|Colt Single Action Army Revolver|
Second generation Colt Single Action Army
|Place of origin||United States|
|In service||1873–1892 (Artillery Model – 1902)|
|Used by||United States|
|Designer||William Mason and Charles Brinckerhoff Richards|
|Manufacturer||Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company|
|Produced||1873–1941, 1956–1974, 1976–present|
|Mass||2.31 lbs (1.048 kg) (with 7 1⁄2" barrel)|
|Length||11" (279 mm, with 5 1⁄2" barrel); 12.5" (318 mm, with 7 1⁄2" barrel)|
|Cartridge||.45 Colt, .44-40 WCF, .38-40 WCF, .32-20 WCF, .38 Colt and many others, including .22 LR, .38 Special, .357 Magnum and .44 Special|
|Feed system||6-shot Cylinder|
The Colt Single Action Army, also known as the Single Action Army, SAA, Model P, Peacemaker, M1873, and Colt .45 is a single-action revolver with a revolving cylinder holding six metallic cartridges. It was designed for the U.S. government service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company—today's Colt's Manufacturing Company—and was adopted as the standard military service revolver until 1892.
A revolver is a repeating handgun that has a revolving cylinder containing multiple chambers and at least one barrel for firing. The revolver allows the user to fire multiple rounds without reloading after every shot, unlike older single shot firearms. After a round is fired the hammer is cocked and the next chamber in the cylinder is aligned with the barrel by the shooter either manually pulling the hammer back or by rearward movement of the trigger.
In firearms, the cylinder is the cylindrical, rotating part of a revolver containing multiple chambers. The cylinder revolves around a central axis in the revolver to bring each individual chamber into alignment with the barrel for firing. Each time the gun is cocked, the cylinder indexes by one chamber.
A cartridge is a type of pre-assembled firearm ammunition packaging a projectile, a propellant substance and an ignition device (primer) within a metallic, paper or plastic case that is precisely made to fit within the barrel chamber of a breechloading gun, for the practical purpose of convenient transportation and handling during shooting. Although in popular usage the term "bullet" is often used to refer to a complete cartridge, it is correctly used only to refer to the projectile.
The Colt SAA has been offered in over 30 different calibers and various barrel lengths. Its overall appearance has remained consistent since 1873. Colt has cancelled its production twice, but brought it back due to popular demand. The revolver was popular with ranchers, lawmen, and outlaws alike, but as of the early 21st century, models are mostly bought by collectors and re-enactors. Its design has influenced the production of numerous other models from other companies.
A gun barrel is a crucial part of gun-type ranged weapons such as small firearms, artillery pieces and air guns. It is the straight shooting tube, usually made of rigid high-strength metal, through which a contained rapid expansion of high-pressure gas(es) is introduced behind a projectile in order to propel it out of the front end (muzzle) at a high velocity. The hollow interior of the barrel is called the bore. The measurement of the diameter of the bore is called the caliber. Caliber is usually measured in inches or millimetres.
Historical reenactment is an educational or entertainment activity in which people follow a plan to recreate aspects of a historical event or period. This may be as narrow as a specific moment from a battle, such as the reenactment of Pickett's Charge presented during the Great Reunion of 1913, or as broad as an entire period, such as Regency reenactment or The 1920s Berlin Project.
The Colt SAA "Peacemaker" revolver is a famous piece of Americana. The original length of the barrel, issued to the U.S. Cavalry, was 7 1⁄2 inches (with an overall length of 13 inches).
Americana is a collective term for artifacts related to the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of the United States of America. It is generally defined as any collection of materials and things concerning or characteristic of the United States or of the American people; in its broadest sense, Americana is representative or even stereotypical of American culture as a whole.
The United States Cavalry, or U.S. Cavalry, was the designation of the mounted force of the United States Army by an act of Congress on 3 August 1861. This act converted the U.S. Army's two regiments of dragoons, one regiment of mounted riflemen, and two regiments of cavalry into one U.S.Cavalry branch of service. The Cavalry branch transitioned to the Armored Forces with tanks in 1940, but the term "Cavalry" such as "armored cavalry" remains in use in the U.S. Army for mounted reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA) units based on their parent Combat Arms Regimental System (CARS) regiment. Cavalry is also used in the name of the 1st Cavalry Division for heraldic/lineage/historical purposes. Some combined arms battalions are designated as armor formations, while others are designated as infantry organizations. These "branch" designations are again, heraldic/lineage/historical titles derived from the CARS regiments to which the battalions are assigned.
