March 04, 2021
By Stan Trzoniec
If you took a poll right now, I’d bet the Colt Single Action Army would top the list of favorite guns in America. Likely this stems from the older generation of enthusiasts who watched the Westerns on television in the late 1940s and ’50s starring Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and others. As a result, as kids we all wanted one of those gussied-up, chrome-plated SAA lookalike cap guns under the Christmas tree.
Standard Manufacturing is offering a special-order, custom gun—the Colt Bird’s Head—that shows off a unique, historic SAA feature. The bird’s head was originally designed in 1850 for the Colt Derringers, and in 1877 it was incorporated into a line of full-frame revolvers simply called “Bird’s Head Colts.”
The Standard Bird’s Head is a top-quality gun using only the finest in materials and workmanship, and this is reflected in its $2,999 price tag. The overall fit and finish is perfect in every way, from the bluing to the indexed screws around the gun. If you run your finger along the line that separates the trigger guard or the loading gate from the frame, you don’t even know the line is there. It is perfectly balanced just like in the days of old, when it made a great concealment gun for gamblers or the local barkeep.
The gun is made from solid 4140 steel, and there are no cast or metal injection parts. I’ve visited the plant, and precision machinery is used throughout. Following the original Colt, various parts from this gun will fit older Colts, and there’s no safety lever, mechanism or transfer bar. Follow the old rule of load one, skip one, then load four.
The bluing is bone and charcoal color case-hardening and is rich and colorful, with a gloss finish. the cylinder, barrel, ejector, grip frame and even both ends of the screws that run through the frame have been polished to the point they look like blue chrome.
The spurred hammer is wide and checkered and fits into the recess of the frame with precision. Typical of the Colt, you aim through a gutter on the topstrap. Trigger pull on my sample ran three pounds on the nose with just a little slack before the sear let go.
The faux ivory grips add elegance. As I mentioned, there is no discernible line between the grips and the grip frame except at the top where it is a little proud. The grips are handmade, and if you look closely, there is a small defect as might be found on real ivory.
Currently, the Colt Bird’s Head revolver is available with a 3.75-inch barrel in calibers to include the .45 Colt and the .44-40 Winchester, and it weighs 35 ounces.