March 09, 2012
By Bart Skelton
- The New Frontier Revolver
Fans of the Colt Single Action Army revolver will be familiar with the Flattop Target Model. This revolver was Colt’s answer to the fact that very few fixed sight handguns shoot to point of aim with any one load, much less with a variety of loads and bullet weights. The Flattop Target was designed by Colt in the late 1880’s and was offered in their catalogue from 1890 through 1898.
As its model name indicates, the frame’s top strap was flat and fitted with an adjustable leaf rear sight which was dovetailed into the frame. The front sight was anchored on a base, and the blade was interchangeable in order to adjust for elevation. Only about a thousand Flattop Target Models were made in the Single Action Army, and about the same number in the Bisley Model. Today, original Flattops are worth a mint to collectors, and even a 1st generation model in doggy condition brings a premium.
Colt developed the New Frontier Model during its 2nd generation run of single action revolvers. It was developed as an improved version of the 1st generation Flattop Target Model. The New Frontier sported a ramped front sight and adjustable leaf rear sight adjustable for windage and elevation. Production of the New Frontier started in 1961 and ran through the end of the 2nd generation run, then was continued through the 3rd generation series of single actions.
The news is that Colt has started offering the New Frontier revolver as a catalog item again. I’ve gotten my hands on one and have been wringing it out. The fit and finish of the revolver is excellent, and it shoots great. My test gun is a .44 Special with a 5 ½ inch barrel, case color and blue finish with the standard Colt walnut grips.
I’m thrilled to see Colt making these fine handguns again. For a full report on the New Frontier, be looking for my article on it in Shooting Times.