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I have been wanting a real Colt SAA for over 40 years and for one reason or another, I haven't pulled the trigger, pun intended. I was thinking I would like a first Generation and don't mind honest wear, to an extent. But after reading the thread by ctk, I am rethinking this. The idea that any Colt SAA from that time period is suspect makes me want to stop looking. I also want to know what about that revolver, and the revolver referenced on GB, is worth so much ($4k-6K).

The revolver I want has to have been taken care of, a shooter I can enjoy from time to time, and yet still fulfill that Walter Mitty part of me that can envision a potential history when I hold it in my hands. Is there a time frame that is a better value and still fills the requirements I have mentioned?
 

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Get a Colt Frontier Six Shooter centennial. These are the only .44/40 2nd Generation SAAs made, are nickel finished, are nicely fitted and finished revolvers, and are limited in production, These have lots of the nice Pre-War features and you can still buy one for a decent price. These are great shooters and are a good buy for the dollars invested. JMHO.
 

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First decide on whether you want blackpowder or smokeless powder gun. All the guns of the old west period are black powder. Early smokeless powder guns...say 1902 forward...still have history especially if they were shipped out west. If I were you I would look for a 2nd generation gun...mid 60's model. But if you really want the "Walter Middy" history thing then look for a 1st gen that has been refinished into a shooter. The don't have as much collector value and are fine guns for shooters.
 

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1st's are expensive and old real early ones are black powder only, I would not buy one to shoot alot- the 2nds are very nice but getting up there in price. I would look for a not to gaudy commemorative 2nd first step at a fair price point then- I would look for a newer 3rd with a removable bushing if I was looking for my first SAA to shoot and shoot quite a bit.

I am a odd duck as I like the .357 in the SAA alot- even though my favorite is the 44 special.

Ersii is right, the converted smokeless ok firsts can be fine shooters and reasonable priced but I would still not shoot most of them much with smokeless.
 

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Lots of good answers already. I'll add...decide what you want for finish, caliber and barrel length 1st. Then show or tell us what it is. Then ask the membership nicely for just such a model :) (in the WTB section is best for that request) Make an effort to check out the forum member making the offer and then buy from someone you trust. Generation of the gun at that point won't matter much. Colt made/makes good guns in every Generation. And "deals' can be had in every Generation. Only guns with any real history are going to be 1st Gens.

As mentioned if you want to shoot it with smokeless factory ammo, stay with 1902/3 or later guns. I'd say 1921 or later myself. Black powder only? Go earlier. Any decent and shootable 1st Gen gun, no matter the age, is gonna cost you...best to be prepared for that. Most 1st Gen guns will likely need some or all this, rebuilt, retimed, rebuild the hammer. All that costs money. 1st Gen guns in exception condition will demand a high price. For most, too high to shoot even on a special occasion. May be double the price of a new third or a nice 2nd Gen shooter.

If it were me? I'd find a NIB current production 3rd at Colt's MSRP and shoot the heck out of it. I'd say you'd be better off to just forget about the 1st Gen supposed "history".
 

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"If it were me? I'd find a NIB current production 3rd at Colt's MSRP and shoot the heck out of it. I'd say you'd be better off to just forget about the 1st Gen supposed "history".[/QUOTE]

Truer words rarely spoken. Ask Coz, he kneaux! And for all we really know, a 1st gens' "real romantic history" may have been just hanging on a nail in an outhouse for protection of an individual temporarily in a compromised position somewhere in Mississippi! No dig at Mississippi, just sayin. All that I think of when factoring a 1st gen SAA's value is condition, condition, condition, unknown history/romance element--see above.
 

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The 'romance' died just before April of 1917 - the US entry into the Great War - the cattle drives were pretty much over, the Indian Wars done, the cow towns were 'actual' civilized towns, and the wild and wooly days of the 'real' Old West faded into fond memory as barbed wire (or 'bob ware') encompassed the sprawling West and the automobiles arrived on the scene.

Sure, there was still work to be done from the back of a horse (there always is), and a few rustlers plied their trade (they still do), but the siren song of the Purple Sage was the stuff of dime novels - as it had been for a couple of decades prior (not that working cattle has ever had a lot of 'romance' attached...).

The famous deeds would be done by the newer sidearms on the horizon.

Anyway, if you really want something with real history, you'll need to look pre-WWI, and bring your wallet...
 

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1961 John Kennedy took office in January. 1961..nothing special, but the older 2nd Generations seem to be more in demand. Some feel the quality started to suffer on 2nd's and the machinery started to get old. We can change it to 1965.
 

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If you get your grubby mitts on a new 3rd generation SAA, you won't want to put it down.

Trust me, I have first hand experience.
 

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First year or so of 2nd Gens were built in part on 1st Gen parts. And guys that still knew how a 1st Gen gun was built were still working. By the end of the 2nd Gens, new parts suppliers were in the queque and Colt wanted to save money building the guns to up the profit margins.

It is an old story that the machines were worn out. More likely Colt was just trying to do cost saving measures and use less labor per gun. So they were switching machines and sub contractors. By the end of the 2nd Gens they were darn close to being 3rd Gen guns as we were to see later on. Grip frames and trigger guards had already changed, as were many of the internals, only the cylinder bushing was still in place.

If you look at a gamut of Colts, from early to late 1st Gens, same on 2nds and now 3rds it is hard to understand how anyone can justify the costs some of the years and condition demand. I agree 1st Gens loose their history by WWI and it is pretty much all gone by the beginning of WWII.

If I had waited 40 years to buy a Colt..I'd buy a Uberti @ $500 first and see what all the excitement is about :) You may find there isn't any or decide you must have a early 1st and shoot BP. One never knows.
 

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The 'romance' died just before April of 1917 - the US entry into the Great War - the cattle drives were pretty much over, the Indian Wars done, the cow towns were 'actual' civilized towns, and the wild and wooly days of the 'real' Old West faded into fond memory as barbed wire (or 'bob ware') encompassed the sprawling West and the automobiles arrived on the scene.

Sure, there was still work to be done from the back of a horse (there always is), and a few rustlers plied their trade (they still do), but the siren song of the Purple Sage was the stuff of dime novels - as it had been for a couple of decades prior (not that working cattle has ever had a lot of 'romance' attached...).

The famous deeds would be done by the newer sidearms on the horizon.

Anyway, if you really want something with real history, you'll need to look pre-WWI, and bring your wallet...
As is usual Dogface is correct, but the title of the O.P.s thread is about ''best value''.

My 15 cents worth (inflation) would be to cast a vote for a 1st. generation gun made in the 20s or 30s.

I tend to believe that some of the finest SAAs Colt built were from that era and they can be found in very high condition at a more reasonable cost.

So based on "best value" a well made, high condition, 1st generation gun would fit the bill.

Take care, Duane.
 

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The heirarchy of SAA's, no matter what anybody says is:
1-1st generation
2-2nd generation
3-3rd generation

2nd's will never be as good or popular as 1st's, and 3rds are behind those. I have some very nice 3rds. They don't mean squat to me compared to 1sts.....My 3 cents
 
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