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Like most folks, I think the 4-3/4" .45 Colt is the iconic six shooter. In another thread it was noted that "if you grew up watching westerns like I did, you will probably want the "gunslinger" 4.75-inch length." All of us old farts grew up watching westerns and no doubt dreaming about the guns. In the movies John Wayne used a 4-3/4", Clint Eastwood aka "the man with no name" used a 5-1/2" and Shane used a 7-1/2". On TV, Matt Dillion, Ben Cartwright and Paladin used a 7-1/2", Cheyenne, Heath and Jarrod Barkley and Bret and Bart Maverick used a 5-1/2" Deputy Johnny McKay (Lawman), Jess Harper (Laramie) and the "Virginian" all used 4-3/4". But what barrel length did we actually see more of? What made us believe the short barrel was the gun to have? It seems to me that the majority of film and TV gunmen carried 5-1/2" and, to a lesser degree, 7-1/2". Opinions.

 

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It could be the math opinion. A "gunslinger" aka "fast draw artist" would use the shortest barrel available because it cleared the holster quicker. My opinion, cause they are like certain openings, everyone has one, is the shorter barrel "looked" better and balanced better. Just my nickel worth.
 

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I would say ease of carrying in a holster . Kind of like I'm sure that a lot of guys like the commander over the government for packing purposes.

I must admit plenty of times times I will opt for my pony pocketlight or cobra for same reasoning .

I don't have a favorite barrel length for SAA or 1911 - love and have them all !

I was born in late sixties, so pretty much missed the boomers Westerns , but identified Garner no problem .
Also identified Preston/Christopher Colt just cause of this 7.5 nickel I was VERY interested in .
Ended up using that coin towards a brace of gunfighters for CAS.

Still need an 7.5 , if not for the only reason - I have an presentation case for one .
Also, because my 7.5 is actually an 8.0 barrel.
That will end up probably a 2nd gen , nickel or case .

I still have none in case / blue though - will make that one special though !
I do have four in 4 3/4 though , and no other lengths are doubled up .

Almost just purchased a nickel buntline in .45 , just because of special provenance.
I think and hope it will be there when I am ready though .

Highhest want on my SAA list is a Sherriffs model . I would have to say I think they are the coolest .

I also included 2 gunpoker auctions I was interested in . Possibly/probably would have had one or both if I could have conversed directly with seller , oh well !

Rick actually offered me some Smokin deals on some SWEET smokewagons in the past .
Again my thanks , and sorry for the drift ....... Thought some might enjoy the pictures !

- Black , out
 

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In the SAA, you gotta have all three at least. I admit to a personal like of the 7.5" The 5.5 and 4.75" are really so close it makes little difference to me, although I've always leaned toward the 5.5''. No desire at all for a "sheriff's" model or Buntline. I'm more a Bisley fan that a SAA type, I like the feel of the Bisley to the SAA and that's probably why I like the 7.5" barrels. I like a good secure holster for a SAA/Bisley to a fast draw rig. The SAA/Bisley is more a field gun to me than a carry weapon. I do prefer a Commander for CCW over a Gov't Model, but either work okay.
 

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Maybe Matt Dillon and the few others wore the 7 1/2" only because the 7 1/2" had more camera authority and that was all.
 

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I think the 5.5 looks best, though in reality they all look great and shoot great. Anyone know why the original Govt Armies were 7.5 but when they rebuilt them they cut them to 5.5? Was there an improvement in ammunition during that time that it made since to have a 7.5 inch barrel in 1873 but only a 5.5 inch at the turn of the century. The 1860s were all 8" with a few 7.5 early on and a couple 6 inch ones. Afterwards the barrels of 1901, 1909, 1917 are all 6.0 or 5.5 inch and of course the 1911 5.0 inch. Was it the difference between black powder and smokeless powder that eliminated the necessity of a longer barrel?
 
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I just got my first 7.5 SAA as a Christmas present to myself, that long tube holds on target steady- with less of a wobble. Feels good.

I can see how the the old western hands would like them. I do to- and now of course, I want another. lol

If Paladin, Rooster Cogburn, and Jim Martin like em', that's dang sure good recommendation.

Maybe the king of the barrel lengths?

 

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What different actors carried could have been a matter of personal choice if they were aficionados or simply what the prop department had available and gave them.

As as for the Army choosing the 7 1/2" barrel could simply be a holdover from the longer barrel cap and ball revolvers previously used by mounted cavalry which were heavy and slung from the saddle. Later the Army must have realized the long barrel was more of a hindrance than an asset when many were sent to have the barrels shortened.
 
