lone Ranger and the rest of 'em Saturday mornings in the early '50's. All I ever wanted to be was a Cowboy when I grew up! Somewhere along the way I took a wrong turn and ended up a college professor for 32 years. Now in my retirement I am once again playing Cowboy thanks to SASS /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif.
I have 6 SAA's all in .45 LC : 1 3rd gen SAA 10" , 2 3rd gen 4 3/4" , 1 USFA SAA 5 1/2 ", and the nickel sequential ser. # 2nd gen (1964) pair below 4 3/4" and 7 1/2". The 7 1/2" is unturned and the 4 3/4" has been fired a little but is still pristine. The 3rd gen 4 3/4" guns are currently at Bob Munden's getting action/spring jobs and will be my main match guns. I also have a Ruger Vaquerro .45 LC with Bird's Head grips and a pair of Ruger Single Six's in .32 H&R (my wife's main match guns.
Of the bunch, the USFA had the best accurracy and action out of the box and I love shooting plates with it. It really turns the heads on the "spray and pray" Glockers /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif




Cap
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

You mentioned the 1911 in 5". Don't forget that that 5" length includes the chamber in a semi-auto, while a revolver is measured from the face of the cylinder to the muzzle.

I own a 4 3/4" .44 Special USFA. It is very accurate, and fit and finish wise, it is the equal of my friend's 2nd Gen SAA.
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

I have always loved the colt saa, I seldom shoot them much as I do my da s&w and colts. Gonna remidy that though. My first handgun was a ruger single six, so I was pretty good with them when I was a lot younger. I agree with the fellow who said you want to stay with the same action for awhile to shoot better. I had to qualify with DA revolvers on my job for 35 years but am retired now, so I will be getting back into fun shooting some of my collection. I have 4 colt saa, a old 32/20, 2 44 specials, a 45, and 3 clones, A 22 scout, 22 single six, a 32 mag s. six. I also like the short barrels better. Unless you have adjustable sights, you usualy have to work with them though. Most fixed sights usualy shoot low & left for me. I do have trouble with a 3rd gen 45 colt as chambers are too large. Think I will send it back to colt and see what they will do.
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live? - Pic of my newest

Hi,

I just joined this forum tonight. I too was looking for posts on the Colt SAA. I have several but wanted to share my latest addition. It is from the Colt Custom Shop and it was ordered as a 45 Colt with a 3 1/2" barrel with the ejector assembly. It has been fitted with Ajax Sambar Stag Grips. It will get shot this coming season as do all my Colt SAA's.

Colt 3 1/2"

I hope to find more on the Colt SAA so off I go searching the achives.

Logan
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

this is an old SAA i did some resto, well realy refirb work on . welded in trigger guard as front 1/2 was cut away and boss in frame for ejector houseing was ground out. also brl was cut to about 2" so found another. 38WCF



question for all the SAA fans out there. i have a few of these, two 1st and one 2nd gen. now i come across another early 2nd in 45 colt 4 3/4. someone knocked out the front sight ..maybe way back for a quick draw gun?? and i think the cylinder and grip frame have been refinished. case hardend frame has traces but mostly gone.no pits or rust , just a messed with gun of sorts but seems to be tight and times great and locks up well on all six. fellow wants 1000. he came down a bit but i think thats the bottom.
its just begging to be repired ( front sight installed) i am still a bit stand off at $1K . what do you fellows think? i bought a decent 44 spl 5.5" 2nd some time back for 1100 so thinking this is a 45 and shorter brl.?? still it needs a bit of work, re blue brl after sight and TLC .
i hate to let it sit like it is but wonder about 1000 on it? input. thanks, Phil ps i have a front sight and can silver solder
 

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Re: Where do the SAA\'s live?

I was wondering the same thing. Here are the three SAA's living with me now. The top one is a commemorative for my agency that was made in the early 80's, in 45 Colt. The middle one is recently from the custom shop, which is in 44-40 and 44 Special calibers. The bottom one is a 3rd generation Sheriff's Model that I bought, hoping it would be worth more now than it apparently is, in 44-40/44 Spl. Anyway, I figured some of you would be interested in seeing them.

 
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