This U.S. Artillery Model Colt SAA revolver is accompanied by a "Letter of Authentication" (copy) by Colt Single Action expert John A. Kopec. The letter describes the features and condition of this revolver, and the details of the Colt "Artillery" alteration and refurbishment. In the letter, Kopec notes that the frame no. 4547 places it within the historic Lot Five (nos. 4500-5504) serial number range. Lot Five was one of the prime groupings of SAA revolvers issued to the 7th Cavalry from Ft. Abraham Lincoln on July 2, 1874, just before the 7th's departure to the Black Hills and Custer's infamous defeat at Little Bighorn. "Our records indicate that most of the serial numbered components of this revolver have been substituted (changed) at on possibly two previous occasions. During 1982 when Dr. H. Sterling Fenn purchased this revolver from Mr. Dean Williams it had the following components fitted to its frame #4547; triggerguard #48962, backstrap #136628, cylinder #1119-DFC, and barrel #5369-A. Later we find that most components were again changed. The trigger guard was changed to #17243; the backstrap to #17057. The cylinder to #8289-J and the barrel was changed to #6106-L and these are the serial numbers currently appearing on this revolver." Kopec also states the grips and mainspring have been changed out and the second style ejector is incorrect for the early barrel. When the revolver was documented and photographed for "Cavalry & Artillery Revolvers...a Continuing Study" (see page 269), it was fitted with the serialized components listed in Kopec's letter when it was owned by Dr. Fenn. The frame serial number 4547 is listed on page 271 among the known Lot Five SAAs now surviving as Artillery Models. The frame has the "US" marking. The trigger guard (no. 17243) is in close proximity to host revolver no. 17128 which belonged to Troop F, 7th Cavalry as of July 10, 1888. In the letter, Kopec noted, "These later revolvers had been issued to the 'Custer Avengers' just some four month after the famous Custer Battle on October 3, 1876." The back strap (no. 17057) falls into a serial range sub-inspected by W.W. Johnson and is in close proximity to no. 17004 that was issued to Troop C, 5th Cavalry. The cylinder (partial serial number 8289), too, falls into a serial number range of host revolvers sub-inspected by W.W. Johnson and is in close proximity to no. 18289 that was issued to Troop L. 7th Cavalry. The barrel (partial serial number 6106) is in close proximity to host revolver no. 16320 known to have belonged to Co. F, 6th Cavalry. Provenance: Dean Williams; Dr. H. Sterling Fenn
Very good with substituted components (see above). The barrel and ejector rod housing retain 80% of the blue finish. Strong traces of blue remain in the cylinder flutes and in and around the protected areas of the grip straps, otherwise mottled brown-gray patina. Slight traces of case colors remain on the hammer and frame. The replacement grip is also very good with a couple chips at the bottom, high edge wear and minor handling marks. Mechanically excellent.
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