Bound by the Rollin White patent ( #12,648, April 3, 1855 ) and not wanting to pay a royalty fee to Smith & Wesson, Colt could not begin development of bored-through revolver cylinders for metallic cartridge use until April 4, 1869. For the design, Colt turned to two of its best engineers: William Mason and Charles Brinckerhoff Richards who had developed a number of revolvers and black powder conversions for the company. Their effort was designed for the United States government service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company and adopted as the standard military service revolver. Production began in 1873 with the Single Action Army model 1873, also referred to as the "New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol".
Rollin White was an American gunsmith who invented a single shot bored-through revolver cylinder that allowed paper cartridges to be loaded from the rear of a revolver's cylinder. Because the open breeches were unprotected from lateral fire, all charges would instantly explode in a chain fire. Only one gun would be built to White's specifications, and that for use in a trial to show the impracticality of the gun. The gun could not fire metallic cartridges.
Smith & Wesson (S&W) is an American manufacturer of firearms, ammunition and restraints. The corporate headquarters are in Springfield, Massachusetts. Smith & Wesson was founded in 1852 and after various corporate changes is now a unit of American Outdoor Brands Corporation.
William Mason was a patternmaker, engineer and inventor who worked for Remington Arms, Colt’s Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company, and Winchester Repeating Arms Company in the 19th century.
The very first production Single Action Army, serial number 1, thought lost for many years after its production, was found in a barn in Nashua, New Hampshire in the early 1900s. 40 grains (2.6 g) of fine-grained black powder and a 255-grain (16.5 g) blunt roundnosed bullet. Relative to period cartridges and most later handgun rounds, it was quite powerful in its full loading.This gun was chambered in .45 Colt, a centerfire design containing charges of up to
Nashua is a city in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. As of the 2010 census, Nashua had a population of 86,494, making it the second-largest city in the state after Manchester. As of 2017 the population had risen to an estimated 88,341.
The .45 Colt cartridge, which is sometimes called .45 Long Colt, .45 LC, or 11.43×33mmR, is a handgun cartridge dating to 1872. It was originally a black-powder revolver round developed for the Colt Single Action Army revolver. This cartridge was adopted by the U.S. Army in 1873 and served as an official US military handgun cartridge for 14 years. While it is sometimes referred to as .45 Long Colt or .45 LC, to differentiate it from the very popular .45 ACP, and historically, the shorter .45 S&W Schofield, it was only an unofficial designation by Army quartermasters. Current catalog listings of compatible handguns list the caliber as .45 LC and .45 Colt. Both the Schofield and the .45 Colt were used by the Army at the same period of time prior to the adoption of the M1887 Government version of the .45 Schofield cartridge.
The Colt Single Action Army revolver, along with the 1870 and 1875 Smith & Wesson Model 3 "Schofield" revolver, replaced the Colt 1860 Army Percussion revolver. The Colt quickly gained favor over the S&W and remained the primary U.S. military sidearm until 1892 when it was replaced by the .38 Long Colt caliber Colt Model 1892, a double-action revolver with swing-out cylinder. By the end of 1874, serial no. 16,000 was reached; 12,500 Colt Single Action Army revolvers chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge had entered service and the remaining revolvers were sold in the civilian market.
The Colt Army Model 1860 is a cap & ball .44-caliber single-action revolver used during the American Civil War made by Colt's Manufacturing Company. It was used as a side arm by cavalry, infantry, artillery troops, and naval forces.
The .38 Long Colt[9.1 x 26mm] is a black powder cartridge introduced by Colt's Manufacturing Company in 1875, and was adopted as a standard military pistol cartridge by the United States Army in 1892 for the Colt New Army M1892 Revolver. It is slightly more powerful than the .38 Short Colt, or .38 SC. The .38 SC and .38 LC differ in case length, bullet diameter, weight, and design. They were not interchangeable.
The M1892 Colt Army & Navy was the first general issue double-action revolver with a swing-out cylinder used by the U.S. military.
