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  • Colt SAA's in Alaska?

    I am a lover of the Colt Single Action Army. I prefer to see and hear about Colts that really "go to work". I am curious...do those of you that live in Alaska see many SAA's still in use today? At one time they were of course quite popular for hard use and still are hard to beat today. They are not available in the real heavy hitters, and that is what is usually mentioned when talking about handguns in Alaska. Just like rifles though, the mega magnums are not always really needed.

    Dan

  • #2
    Originally posted by Big Muddy View Post
    I am a lover of the Colt Single Action Army. I prefer to see and hear about Colts that really "go to work". I am curious...do those of you that live in Alaska see many SAA's still in use today? At one time they were of course quite popular for hard use and still are hard to beat today. They are not available in the real heavy hitters, and that is what is usually mentioned when talking about handguns in Alaska. Just like rifles though, the mega magnums are not always really needed.

    Dan
    When I had half ton of male Alaska Brown Bear on top of me that is not what I was thinking.
    "Life Is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing" - Helen Keller

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Big Muddy View Post
      I am a lover of the Colt Single Action Army. I prefer to see and hear about Colts that really "go to work". I am curious...do those of you that live in Alaska see many SAA's still in use today? At one time they were of course quite popular for hard use and still are hard to beat today. They are not available in the real heavy hitters, and that is what is usually mentioned when talking about handguns in Alaska. Just like rifles though, the mega magnums are not always really needed.

      Dan
      You see lots of Ruger SAs.

      I had a Colt SAA 357. I carried it for my bear protection gun for years. Thank God I never had to use it.

      It wasn't rugged enough , IME. It had leaf springs, and I had couple of breakages.

      I took it to Great Northern Guns and traded it for a Ruger Blackhawk and they gave me $200 Boot. Ruger uses Coil Springs which are considered much more reliable. I still have the gun.

      Those SAAs ARE Lovable. They are Useable, too, but I've not heard they were "Old Reliable", for Alaska.

      The choice should be, what you have confidence in. Big DA volvers seem to be most prevalent.

      Smitty of the North
      Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
      Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
      You can't out-give God.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Big Muddy View Post
        ...do those of you that live in Alaska see many SAA's still in use today? At one time they were of course quite popular for hard use and still are hard to beat today. They are not available in the real heavy hitters, and that is what is usually mentioned when talking about handguns in Alaska....
        Haven't seen a one- new manufacture or old, real or imitation. I love em too, but the collectors drove the price up so high, they're just too rich for me to own, and especially to carry into the field.

        Meanwhile most talk about handguns in Alaska has been taken over by the bears. If it can't kill, skin and mount a bear with one shot, it's not a REAL Alaska handgun, to hear folks talk. Meanwhile there are a whole lot of other things handguns are good for, but you just can't talk about them without being overrun by bears.

        Between the Bear Bonkers and the collectors, there really isn't much place for them, and heaven forbid anyone try to talk about them.

        So I've just had to go undercover with my interests. I have smacked 20 years worth of deer, one elk and a couple of bou with SAA rounds, specifically the 45 Colt and the 44 Special. All one-shot kills AT ORIGINAL FACTORY BALLISTICS. We're talking standard weight softish lead bullets of 255 and 240 grains poking along at 750 fps. After all, those are the ballistics that gave the rounds their reputation. Kill like crazy out to a little over 50 yards, as far as I've ever shot game with them. And I've never recovered a single bullet from any of them, not even the elk. That's cuzz I take only broadside lung shots.

        I'm hiding the rounds in a 4 5/8 Ruger Blackhawk (45 Colt) and a 4" S&W 629 so no one is the wiser. Easier than listening to the experts tell me how foolish I am with all those bears just waiting to assault me.
        "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
        Merle Haggard

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        • #5
          In 20 years of bumbling around up here, I've yet to see one in the field. I've seen plenty of Rugers and more 629s than you can count, but zero Colts. I have seen plenty of Colts in collections, but never out in the wild.

          It likely has far more to do with economics than prowess, but a Super Blackhawk at 1/4 the price of a Colt for what is arguably a better gun is pretty compelling.
          "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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          • #6
            I have a second generation Colt SAA with a 7.5 inch barrel that is one of my favorite firearms.

