Single Action Colts

This is a discussion on Single Action Colts within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Getting the 'itch' for a Single Action Army. Never fired one, but have owned and shot Ruger Blackhawks(which are fine guns)but want the real McCoy. ...

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Thread: Single Action Colts

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array old grunt's Avatar
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    Single Action Colts

    Getting the 'itch' for a Single Action Army. Never fired one, but have owned and shot Ruger Blackhawks(which are fine guns)but want the real McCoy. Talk to me Colt SAA peeps....
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    There's no comparison. Just something about a Colt. They are more graceful than even the new Rugers. I don't know if they have incorporated the firing pin block so they can be carried hammer down on a live round, but that's no big deal. Load 1, skip 1, load 4, cock and lower the hammer on an empty chamber.

    Holster it and smell the campfires of history.
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    Smells like burnt marshmallows to me. Then it fall in the dirt and your smores get all gritty... Couldn't you come up with something better than campfires?
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Smells like burnt marshmallows to me. Then it fall in the dirt and your smores get all gritty... Couldn't you come up with something better than campfires?
    Why don't you go take your nap and stop being such a stick in the mud?)
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    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    I have several Ruger single-actions. They are great guns for the price. There is nothing compared to the feel of a Colt SAA. Mine is a second generation (1959) 5 1/2" in .45 Colt.


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    I'm not generally into single-action revolvers as a whole. Oh, there have been a few clones come and go and there are a couple of Rugers, being a .44 Special and a .45 Colt/.45 ACP convertible,that I'd like to own but I'm a pretty dyed-in-the-wool traditional double-action revolver fan.

    I only have one example of a single-action revolver on the place and don't have any recent photos of it that the Forum hasn't seen already. It's a 4 3/4-inch Colt Single Action Army chambered for the .38-40. A factory letter says it shipped from Colt to Hibbard, Spencer, & Barlett in Chicago in 1905. I've had the revolver for 30 years this year. It was well worn when I got it and has been used and even abused a little bit since that time. Probably 1200-1500 rounds have been fired through it since I've had it. A good, sturdy revolver that shoots where it looks with factory equivalent .38-40 handloads. Some fairly healthy .38-40 handloads (that make both .40 S&W and 10mm eat dirt) have been fired over the chronograph screens in years past but it's been retired to nothing but sane loadings these days. It is still holstered up and taken along on the occasional hike around our place.

    I grew up around an even older Colt Single Action Army that my uncle had. A 5-digit serial numbered Model 1873 U. S. issue Colt Single Action Army in .45 Colt with barrel arsenal-shortened to the 5 1/2-inch "Artillery Model" length. May have been the first handgun I ever shot. Shares the honors with a Smith & Wesson Mode 15 I also got to shoot that summer of 1968. I can't recall which was first now.

    The Colt Single Action Army's action design derives from earlier Colt percussion model revolvers that predate the Civil War. The design is probably inherently smoother because it is so antiquated, what with its flat main spring, fine fitting, and all. The trigger sear is pretty small and won't stand up to a lot of abuse such as the silliness of "fanning" the revolver will give it. Otherwise it's pretty trouble free and dependable. It's easy to work on too, if something does go haywire. The revolver is easy to detail strip and figure out intuitively. In other words, if I can do it than anyone can. I'm not that mechanically minded.

    The ergonomics are really great! It's not just a made-up yarn that the guns point, balance, and handle in a most outstanding manner. The gun points naturally, just as its reputation has suggested down through the years. It is well-balanced too, especially when chambered for big bore .44 and .45 caliber revolver cartridges. The 4 3/4-inch .44 or .45 caliber model is the very best balanced Colt SAA in my view. All this is subjective of course but most folks get that "ahhhh..." look on their face, a combination of "the light coming on" to the shooting qualities of the design along with the sheer pleasure of shooting the things. At least any I've seen handle and shoot any of several Colt Single Action Army revolvers that I've been around seemed suitably impressed.

