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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2011 Digital Edition - Page 58

Since the late 1870s, three different barrel lengths have been standard for the Colt SAA. The 7½" length (left) came first in 1873, the 5½" (center) in 1875 and the 4¾" (right) was made a standard option in 1879. Inclusive of all three generations, Colt SAAs have been chambered for these eight cartridges in significant numbers. From left: .45 Colt, .44 WCF (.44-40), .38 WCF (.38-40), .32 WCF (.32-20) .41 Colt, .38 Special, .44 Special and .357 Magnum. A Colt Single-Action Primer Starting as early as 1892 but not becoming standard until 1896, Colt changed the manner in securing the base pin to a spring-loaded transverse latch. When introduced and until the 1890s, the cylinder’s base pin was secured by a screw angling in from the front of the frame. This frame style is often mistakenly called the black powder frame. Sorting ‘Em Out Photos: Yvonne Venturino Mike “Duke” Venturino ince its beginning in 1873, the Colt SAA has been made in three distinct “generations.” First generation SAAs ran continuously until 1940 with serial numbers stopping at 357859; there were no letters in the serial numbers. During this time there were two broad sub-categories — both of which were misnamed and were concerning WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2011 S 58

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