Johnny Ringo’s Colt SAA Up for Auction!

The infamous Johnny Ringo’s Colt Single Action Army revolver is up for auction at the Bonhams auction house, and it’s expected to bring in high bids this week. An 1874 Colt, .45-caliber handgun with a 7.25-inch barrel, the gun has a strong provenance tied to the legendary events of old Tombstone, Arizona, following the shootout at the OK Corral.

John Peters Ringo was a standout outlaw often associated with the Cochise County Cowboys, the gang that drew the attention of the Earp brothers along with John “Doc” Holliday. Following the events that lead to the shooting deaths of several Cochise County Cowboy members, Johnny Ringo was found dead with a single shot to the head, holding this revolver.

“Serial no. 222 for 1874, .45 caliber, 7.25-inch barrel with single line address,” reads the auction listing. “Doughnut ejector. US mark on left side of frame (partially defaced), inspectors marks on barrel. Serial number partially visible on frame and trigger guard. Number on cylinder defaced.”

“Condition: Good,” they continue. “Generally no finish with traces of blue on ejector housing balance a brown patina. Toe of left grip missing. Worn grips with no visible inspectors marks. Cylinder possibly replaced. Barrel shortened through wear. A very early martially marked single action.”

While Ringo’s death was ruled a suicide by the presiding Cochise County coroner and sheriff’s office, the revolver appeared unfired with five shots chambered in the cylinder. After his death rumors that he was killed by Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday or “Buckshot” Frank Leslie started to make the rounds.

The documents of the provenance state “Johnny Ringo, found in his hand in Morse Canyon (mentioned by serial number, containing five cartridges, in inquest document, ‘Statement for the information of the Coroner and Sheriff of Cochise County, A.T.,’ 1882); by descent to Mrs. Prigmore; to Allen Erwin (bill of sale, signed by Erwin and by Mrs. Prigmore’s son Donald Wilson, on her behalf); by descent to Francis Huffstadter (signed Power of Attorney, May 2, 1979; sold European and American Firearms, Sotheby Parke Bernet, Los Angeles, 1980, to Jim and Theresa Earle.”

While reports at the time record that Ringo may have been suicidal, and a heavy drinker, when he was found with his horse, he not only had this revolver, he had also taken off his boots and tied them upside-down to keep out any scorpions or other pests.

See Also: Alexander Hamilton’s Pistols Headed to Auction, Expected to Set New Records

His death will forever be tied to the “Vendetta Ride,” when the Deputy U.S. Marshall Wyatt Earp sought revenge for the attacks on his brothers Morgan and Virgil Earp, killing Morgan and crippling Virgil. This was in retaliation for the killings at the shootout in the OK Corral.

“A most well-documented gun from one of the West’s most tragic outlaws, often portrayed as an introspective, unpredictable gunslinger quoting Shakespeare, whose death may have been as much of an enigma as his life,” said Bonham.

The events surrounding Ringo’s questionable suicide may never be revealed, but his Colt is expected to bring in upwards of $100,000 at auction. For more information and to bid, visit Bonhams’ online.

***Buy and Sell on GunsAmerica! All Local Sales are FREE!***

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. Like Thomas Paine, he’s a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Singleshotcajun August 28, 2021, 6:38 pm

    Went for $362,812

  • Jim Sluder August 27, 2021, 3:37 pm

    I’d like to know you manage to “wear off” a quarter inch of a 7-1/2″ barrel?!?

  • Nick August 27, 2021, 2:41 pm

    A friend and I visited J Ringo’s grave in SE ARIZONA. YES, he died and was found laying next to a tree. Unlike in the movie he was wounded on the right side of his forehead not the left. And some say it was self inflicted. I, myself doubt that.

  • FirstStateMark August 27, 2021, 10:52 am

    “I’m Your Huckleberry”

  • Steve August 27, 2021, 10:31 am

    The listing states 1894, but the description in the ad states serial number 222 of 1874…

  • Worthy Evans August 27, 2021, 10:09 am

    An 1894 Colt? In 1882?

  • Mike in a Truck August 27, 2021, 9:57 am

    Whoa that price is steep. Im a little short this week so I’ll bow out. Research indicates the Earps and thire associates wernt much better than the Cowboys. In fact they wernt very well liked by the local population. But…dime novels and Hollywood.

  • MICHAEL BEHREND August 27, 2021, 8:55 am

    I thought quick draw artists carried the shorter barreled pistols because they were quicker out of the holster.

    • Old OutdoorsGuy August 27, 2021, 10:26 am

      Kinda like the shooter they showed in that clip from “Tombstone”?? Somebody is stretching the truth here or else they picked the wrong movie clip to back up the “authenticity” of this soon-to-be auctioned off “heirloom”.

  • James Walton August 27, 2021, 8:25 am

    Why Johnny Ringo, you look like someone just walked over your grave

  • Slim August 27, 2021, 8:00 am

    Glad you saw the movie! Sad you have the very beginning all wrong. Never ever did the shoot out happen in or next to the ok coral! Where do these so called “authors” come from?! How about do over the story with the REAL truths?!

  • GuruOfGuns August 27, 2021, 7:44 am

    Val Kilmer has a documentary out called “Val” I just watched, very interesting look at the actor, he said the he had the death bed Doc laid in filled with ice so that he was really feeling pain during that scene.

  • Robert Pearson August 27, 2021, 5:41 am

    Your a daisy if ya do.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend