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Old 01-24-2012, 03:47 AM   #1
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SAA Colt

A buddy showed me a first edition Colt SAA that had an interesting feature. The front half of the trigger guard was narrowed and the trigger was askew from the centerline to line up with the front narrowed line. What is this type of setup called and what purpose did it provide? I believe it was .38 WCF caliber. Nice patena, no original finish and the lock up was very loose. Still, the action worked correctly and it looked all original with original wood stocks. I advised him to contact Colt for a documentation letter.

Thanks in advance for your replies.
 
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Old 01-24-2012, 08:25 PM   #2
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It may not be all that old an alteration.

Back in the 1920's and 30's, famed Colt representative John "Fitz" Fitzgerald developed Colt firearms which featured the front of the trigger guard cut away.
These rare Fitz gun were usually Detective Specials and a very few 1911 autos.

Cutting the trigger guard away completely was risky and if the gun was bumped, the unsupported trigger guard could bend, fouling the trigger.
So, equally famed US Border Patrolman Bill Jordon, who like Fitzgerald was an absolutely HUGE man with hands like catcher's mitts, came up with his own idea to give his banana-like fingers a better clearance to the trigger, but not have the entire front cut away.

Jordon's version was to narrow the guard on the right side but leave a thin section in place to prevent the guard from bending.
Every time a Fitzgerald or Jordon type gun is pictured in a gun magazine, people cut up good guns, which soon show up in the used section at the gun store.

It's very likely this SAA was an owner conversion sometime after the 1950's when the Jordon altered trigger guard started showing up in gun magazines.
I have seen at least one SAA that was modified like the Jordon trigger guard, but not the modified trigger.
I suspect this is a non-factory conversion, but you never know, an Archive letter might turn up a surprise but is an expensive gamble.
 
Old 01-25-2012, 05:28 PM   #3
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dfariswheel,
Thank you for your reply. I will give my buddy a heads up and report back if he gets a letter from Colt. The deal is....it looks original to me. I dont think it was a latter day conversion, as the patena/finish is identical to the rest of the pistol. But who knows...again, thanks.
 
 
Old 02-03-2012, 02:09 AM   #4
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I spoke with a Colt collector at last weekend gunshow. He advised that it was a "fast draw" set up. Some early guns were sent back to Colt for the conversion. He advised if it is an authentic Colt conversion, the pistol could be worth "big money". No amount given.
 
Old 02-03-2012, 05:54 PM   #5
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Verifying will be a problem.
Colt's Archive lists how a gun was set up when it was shipped.
If the gun was sent back later for alteration or custom work, no records were kept.

Your first move is to find out if Colt actually ever offered any such conversion. I'm not an SAA expert but know my way around them and I've never heard of such a factory conversion.
Just remember that there are Colt "collectors", then there are genuine Colt experts.
You might first contact the Colt Collectors Association and ask for help:

Welcome to The Colt Collectors Association official web site

Another possible source of expert knowledge is the NRA Dope Bag.
If you're an NRA member, (shame on you if you're not), you can send a self addressed envelope to the Dope Bag and they will answer ONE question per letter. These people will either know, or will know who to ask for you and will respond with the straight info.

I'm not sure just who to talk to at Colt for info, since as I said, an Archive letter probably will show it as a standard production gun.
You might call Colt and ask if they can recommend someone to contact.
 
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