The Single Action Army became available in standard barrel lengths of 4 3⁄4 inch, 5 1⁄2 inch, as well as the Cavalry standard, original 7 1⁄2 inch. The shorter barrelled revolvers are sometimes called the "Civilian" or "Gunfighter" model (4 3⁄4 inch) and the Artillery Model (5 1⁄2 inch). There was also a variant with a sub-4-inch barrel, without an ejector rod, unofficially called the "Sheriff's Model", "Banker's Special", or "Storekeeper".
From 1875 until 1880 Colt marketed a single-action revolver in .44 rimfire Henry caliber in a separate number range from no. 1 to 1,863.
A "Flattop Target Model" was listed in Colt's catalogs from 1890 to 1898. Colt manufactured 914 of these revolvers with a frame that was flat on top and fitted with an adjustable leaf rear sight. The front sight consisted of a base with an interchangeable blade.
In 1896, at serial number 164,100, a spring-loaded base pin latch replaced the cylinder pin retaining screw and by 1900, at serial number 192,000, the Colt Single Action was certified for use with smokeless powder.In 1920, larger, highly visible sights replaced the original thin blade and notch. The revolvers remained essentially unchanged from that point until cessation of manufacture at the beginning of World War II.
From 1873 through 1940 (with small numbers assembled during and after World War II, the so-called "Pre-War, Post-War" model), production of the Colt Single Action Army reached 357,859. This is identified as the "Pre War" or "First Generation" of the model. Calibers, at least thirty in all, ranged from .22 rimfire through .476 Eley, with approximately half, or 158,884 (including Bisley and Flat Top Target variations), chambered for .45 Colt. The next most prevalent were the .44-40 Winchester Center fire (WCF) at 71,392; 38-40 (38 WCF) at 50,520; 32-20 Winchester (32 WCF) at 43,284 and, the 41 Colt at 19,676.
All original, good condition, U.S. Cavalry and Artillery Single Action Armies (those produced between 1873 and 1891) are among the most valuable to collectors. Especially valuable, often going for well over $10,000, are the OWA (Orville Wood Ainsworth) and the rare Henry Nettleton inspected Single Action Army Colts.
The OWA Colt refers to the earliest issued Single Action Army guns, which were inspected by Orville W. Ainsworth. Ainsworth was the ordnance sub-inspector at the Colt factory for the first 13 months (October 1873 to November 1874) of the Single Action Army's production. It was Ainsworth who inspected the Colts used by Col. G. A. Custer's 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. The number range of possible Little Bighorn Colts is 4500–7527.
Henry Nettleton was the U.S. Principal Sub-inspector in 1878 at the Springfield Armory. Second only to the OWA Colts, Nettleton Colts are prized by serious collectors. Both the Nettleton and OWA Colts have the cartouche (OWA or HN) on the left side of the wood grip.
By the mid-1870s, the Army had purchased a significant number of Smith & Wesson Schofield revolvers chambering a shorter .45 round.Logistical problems arose because the ammunition was not interchangeable. The Colt revolvers would accept the shorter round, but not vice versa. For a time, the Government stopped orders for the longer Colt cartridge and used the Smith & Wesson round exclusively. The Schofield was soon retired and sold to the civilian market.
The largest group of U.S. Colt Cavalry revolvers was inspected by David F. Clark, his D.F.C. cartouche being encountered on revolvers inspected from 1880 to 1887.During 1893, the .45 U.S. Colt Single Action Army revolver was retired by the Cavalry and replaced by the .38 caliber Colt Model 1892 Double Action Army revolver. The .45 Single Action Army revolver was still standard issue to the Infantry, Artillery and other branches of the U.S. Army.
In 1895–1896, the U.S. federal government returned 2000 SAA revolvers to Colt to be refurbished; 800 were issued to the New York Militia with the 7 1⁄2-inch barrel and 1,200 were altered to a barrel length of 5 1⁄2 inches. In 1898, 14,900 of the SAA revolvers were altered the same way by Springfield Armory. The original records of the War Department do refer to these revolvers with the shortened barrel as the "Altered Revolver". The name "Artillery" is actually a misnomer, which Sapp speculates may have originated because the Light Artillery happened to have the first units armed with the altered revolver.
