You’ve no doubt seen them on TV westerns and on the big screen. They are such a part of our history and culture in the United States that a lot people probably hardly ever notice anymore. I’m talking about those revolvers. A large number of these are the legendary Colt Single Action Army revolvers. Easily the most famous pistol in all of American history. In 1873, the US Government was conducting tests on a new military service revolver. Having just come out of the age of the old percussion revolvers that used nitrated paper or linen cartridges and fulminate of mercury percussion caps, they were moving into the future of firearms technology by switching over to the new all-in-one self-contained cartridges that we are familiar with today. They did not really come into being until 1860, when Benjamin Tyler Henry perfected the invention of Daniel Wesson (yes, of Smith and Wesson fame) and put it to work in his wonderful new lever-action repeating rifle, which later came to be the legendary Winchester Rifle. Unlike the old percussion firearms, these could be used in any weather or conditions, and were more reliable and less prone to errors. What made things really work for the legendary Colt Single Action Army (SAA) revolvers was the fact that the cartridges were compatible in both rifles and pistols, which certainly helped to launch Colt to great heights. The SAA is still made, and in demand as much as ever. A true working pistol that helped to “Win the West” and cleaned it up afterward. As an example, take a look the old Wild West, especially places like the old Arizona and New Mexico Territories. What used to be dangerous and lawless places are now much easier to live in, thanks to the taming of those territories. The Colt revolvers played a major part in that. Famous lawmen like William Barclay “Bat” Masterson and Wyatt Earp, soldiers like TE Lawrence (as in Lawrence of Arabia) were fond of the famous Colt revolvers. So were the outlaws such as William Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid.
The guns that truly won the West are represented here. There are acutally two firearms that get credit for winning the West. The Colt was the PISTOL that won the West, and in the rifle department, that honor goes to the Winchester. While the SAA was originally chambered for over 30 different calibers, the ones most people associate with are the well-known .45 and the Smith and Wesson SW .44. Later Colts had the cylinders lengthened to accept longer cartridges. The longer cartridges hold more powder, and thus have a higher velocity. I could go on and on about the most legendary revolver in American history, but if you wish to read more, please visit GunClassics.com, where you can also find my “Gun Pages” a resource with information and stories of many other legendary firearms throughout history.
For authentic non-firing and blank-firing replicas of the most famous firearms of all time, please visit GunsOfOld.com, where you’ll also find a large selection of accessories, re-enactor gear from many different periods of history and more.