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I think the 5.5 looks best, though in reality they all look great and shoot great. Anyone know why the original Govt Armies were 7.5 but when they rebuilt them they cut them to 5.5? Was there an improvement in ammunition during that time that it made since to have a 7.5 inch barrel in 1873 but only a 5.5 inch at the turn of the century. The 1860s were all 8" with a few 7.5 early on and a couple 6 inch ones. Afterwards the barrels of 1901, 1909, 1917 are all 6.0 or 5.5 inch and of course the 1911 5.0 inch. Was it the difference between black powder and smokeless powder that eliminated the necessity of a longer barrel?
I believe the barrel's were cut down to 5.5" for easier carrying especially for the artillery unit's, hence the name artillery model with 5.5" barrel. One barrel length for all troops.
 

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To me...a 4.75" barrel would be a "gunslingers" weapon of choice, being able to clear leather fast in a gunfight.

The 5.5" barrel would be a "cowboy's" impromptu hammer when a few taps on a nail would fix a barbed wire fence...yet enable him to keep frontier cow rustlers at bay.

And a 7.5 would be a frontier "soldier's" choice when trying to unseat a charging hostile Indian on horseback at distance...after his issued carbine had run outta ammo.

I currently own a 4.75" barreled Colt SAA...chambered in .45 Colt:





and a 5.5" barreled Ruger Bisley Vaquero...chambered in .357 S&W Magnum:





And eventually plan on owning a Uberti Model 1875 Schofield Break-Top Single Action Revolver in .38 S&W Special with a 7" barrel to round out my small SA "cowboy" collection:





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I also own this Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk SA with a 7.5" barrel chambered in .44 Remington Magnum that I have taken deer hunting in Pennsylvania for close range shots from the blind or tree stand:


 

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Why, well for me, because my dad was crazy about the 7.5 inchers and it seemed the cowboys on tv all carried the 5.5 inch barreled revolvers. I had to be my own man! Ive found the older I get I can appreciate all the lengths.
 

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Well, the true classic SA is the 7.5", aka the "Peacemaker". When I got my first one in 1963 I think there were only the 5.5 and the 7.5 lengths offered by Colt. Picked the long one. Wasn't sorry either. Why the army's preference for the long barrel? I don't know why, historically, the army has done half of what it decided to do. Colt designed the 1860 Army with a 7.5" barrel. The army said "No! We want an 8" barrel! Why? Did that half inch do anything to increase the efficiency of the gun? Of course not. It just probably really pissed Sam Colt off and lessened the beauty of the gun a bit. On the civilian side of the market all that was available until, I think, 1878 was the 7.5 inch. After that the shorter barrel models gained in popularity rapidly for obvious reasons. It is said the Texas Rangers pretty much stuck with long barrel because the added length made the revolver a good club that changed the attitude and conscious state of a bad actor when applied to his head with appropriate gusto.

I have never owned a 4.75" SAA, but think they look mean and business like which means I'd like to get one. A couple of well known gun writers were of the opinion that 5.5" model was the best balanced of the three. I don't know because that statement is subjective and goes counter to those who think the 4.75" is the best handling of the three. I have a 5.5" inch SAA and it does handle well,.........a bit handier than its 7.5" brothers. Still prefer the 7.5" though. Never know when I might need a good club.
 

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This topic started out with mythical characters and B westerns. I am guessing most supporting actors and some lead actors just wore whatever gun they were handed by the prop master. Many had to have some training in gun handling. I am speculating that back then for the actual few that carried a handgun, it was what they had. And if given a choice for purchase, it was what they felt most useful and could hit an intended target with little concern for a dual at high noon. Then as now, if you know your going to be in a gunfight, grab a long gun. If secretly I am out to impress who ever I am shooting with and choosing a single action, it’s a 7 1/2 for me.
 

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I just got my first 7.5 SAA as a Christmas present to myself, that long tube holds on target steady- with less of a wobble. Feels good.

I can see how the the old western hands would like them. I do to- and now of course, I want another. lol

If Paladin, Rooster Cogburn, and Jim Martin like em', that's dang sure good recommendation.

Maybe the king of the barrel lengths?

Funny that this came up today,Just 2 hrs ago I was out on my range & put 50 rds of .45 thru one of my 7 1/2's.It's the 1st time I've shot a .45 in quite awhile.
 
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