Colt’s “New” New Frontier
How does one improve on perfection? The original Colt Single Action Army was a study in perfect pistol perfection when it arrived in 1873. It balanced perfectly, pointed naturally, and was chambered in a powerful cartridge, the .45 Colt. It would be 1935, with the arrival of the .357 Magnum, before the .45 Colt load was shaded, and there were many of the time who would tell you the .45 Colt was still the best when it came to a fighting cartridge.
As good as it was way back in the frontier times, Colt still set about to improve it. By the late 1890s, the West had been pretty well tamed and shooters were using sixguns for something besides fighting and self-defense, namely target shooting. Colt did two things to try to make the SAA better suited for punching holes in paper. The frame was flattopped and fitted with very crude adjustable sights, then it was turned into the Bisley Model in 1896, with a wide hammer and trigger and a ladle-shaped grip frame, better suited for target shooting.
Neither one of these Flat-Top Target Models lasted very long and, in fact, shooters asked that the Bisley Model be made into a regular Single Action by keeping the grip frame, wide hammer and trigger but going back to the standard hog-wallow trough rear sight found on all Single Action Armies. The improvements just didn’t go over very well.
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Taffin Tests Colt New Frontier Loads
Test-Fire: Colt New Frontier .44 Special x 5-1/2”
|Load||Muzzle Velocity (fps)||5 Shots/20 Yards (inches)|
|Winchester 240 LFN||724||1-1/4|
|Hornady 240 XTP/ 7.5 gr. Unique||877||7/8|
|Speer 240 Gold Dot/ 7.5 gr. Unique||880||7/8|
|Speer 240 JHP/ 17.0 gr. H4227||882||1|
|Speer 225 SWCHP/17.0 gr. H4227||1,001||1|
|Lyman #29421/7.5 gr. Universal||966||1-1/4|
|NEI 260 KT/7.5 gr. Unique||947||1-1/2|
|RCBS #44-250 KT/7.5 gr. Unique||889||1-1/8|
|RCBS #44-250 KT HP/ 17.5 gr. H4227||986||1/2|
|Oregon Trail 240 LSWC/6.0 gr. Unique||833||7/8|
|H&G 250KT/7.5 gr. Unique||959||1-3/8|
|NEI 260 KT/ 7.5 gr. Unique||928||1|
Notes: Groups the product of best 5 of 6 shots at 20 yards
Test-Fire: Colt New Frontier .45 Colt x 7-1/2”
|Load||Muzzle Velocity (fps)||5 Shots/20 yards|
|Black Hills 250 RNFP||765||1-1/8|
|Federal 225 LSWCHP||821||1-1/4|
|Remington 255 LSWC||817||1-15/8|
|Winchester 250 LFN||742||1|
|Lachmiller #45-255/7.0 gr. HP38||859||1-1/2|
|Lyman #454424 KT/10.0 gr. HS-6||825||1-1/4|
|Lyman #454424 KT /20.0 gr. H4227||997||1-3/8|
|Lyman #454309/8.0 gr. Unique||946||1-3/4|
|RCBS #45-255KT/10.0 gr. HS-6||841||1-1/4|
|RCBS #45-250 FN/10.0 gr. HS-6||884||1-3/8|
|Oregon Trail 255 SWC/7.0 gr. HP38||859||1-1/2|
|Oregon Trail 255 SWC /8.0 gr. Unique||888||1-5/8|
|Oregon Trail 250 RNFP/8.0 gr. Unique||917||1-1/8|
|Oregon Trail 250 RNFP/6.0 gr. Red Dot||818||1-1/8|
|Oregon Trail 250 RNFP/6.0 gr. N-100||766||1-1/4|
|Oregon Trail 255 SWC /7.0 gr. HP38||825||1-1/2|
Notes: Groups the product of best 5 of 6 shots at 20 yards.
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