Colt "Generation" numbers?


Sharps Shooter
March 13, 2006, 03:01 PM
Would someone explain what is meant by the terms “1st Generation, 2nd Generation and 3rd Generation Colts?” Does the word “generation” apply only to the Colt SAA or does it apply to all Colt handguns?
Please forgive my ignorance. It’s just that I was handed down a couple of old Colt .22 Frontier Scouts a while back and a buddy of mine told me they were “1st Generation” because when they were built was the first time Colt ever built that model. I’ll be surprised if that’s true. I can’t remember ever hearing an old Colt 1911 being referred to as of any particular “generation.” Until my buddy told me I have a couple of “1st Generation Frontier Scouts” I’d never heard term “1st, 2nd or 3rd Generation” applied to anything other than the Colt SAAs.
Thanks for your replies.

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March 13, 2006, 07:47 PM
The "generation" is used for other guns like the Colt Detective Special, and somew people use it for guns like the Scout versions, but it's mostly for the Colt Single Actions.

In general the "generations" are:
First generation--Single Actions made from 1873 to 1940. This is further broken down to black powder frames and smokeless frames.

Second Generation--From 1956 to 1975. This is the First Gen gun with a few minor modifications to ease production.

Third Generation--1976 to today. These guns had a few more modifications, primarily to the cylinder ratchet and hand, and the change to a short cylinder bushing.

March 13, 2006, 09:59 PM
If you provide serial numbers (example S99xx), we can provide you with approximate production dates for each gun. There are some that are rare, so barrel length, finish, model, and if have extra cylinder would be helpful as well.

Sharps Shooter
March 13, 2006, 11:57 PM
Thanks for your help.
The two revolvers say, “COLT SINGLE ACTION FRONTIER SCOUT 22 LR” on each of their barrels. One’s serial number is 55992F and the other is 57428F. They’re both in excellent condition and show very little wear – original blue with hardly any of it rubbed off. They each are equipped with some kind of fake bone looking plastic grips. I have the original hard rubber grips for one of them, but the other set has been lost. Their barrel lengths are 4 5/8" measured from the front of the cylinders or just a hair over 4" measured from the fronts of their frames.
Dad purchased the two revolvers new sometime in the mid to late 1950s and had a beautiful set of hand tooled holsters made for them. The holster set is about the prettiest part of the whole get up as far as I’m concerned. Dad had some notions about getting into quick-draw competition back in the 1950s, but he was always afraid he might shoot himself in a foot. Especailly when drawing the gun on his left side.
I guess it really doesn’t matter what they’re actually worth in terms of dollars and cents. They represent something about my Dad and I will never sell them. It would be something interesting to know though.

March 14, 2006, 01:44 AM
55992F and 57428F were both made in 1959.
The numbers that year ran from 48800F to 105999F.

These were in the "Q&F" frame model which would qualify as the First generation type of .22 Scout.
Production of this type ran from introduction in 1957 to 1970.
These guns had alloy frames, and came with 4 1/2", 4 3/4", or 9 1/2" barrels.
Finishes were blue with a bright finish frame, nickel, or all blue.

There were about 246,000 made.

March 16, 2006, 04:45 PM

+1 on the replies you got. The info. is accurate.

I have a number of Colt pistols including the Colt saa's you refer to and a Colt Frontier Scout .22 like yours. "Generations" of firearms is typically used as a reference for their time period of manufacture and yes, serial numbers can provide you with the info. you need to determine which "generation" that firearm is.

Sharps Shooter
March 16, 2006, 06:35 PM
Thanks for the information folks. It looks like I have a couple of "1st Generation" Colt Frontier Scouts. That means my buddy was right and I was (gulp) wrong! Oh well. I had never heard the generation number applied to any guns other than the Colt SAAs before. So I learned something. Thanks again.:)

March 16, 2006, 08:29 PM
And you still didn't.
As I said, other than the Colt Detective Special and the SAA, no one uses the "generation" business for other Colt handguns.

Your Colt Scouts really aren't "First Generation" Scouts, they're technically the "Q or F" serial number suffix Frontier Scout.

The Colt Scouts are technically as follows:
The early models Frontier Scout with the Q or F suffix.
The Frontier Scout K suffix.
The Frontier Scout 62, also known as the P suffix
The Peacemaker. (First steel frame).
The New Frontier (Steel frame).

No one uses "generations" to describe the Scout series.

March 16, 2006, 08:42 PM
The "generation" terminology is not typically applied to the Frontier Scout revolvers. The Blue Book generally promotes the generation terminology and it is not used on the Colt 22 Single Actions. (There were a few 22 First Generation SA's made between 1880 and 1891. This are a different beast from what you have entirely.)

Wilkerson's book on the 22 SA's shows that 28,379 were made in 1959 with 4 3/4" Blue Finish. All of these have the F suffix on the serial number. Total production of this variaton was 101,613 units between 1958 and 1971. He lists total Frontier Scout/Buntline Series Q Series as 234,223 units combined or about what the Blue Book lists (246,000). 1959 is the year that the 22 magnum was introducted, but the interchangeable 22 and 22WMR cylinders were not introduced until around 1964. Stocks were Black Plastic or Walnut.

The K series were introduced in 1960 and featured a heavier frame, but it was still not all steel. The Frontier Scout '62 Series were offered with a plastic staglike stock. These were known as the "P" Series. Not trying to confuse you with these other models. Just trying to give you a more rounded perspective as these 22 revolvers were introduced by Colt.

Anyway, they are nice little revolvers that have good collector interest. Hope you continue to enjoy them.

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