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Favorite Firearms: An Heirloom Single Action Army

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In 1986, Colt celebrated its 150th anniversary with an “Engraved Sampler” option on several models. That year, I accompanied my father to an upscale gun show in St. Charles, Ill. He brought a Winchester 62A .22 pump-action rifle to a well-known collectible-firearms dealer with the hope of selling it to pay for a 150th Colt Single Action Army. The dealer unzipped the case and then quickly zipped it back up before lowering it under the table; he didn’t want anyone else to see it. My dad’s mint-condition Winchester had a factory birdseye maple stock that made it quite rare and valuable.

When asked my opinion on selling it to afford the Colt he wanted, I replied that I had no idea what I would do with such an expensive .22 rifle. The Winchester was sold, and we promptly walked a few tables away to buy the Colt from another dealer.

Back home, several days later, we both admired the Colt’s highly polished blue finish, color casehardened frame and factory ivory stocks. Scrimshawed on the left ivory panel were the four types of engraving featured on the four major parts of the revolver: the frame, the grip, the cylinder and the barrel. This “sample” of the different engraving styles blended together well.

The stocks’ medallions display the Colt company’s 150th logo, and it’s engraved at the top of the backstrap. The 4¾” barrel length is my dad’s favorite. Despite its rarity and value, the first thing my dad did was take it apart and make sure it was properly timed so as not to scratch the cylinder when he fired it. The second thing he did was fire it. When my dad was in hospice care many years later, we had a serious conversation about guns I would keep after he passed away. I still have his 150th Colt SAA, and it is, by far, my favorite firearm—because it reminds me of my dad.

—Steven Tracy



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