    May be in my head but the clones I've owned and tried didn't quite have the same feel and the Ruger single-action revolvers, while modern and strong, really seem pretty far removed from the "Colt feel."

    Of course there are First Generation (pre-WWII) Single Action Army revolvers, Second Generation Single Action Army revolvers (1955-1976), and Third Generation Single Action Army revolvers (1976-present). Funny to think that Colt actually banished the model to obsolescence and removed it from their catalog for a period of around 14 years before bringing it back. Minor differences abound in a model produced for so many years. There are a host of variants out there. Some folks say that some 2nd and 3rd generation Colt SAAs can be rough and are not really fitted up so well. I don't know from personal experience. I had a .45 Colt late 2nd generation Colt SAA for a brief period before I traded it away (was bought to profit on) and it was quite nice. It'd been a shooter before I got it so was smoothed out. I imagine a lot of Colt SAA revolvers would smooth out if actually put to work rather than to rest in the cold, clammy hands of collectors.



    I love the Smith & Wesson double-action revolver along with its 20th century Colt double-action counterpart, preferring them for serious revolver work over a single action revolver design. Would I like some more original Colt Single Action Army revolvers though? You betcha! In all three generations, in all barrel lengths, in all standard caliber configurations. I'd put 'em to work too. There'd be no safe queens among 'em. Wouldn't do for me to have a rare antique Colt Single Action Army for I'd just shoot it too.
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    I just knew when I saw bmcgilvray as one of the members browsing this thread we were in for a treat.
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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    I have a couple of old Colts. A 38-40 from 1909, a 44-40 from 1929, and a 45 Colt from 1975. There is no comparison between the colts and even the best clones. I looked and don't have a good pic of them. I also have a few clones. Even all slicked up the action does not have the same feel or even sound. I shot the Clones in competition, and really like them But the colts have a unique feel. Even the 22lr New frontier has that smoothness to it. DR

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    Nice write up Brian, maybe because I have only handled and shot the Ruger clone I find the design to be less than excellent. Now to find someone with a original Colt.
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    I''ve had three Colts and one USFA "clone". The USFA was allegedly made on the same machines and with the same care as the originals. All I know is that it's a very nice pistol and if memory serves (questionable) every bit as nice as the Colts.

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    Five digits on this first generation, and the first one is a three. Colt says it shipped in 1878.

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    Have a Single-Action Army, 7 1/2" barrel. Despite the longer barrel, balance is excellent and it's a great shooter. Wish I could take it out more often, but 45LC ammo is $$$.

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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donn View Post
    Have a Single-Action Army, 7 1/2" barrel. Despite the longer barrel, balance is excellent and it's a great shooter. Wish I could take it out more often, but 45LC ammo is $$$.
    You need to reload! It costs me about .08 cents each to pull the trigger. I've paid more than that for 22LR. Even the Lee Loader will make small amount's of plinking ammo cheaply. DR
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    Member Array Donn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerranger View Post
    You need to reload! It costs me about .08 cents each to pull the trigger. I've paid more than that for 22LR. Even the Lee Loader will make small amount's of plinking ammo cheaply. DR
    You're absolutely right DR, I've got no excuse. Dad reloaded, I got all his RCBS equipment including dies when he passed. Several guys in my VVA chapter have offered to show me how to use it. I've gotta get off my a*s, dig out a corner of the basement and get it set up.

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    Senior Member Array royal barnes's Avatar
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    In '95 when I got into CAS I went through several sets of guns including Rugers and Ubertis before I settled on a pair of Colts, nickel, 7 1/2" in .45 Colt. I have never thought about another brand since then. The .45's have about 10,000 rounds each through them with no problems. In 2007 I changed to a pair of blue, case hardened, 5 1/2" in .44-40. They have about 6000 rounds through them again with no problems. I still own the .45's. I shoot black powder exclusively in all of them. None of the other brands feel the same as a Colt in your hand.
    OD* likes this.

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