Black sheep of the Colt family

Colt SAA New Frontier


Colt SAA New Frontier in .357 magnum

In 1961 Colt introduced a ‘modern’ version of their famous Single Action Army.  The Colt New Frontier had a squared off frame and came with adjustable sights.  While the rest of the gun remained identical, it lost the look of the traditional Peacemaker.

Colt produced what is known as the 2nd Generation SAA starting in 1956.  The 2nd Generation New Frontiers were made from 1961 until the production of all SAA revolvers stopped in 1974.  During those years only about 4,000 New Frontiers were made.  In his book, Colt’s Single Action Revolver, ‘Doc’ O’Meara states that any New Frontier in a caliber other than .45 Colt should be considered rare.  However, on John Taffin claims the .357 magnum (like the one pictured here) was the most commonly produced caliber.  Either way, New Frontier models make up only a small portion of SAA revolvers produced.  Even with scarcity on their side, New Frontier Colts just don’t seem to be highly sought after.

While most people would agree that adjustable sights are an improvement in a lot of ways over fixed sights, the New Frontier has just never seemed to catch on with shooters or collectors.  It just doesn’t look like the same gun as the cowboys used.


Colt Logo


.357 mag barrel

As both the frame and barrel indicate, the Colt New Frontier is 100% a ‘real’ Colt.


Colt New Frontier adjustable sights

The rear adjustable sight and the high ramped front sight changed the profile of the revolver.  Even with the traditional walnut grips, case colored frame and dark blued barrel and cylinder, it no longer looks like the old cowboy six shooter.

When Colt began production of the 3rd Generation of SAA revolvers in 1976, they continued making the New Frontier model.  Though traditional SAA revolvers continued to be produced, Colt stopped production of the New Frontier in 1982.  2nd Generation Colt SAA New Frontier revolvers can be found in .38 Special, .44 Special, .357 Magnum and .45 Colt.  3rd Generation New Frontiers and can had in the same calibers as well as .44-40.

In 2011, Colt announced the re-introduction of the New Frontier.  If you like the looks of an adjustable sighted traditional single action revolver you can once again buy a brand new Colt New Frontier.


About krasinsk1 Big John Tutorials

I've been an active shooter, reloader and gunsmith for 30+ years. I hold a Bachelor's degree from Montana State University and a Master's degree from the University of Oregon. I enjoy studying, collecting and shooting just about every type and kind of firearm.
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