What they looked like when new in 1880
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Thread: What they looked like when new in 1880

  1. #21
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    Okay, I have looked at the photographs,and here are my observations:

    First, I'll have to admit that to claim that any Cavalry Model is unfired is a stretch. Lightly fired is more like it, and the turn line appears to be more extensive than by just handling without firing.

    The interface of the "ears" of the backstrap with the frame is problematic. I don't have a good explanation. I simply don't, which, unless someone can provide a credible explanation, means that it can be nothing but problematic until explained otherwise. On a $1500 civilian first generation SAA revolver, okay... But when mucho dinero is involved, it makes you hesitate before reaching that deeply. Poor fit of the backstrap screws would not be an adequate explanation as the fit of the backstrap to the grips is otherwise good, so if misalignment of the screws were the culprit, then aligning the screws would result in misalignment of the grip and backstrap.

    The contour of the arc of the hammer is not congruent with the ears of the backstrap. On most first generation single action army revolvers, it is. Again, when we are talking $160,000 to $250,000, this can be nothing other than problematic.

    The serial number on the frame is sloppy, especially the '1' of 55104. This tends to be uncommon, but not unheard of. So, it is an incidental finding on a revolver remaining in good shape over the years.

    Two screws on the left side of the frame have been removed. The screwdriver has left circular scratches that parallel the circumference of the screws. If a revolver is this pristine, not sure why, if the claim of unfired state is made, these would have had to have been removed at some point.

    Probably the purchaser of this one will be pleased to own this beautiful example of a Colt Cavalry Model revolver and not worry about inconsistencies, as long as it has John Kopec's blessing.

    But, these concerns need to be at least pointed out, even if it has no bearing on a future sales price.

    Also, Rock Island Auction really needs to provide detailed photographs of the barrel address of a revolver they expect to bring this kind of money. Probably an oversight on their part, but fully required...
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by dandak View Post
    I just wonder what all the "Guns are for shooting, not sitting in a safe" members in this forum would do with THIS gun if it was somehow gifted to them? Would you shoot it???????
    I know I would carefully put a nylon 'zip strip' on it so now one could even cycle the thing.

    I'm one of "them" guys.

    But I think you are not going to like my answer.

    For starters. I would never try to buy such a gun. For any price. My first doubts start with "appears unfired". If it is really true. I would much prefer that it had belonged to someone who did fire it but actually knew what he was doing. Because, it it really is unfired, it once belonged to a complete jerk who managed a big score line on the cylinder without even firing it. Meaning, he knew nothing about SAA revolvers.

    And... If it ever fell on my lap for absolute free... No, I wouldn't fire the heck out of it. But I would fire it(not much mind you). Using the closest thing I could manage to the period Cavalry load to evaluate it as a fighting weapon for the period in question.
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  3. #23
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    I enjoyed reading the thread about the man who painstakingly removed years of rust from an old Colt revolver found in relic condition. Looking at his photos, it was difficult to picture how his gun might have looked when it was brand new. The Cavalry revolver discussed in this threat shows how these guns looked when they were first issued to an American soldier on the western frontier. I don't care if the cylinder has a few tiny marks, or if the bluing is slightly worn near the muzzle. I can't afford to buy this gun; but I can certainly enjoy looking at it!

    Rusty Edwards
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  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcvs View Post
    Okay, I have looked at the photographs,and here are my observations:

    First, I'll have to admit that to claim that any Cavalry Model is unfired is a stretch. Lightly fired is more like it, and the turn line appears to be more extensive than by just handling without firing.

    The interface of the "ears" of the backstrap with the frame is problematic. I don't have a good explanation. I simply don't, which, unless someone can provide a credible explanation, means that it can be nothing but problematic until explained otherwise. On a $1500 civilian first generation SAA revolver, okay... But when mucho dinero is involved, it makes you hesitate before reaching that deeply. Poor fit of the backstrap screws would not be an adequate explanation as the fit of the backstrap to the grips is otherwise good, so if misalignment of the screws were the culprit, then aligning the screws would result in misalignment of the grip and backstrap.

    The contour of the arc of the hammer is not congruent with the ears of the backstrap. On most first generation single action army revolvers, it is. Again, when we are talking $160,000 to $250,000, this can be nothing other than problematic.

    The serial number on the frame is sloppy, especially the '1' of 55104. This tends to be uncommon, but not unheard of. So, it is an incidental finding on a revolver remaining in good shape over the years.

    Two screws on the left side of the frame have been removed. The screwdriver has left circular scratches that parallel the circumference of the screws. If a revolver is this pristine, not sure why, if the claim of unfired state is made, these would have had to have been removed at some point.

    Probably the purchaser of this one will be pleased to own this beautiful example of a Colt Cavalry Model revolver and not worry about inconsistencies, as long as it has John Kopec's blessing.

    But, these concerns need to be at least pointed out, even if it has no bearing on a future sales price.

    Also, Rock Island Auction really needs to provide detailed photographs of the barrel address of a revolver they expect to bring this kind of money. Probably an oversight on their part, but fully required...

    Thanks MRCVS, I always value your opinions. The pistol also looks like it has wear on the front edges of the cylinders. Please do not think I am putting this pistol down, I'm not. I just think there is a little misrepresentation going on with this gun.
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  6. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by scstrain
    ... What is wrong with asking questions about any flaws with this gun?

    Nothing wrong with asking. More than one of us has questions. Reminds me of trying to buy an expensive item and being told "if you have to ask you can't afford it". Life and times change. You never know what you might be able to easily afford at some point in your life.