The Artillery Single Actions were issued to the Infantry, the Light Artillery, the Volunteer Cavalry and other troops because the standard issue .38 caliber Colt M 1892 double-action revolver was lacking in stopping power. For that reason, the .45 Artillery SAA Revolvers were used successfully by front troops in the Spanish–American War and the Philippine–American War. Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Riders charged up San Juan Hill wielding the .45 caliber Artillery Model.
The Artillery Model usually had mixed numbers. It can be identified by the U.S. on the frame, the inspector's stamps on different parts (such as a tiny A for Orville W. Ainsworth, DFC, HN, RAC for later inspectors and K for replacement parts) and the cartouche of Rinaldo A. Carr (RAC), the inspector who inspected the refurbished guns, on the grip.
The Colt Frontier or Frontier Six-Shooter was a Colt's 1873 "Model P" type revolver manufactured in .44-40 Winchester caliber instead of .45 Colt (in which configuration it was called the Single Action Army) so that it was compatible with Winchester Model 1873 ammunition. Production began in 1877. Colt Frontier Six-Shooter was the actual name of the Colt pistol model, and this was acid-etched on the left side of the barrel. After 1889, the legend was roll-stamped until 1919, when the caliber designation ".44-40" was added. Later Colt 1878 Double Action Army Models also wore this designation on the barrel when chambered in .44 WCF/.44-40 Winchester. The Bisley 1895 Model was the final Colt to wear the Frontier Six Shooter designation.
Users of the .44-40 Winchester cartridge in the Far West appreciated the convenience of being able to carry a single caliber of ammunition, which they could fire in both revolver and rifle. The Colt Frontier Six Shooter Revolver and the Winchester Model 1873 or the Winchester Model 1892 in .44-40 WCF caliber were one of the most common combinations seen in "the Old West".For example, the two mounted "Cowboys" at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral were armed with this rifle and pistol combination. .38-40 and .32-20 (.32 WCF) also qualify as "Frontier Calibers" because 1873 and 1892 Winchesters were made in these calibers, offering the same convenience as the 44-40 (44WCF) caliber, namely using the same cartridge in both revolver and rifle.
The Colt Bisley was introduced in 1894 as a target pistol. The name Bisley came from the famous firing range in Bisley, England.The Colt Bisley can be distinguished by the longer grip, the wider hammer spur, and the wider trigger. The distinguishing feature of the Bisley Target Model is the topstrap, which is flat and fitted with a sliding rear sight, adjustable for windage only. The front sight is a removable blade, which fits into the slotted base attached to the barrel. The revolvers were supplied with different blades for elevation.
The Bisley mainspring is longer than the SAA mainspring, and the two are not interchangeable; it is attached to the hammer with a stirrup via a forked upper end. The serial numbers are stamped on the frame, the backstrap and the trigger-guard at the end of production, with tiny dies.
Bisleys were serial-numbered in the range of 156300–331916, in the same sequence as the Single Action Army.All Bisleys after No. 161,376 had "BISLEY MODEL" with the caliber stamped on the left side of the barrel, which is rare for older Colt revolvers. The most common calibers were .32-20, .38-40, .45 Colt, .44-40, .41 Colt, and the British calibers .450 Eley and .455 Eley. A total number of 44,350 were manufactured. Production of the Bisley was terminated in 1912, but serial No. 331916 was shipped after the First World War. Most Bisley Standard Model Revolvers shipped to a United States address were not used for target shooting, but for self-defense, because the grip and hammer were ideal for fast shooting.
