Offered here is an antique black powder frame Colt Single Action Army Flattop Target Revolver that letters with extended grips and in .450 Eley, a desirable caliber that has bemused Colt collectors for decades. In "The Official Record of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver 1872-1895" on page 46 the authors write, “An interesting fact became evident when comparing listings in the Colt ledgers with copies of the actual invoices found in the Connecticut State Library. The designation ‘Eley’ or ‘Boxer’ was used interchangeably. Revolvers listed in .45 Eley in the record ledger may be listed on the shipping invoice as .45 Boxer and vice versa.” The authors accounted for a total of 275 SAA .450 Boxer/Eley Flattop Target Revolvers falling in the 1-164100 serial number range and out of the 275 units 230 had a blue finish and 7 ½ inch barrel like this example (page 405). In the 1880s the .450 became a popular short range target cartridge. This revolver is pictured and identified in "A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver" on page xxviii. It features a barrel with the one-line Colt Pall Mall, London address on top and “450 ELEY” on the left side, a frame with the standard two-line patent dates marking followed by an encircled Rampant Colt, target sights, London proofs on the underside of the barrel and behind each cylinder flute, and matching serial numbers frame, trigger, and back strap. Each of the special order extended grip panels are numbered to the gun. The factory fitted extended grip on these Target SAAs was the predecessor to the Bisley Target Revolvers. The accompanying factory letter for this revolver confirms the 7 ½ inch barrel in .450 Eley, blue finish, and “rubber, extra long and checkered” stocks. The letter states the revolver was part of a September 11, 1890 six gun shipment delivered to Colt’s London Agency, London, England. Of special interest is No. 135348, which is one digit away from this example (no. 135347), is in similar configuration as it too has a 7 ½ inch barrel in .450 Eley and a long grip, was shipped to Colt’s London Agency on September 14, 1890, which is a few days after this revolver left the factory for England, and is pictured in “The Official Record of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver 1872-1895” on page 405. The rare correct original partitioned factory case features a Colt Pall Mall, London label on the interior of the lid, ornate and engraved metal corner protectors on the lid and a brass plaque on the lid inscribed “COLT’S PAT./FIRE ARMS Co. LTD.” The case contains a cartridge block holding 20 .450 Eley cartridges, James Dixon & Sons oiler, cleaning rod with attachments, and two screwdrivers. As noted in "A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver," this is "a special case as it was designed to accommodate the elongated grip." This type of cases is extremely rare. Provenance: The Gerald Fox Collection; The Allan S. Kelley Collection; The George S. Lewis Jr. Collection; Property of a Gentleman
Very fine, retaining 70% original blue finish with thinning to brown on the balance, smooth gray patina on the grip straps and a few patches of pitting on the cylinder and frame at the breech. The special order extended grips are excellent with very minimal handing marks and crisp checkering. The front sight has been modified during the period of usage as well as the rear sight, a common occurrence. Mechanically excellent. The case is fine with minor handling/storage marks and some typical high spot wear on the lining. An extremely rare example of an elongated grip, factory cased Colt London Single Action Flattop Target Revolver.
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