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Colt SAA 4 3/4" 44-40

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by DMH, Aug 8, 2013.

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  1. DMH

    DMH Member

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    Hi, I was looking for thoughts and opinions from others on the Colt's that are 3rd generation and manufactured in 1992 without the removable cylinder bushing. I know most feel that the 3rd generations built after they started (went back) to the removable cylinder bushing have a better over all quality. I found one in 44-40 NIB and have it tucked away with deposit. With the understanding I wanted a week to think on it. I just stumbled onto this one and it was on the shelf when I was picking up a different Colt. But 44-40 is my favorite cartridge and I reload for it. I had been wanting a 4 3/4" barreled Colt and already have 45Colt and 32-20. But I am a little worried about the build date on this SAA and wanted to hear from others with Colt SAA revolvers from this time period. The wood grips are one piece and appear to be Birdseye Maple with a dark color stain. It is CCH and Blue. Blue box with white outer sleeve. So any big con's to these early 3rd generation revolvers? This would be a shooter and hunting companion.

    Thanks, DMH
     
  2. calaverasslim

    calaverasslim Member

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    Not to worry. I have shot my Colt 44wcf's, both with and without bushings and see no difference. I just make sure I pull the cylinders and clean thoroughly after each range session.
     
  3. DMH

    DMH Member

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    calaverasslim, Thanks for the input. What are your thoughts to the 1990 thru 1995 era Colt SAA as far as quality. Any issues other than cosmetics that I should look for?

    DMH
     
  4. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Unless it was a hell of a deal, I wouldn't buy ANY 3rd generation SAA over a newer one. It's not the bushing that makes the difference, it's everything else they started doing right. The newer guns are polished properly, not by an 800lb gorilla and the innards are also much better finished. Colt has finally started making a good SAA but I'd still rather have a USFA or Turnbull.
     
  5. DMH

    DMH Member

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    I agree CriagC, I would like to find a 44-40 USFA that would be my first choice. This Colt is NIB at $1375.00 includes tax and I do not own a Colt from that era. I have read and been told of the poor quality, but just had not witnessed this first hand myself. This one looks nice, the wood grips where they meet the right angle at the frame are proud of the frame on each side equally by about 1/6" this was noticeable and I wish they were a better fit, but I could live with it or fix it. The USFA revolvers are not easy to find. I think people that were smart and lucky to obtain a USFA know what they have and are holding on to them. The plant closure has only made these revolvers more desirable. I will always be on the look out for a USFA and someday may be my lucky day. As for this Colt, I just happened to see it while picking up a birthday present for my 16 year old daughter (Colt Peacemaker .22lr & .22WMR from the 1970's) And when I found it to be in 44-40 and the 4 3/4" barrel I was more interested. The grips being one piece wood and the odd appearance also caught my attention. But I just do not know enough about the Colts and the production line changes through out the years. I guess one way to learn would be to buy it and see how it shoots and how much internal work it needs.

    DMH
     
  6. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry Member

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    BOTH ON MY COLT third generation 44-40 pistols shoot to beat the band and I do not mean maybe. One is a 4 3/4" and the other is a 7 1/2". BOTH will outshoot my 45COLT and 44SPL Colts quite handily. Then again so will the two S&W 44-40's and the CIMARRON 44-40 pistols.
     
  7. DMH

    DMH Member

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    Wil Terry, Thanks for the information. What year were the 44-40 Colts manufactured? Do you like the Colts made during the time frame that I am questioning?

    DMH
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I have a .45 I bought in 1999 with the pressed in cylinder bushing.

    In hind sight, I wouldn't buy another one if I could get a newer one with the removable bushing.

    Mine was pretty rough internally until I did a complete action job on it.
    And it came with more cylinder end-shake then I would prefer.

    Which cannot be easily corrected by properly fitting a new $12.99 base pin bushing.

    A friend bought a newer .44 Spl. 3rd gen with separate base pin bushing and it is a Much Better fitted gun.

    rc
     
  9. DMH

    DMH Member

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    rcmodel, thanks for your input. I will have to do some thinking on this, he is willing to come down another $75.00 or $100.00 The grips are a bit unique they look original to the gun, but without a letter its just an opinion on my part. I looked it over again today and the grips are not as bad as I had remembered. They are not smooth or flush to the frame, but are slightly proud of the frame. They seem to be Maple and have a heavy birds-eye pattern. I think I'll remove the strap he has on it and work the action to see how the hammer and trigger feel. Not knowing whats inside and after reading your post has me a bit worried. I can find .45colts, but the 44-40 has just not been easy to locate here in Minnesota. Thanks again for the information, it is appreciated.

    DMH
     
  10. highpower

    highpower Member

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    Gee, my Frontier Six Shooter, made in 1984 looks as though it was polished by someone that actually cared about the kind of job they were doing. And not I might add, using coarse grit polishing wheels.

    The trigger and general fit and finish are pretty nice too. Seems to shoot OK although I don't shoot at a lot of paper targets.

    IMG_1071-XL.jpg

    To the OP: while I am sure that Colt may have made a few dogs early in the third generation production, beware of unequivocal statements that my be only based on one persons experience, or even worse, on nothing more than hearsay. All that being said, I would never buy a gun that I can't examine in person.
     
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Can't tell a whole lot from your pic but it looks okay. Except that it has a ringed cylinder and that shouldn't be happening.