Surveys of existing Bisley show that a much larger number of 4 3/4" Bisleys, perhaps as high as 62%,, have survived as compared to the 5 1/2" and 7 1/2" barreled guns. Considering the majority of Bisleys were made in .32/20 and .38/40, some 60%, it appears that the market for SAA's was changing. The late 1890's with increased urbanization in the West suggests the possibility that many of these pistols were companions to the lever action rifles of the same period and that the low slung hammer, less humped backstrap, and short barrel may have suited the city dwelling suit coat wearing clientele who still found themselves outdoors not only on horses but in buggies and automobiles. The need for man stopping bullets was decreasing in urbanized environments, although in semi-urban areas, a pistol like the Bisley would be suitable for discouraging both four legged and two legged "varmints" while also suitable for collecting supper along the road. The Bisley may mark a movement to a more civilized West.[ citation needed ]
Wyatt Earp biographer Stuart N. Lake 12-inch-long (300 mm) barrel. However, on October 26, 1881, the day of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp carried an 1869 .44 caliber Smith & Wesson American Model with an 8-inch barrel.popularized the myth of the Buntline Special. In his highly fictionalized biography, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal, published in 1931, he wrote that Earp and four other lawmen—Bat Masterson, Bill Tilghman, Charlie Bassett and Neal Brown—were each presented with a customized revolver with a
At the beginning of World War II, Colt ceased production of the Single Action Army revolver to devote more time to filling orders for the war. When the war ended, no plans were made to revive the Single Action Army revolver as the design was seen as obsolete. However the advent of television and Western themed movies created customer demand for the revolver, so Colt resumed manufacture in 1956 with the Second Generation line of Single Action Army revolvers.
These Second Generation Colt Single Action Army revolvers were produced from 1956 to 1974 and carried serial numbers in the range of 0001SA to 73,205SA. Due to the popularity of the television show, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp , Colt introduced the aforementioned Buntline Special as a Second generation offering from 1957 to 1974.
From 1961 to 1975, Colt offered an adjustable-sight model known as "The New Frontier", capitalizing on President John F. Kennedy's campaign slogan. Colt manufactured 4200 of these revolvers, including 70 built on the Buntline frame.
The Third Generation began in 1976, characterized by a change in barrel thread pitch and a solid cylinder bushing replacing the removable/replaceable part from the first and second generations. This series ran until 1982 as a limited-issue product with the serial number range of SA80,000 to SA99,999.
In 1994, production of the SAA resumed with the increase in popularity of "Cowboy Action Shooting" matches. These models are known either as "Late Third Generation" or sometimes Fourth Generation. They have the original style removable/replaceable cylinder bushing. The serial number for this series started at S02001A and continued to use the "S" prefix and "A" suffix to 2009. Colt currently offers the Single Action Army in one of two finishes: either an all-nickel, or blued with color case-hardened frame; in the traditional three barrel lengths: 4 3⁄4", 5 1⁄2" and 7 1⁄2"; and eight chamberings: .32-20, .38-40, .44-40, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .45 Colt, or .45 ACP; a total of 42 variations.
Colt manufactured Third Generation Buntlines and New Frontiers through the Colt Custom Shop, as well as many engraved pistols. In 2010, Colt released a "revival" of the Frontier Six Shooter with a nickel finish.
Starting in 1999, Colt began manufacturing a version of the Single Action Army revolver with a modern transfer bar safety, allowing it to be carried with the hammer resting on a loaded chamber. The Colt Cowboy, as it was named, was designed to be more affordable than the Single Action Army. It was offered with barrel lengths of 4.75", 5.5", and 7.5". The 7.5" variant was discontinued in 1999, as was the 4.75" variant, which was reintroduced in 2002. Manufacturing of the Colt Cowboy was discontinued in 2003.
Despite it giving no tactical advantage whatsoever, Colt engraved about one percent of its first generation production of the Single Action Army revolver, which makes these engraved models extremely rare and valuable with collectors.Engraved pieces were often ordered by or for famous people of the day, including lawmen, heads of state, and captains of industry. This tradition began with the founder, Samuel Colt, who regularly gave such examples away as a means of publicity for Colt.
Colt employed a number of engravers, many of whom were trained artisans who emigrated from Europe.These artisans, such as Gustave Young, Cuno A. Helfricht, Rudolph J. Kornbrath and Louis Daniel Nimschke, were known for inlaying gold, silver, and precious stones in their work. Many of these engraved pieces were adorned with stocks made of ivory or pearl, with engraving and inlays as well.
About 400 of the Second Generation Colt Single Actions were factory-engraved by Colt. The factory engravers of the period were Alvin Herbert, Earl Bieu, Dennis Kies, Robert Burt, Steve Kamyk and Leonard Francolini. One of the most sought-after engravers who have worked on Colt revolvers was Alvin White and the shop of A. A. White Engravers.