            I acquired it from Dixion's gun shop when I was in the Army stationed at Ft Wainwright. (Many, many years ago).

            Carried it all over AK while stationed in AK.

            When I got out of the Army I continued to carry it during my AK outdoor adventures.

            When I lived in Barrow I just had to take a couple caribou with it.

            I still occasionally carry it.

            My boys are starting to carry it now on our outdoor adventures.

            We shot it quite often. We have introduced a couple dozen kids to shooting and the Colt is the favorite handgun. (The favorite rifle is the M1 Garand)
            “Move that fat ass Henry!”
            “Don’t swing your balls or you’ll swamp the boat!"

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hodgeman View Post
              In 20 years of bumbling around up here, I've yet to see one in the field. I've seen plenty of Rugers and more 629s than you can count, but zero Colts. I have seen plenty of Colts in collections, but never out in the wild.

              It likely has far more to do with economics than prowess, but a Super Blackhawk at 1/4 the price of a Colt for what is arguably a better gun is pretty compelling.
              I was packing a 2nd Generation on some of my outings a few years ago. Got asked a lot of questions in the field. I was having fun with the combos I carried. If I had a big bore rifle then the hip holster might have a .38-40 SAA of maybe ever (GASP) the .32-20. The next time out I might be packing a whimpy lever gun but in the holster would be a modern .454 or .44 magnum. Last fall out moose hunting for a few days my rifle was an old Winchester in .25-35. Didn't shoot a moose with it, but I have taken deer with it a long time ago. I like old guns and am not afraid to take out the obsolete calibers. I do not carry a whimpy rifle and whimpy revolver at the same time. Killed a 9 1/2' Brownie with a .348 I bought from Dr. Gaede's estate. Also a fork hor moose the same year. Only needed one shot for the bull, 7 for the bear. The model 71 holds 5. I did a super fast reload. The bear was 25 paces from me when he finally dropped for good.
              Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

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              • #8
                Smitty

                I agree that the leaf springs will break when the coil springs will not. While I have had very few that actually did break, it has happened. For that reason when I am out with a SAA I carry a small "repair kit" with the necessary springs. I am nowhere near being a gunsmith, but even I can replace anything in them, and could do it by campfire light. I have also had parts break on NM Rugers, and perish the thought having to take them down for repairs in the field.

                Brown Bear

                I knew talking about the Colt would lead to their lack of power for bears. Not wanting another bear thread at all. As you stated the old cartridges can still Git Er Done! I run mine just a little faster. My Specials are 1000 fps and my 45's run around 860.

                hogfamily

                That's what I'm talking about! I love the 7 1/2 inchers. That is my idea of an old time Alaska handgun, especially in the 2nds.

                Smoke Ross

                I too like the "dash" cartridges, especially the 38-40. I can easily run mine to 10mm velocity. It seems the 10 is all the rage for bears now (no....not a bear thread) but run the same .40 caliber bullet to the same velocity from an old Colt and you're lucky to kill a rabbit.

                And just to clarify.....I like the big boomers too.

                Dan

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Big Muddy View Post
                  Smitty

                  I agree that the leaf springs will break when the coil springs will not. While I have had very few that actually did break, it has happened. For that reason when I am out with a SAA I carry a small "repair kit" with the necessary springs. I am nowhere near being a gunsmith, but even I can replace anything in them, and could do it by campfire light. I have also had parts break on NM Rugers, and perish the thought having to take them down for repairs in the field.

                  Dan
                  Thanks Muddy:

                  I'm not an expert on volver mechanicals, by any means.

                  I still think my Ruger BH is more reliable than the Colt SAA. That was/is of overiding importance to me.

                  Who wants their gun to break when bears are comin atcha?? Not me.

                  Smitty of the North
                  Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
                  Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
                  You can't out-give God.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Big Muddy View Post

                    Brown Bear

                    I knew talking about the Colt would lead to their lack of power for bears. Not wanting another bear thread at all. As you stated the old cartridges can still Git Er Done! I run mine just a little faster. My Specials are 1000 fps and my 45's run around 860.
                    Just for pure curiosity sake and even more shooting fun, you might try using the original loads a while and poke some game with them. Gotta say though, that the bullets I'm using have large meplats rather than the pointy or round noses of the originals, but they sure work.

