North American Auction Company
Timed Auction

Last Chance June 2023 Passed Lots Offering

Mon, Jun 5, 2023 02:00AM EDT - Fri, Jun 9, 2023 03:00PM EDT
Lot 208

Colt Bisley Model SA Army .38 Revolver & Holster

Estimate: $3,250 - $4,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$25 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$25,000 $2,500

Colt Bisley Single Action Army .38 WCF (.38-40) caliber, 5 1/2”” barrel revolver with frontier double loop holster. This fine, all matching serial numbered Bisley, #198385, was made in 1900. The Colt Bisley Model was named for the famed Bisley Shooting Range in England and was an attempt by Colt to offer the Single Action Army revolver shooter an informal target single action option. With its lower hammer, curved trigger and sloping grip frame, the Bisley model found favor with those who preferred a different style and feel in their Colt Single Action revolver. The Bisley Model seemed to be especially popular in the Southwestern U.S. Considerably more scarce on the collector market today, the total number of Single Action Army revolvers manufactured by Colt reached over 357,000 before the start of World War II. Of this number, only 44,350 were in the Bisley configuration. The most popular caliber in the Bisley was the .32-20 and only a total of 12,613 Bisleys in all three standard barrel lengths combined (4 ¾”, 5 ½” & 7 ½”) were made in this desirable caliber of .38-40. This Colt Bisley has all matching serial numbers on the frame, trigger guard and back strap. It also retains excellent original Colt markings including the one-line barrel address used only on 5 ½” and 7 1/2” revolvers (all shorter lengths had a two-line address). The left side of the barrel is also correctly marked “(BISLEY MODEL) .38 W.C.F.” (for Winchester Center Fire or .38-40) and the left side of the frame retains the two lines of patent dates plus the rampant Colt logo. The barrel shows excellent deep blue as does the cylinder pin and upper and lower flutes on the ejector housing. Similarly, the cylinder blue is thinning with good blue in the flutes. The .38-40 caliber actually took a .40” or .40 caliber bullet (why it was called the .”38” is still argued over by Colt collectors!) ahead of 40 grains of black powder and was considered a very powerful cartridge in its day. Often revolvers chambered for this round were paired with a Winchester or Marlin lever action rifle of the same caliber- in this way, a frontiersman carried only one type of ammunition for both handgun and rifle. There is some good blue retained in the most protected areas around the hammer base, on the butt and edges of the trigger guard bow. The front sight has not been altered and the correct, original Colt hard rubber grips show honest holster and handling wear, but are solid and fit well. All screws are excellent and the action works correctly with four clicks to the hammer. There is vivid case color in the protected parts of the hammer while the majority of the frame case colors have aged and faded to a mottled gray. The bore is bright and minty-excellent. The rawhide laced frontier holster shows wear and fits this Bisley revolver perfectly. An excellent example in a large caliber, this Bisley would fit the finest Colt or old West collection. Serial Number: 198385. This firearm qualifies as a Curio & Relic firearm, and requires FFL Transfer or NICS Background Check.*