The Single Action Army action is a refinement of the earlier Colt percussion revolvers and the Colt 1871 cartridge revolver. The cylinder is mounted on a central axis and operated by a hand with a double finger whose more extended action allowed the cylinder-ratchet to be cut in a larger circle, giving more torsional force to the cylinder. Three notches on the face of the hammer engage the sear portion of the trigger, affording four basic hammer positions. The hammer when fully lowered rests within the frame. Drawn slightly to the rear, the hammer engages the safety notch of the sear and holds the firing pin out of direct contact with a chambered cartridge. Like the earlier percussion revolvers, the Single Action Army was designed to allow loading of all of the chambers. The safety notch replaced pins on the rear of the percussion revolver cylinders, which served the same purpose as the safety position, by preventing hammer contact with the primer/percussion cap. However, many users adopted the practice of leaving one empty chamber under the hammer, because a sharp blow could damage the mechanism and allow a fully loaded revolver to fire. This practice is now universally recommended.Drawn back about half way, the hammer engages the second notch. This cams the cylinder bolt out of engagement and allows the cylinder to rotate for loading. Fully cocked, the revolver is ready to fire. Cartridge ejection is via the spring-loaded rod housed in a tube on the right side of the barrel.
The loading sequence is as follows:
It is possible to fire the SAA rapidly by holding down the trigger and "fanning" the hammer with the other hand. Ed McGivern dispelled the myth of the inaccuracy of this procedure by shooting tight groups while fanning the revolver.
By 1878 the Colt SAA was being offered from the factory in additional calibers for civilian and foreign military sales. Many were sold in .44-40 Winchester Center Fire (WCF), introduced in 1878 to allow cross-compatibility with the Winchester '73 lever-action rifle; this model was called the "Colt Frontier Six-Shooter", which was etched and later roll-stamped on the left side of the barrel. Additional period calibers for the SAA included .38-40 Winchester (38 WCF) introduced in 1884, the .32-20 Winchester (32 WCF) introduced in 1884, the .41 Colt introduced in 1885, the .38 Long Colt in 1887, the .38 Special and the .357 Magnum in the 20th Century. Some of the separately-serialized .44 Henry rimfire revolvers were rechambered to .22 rimfire after 1885. The SAA at one time or another was offered in dozens of calibers from .22 rimfire to .476 Eley, though the .45 Colt has always been the most common.A scaled-down .22 rimfire version called the Scout or Frontier Scout was available in the late 20th Century.
The first Colt Single Action Army prototypes were manufactured in .44 American caliber for the 1872 government trials, as the .44 American was the cartridge used in the 1,000 Smith & Wesson Model 3 revolvers issued to the troops. After the tests, the Colt was declared the superior revolver and the government specified that a .45 caliber cartridge would be required. With the adoption of the Colt Single Action Army revolver in 1873, the service cartridges were Copper-cased .45 centerfire Benét inside primed "Colt's Revolver Cartridges" loaded with 30 grains of black powder and an inside lubricated bullet of 250 grain. They were manufactured at Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, PA, through 1874. In 1875, the cartridge was shortened so that it would also function in the newly adopted S & W Schofield revolver. It was designated "Revolver Cartridge" and loaded with 28 grains of black powder and a bullet of 230 grain. The Bénet-primed cartridges were manufactured until 1882 and then replaced by reloadable cartridges with brass cases and external primers.
The original .45 Colt black-powder load of 40 grains propelled the 250–255 grain bullet at a nominal 970 feet per second (300 m/s). Authors John Taffin and Mike Venturino have demonstrated that modern black-powder loadings of the .45 Colt cartridge frequently achieve velocities in the vicinity of 1,000 feet per second (300 m/s) with the 7 1⁄2" "cavalry" barrel length, even though modern solid-head cases make it impossible to load a full 40 grains. Specifications for 20th-century smokeless loads set velocity with a 255-grain (16.5 g) round-nosed flat-point bullet at 870 feet per second (270 m/s) providing 429-foot-pound-force (582 J) energy.
The version of the .45 Colt as of 2014 differs from the original cartridge case in that the rim is significantly larger (with a groove immediately above it) and the internal aspect of the primer pocket is surrounded by solid brass instead of protruding into the powder chamber. This "solid head" case is stronger and resists deformation of the primer pocket. Some commercial and custom revolvers and single-shot pistols (such as the Ruger Blackhawk, T/C Contender and others) employ high-pressure loads that are dangerous in the Single Action Army and other vintage arms chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge, especially 19th-century "pre-smokeless" revolvers, which should be fired (if at all) with black powder only.
