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Colt's Best Effort at Perfection
By Capt. D. Keith

In the days of my misspent youth, a new decade was just getting underway. A newly elected President was in office and with a single turn of a phrase that would bring about a chain of events that would change my life forever…For the good.
His reference to the space program and the phrase ‘New Frontier’ and as they say, the rest is history.

Colt was at work on a new flat top target of the SAA, the year was 1962. I thought then and now the Colt New Frontier revolver was the best lookin’ pony to be let out of the gate.

Chamber in the .357 Magnum and .45 Colt, with a few chambered for the all-time great Smith & Wesson .44 Special cartridge.
My mission was clear, thus the quest began…

My mother’s younger brother worked for a division of Colt Industries and an employee could order Colt firearms that would be delivered to the front office for payment and pick-up. Of course, this was back before the GCA of ’68. I don’t remember exactly how much the purchase price was then, but this farm boy came about as close to having that much cash a one time, as I was to the moon.
Ol' Uncle Artie let me shoot his NF in .357 from time to time, just buildin' up the fire.
In the years to come many revolvers in that enchanting chambering would past through my callused hands. A gaggle of Smith and Wesson .44 Specials revolvers. A pre-24 six and half inch was traded to a fellow officer for a nickel 2nd generation Colt SAA 5 ½” in the same .44Spl. A 5-screw .44Spl. S&W 4” stayed in the remuda for several years.

Writers the likes of Elmer Keith and Skeeter Skelton sang the praises of the forty-four, just fanning the flame. Thus a lifetime adventure began. The quest for the perfect, most practical revolver.
With that elegant balance of grace and use ability.

My journey has been a twisted trail of out right trades and the laying down of hard earned cash, where I finally reached the plateau just below the summit…

This 5 ½” New Frontier .44 Special has ridden a lot of miles a horseback and been a trusted companion on many adventures. Somewhere along the way I designed and made a fixed rear sight to replace the adjustable factory sight. You know, for rugged everyday use.

With mid-range loads topped off with swaged bullets or a dollop of 2400 and a hard cast semi-wadcutter, she always shoots where I’m lookin’.

I had her engraved, made her some one piece Ivory britches after a memorable bear hunt one time in the wilds of Montana.
I presented it to my eldest as a wedding gift.
Just a father to son thing…

Su Amigo,

if’n that ain't the truth…
Well it ought to be.

2,004 Posts
Dave, I just stared at your photos for a solid two minutes. I couldn't get past them to even read your words. Then I read your words and spent another few minutes staring at the photos again. Then I reread the words. I don't know what to say. That's exactly how a gun should live its lifetimes. Used, treasured, restored, embellished, and then passed on to be treasured even more.

I treasure your story and photos and thank you for sharing them.

Simply amazing and one of the finest guns I've even seen.


2,683 Posts
That single action certainly is very close to perfection!

Lotsa folks smiling down from above, too.....of course E.K. and Skeet, but also Cuno Helfricht, the past master. That engraving not only looks like it came out of his shop at Colt's, but also like it was done at his own bench!

I'm glad that you posted the close-up - finally got a good look at that ingenious but simple "fixed" rear sight of yours. :) I would've paid extra for an option like that when I had my .45 NF. Besides the fact that the rear sight on mine chewed up the kip lining on a fine Geo. Lawrence holster, it still shot very high with light loads and a 255gr. bullet - even when cranked down all-the-way.

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