    All you have to do is look at them without the rose-colored glasses. If the screw holes, lettering and bolt notches are dished out, the areas that are supposed to be flat are wavy and all the edges rolled-over, it's over polished. Feel the action. If it doesn't feel like a Swiss watch and takes several hours of stoning to get it smooth, you spent too much money on too little gun. It ain't rocket science or magic. They don't hold any secrets. It's all right there if you're willing to look at it with an open mind. I don't 'think' USFA is the best because it's my choice. I chose them because they 'are' the best. Colt fans love to say things like "everything else is just a copy" but if the copy is a better gun for less money, I'll take the "copy" every time.
     
  12. DMH

    DMH Member

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    As I said in My opening post, "looking for thoughts and opinions". The responses that I am receiving I appreciate and the information is what I was looking for. With that I have gone back and looked the revolver over very carefully. I am going to buy it, and with the information I received here I was able to negotiate a better price. I looked at three of my Colts, a Colt Peacemaker .22 from 1975, Colt New Frontier SAA from about 1980 or so #024xxNF and Colt SAA from 2007. All have the grips proud of the frame at the upper part near the right angle on both sides. I still think the grip fit could be better on this 44-40 I am looking at. I could replace these Maple grips with some Black plastic grips. My plan will be to see what it looks like when disassembled, do some shooting and see if I want to keep it of not.


    Thanks for the information,
    DMH
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  13. DMH

    DMH Member

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    You can see the area I was concerned with is this photo of my 32-20, but I now think this is normal on the Colts. Where as on the Uberti SA revolvers this area is flush and smooth with the frame. It may be no big deal at all. Obviously it is just cosmetic.

    uberti+44-40+vs.+45colt+018.jpg

    I have an additional question on the USFA SA revolver. Do the USFA's have a hammer block safety? I ask this because in a photo of one I could see the little screw in the top part of the hammer.

    DMH
     
  14. DMH

    DMH Member

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    Here is a better photo of the 32-20.
    rfMOpqsDXQ5gSCIiazj2X9XUAZwK2xZDsVbuNN-oTBI=w311-h207-p-no.jpg

    DMH
     
  15. DMH

    DMH Member

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    Here is a photo where you can see the grips fit flush to the frame where the grip frame meets the revolver frame. The is a Uberti in 45colt.

    Uberti+45Colt+7.5+barrel+009.jpg

    DMH
     
  16. highpower

    highpower Member

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    That's not a ring on the cylinder. It's an artifact from the light that is above the gun when I took the picture.

    Believe me, I am no Colt fanboy. If a particular gun is a dog, I will point it out. It is like the Ford Taurus I unfortunately once owned. Arguably the worst car ever made and the list of troubles I had with it would fill a book. I know others that had great luck with theirs and so I don't condemn the entire model line. I just had a lemon.
     
  17. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    I ain't gonna get into the Colt vs USFA debate. I own a couple of 2nd Gen Colts and one 1st Gen. Never owned any USFA because they are not on the 'approved list' for legal sale in the Land of the Pilgrims. Not gonna get into which one is better.

    The issue you have with the grips 'not fitting' correctly is a non-issue. Wooden grips are fitted to the frame and then sanded flush with the frame before the final finish is applied to the wood or the metal. Both the wood and the metal are sanded down together so the grip will be flush with the outside of the frame. Then the gun is disassembled and the grips are sent for final finishing and the metal parts are sent to be blued or nickel plated. After all that is done, the gun is reassembled and the grips are flush with the metal. That is the way Colt used to do it and that is the way Uberti still does it.

    The grips you have pictured are modern plastic grips. Some companies say that they are hard rubber (Ruger likes to say this) but they are in fact injection molded plastic. Nobody has made hard rubber grips for a long, long time. Plastic grips are not sanded down to be flush with the metal because that would obliterate some of the design.

    Hopefully these photos demonstrate that.

    colorcaseColt.jpg

    2ndGenGripDetail_zps1fc034d3.jpg

    By the way, some Colt aficionados may notice that the screws in this Colt are not flush with the outside surface. This is a late 2nd Gen, made in 1973. My other 2nd Gen was made in 1968, and yes the screws do fit better. But at least there is no dishing around the holes on this one.
     
  18. DMH

    DMH Member

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    Driftwood Johnson and Highpower, Thanks for the photos of your Colts. Both are very nice looking revolvers. Driftwood, thanks for explaining how the grips are sanded down. I will keep learning more about these SAA and see how much attention this 44-40 will need.

    Thanks,
    DMH
     
  19. DMH

    DMH Member

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    I have another question on this revolver, what is meant by the term "Long Flute Cylinder" from the sound of the term I am guessing that there are two different flute lenghts in the cylinder. Was there are reason for the change, or is this just another cosmetic issue?

    DMH
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  20. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    See where the flutes end on the guns above? The "long flute" comes back beyond the bolt notches. Found this one in a quick Google image search:

    [​IMG]
     
  21. DMH

    DMH Member

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    Thanks CraigC, I should have google searched that. Nice looking revolver in that photo!

    DMH
     
  22. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    I know, I've got a sixgun headed to the engraver tomorrow and that pic made me really excited about it! :D
     
  23. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  24. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    That's interesting, I never knew why Colt used the long flute cylinders on SAA's.

    I do have to take issue with the following statement from that listing: "Long Flute Single Action Army Revolvers were finished with a higher polish on blued parts which resulted in a "fire blue" finish not found on other Colt SAA revolvers manufactured between 1913-15."

    "Fire blue" (aka nitre or heat blue) was a completely different bluing process and never used by Colt on large parts. Only small parts like pins, screws and triggers. So it might have had a brighter polish, but that's not what makes "fire blue".
     
  25. DMH

    DMH Member

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    I think I may have received some inaccurate information. I was under the impression Colt reissued the long fluted cylinder on some models in 1992.

    DMH
     
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