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Bat Masterson Colt .45

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Ponca, Oct 20, 2013.

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  1. Ponca

    Ponca Member

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    Bat Masterson ordered a total of eight .45 saa revolvers from Colt throughout the course of his career. One of the most discussed is the gun Masterson was said to have placed an order for, in his writing on Opera House Saloon stationairy in july of 1885. At the bottom of the letter it requests in post script to duplicate above order by sending two. Colt verified that one .45 saa was shipped to W. B. Masterson July 30, 1885 bearing serial number 112737. This gun has been replicated by Pietta down to the serial numbers matching the original, and Colt as well issued a commemorative Lawman Series Bat Masterson .45 Revolver which is said to be modeled after the "special order" Masterson gun. Does anyone know if there were in fact two guns made specifically for Masterson?, And if either of the one, or two, originals are still in existence today?
     
  2. Ron James

    Ron James Member

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    At least one ( verified by Colt ) is in existence, I have no ideal who owns it now. Nickle with Gutta Percha
    grips.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2013
  3. SleazyRider

    SleazyRider Member

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    What model Pietta would that be?
     
  4. Dframe

    Dframe Member

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    I don't know who owns it, but I saw it at the Reno, NV All Colt Show 4-5 years ago. They had it in a glass case displayed with it's Colt letter and a copy of the handwritten letter Masterson had written to colt ordering it.
     
  5. Ponca

    Ponca Member

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    The Pietta is a non firing replica. All I know is that is was modeled after the original gun with sn# 112737
     
  6. Ponca

    Ponca Member

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    Ive seen the one that they show with the letter and I believe it's a different Bat Masterson gun. The letter specifies a 4 3/4 in barrel with "gutta percha" hard rubber grips. The one Ive seen with the letter has Ivory grips if Im correct.
     
  7. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Member

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    http://www.tactical-life.com/firearms/bat-masterson’s-colt-saa/2/
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Yes, there were apparently two guns. Colt knows the serial number but won't release it to prevent someone from making a fake. Masterson ordered revolvers from the factory fairly often - both for himself and friends - because as a lawman (or former one) he got a special discount.
     
  9. Ponca

    Ponca Member

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    I just found this on a site I had to translate from Italian.

    The second of these three Colt SAA is of particular importance because it bought expressly for himself, he was ordained by a letter which is still present in the archive of the Connecticut State Library, the letter is dated July 24, 1885 and is written on company letterhead Opera House Saloon.
    Dall'appunto written from the clerk of the Colt seems that your order has arrived in the company on July 28.
    Masterson The letter pointed out that the weapon had to have a high quality finish, and here the "our" used the phrase that is written in many books that talk about Colt 1873 SAA: "I am willing to pay extra for the extra work" , "I'm willing to pay more for extra work" (such as historical phrase will not be much, but infact 'is .....) In the letter recommends that the weapon has a "trigger very light and sensitive, a viewfinder is not very high but thicker section than those normally built, gutta percha grips and barrel as long as the rod extraction ( then a 4-3/4 inch) " There is also a postscript unreadable but that seems to indicate a desire to order two instead of one revolver , the hypothesis is supported by the fact that on July 30 from Hartford were sent to Dodge City two Colt, and both with the requirements to Masterson in the order letter. These two weapons had their serial numbers 112737 and 112998.

    The two weapons SN# 112737 and 112998 are the ones shipped to Masterson July,1885 after Colt received the "Opera House letter" requesting two identical nickel 4 3/4" .45's with gutta percha grips, modified sights, and easy on the trigger. The 112737 gun has been more talked about than the other, and actually duplicated down to the original SN# 112737 by Pietta in a non-firing replica model. As far as the other, 112998, Ive only recently been able to find out it actually existed. I'm trying to find out if either of these is on display anywhere, and trying to find out which one has been found and which one hasn't turned up yet? I've seen the Commemoratives made in 1967, and I've seen the replicas modeled after these guns. Seems all I can find is one old black and white picture of the original, and only one. What ever became of these weapons people?
     
  10. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    112737 is apparently in existence and its location known. I don't know about 112998.

    I do note that there is no mention of any engraving in the factory order, so if an engraved gun with that number shows up it was either engraved after market or is a fake.

    Note that it has been quite common for fakers, knowing the serial number of some famous gun, say 123456, to obtain old clunkers, remove the numbers, and restamp them with the number 123456. If the buyer gets a factory letter, it will correctly state that serial number 123456 or whatever, was shipped to the celebrity. But the gun shipped to the celebrity is not the gun now bearing number 123456.

    If this is done several times, the faker makes big bucks and there are a half dozen or more "genuine" celebrity X guns with each owner keeping his prized possession secret so as not to arouse owners of other fakes!

    Also note that it is common for the owner of an old rusty clunker to have it engraved (usually in some other country with low labor costs) to cover up the pitting and rust. If that engraving is combined with serial number fakery as described, a less than honest person can make a very nice profit with no income tax.

    Jim
     
  11. Ponca

    Ponca Member

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    Thanks for the info. It's a shame that someone has a piece of history like that and doesn't have it on display somewhere.
     
  12. Ponca

    Ponca Member

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    Might I inquire where you found the information on the 112737 gun?
     
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