The Peacemaker and Its Rivals: An Account of the Single Action Colt
Colt Cavalry revolvers was inspected by David F. Clark, his D.
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Colt Single Action Army revolver was retired by the Cavalry and replaced by the. In —, the U. 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. For that reason, the. The Artillery Model usually had mixed numbers.
It can be identified by the U. Carr RAC , the inspector who inspected the refurbished guns, on the grip. Production began in 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 , the legend was roll-stamped until , when the caliber designation ". Later Colt Double Action Army Models also wore this designation on the barrel when chambered in. Users of the.
Corral were armed with this rifle and pistol combination.
The Colt Bisley was introduced in as a target pistol. The name Bisley came from the famous firing range in Bisley , England. 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.
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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 —, in the same sequence as the Single Action Army. Production of the Bisley was terminated in , but serial No. Considering the majority of Bisleys were made in. The late 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.
Wyatt Earp biographer Stuart N. Lake  popularized the myth of the Buntline Special. However, on October 26, , the day of the Gunfight at the O. Corral , Wyatt Earp carried an 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 with the Second Generation line of Single Action Army revolvers.
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 to Kennedy 's campaign slogan. Colt manufactured of these revolvers, including 70 built on the Buntline frame. This series ran until as a limited-issue product with the serial number range of SA80, to SA99, The serial number for this series started at SA and continued to use the "S" prefix and "A" suffix to In , Colt released a "revival" of the Frontier Six Shooter with a nickel finish.
Starting in , 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. It was offered with barrel lengths of 4.
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The 7. Manufacturing of the Colt Cowboy was discontinued in 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. Colt employed a number of engravers, many of whom were trained artisans who emigrated from Europe. 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.
One of the most sought-after engravers who have worked on Colt revolvers was Alvin White and the shop of A. White Engravers. The Single Action Army action is a refinement of the earlier Colt percussion revolvers and the Colt 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. Four notches on the face of the hammer engage the sear portion of the trigger, affording five 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. 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. 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. 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.
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By the Colt SAA was being offered from the factory in additional calibers for civilian and foreign military sales. Many were sold in. Additional period calibers for the SAA included. Some of the separately-serialized. The SAA at one time or another was offered in dozens of calibers from. The first Colt Single Action Army prototypes were manufactured in. After the tests, the Colt was declared the superior revolver and the government specified that a. With the adoption of the Colt Single Action Army revolver in , the service cartridges were Copper-cased.
It was designated "Revolver Cartridge" and loaded with 28 grains of black powder and a bullet of grain. The original. Authors John Taffin and Mike Venturino have demonstrated that modern black-powder loadings of the. The version of the. This "solid head" case is stronger and resists deformation of the primer pocket. Prior to World War II, the. From through , a small number of Single Actions in the pistol caliber.
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Colt's record lists several Single Actions chambered for the. 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 to kill two of Pancho Villa 's lieutenants, and carried it until his death in shortly after the end of World War II. In the early and midth century, original Peacemakers lacking historical provenance and not in pristine condition were not particularly valuable. You may unsubscribe from email communication at anytime.
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