Prior to World War II, the .45 Colt used a groove diameter of .454"; post-WW II production adopted the .452" groove diameter of the .45 ACP. From 1924 through 1940, a small number of Single Actions in the pistol caliber .45 ACP were produced. Colt's record lists several Single Actions chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge and being accompanied by an extra cylinder for the .45 ACP.
The power, accuracy and handling qualities of the Single Action Army (SAA) made it a popular sidearm from its inception, well into the 20th century. The association with the history of the American West remains to the present century, and these revolvers remain popular with shooters and collectors. George S. Patton, who began his career in the horse-cavalry, carried a custom-made SAA with ivory grips engraved with his initials and an eagle, which became his trademark. He used it during the Mexican Punitive Expedition of 1916 to kill two of Pancho Villa's lieutenants, and carried it until his death in 1945 shortly after the end of World War II.
In the early and mid-20th century, original Peacemakers lacking historical provenance and not in pristine condition were not particularly valuable. They served as raw material for early enthusiasts such as Elmer Keith, Harold Croft and R. F. Sedgley who modified the revolvers to enhance performance and experimented with more effective ammunition.At the beginning of the 21st Century, first and second generation SAA's are highly regarded as collectors' items and often considered too valuable to shoot.
After World War II, new interest in the SAA started and firearms enthusiast William R. Wilson recognized the need and the opportunity. In 1953 Wilson founded the Great Western Arms Company to produce an almost-exact clone of the old Colt SAA for television and movie westerns. The Great Western revolvers were manufactured in Los Angeles.
Later Colt editions are more common, and various copies and near-copies of the revolver are made by Uberti of Italy. Uberti is now owned by Beretta, producer of the Beretta Stampede. American manufacturers include Colt Manufacturing Company, which still retains the model in its catalog. U.S. Fire Arms Mfg. Co. builds several variations that are true to the original first and second generation specifications. STI International has introduced a very precisely made Single Action Army with a modified hand/spring assembly designed to last longer than the originals.
The Single Action Army is the precursor and inspiration for modern sporting revolvers from John Linebaugh, Freedom Arms, Ruger, Cimarron, and others.
In 2010, Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association President Noble C. Hathaway and Cast Bullet Director Dan Walliser surveyed state residents to determine what "Old West" firearm should be named the official State Firearm. The Colt Patent Firearms Single Action Army won by a 38% margin. Soon afterward, Hathaway submitted a bill to the Arizona legislature, and on the last day of the 2010–2011 regular legislative session, Arizona Senate Bill 1610 was passed. Within days, Governor Jan Brewer signed the bill into law. Arizona is the second state to have an official firearm, following Utah's adoption of the Colt M1911 pistol.
Introduced in 1990, the Colt Anaconda is a large frame double-action revolver featuring a full length under-barrel ejection-rod lug and six round cylinder, designed and produced by the Colt's Manufacturing Company. Chambered for the powerful .44 Magnum and .45 Colt centerfire ammunition cartridges, the Anaconda marked the Hartford, Connecticut firm’s first foray into the popular large-bore Magnum pistol market.
Ethan Allen was a major American arms maker from Massachusetts. He is unrelated to the revolutionary Ethan Allen. His first firearm, the "Pocket Rifle" was developed in 1836, and his first patent was granted in 1837.
The .44 Remington Magnum, or simply .44 Magnum (10.9×33mmR), and frequently .44 Mag, is a rimmed, large-bore cartridge originally designed for revolvers. After its introduction, it was quickly adopted for carbines and rifles. Despite the ".44" designation, guns chambered for the .44 Magnum round, and its parent, the .44 Special, use 0.429 in (10.9 mm) diameter bullets.
The .44-40 Winchester, also known as .44 Winchester, .44 WCF, and .44 Largo was introduced in 1873 by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. It was the first metallic centerfire cartridge manufactured by Winchester, and was promoted as the standard chambering for the new Winchester Model 1873 rifle. As both a rifle and a handgun caliber, the cartridge soon became widely popular, so much so that the Winchester Model 1873 rifle became known as "The gun that won the West."
