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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  USFA CSS (Moderator: Capt. John Fitzgerald)  |  Topic: A surprise SAA shows up...& First Tryout for the SAA "Buntline" Carbine 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: A surprise SAA shows up...& First Tryout for the SAA "Buntline" Carbine  (Read 9872 times)
Grogan
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« on: November 23, 2008, 12:28:21 am »


Maybe this will peak your interest?

The other day this SAA showed up.

I've been "curious" (to the point of wanting one) about these since they were first offered.  

But I never acted on it prior to now.  This one is slightly different from most of the others out there (<35 total, so I'm told).

Most of these reside in collections and will never be shot.

This one has been (I believe), and will be again!

I'll be reporting on it pretty soon here...

But, for now, this will give you a hint of what I'm talking about. Smiley

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Grogan, SASS #3584

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Willie Dixon
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2008, 07:38:25 pm »

is that a buntline special!?
man, oh man, if USFA comes out with one of those, that'd be amazing!
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2008, 11:29:37 pm »

Finally, someone responded to this post!  I didn't because I know exactly what it is.  I have one and Grogan and I corresponded quite a bit before he purchased it.   Hopefully he will now tell the story behind it.  In addition to the information he got from USFA, he also managed to track down the original buyer.

PS:  Willie,
Past tense.  USFA CAME out with those and, surprisingly, it turned out to be less amazing than you might think.  I'll let Grogan fill you in on the numbers, both proposed and actual.
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Willie Dixon
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« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2008, 02:16:41 am »

really?
darnit!
I'm totally new to the whole SA type stuff, I've mainly been checking out M4/AR15s and Para-Ordnance 1911s for duty use, since I used both in the CG, I figure if it isn't broke why fix it?  So as far as revolvers I'm totally new.  I just know I want a Buntline Special, preferably American Made, I can always have a gunsmith I know work on it to make it better and more reliable... it's just Tombstone!  I grew up on that movie, and it inspired me a lot to become the Sheriff applicant I am now.
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At 25, you need to follow dreams or you'll regret it later. 

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
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Doc Sunrise
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« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2008, 04:35:52 am »

I have seen some 12" USFAs out there.  You can special order one.
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Willie Dixon
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« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2008, 11:12:06 am »

sweeeeeeet yeehaawwwh,
that's going to be my "custom" pretty gun anyways, I've been drooling at the USFA site and their custom work.  I was thinking black color case-hardened and blued barrel with engraving and gold trim.  My first set are just going to be Rodeos though, pretty nice, good price, and I like their functionality look to them, very spartan.
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At 25, you need to follow dreams or you'll regret it later. 

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
Grogan
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« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2008, 11:34:53 am »

As Capt. John Fitzgerald mentioned he and I conversed at some length about this one and these in general.

I was aware of these back when they were originally issued.  But at the time owning one wasn't very high up on my priority list.

I thought to myself, "well, maybe one day" (and thinking that perhaps I'd buy a used one floating around out there...good luck on that!)

Then I saw one on a gun auction site, but the auction had been closed, apparently with no sale.

I contacted the seller to see if it was still available?

They got back to me with the information that it was.  There was also a note regarding the serial number, which appeared to be out of the S/N range for these being made by USFA.  This one had some letters then the S/N "001".

Capt. Fitzgerald and I speculated over what this serial number could mean?  Was this perhaps a prototype gun?

I ordered and paid for the revolver from the dealer (who was in an adjacent state, several hundred miles away) and had it delivered to my receiving FFL.  When it arrived, to my surprise I discovered that this one was DIFFERENT from all the other "standard" USFA production guns! 

In the photos shown on the auction site by the dealer, the size, color, and focus were not what we'd call clear, crisp, sharp.  In them I could NOT see that this particular revolver did not have the customary CCH Frame that most of the production guns had, but rather was in all blue.

Trying to learn more about this one, and why it was different, I contacted USFA.   In a few phone calls, I discovered after they did some checking for me that this revolver was 1 of 2, ordered at the same time, by a dealer in Georgia and that they had both been special ordered with (different) three letter prefixes plus the "001" designation.  They also informed me that both revolvers had also been ordered with additional .45 ACP Cylinders.

In the course of our discussion, I also inquired about the actual production figures of this run of USFA "Buntlines" (probably more appropriately called "SAA Carbines" as that's what Colt had originally called them).  What I already knew from discussing this with Capt. Fitzgerald was that USFA had announced that these were to be built by them in two different sets.  One set, the "Deluxe Set" was to be supplied as 16" Revolvers, accompanied by their Detachable Skeleton Shoulder Stocks, a special Scabbard with provision for holding both the revolver and the stock on the outside, as well as a fitted wooden case, as was often the tradition with Colt's.  This edition was to be limited to 50 sets.  Then, there were going to be a "Standard Edition" that would include everything above EXCEPT the fitted wooden case.  This was to be a run of 100 sets.

