Colt Single Action Army .45 "Peacemaker"

"God created man, Samuel Colt made them equal."

Known as the 'Peacemaker', the 'Frontier Six Shooter' and the 'Thumb Buster', the Colt Model 1873 Single Action Army has become legendary.

Colt's first cartridge revolver came in a variety of barrel lengths. Standard lengths were 4-3/4, 5-1/2 and 7-1/2 inches, the latter becoming the standard issue sidearm for the U.S. cavalry. Extra long barrels ranging from 12 to 16 inches were also available, known as the 'Buntline Special'.

Monco with a 5-1/2" barrel Peacemaker

Django prefers the 7-1/2" barrel length

Many gunfighters favoured the shorter 4-3/4" barrel length for speed of draw.
On this model also notice the modifed dropped-back hammer to aid cocking.

The Colt SAA was also available with extra-long barrel lengths.
A 'Buntline Special' can be seen in Colonel Mortimer's saddle bag.

Detachable shoulder stocks were also available for the longer barrelled models.

The term 'Single Action' means that the hammer must be cocked by hand prior to its release by the trigger. With a 'Double Action' revolver a hard pull to the trigger will cock and fire the gun in one motion. Double action revolvers however tended to be less accurate due to the harder trigger pull and Colt, considering them to be less reliable, did not produce double action revolvers until 1877.

A quick succession of shots can be fired from a Single Action revolver by 'fanning'. That is where the trigger is held depressed and the free hand used to sweep repeatedly over the hammer (also a good way to take a chunk out of your hand). Fanning is probably only really practical on more modern models - but it looks cool in our favourite movies.

Pulling back the hammer on a Peacemaker to full cock gives four distinct clicks that, according to legend, represent the letters C-O-L-T.

Taking the hammer to the half-cocked position allows the cylinder to spin freely for removing spent cartridges and re-loading through the 'gate'. Old cartridges are removed with the ejector - a spring-returned rod housed in the smaller 'barrel' to the lower side of the main barrel.

Later models had a cylinder that could unlatch and pivot to the side, allowing faster loading.