The Colt Single
Action Army — also known as the Model P, Peacemaker, M1873, Single Action Army,
SAA, and Colt 45 — is a single action revolver with a revolving cylinder
holding six metallic cartridges. It was designed for the U.S. government
service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing
Company, today Colt's Manufacturing Company, and was adopted as the standard
military service revolver until 1892.
The Colt Single
Action Army has been offered in over 30 different calibers and various barrel
lengths. Its overall appearance has remained consistent since 1873. Colt has
discontinued its production twice, but brought it back due to popular demand.
The revolver was popular with ranchers, lawmen, and outlaws alike, but current
models are mostly bought by collectors and reenactors. Its design has
influenced the production of numerous other models from other companies.
Bound by the Rollin
White patent (#12,648, April 3, 1855) and not wanting to pay a royalty fee to
Smith & Wesson, Colt could not begin development of bored-through revolver
cylinders for metallic cartridge use until April 4, 1869. For the design, Colt
turned to two of its best engineers: William Mason and Charles Brinckerhoff
Richards who had developed a number of revolvers and blackpowder conversions
for the company. Their effort was designed for the United States government
service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company
and adopted as the standard military service revolver. Its original moniker was
the "New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol".
The very first
production Single Action Army, serial number 1, thought lost for many years
after its production, was found in a barn in Nashua, New Hampshire in the early
1900s. It was chambered in .45 Colt, a center fire design containing charges
of up to 40 grains (2.6 g) of fine grained black powder and a 255-grain (16.5
g) blunt round nosed bullet. Relative to period cartridges and most later
handgun rounds, it was quite powerful in its full loading.
The Colt Single
Action Army revolver (along with the 1870 and 1875 Smith and Wesson Model 3
("Schofield" revolvers) replaced the Colt 1860 Army Percussion
revolver. The Colt quickly gained favor over the S&W and remained the
primary US military sidearm until 1892 when it was replaced by the .38 Long
Colt caliber Colt Model 1892, a double action revolver with swing-out cylinder.
By the end of 1874, serial no. 16,000 was reached; 12,500 Colt Single Action
Army revolvers chambered for the .45 Colt cartridge had entered service and the
remaining revolvers were sold in the civilian market.-Wikipidea
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