Doing some checking, my contacts at USFA revealed that in reality there were "Less than 35" of these made up, and that included BOTH configurations.

Now my curiousity was really peaked, and I contacted the dealer in Georgia to find out what they could tell me.

I was able to find and contact the dealer in Georgia, the very man who'd ordered both of these revolvers.  He was a bit surprised to hear from me, but was most forthcoming with explaining the history of my particular revolver.  "You're the 4th owner of this revolver (not including the dealer who recently fielded it).  I ordered 2 of these, back in 1999.  The one you have was ordered with a blued frame and its unique serial number.  It was ordered as a gift for a close friend of mine (perhaps a relative from what I can see of the initials).  It was ordered with an extra .45 ACP Cylinder.  Mine is the identical revolver except mine has full engraving.  Do you have any idea of what you have there and its rarity?"

I responded that I was somewhat familiar with these and realized they weren't to be found in most gun shops.  He laughed and said, "The last time I checked with USFA, they had only produced about 20, and now they no longer have any frames or the special skeleton stocks available to make up any more.  If you're wise, you'll hold onto that piece for a long while.  It's quite rare and should be quite valuable."

We discussed a little more about the revolver's history, which this dealer was aware of, and it turned out that the original owner sold it at some time after it had been given to him.  It then went into another owner's collection, however he died.  His estate sold it, and apparently at that time the .45 ACP Cylinder was seperated, where it remains in a southern state, and did not go with the gun to the new buyer.  The new buyer was from out west, and apparently (what I could find out from the seller to me) he later sold it or used it as a trade-in with the dealer I bought it from.

So, what else do I know about these and the originals?

Reading up on them in a couple of reference works and some other articles, I've read that Colt made up a total of 19 of them between 1876-1884.  Of those 19, all but 2 were chambered for .45 Colt.  The other 2 were chambered in .44-40.  Of the 19, 17 were made with 16" barrels while 1 was made with a 12" barrel and another was made with a 10" barrel, all supplied as Carbines with swing up rear sight and detachable shoulder stocks.

Of the original 19, half (I don't know if this means 9 or 10?) are still known to exist in collections.

It appears that Colt only made 19 and USFA only made close to the same number.

More on this after I take it out and shoot it.

But, right now, with >10" of snow on the ground with a 1" crust of ice on top of that, it might not be this week!  Grin
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Grogan, SASS #3584

Frontiersman: The only category where you can play with your balls and shoot your wad while tweaking the nipples on a pair of 44s. -Canada Bill
Scott Yancey
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« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2008, 03:10:26 pm »

Congrats on scoring such a rarity. And thanks for the story, I really enjoy learning about these unusual ones.

Cheers.
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Grogan
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« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2008, 06:34:42 pm »

really?
darnit!
 I just know I want a Buntline Special, preferably American Made, I can always have a gunsmith I know work on it to make it better and more reliable...

Willie,

While the gun dealer who I spoke with indicated that he thought that USFA didn't have any more of the Carbine Frames, some of the discussions I had with various people back at USFA led me to believe that they DID still have some of the special "Carbine" frames there.

It was just that they didn't have any more of the Skeleton Stocks left.  Apparently, they had a sub-contractor who forged those up.  I guess they bought them in small lots and he had several cast up "in the rough", unpolished etc.; and a few years ago they contacted him and he told them that he'd "tossed them back in the pot" (to use as raw material for something else he was casting) and there are NO MORE.

Since, technically, the 16" barrelled Carbine is classified as a Rifle, none with shorter barrels can be supplied (assuming they could supply them) with the Detachable Stock, as that would then come under the purview of being an "NFA Firearm" (requiring registration, a $200 Transfer Tax Stamp, the same as Machineguns, Silencers, Sawed Off Shotguns etc.).

So any USFA shorter than 16" "Buntline Special" would have to be supplied WITHOUT the Stock (and there are some out there, I've seen at least one advertised).

Of course this entire "Buntline Special" nomenclature appears to be a myth, as there aren't any Colt records indicating that Ned Buntline ever ordered any revolvers from Colt, especially not any special, long barrelled versions.

But USFA did buy into using that name, so if you want that special version, with special Blackpowder Frame with swing up Ladder style Rear Sight, USFA may have some of those still.

