Which to buy for some shooting and collector value in 45 colt
I have to respectfully disagree with my friend Shrapnel. I would go with a 1st generation all the way. This is leaning heavily on the "investment" side. If you are more into the shooting side, go with a 3rd.
If you go with a 1st, get one of the latter ones in the highest condition you can afford, assuming a decent price. Condition simply cannot be replaced. You can refinish, but the collector's value is generally ruined, even with a Turnbull or real Colt refinish. The latter 1st gens will have good, strong steel in them for limited shooting with smokeless loads. To keep it in top condition, I would shoot only conventional or cowboy level loads in it or the same level of good quality reloads. No black.
I just can't warm up to the 2nd's. They are great guns, but people want a lot more than a 3rd and many times, even more than 1st gens.
If you're primarily interested in shooting it, just get a 3rd. If you buy it right, it should hold its own money-wise, even if not appreciating that much.
Don't get a real old SAA and expect to shoot it a lot and maintain its condition.