An Iconic Piece of Americana or "The Gun that Won the West": The production of the Colt Single Action Army aka Single Action Army, SAA, Model P, Peacemaker, M1873 or Colt .45 commenced in 1873 with the Single Action Army Model 1873 or New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol i.e. a single action revolver with a cylinder holding six metallic cartridges. The Colt SAA was the standard military service revolver from 1873 until 1892. It replaced the Colt 1860 Army percussion revolver and its conversions in .44 Colt cal.
At the time of the making of the Colt 1873 Single Action Armies the famous landmark of the Colt factory was the Blue Onion Dome. It had been rebuilt in 1867 after the great fire of February 1864.
The Colt SAA has been offered in over 30 different calibers and various barrel lengths.
Regular production barrel lengths were 4,75", 5,5", 7,5".
Barrel lengths shorter than 4,75" like between 3" and 4" could be had at special order. They usually lacked an ejector and were often dubbed "Storekeeper".
Also available were SAAs with longer barrels 10" to 18" dubbed "Buntline. These variants could be ordered with an adjustable ladder type folding rear sight in the bridge of the frame.
Its overall appearance of the Colt SAA remained consistent since 1873. Colt discontinued its production twice, but brought it back due to popular demand. The revolver was popular with ranchers, lawmen and outlaws alike, but as of the early 21st century, models are mostly bought by collectors, cowboy action shooters and re-enactors.
Most valuable to the collectors are the Single Actions of the 1stgeneration (1873 – 1941).1)
Black Powder vs. Smokeless Framed Colt Single Action Armies: Many Single Action Shooters think the term "black powder frame" means one can only fire black powder ammunition in this handgun, and the "smokeless frame" is for the use with smokeless ammo.
With currently produced Colt 1873 SAAs or modern replicas of the 73 Peacemaker design, you can fire either black powder or smokeless ammo in either frame style.2)
1. Wikipedia: COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_Single_Action_Army
2. Spangenberger, P.: BLACK POWDER FRAMED PEACEMAKER – WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Jan. 2010, http://highnoon.com/hn-ss2-2010/feature.html
3. Western Movie: EL DORADO, 1966
January 15, 2020/WDN
Uberti's team of miniature gun artists or their individual members, respectively produced three basic variants of the Colt 1873 SAA:
"Guns That Never Were" (GTNW): These Colt SAA miniature variants include a number of or fantasy pistols like SAAs with brass back-straps. This is in line with the Uberti strategy for their full sized replicas. For further details scroll down and check chapters titled 22.214.171.124 Fantasy Colt Single Action Miniatures and 1.9 Thoughts about Uberti Miniatures.
EL DORADO is a 1966 horse opera that is considered the second film in Howard Hawks' trilogy of films that featured John Wayne aka The Duke in a story of a sheriff who must defend his office against an aggressive outlaw element in the town. The other two films are 1959's RIO BRAVO and 1970's RIO LOBO.
In EL DORADO John Wayne stars as Cole Thornton, a gunfighter who helps an old friend to protect a group of ranchers from a rival who had previously hired Colts. The film's cast includes James Caan, Ed Asner, and Robert Mitchum.
Memorable quotes from EL DORADO:
Cole Thornton: "Now just a minute, son."
Mississippi: "I… AM NOT… YOUR SON. My name is Alan Bourdillion Traherne."
Cole Thornton: "…Lord Almighty…"
Colt 1873 Single Action Army revolvers in various configurations are used by numerous characters throughout the movie, most notably Cole Thornton, Sheriff J.P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum) and Bart Jason (Ed Asner).
Incidentally, The Duke had a preference for New Model aka Smokeless Frame Colt SAAs with 4 ¾" barrels in his western movies not matter at what time in the 19th century the story was set.
Uberti miniatures of the Colt 1873 SAA (top down): 7,5"New Model #2553, 5,5" Old Model Fantasy #3389, 4,75" nickel plated Old Model #PM3430
Today a famous landmark of Hartford, CT., U.S.A.: The Blue Onion Dome overlooking the East Armory of the factory after being rebuilt in 1867