You'll have to contact them and see what they have.

As far as having a gunsmith "work on" such a USFA revolver to "make it better"...you shouldn't have to! Wink

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Grogan, SASS #3584

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« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2008, 02:01:55 am »

LOL
that post was one of my first posts!  At the time I hadn't done any research yet on the USFA... now I am a solid believer in that gun!  I love them.  I talked to a rep at USFA and he said they'd be happy to make me a SAA in any barrel length, including a buntline, it'd be a fully custom gun with engraving and gold trim.  I'm also thinking of going more with a Kurt Russel/Wyatt Earp Buntline with about a 9 or 10 inch barrel, still doing research on that.  It's going to be my present to myself when/if I'm sworn in.
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2010, 01:28:53 am »

Today we had another break in the rainy weather and I thought it would be an excellent chance to take out a few firearms I wanted to tryout.

Included in these was my SAA Carbine which I'd never shot before.

Today I only had a limited amount of time and only a partial box of ammo with me.  But this would at least be good enough for a "Fam Fire" for myself at a couple of different ranges and and allow a few close friends the opportunity to put a cylinder or two through it as well.

I had my longest USFA SAA and my shortest out with me.



We loaded the Carbine using 250g Keith style SWCs in front of 8.0 g of Unique.



The first cylinder full was fired offhand at 30 yards and looked like this.  The wind was blowing very strongly and it was a little difficult holding things steady.



Actually I think the Carbine has the potential as a real tack driver however the rear sight is a quite wide "V" notch and it's a bit difficult to imagine a straight line across the top of the V.  It's easy to let the Front Sight drop down into the V slightly and the results are seen by part of the group dropping down as well.

I snapped a photo of Miss Lil shooting the Carbine and you can see what the sights look like here.



I wanted to see what the flip-up Ladder Sight would be like shooting, but had no idea where to start or where it would shoot and what ranges various settings would work for.

The aperture on the Rear Sight when the Ladder is swung up is somewhat odd.  It's sort of a Pear Shaped  Peep Aperture and where to hold the Front Sight Blade will take some experimenting.  I tried half a cylinder full with the Ladder swung up and holding for the bottom target of two mounted on a combat sillouette as a backing.  My spotters said I was shooting high, so I went back to the "V"-notch Rear and at 50 yards my hits were hitting ~3" low.  All my shots hit into the center region of the sillouette, just at varying heights.



I think I'll have to make a return trip with about 3 boxes of ammo to really "get the feel" of where the sights want to be held in order to hit well at varying distances.

Surprisingly enough, eveybody (four of us) who shot it all shot well and it was actually rather pleasing to shoot.
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Grogan, SASS #3584

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Harley Starr
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2010, 08:47:22 am »

I think even Col. Douglas Mortimer would've enjoyed shooting that SAA carbine. Wink
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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2010, 09:09:13 am »

Congrats on the acquisition, Grogan.

Got me an old Uberti stocked ‘B’Line’ ‘n it’s a hoot ta shoot. Used it at a non-SASS shoot for a rifle ‘n a pistol on the same stage once upon a time.
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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2010, 01:35:18 pm »

Very cool, Grogan!  Smiley

Thanks for sharing the experience with us, and with pictures to boot!   Wink


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« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2010, 05:03:59 pm »

Grogan,
Glad to see that you finally got the "special" out to the range!  Mine still sits in it's case, unfired (along with my USFA Richards Mason '51 Navy).
For those who are interested, some time back Grogan posted a very interesting story about this gun and how he acquired it.  It is now on page 7.  Here is the link:

http://www.cascity.com/forumhall/index.php/topic,23297.0.html
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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2010, 03:01:39 pm »

Thanks for posting that link, Capt. John! Kinda makes the story complete!


Grogan, I could merge those two topics, if you like.
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« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2010, 02:42:00 pm »

Thanks for posting that link, Capt. John! Kinda makes the story complete!


Grogan, I could merge those two topics, if you like.

Sure...that'd work Rawhide  Wink
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Grogan, SASS #3584

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RRio
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2010, 06:08:23 pm »

Done!  Smiley
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« Reply #18 on: August 12, 2017, 04:18:42 pm »

 My apologies for dragging such an old post up. I found it when googling pictures of single actions with shoulder stocks. The original pic (one) shows in the google search, but not on the page here. All the pictures here have disappeared due to photobuckets new ransom policy. Would it be possible to see pictures of your gun and the targets you shot? They may be in private albums, in any event, I wasnt able to backtrack them.

 
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yahoody
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« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2017, 10:36:57 pm »

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