This is an extraordinary example of a Colt Single Action Army Revolver with carbine 16 inch length barrel and attachable shoulder stock ('Buntline Special') that was manufactured between 1876 and 1884. In "A STUDY OF THE COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER", authors Graham, Kopec and Moore state that Colt factory ledgers list eighteen revolvers with ten, twelve and sixteen inch carbine length barrels in the special Buntline serial number range of 28,800-28830. Four of these revolvers have barrel lengths that are not listed in the ledgers. This revolver is accompanied by a notarized letter from Osborne Klavestad from the Stagecoach Museum in Shakopee, Minnesota identifying this revolver by serial number as being one of only two Buntline 16 inch revolvers that were set aside to be presented to Colt employees and never appeared on the common market. The other Buntline is on display at the Hartford Library. The letter goes on stating that the gun was found hidden behind some books in an estate in Hartford. Mr. Klavestad says in the letter, "The Colt Buntline is probably the finest specimen in existence today, being mint, original, unfired and complete with stock." The letter also mentioned that the stocks were cast in England by order of Colt for "perfection and quality". There are also copies of the original Colt stat sheet on this revolver listing it as 45 caliber with a 16 1/8 inch barrel, among other specs and that it was manufactured in 1871, (an error of the cataloguer for Hegeman) and there are copies of original drawings of the revolver. A copy of a Colt letter dated June 15, 1978 also accompanies the revolver identifying serial number 28813 as a "true Buntline/Carbine with 16" barrel originally numbered for production in October 1876 for presentation not sold." It mentions that two 16" Buntlines were made and the second one is in the Colt Museum. It further states that the revolver was given to Colt's head librarian in 1895 (today they are called bookkeepers). There is a letter of correspondence from R.L. Wilson dated June 29, 1980 explaining that through contacts at the Colt factory, Hegeman was able to obtain the revolver. There is also an original Kimball Arms company catalog featuring the Hegeman Colt collection. The revolver was presented to the Colt employee in 1895, was part of the J.R. Hegeman collection and then went on to the Stagecoach Museum in Minnesota in 1928. It should be noted that when Mr. Klavestad purchased the revolver for the museum from the Hegeman collection, he paid $85.00 for it. This revolver has the distinctive Buntline Special 16-inch barrel with dovetail-mounted, nickel-silver rifle front sight and special flat-top frame with gas port centered above the cylinder-barrel gap. The frame has a milled-out top strap groove that is fitted with a folding adjustable rear sight. The sight has an adjustable sighting bar with v-notched sight on the top that can be used as a close-range sight when the leaf sight is folded. The frame has a special hammer screw that serves as a lug for the hooks on the attachable shoulder stock. The revolver has an oval ejector rod head and bordered knurling on the hammer. The brass, nickel-plated, attachable stock has two hooks to engage the hammer screw, a hook on the bottom to engage the revolver butt and a threaded stock screw with knurled knob to tighten the stock. The revolver barrel, ejector housing, cylinder, trigger guard and backstrap have a commercial blue finish. The frame, loading gate and hammer have a color casehardened finish. The sight bar, trigger and screws are niter blue. The one-piece walnut grip has a varnish finish. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the legend: "COLT'S PT.F.A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD.CT. U.S.A." in one line. The left side of the frame is correctly roll-stamped with the Colt two-date/two-line patent markings followed by the encircled Rampant Colt trademark. The caliber designation, "45 CAL" is stamped on the left shoulder of the trigger guard. The loading gate is stamped with the assembly number "27". The serial number "28813" is stamped on the bottom of the frame, trigger guard and backstrap. All of the visible serial numbers match. A "H" Colt inspection mark is stamped in the frame well above the firing pin hole. A small "I" is stamped on the rear face of the cylinder. There are no markings on the attachable stock.
Near new. The revolver is all original and remains in spectacular, unfired, condition with nearly all of the bright original high polish blue and casehardened finish. The barrel and ejector housing retain nearly all of the high polish blue finish with some very minor edge wear at the muzzle and forward edge of the ejector housing. The barrel markings are crisp. The trigger guard and backstrap show slightly more handling wear. The cylinder has a faint drag mark but retains nearly all of the original blue finish. The frame, loading gate and hammer have all of the original casehardened finish with vivid case colors. The trigger, rear sight bar and screws retain more than 90% of the delicate niter blue finish. The grip is in excellent condition with very minor handling marks, some edge wear on the heel and a small spot of flaked finish on the left side of the grip. The attachable shoulder stock is in excellent plus condition with all of the original nickel-plated finish and nearly all of the blue finish on the stock screw and knurled knob. The barrel legend, patent dates and serial numbers are crisp. The action is tight and functions perfectly. An original Buntline Special with the attachable shoulder stock is one of the rarest, best known and most sought-after Colt revolvers. Due to the extreme rarity, Buntline Special revolvers are found in only the most advanced Colt collections. Experts believe that this impeccably documented, extraordinary specimen is the finest Colt Buntline Special Single Action in existence.
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