Chapter 1.6.6.1 – "Old Model" Uberti Colt Single Action Revolver Miniatures

Colt 1873 SAA – "Old Model" or "Blackpowder Frame": These early SAA models have their cylinder pin secured by a screw through the front of the frame, a bulls eye aka round tip is fitted to the ejector rod.

A few of the originals are also recorded with early "pinched frame" topstraps.

The bulls eye or round ejector rod head of original Colt SAAs was discontinued in 1882. Once existing inventories were used it was replaced by the half-moon designed head.

Selected seven Uberti miniature Colt Single Action Old Model Armies from the Hunzinger Collection displayed on the Connecticut State flag with one U.S. $ coin for size comparison added (top down): 12" barrel "Buntline Special" in traditional finish #2897, 7,5" barreled #PM3399 and #3400 in traditional finish, 5,5" barrel nickel plated #3406, 4,75" barreled #3383 in traditional finish and nickel plated #PM3430, 3" barrel "Storekeeper" #3357 in traditional finish.

Comparative view of two Uberti Colt 1873 SAA Old Models with 5,5" barrel displayed on Connecticut State flag with one U.S. $ coin added for size comparison: Upper full size replica "father" #J62955 year code BZ (2005; courtesy Wolf D. Niederastroth Collection) in traditional finish vs. lower miniature nickel plated "son" #3406

Detailed view of two Uberti Colt 1873 SAA Old Models with 7,5" barrel: Upper full size replica "father" #J62957 year code BZ (2005; Dieter Hummel collection) vs. lower miniature "son" #3440, note bullseye ejector rod head and cylinder pin secured by screw through front of frame in both pistols 

Properly replicated key details of two Uberti miniature Colt SAAs: Old Model (lower pistol) cylinder pin secured by screw through front of frame and round tip ejector rod of #3400 vs. New Model (upper pistol) transverse cylinder latch and crescent tip of ejector rod of #2553

Pinched Frame SAAs: As the Colt 1873 SAA collectors know only too well in the real world Blackpowder frame Colt 1873 SAAs with the pinched frame are a super rare find. As far as their Uberti full sized replicas are concerned they were manufactured a few years back if memory serves but their numbers are limited, too. 

When it comes to the miniatures, however the pinched frame variety is the rule rather than the exception at >99,9%. But they are out there, these regular blackpowder framed Colt 1873 SAAs with the small grooved notched rear sight. I know because I know where I would find one.

The "pinched frame" is an extremely rare and desirable feature in "Old Frame" SAAs observed on a few hundred of the original very early production Single Actions only. It is identified by a pinched rear sight of #3408 (right miniature) rather than the standard smaller grooved notched rear sight of #2553 (left miniature) which was made standard 

Colt 1873 SAA "Buntline Special" miniature #3177 with special order 18" barrel, nickel plated, adjustable folding rear sight in topstrap of frame

Colt 1873 SAA "Buntline Special" miniature #2897 with special order 12" barrel, traditional finish, adjustable folding rear sight in topstrap of frame; .45 COLT cartridge is added for size comparison

Close-up of Buntline miniature #2897: Note adjustable rear sight in topstrap

Close-up of Buntline miniature #2897: Folding rear sight is up

Pair of Colt 1873 SAA Old Model miniatures #3400 (top) and #PM3399 (bottom) sharing standard 7,5" barrel length; .45 COLT cartridge is added for size comparison

July 17, 2020/WDN

There is no doubt that the Colt Single Action Army is the most often observed handgun in Westerns, no matter the time span of the movies or TV mini series, respectively. 

From around the mid-1960s Italian and a few German replicas took over gradually and replaced 1st and 2nd generation Colt and Great Westerns made SAAs from the 1950s. Those Colts were mostly and Great Westerns were all "New Model" SAAs, as were the replicas.

Seemingly replicas of the "Old Model" SAAs are being issued by the prop masters for Westerns only from the beginning of the 1990s. This coincides with the involvement of ambitious directors and producers striving for more historical correct armory.

Below a few of the more period correct Western movies and their characters are listed carrying replicas of the Colt 1873 SAA "Old Model"1):

  • 1992: Val "Doc Holliday" Kilmer is seen handling a short barreled nickel plated SAA in TOMBSTONE
  • 1993: Nia Peeples is Augusta Vega in RETURN TO LONESOME DOVE from 1993. Her character as Robert "Gus MacCrea" Duvall's daughter of famous prequel LONESOME DOVE TV mini-series of 1989 makes good use of a traditional finished 5,5" SAA. 
  • 2000: Both Owen "Roy O'Bannon" Wilson and the bad Marshal Xander "Nathan Van Cleef" Berkeley are equipped with these older SAA models in SHANGHAI NOON.
  • 2004: An "Arabic" Western for a change titled HIDALGO starring Viggo "Frank T. Hopkins" Mortensen and his well-used 5,5" SAA in traditional finish.
  • 2008: Free-lance Marshal Ed "Virgil Cole" Harris brings peace to APPALOOSA with his 7,5" barreled and traditionally finished peacemaker.
  • 2011: Even the extraterrestrials in COWBOYS & ALIENS get a taste of Harrison "Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde" Ford's nickel plated 7,5"er with ivory grips. Dolarhyde carries his SAA in a cross-draw holster.

Close-up of #PM3399: Note barrel marking COLT'S PT F. A. MFG. Co HARTFORD. CT. U.S.A. which this pistol also shares with #3400

Close-up of buttstrap of #PM3399: Note three digits of serial number 399 stamped close to screw, toe to fix a shoulder stock; again #3400 pictured above shares these features

Colt 1873 SAA Old Model miniature #3406 with standard 5,5" barrel length: Nickel plated, cowboy quality; .45 COLT cartridge is added for size comparison

Pair of Colt 1873 SAA Old Model miniatures in cowboy quality with standard 4,75" barrel length: Top #3430 nickel plated, bottom #3383 traditional finish; .45 COLT cartridge is added for size comparison

Colt 1873 SAA Old Model miniature #3357 "Storekeeper" variant with special order 3" barrel without ejector housing in cowboy quality; .45 COLT cartridge added for size comparison

Reference

1. Internet Movie Firearms Database: Single Action Armyhttp://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Single_Action_Army

Views of embellished Colt 1873 SAA Old Model miniature #2824 with standard 7,5" barrel: This factory engraved piece of Uberti art is silver plated and fitted with diamond cut one-piece ivory grips

Four close-ups of Colt 1873 SAA Old Model miniature #2824

Size comparison of Colt 1873 SAA Old Model miniature #2824"Hold me in the palm of your hand"

Recent addition is miniature of Colt 1873 SAA Old Model #Z057 from the HEGE subscription program

Another view of Z057: Note brilliant charcoal blue and case color finish

Unusual feature of Z057 is brass made front sight

Close-up of frame of Z057: Note Patent mark in two lines and 45 CAL. stamp on shoulder of trigger guard

Serial number stamp #Z057 on frame and triggerguard …

… and on the buttstrap