                    Realization smacked me up side the head when I compared ballistics of my traditional muzzleloaders with the two old suppository rounds. Round ball rather than bullet so less penetration skills than the revolver bullets at the same weight and velocity, but a 230 grain 54 caliber round ball started at typical muzzleloader velocities is doing at 100 yards about what the revolver slug is doing at 50, and the round ball is no slouch on game that far out. In fact I've only ever recovered one of them in a whole lot of critter ventilating.
                    "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                    Merle Haggard

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Smitty of the North View Post
                      Thanks Muddy:

                      I'm not an expert on volver mechanicals, by any means.

                      I still think my Ruger BH is more reliable than the Colt SAA. That was/is of overiding importance to me.

                      Who wants their gun to break when bears are comin atcha?? Not me.

                      Smitty of the North
                      Now that there is a GOOD point Smitty. I will say in my experience the most reliable (as in probably won't break) revolver would be an Old Model Ruger Blackhawk. I honestly cannot recall ever having one quit on me. I can't say that about any other. The OM's are pretty easy to work on too.

                      A friend of mine had an OM Blackhawk 45 that had been made into a fixed sight gun. Might be the best of both worlds. I have had a rear sight break on a Ruger. (Hint: don't drop your gun!)

                      It is true that the Colt SAA prices have gotten off into the ridiculous range. I wouldn't be buying one today for the specific reason to make a field gun for everyday carry. My original post stemmed from curiosity if anyone had one from days of old that was still seeing every day field use.

                      Dan

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                      • #12
                        Guess I have been lucky with my Colt SAA. I have put at least 2000 rds through mine. (Bought several cases of ammo really cheap when I was in Barrow, another story, and when a couple of ANC stores were going out of business.)

                        I have shot it at minus 30F to plus 80F. Carried it all over AK and some in the lower 48 always in a western rig in all kinds of WX, rain, snow, &c.

                        Never had a broken anything, never a failure.

                        Or maybe they are not as delicate as some are lead to believe?
                        “Move that fat ass Henry!”
                        “Don’t swing your balls or you’ll swamp the boat!"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have a 4 3/4" Bisley in .38-40 that is a blast to shoot. Nicest trigger of any old Colt I have fired. I have taken it to my gravel pit several times and pumped 100 rounds at a time through it. It isn't pretty, so the collector value it has left doesn't stop me from shooting it. I also have an SAA in .41LC I take out and shoot. It's the real McCoy old cowboy gun. I got the time period leather with it along with dies. It carries elk horn grips from a long ago owner from Montana. I bought 500 rounds of bullets for it so I can load long into the future.
                          Hunt Ethically. Respect the Environment.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My wife likes our Colt SAA .45LC too.

                            “Move that fat ass Henry!”
                            “Don’t swing your balls or you’ll swamp the boat!"

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hogfamily View Post
                              Guess I have been lucky with my Colt SAA. I have put at least 2000 rds through mine. (Bought several cases of ammo really cheap when I was in Barrow, another story, and when a couple of ANC stores were going out of business.)

                              I have shot it at minus 30F to plus 80F. Carried it all over AK and some in the lower 48 always in a western rig in all kinds of WX, rain, snow, &c.

                              Never had a broken anything, never a failure.

                              Or maybe they are not as delicate as some are lead to believe?
                              Yeah, Hog.

                              First off, I don't Low Rate Colt SAA revolvers. I've got no statistics to bolster my lack of confidence in leaf springs, versus coil springs.

                              But just my own personal experience. WHICH is plenty good enuff for me.

                              I've heard that leaf springs make for faster Lock Time. ?? Fine, those SAAs are fine guns with a lot of History and Romance behind them. They're just not my choice for a bear confrontation, for the reason I've outlined.

                              (I do think that certain Older cartridges are under rated, in these days of 454s and the like.)

                              Look at my point thisaway. If you had an Auto that jammed on you a time or two, I think you might consider another handgun, maybe a Revolver.

                              Used to be, No-one even considered an Auto pistol as suitable for bear defense, because they were considered unreliable, and underpowered. Nowadays, We hear otherwise. It's what one is comfortable with.

                              Smitty of the North
                              Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
                              Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
                              You can't out-give God.

                              Comment

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