The Real Deal Colt
Afterward, finding myself a suitable 7th Cavalry type .45 Colt took a while — a long while. In 1984, Colt again offered the misnamed black powder frame as was typical for their SAAs from 1873 to the mid-1890s. I ordered one, had it fitted with one-piece walnut grips, and carried it on the 1985 battlefield re-ride. That was a horseback trip retracing the 7th Cavalry’s path from the morning of June 25 to where the battle happened that afternoon. Still, something was missing about that Colt. Eventually, I gave it to a friend.
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In the mid-1970s, Colt made 2,002 Peacemaker Centennial .45s, almost identical to the ones issued to the 7th Cavalry in the summer of 1874. Sadly, Colt had stamped those two words on the PC’s left sides. By the year 2000, I had rounded up two of those fine revolvers. I considered my 1968 craving satisfied, happily blazing away with my pair of .45s in cowboy action shoots and here on my range.
Then came SHOT Show 2004, and I was standing there near stupefied, looking at USFA’s display Custer Battlefield .45 single action. That revolver was precisely what I had wanted for so many years. As matters turned out, Doug Donnelly, founder of USFA, had visited the Little Bighorn Battlefield himself and was also smitten with the .45 still on display in their museum. To honor the LBH Battlefield, he decided to offer the special version. In placing my order with Mr. Donnelly, he asked what serial number I wanted, as he was allowing buyers to choose. I said, “I suppose 1876 is taken?” As a matter of fact, it was not. Mine wears it now.
USFA no longer exists as a manufacturer and having traveled nearly around the world, I’m no longer the inexperienced 19-year-old that drove so far to see the LBH Battlefield. Hundreds of handguns have passed through my hands, but there is only one that takes my mind back to a memorable trip that changed my life. And yes, I shoot it whenever I can make time!
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