The Ruger Blackhawk is a 6-shot, single-action revolver manufactured by Ruger. It is produced in a variety of finishes, calibers, and barrel lengths.
The Remington-Beals Model Revolvers along with subsequent models and variations were percussion revolvers manufactured by Eliphalet Remington & Sons in .31 (Pocket) .36 (Navy) or .44 (Army) caliber, used during the American Civil War, and was the beginning of a successful line of medium and large frame pistols. It is commonly, though inaccurately, referred to as the Model 1858 due to the patent markings on its cylinder, "PATENTED SEPT. 14, 1858/E. REMINGTON & SONS, ILION, NEW YORK, U.S.A./NEW MODEL."; although wide scale production did not start until 1861.
A handgun is a short-barrelled firearm that can be held and used with one hand. The two most common handgun sub-types in use today are revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.
The Ruger Vaquero is a six-shot single-action revolver manufactured by Sturm, Ruger based on the New Model Ruger Super Blackhawk frame and was introduced in 1993. It comes in blued steel, case colored, and a gloss stainless finish, all of which are available with wood, hard rubber, simulated ivory or black micarta grips and fixed sights. It arose with the popularity of Cowboy Action Shooting from which came demand for a single-action revolver that was more traditional in appearance.
The Colt New Service is a large frame, large caliber, double-action revolver made by Colt from 1898 until 1941. Made in various calibers, the .45 Colt version with a 5½" barrel, was adopted by the U.S. Armed Forces as the Model 1909.
Merwin, Hulbert, and Co. or Merwin Hulbert was an American firearms designer and marketer based in New York City which produced revolvers and rifles from 1876 through 1916. The firearms were manufactured by a subsidiary company, Hopkins & Allen of Norwich, Connecticut. Merwin Hulbert's designs had influenced other gunmakers of the time, such as Meriden Firearms Co., Harrington & Richardson, Forehand & Wadsworth, and Iver Johnson.
Remington Model 1875 Single Action Army was a revolver by E. Remington & Sons. It was based upon the successful New Model Army with both revolvers having the same size, appearance, and the removable cylinder. The new 1875 Remington differed mainly from the older 1858 percussion model by having a bored through cylinder chambered for metallic cartridges. Thus, in 1875, Remington entered the cartridge revolver market with this big-frame, army style revolver, intended to compete with the Colt Peacemaker. Ordinary citizens and Old West lawmen alike recognized the sturdy quality of the new Remington revolvers. This design was followed by the Model 1888 and the Model 1890.
The Colt Model 1871-72 Open Top is a metallic cartridge rear-loading .44-caliber revolver introduced in 1872 by the Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company. This handgun was developed following two patents, the first one in 1871 and the second one in 1872, it is estimated that the production span lies primarily between February 1872 and June 1873. There is therefore still some confusion when naming it. It is sometimes named Colt Model 1871 or Colt Model 1872 but at this time the most common accepted names are Colt Model 1871-72 Open Top, Colt Model 1871-72 or simply Colt Open Top.
Richard J. "Dick" Casull (/kə'sul/) was a Salt Lake City-born gunsmith and wildcat cartridge developer whose experiments with .45 Colt ammunition in the 1950s led to the creation of the .454 Casull cartridge. Casull's passion were six-shooters, and he was determined to create a high velocity round for the .45 Colt. His goal was to achieve a muzzle velocity of 2,000 feet per second with Colt .45 rounds fired from a single-action Army-style revolver with a 7 ½ inch barrel. This proved impossible due to the tensile strength of the Colt .45 cylinder, so he set out to develop his own casing and bullet.
Cimarron Firearms is an American firearms importer that has been in operation since 1984. The company's field of specialty is reproduction firearms from the American Civil War to the end of the Old West period. Founded by Mike Harvey in Houston, Texas, the company is now based in Fredericksburg, Texas.
The Colt Open Top Pocket Model Revolver was a single action pocket revolver introduced by the Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company in 1871. Introduced a year before the Colt Open Top and two years before the Colt Peacemaker and the Colt New Line, the Colt Open Top Pocket Model Revolver was, alongside the Colt House Revolver, one of the two first metallic cartridge rear-loading revolvers manufactured by Colt's. It also was one of the first pocket metallic cartridge revolvers made by the company.
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