Skip to comments.How the Colt Single Action Army Revolver Won the West
Posted on 11/05/2016 11:19:05 AM PDT by PROCON
On October 26, 1881, shots rang out at the O.K. Corral. Within the first 30 seconds of the shootout, three members of the Clanton gang were killed. Men on both sides, including Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Billy Clanton, would become legends in part because of what happened in Tombstone, Arizona. They were firing a legendary weapon, too.
The Colt Single Action Army held many names over the years. First came its clunky official title, the New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol. But soon it became known as the Frontier, the Equalizer, the Model P, and most famously, the Peacemaker.
There was no peace that October day in Tombstone. But the shootout was one of many that cemented the reputation of this six-chamber gun that saw more than 20 years service with the United States Army and became the iconic revolver of the West.
To trace the story of the Colt 45, you've got to go back 45 years before the O.K. Corral to when Samuel Colt patented his first percussion revolver design in February 1836. Colt plugged away on wooden models and technical drawings until Baltimore gunsmith John Pearson forged a working prototype. Colt soon set up the Patent Arms Company in Paterson, New Jersey, a town named after Colt's first production revolver, "The Paterson."
(Excerpt) Read more at popularmechanics.com ...
Good article on it's history.
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Actually, Smith and Wesson was there, too, although you would never know it from the movies.
Round doesn’t look right.
Shouldn’t it be a rimmed round?
I don't know enough of it's history.
I'm sure someone here will know.
When I was a kid (60 years ago), a man who was old then would bring an old Colt revolver to the Clearwater Rifle Range. It was certified by NRA as having been carried by one of the Earps, Morgan I think, during the OK Corral fight.
He had some reduced loads for it, and would each of us fire 6 shots.
I treasure the memory to this day.
Great article. I’ve always wanted one of these and have been researching the uberti and cimmaron reproductions. Everyone needs a classic single action in their arsenal!
Rimmed, like a 22, 38 or 45 Long Colt, not straight like a 380, 9mm or 45 ACP.
Interesting. The first revolver prototype was made in Baltimore. Good luck trying to carry one there now.
Patton wouldn't have to go to Mexico these days to find America's enemies.
Wyatt used a smith and Wesson break top. It’s well documented.
I like the Mershon & Hollingsworht out of family pride.
There are actually four "clicks" on the full-cock pull of a SAA hammer, supposedly matching the four letters of the inventor's name: C - O - L - T.
I find the SAA one of the most beautiful, elegant weapons ever made. That and the 1911A1 are THE classic models of pistols.
Baltimore? Everyone does, just not legally.
What about the Buntline Special?
He favored a Schofield as well
Whoa! Never knew that. I could see that as an impediment to wide-spread adoption. In school in the fifties, we always learned Colt was the innovator of interchangeable parts, but we never learned about this design shortcoming. How did he get his company off the ground with this design?
Wyatt Earp was given the 10'" barrel Colt by Ned Buntline, a newspaperman as a publicity stunt. Earp had a local gunsmith cut the barrel down to a normal 5 ½" to use it. Earp was also known for buying old Colts and giving them to friends and acquaintances, telling them these were the gun he used at the OK Corral when they were not. Earp owned both Smith's and Colts throughout his career.
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