Colt barrel change


44 Dave
October 23, 2012, 11:42 PM
Any suggestions? Thinking about changing 2nd gen. Colt .45t to .44.
The gun has some wear from the original owner who carried it as his side arm while prospecting for gold.
I think I have a barrel located.

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October 24, 2012, 01:39 PM
2ndGen Colts are always going up in price no matter the condition. I would leave it alone and get the 44 you want.

October 24, 2012, 04:05 PM
I +1 that.

An unmodified 2nd. Gen SAA will be more valuable unaltered then if you convert it.
Collectors like factory letters, and it will letter wrong as a .44 Special.

Should you decide to proceed however, be aware 1st & 2nd. Gen barrel threads are the same.

But 3rd. Gen barrel threads are not.

Make sure the .44 Spl barrel & cylinder you are considering are the right ones for the 2nd. Gen gun.


Jim K
October 24, 2012, 07:58 PM
Plus, changing a barrel and cylinder in a revolver and especially an SAA is not (IMHO) a DIY proposition. Unless you have the equipment and know what you are doing, it is very easy at best to waste money and/or at worst to ruin the gun.


44 Dave
October 24, 2012, 09:57 PM
Thank all for the advice, I would not attempt the change with help from some one with the right tools.
I do have the original box and would keep the .45 barrel and cylinder.
Have wanted it in 44-40 for a long time,to go with my '73 Winchester. Would I be wrong thinking that the change if done with the correct procedures could be reversed if ever wanted to sell it.
I do believe a clone would cost about as much as I would have in this.
still in the wishing stages!

October 24, 2012, 11:36 PM
Yes, it could be reversed, if you or your heirs can keep track of the parts long enough to do it.

What always happens though is, despite your best intentions and efforts.
You die someday, they sell your guns, and they bring maybe part of what they are worth.

But the original barrel and cylinder is thrown in a box of junk by one of the estate auction grunts, and that box sells for a $dollar 2.98, never to be rejoined with the gun again!

I have seen it happen a hundred+ times over my 50+ years of gun collecting.

I have a Uberti SAA frame with 1st Gen Colt 32-20 barrel & cylinder on it.
I bought the Colt barrel & cylinder for less then $10 bucks at an estate auction a few years ago in a box of gun cleaning junk.

If having a 44-40 WCF now is more important to you then helping to preserve an original old Colt .45 for future generations of collectors?

Gofer it!

If I had a real, all correct, orginial 2nd. Gen .45 Colt SAA?
I'd be happier then a clam in hot chowder with new potato's and baby onions holding me down on the bottom of the pot!

I'd be so happy in fact, I'd run right out and buy a new Uberti or Ruger 44-40 for less money then it will cost in the long run to screw up the old Colt.

Just to celebrate my good fortune of owning an all orginial 2nd Gen SAA Colt .45!


Jim K
October 25, 2012, 01:24 PM
Let's talk a bit about changing barrels and cylinders on an SAA.

First, you need to get the old barrel off. That means a barrel vise and a wrench with the proper insert. Those barrels are a crush fit and rarely easy to get off. The frame of the SAA is pretty weak and easily bent, so "just use a hammer handle" won't do unless you want the frame to look like a pretzel.

Second, you need a new barrel, not a takeoff. New barrels have extra meat at the shoulder and forcing cone to allow them to be set up so the front sight is aligned and the ejector housing screw bushing is the right distance from the receiver. There is some leeway there by taking metal off the ejector rod housing and the ejector rod, but it is better to set the barrel up right in the first place.

Then the cylinder has to be fitted for the proper headspace and barrel/cylinder gap, and the forcing cone adjusted. Again, there is some leeway, but not a lot. I strongly suggest having the work done by Colt or at least by a factory approved shop, not by the local gunsmith unless he happens to be skilled and experienced in working on those guns. (Your buddy with the big vise and the pipe wrench is definitely not an option!)


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