    But lets start with Mr. Kopec's letter. It is dated 2004. Fully 15 years ago.

    I wouldn't buy one of these guns off a Kopec letter. But neither would I buy one of these guns without a Kopec letter. Hope that makes some sense. I find the letters I have seen here way too subjective for my own tastes to give them much value.

    Here is my quick critic.

    Kopec describes this gun several as in "superb condition" several times. Not in my book. Be damn near a beater just by the handling marks it wasn't built in 1880. What would you can a modern 3rd Gen in this condition?

    99%? May be in 2004? It clearly isn't today. Saying so is like saying Gramma was a real looker at 19. And I just bet she was...at 19. Not so much now. It is not a 99% gun in 2019.

    The grip frame screws are buggered up. Grips have been removed is my guess and why the back strap ears aren't perfect. All three of the frame screws were removed obviously. Hopefully that has happened after/ since Kopec saw the gun. "Unturned" is total nonsense. Nice photos clearly show the results of some monkey with more money than brains and a screw driver attacking this gun.

    "No evidence of being fired"? One looks two places to check that out, the breech face and the cylinder end. I might cut Kopec some slack on the cylinder but for what he charges I am pretty disappointed he didn't bother to take the gun apart. If it truly was 99% and unfired I might be willing to give him a pass. In the condition we see now...total non sense to not take the gun apart for a $500 letter.

    At least we know the gun is in time, even if the bolt is mis-shaped. How many times does on have to cycle a gun to get those kinds of bolt marks in the leads? I can guarantee it is more than 6.

    It is obviously a BP gun. Once shot they are not the easiest thing to clean up to get to a gun one might try to claim as "unfired". I'd bet pulling the cylinder would tell us a story worth reading.

    Nice gun but frankly for me..the Kopec letter screams there is something horribly wrong here. Letter may be? Previous owners of a 100K gun are ham fisted or just totally ignorant of what they had and the damage done on their watch? Or just one of the best faked guns ever to be listed at auction? For that kind of money way too much smell of R L Wilson, NFL team owners and Sherlock Holmes for my taste.
    Last edited by Cozmo; 09-03-2019 at 02:12 PM.
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  7. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cozmo View Post
    Nothing wrong with asking. More than one of us has questions. Reminds me of trying to buy an expensive item and being told "if you have to ask you can't afford it". Life and times change. You never know what you might be able to easily afford at some point in your life.

    But lets start with Mr. Kopec's letter. It is dated 2004. Fully 15 years ago.

    I wouldn't buy one of these guns off a Kopec letter. But neither would I buy one of these guns without a Kopec letter. Hope that makes some sense. I find the letters I have seen here way too subjective for my own tastes to give them much value.

    Here is my quick critic.

    Kopec describes this gun several as in "superb condition" several times. Not in my book. Be damn near a beater just by the handling marks it wasn't built in 1880. What would you can a modern 3rd Gen in this condition?

    99%? May be in 2004? It clearly isn't today. Saying so is like saying Gramma was a real looker at 19. And I just bet she was...at 19. Not so much now. It is not a 99% gun in 2019.

    The grip frame screws are buggered up. Grips have been removed is my guess and why the back strap ears aren't perfect. All three of the frame screws were removed obviously. Hopefully that has happened after/ since Kopec saw the gun. "Unturned" is total nonsense. Nice photos clearly show the results of some monkey with more money than brains and a screw driver attacking this gun.

    "No evidence of being fired"? One looks two places to check that out, the breech face and the cylinder end. I might cut Kopec some slack on the cylinder but for what he charges I am pretty disappointed he didn't bother to take the gun apart. If it truly was 99% and unfired I might be willing to give him a pass. In the condition we see now...total non sense to not take the gun apart for a $500 letter.

    At least we know the gun is in time, even if the bolt is mis-shaped. How many times does on have to cycle a gun to get those kinds of bolt marks in the leads? I can guarantee it is more than 6.

    It is obviously a BP gun. Once shot they are not the easiest thing to clean up to get to a gun one might try to claim as "unfired". I'd bet pulling the cylinder would tell us a story worth reading.

    Nice gun but frankly for me..the Kopec letter screams there is something horribly wrong here. Letter may be? Previous owners of a 100K gun are ham fisted or just totally ignorant of what they had and the damage done on their watch? Or just one of the best faked guns ever to be listed at auction? For that kind of money way too much smell of R L Wilson, NFL team owners and Sherlock Holmes for my taste.
    The back strap screws have been removed, that is obvious. When? Anyone's guess.

    I just don't see the grips fitting this well if the screws at the top of the backstrap were aligned properly. Which is a problem. It seems to me the grips fit properly at the expense of the ears of the backstrap.

    I just assumed, and you know what that means--but, I assumed that if the letter detailed such a pristine gun in 2004, that the owner would simply congratulate themselves and leave it as is. I guess not.

    As it sits, not under the scrutiny of a microscope, this is a beautiful revolver. Once one peels back the layers, these things become more and more obvious.

    Photographs of the end of the cylinder would be most helpful in this case.

    So, if one has deep pockets and a sane head, where should one go on this one? Probably not anywhere near the low end estimate. I stated the same thing not too long ago with regards to a problematic Walker, but auction results proved me wrong.
    Last edited by mrcvs; 09-03-2019 at 02:39 PM.
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  8. #27
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    Let's compare the Henry Nettleton revolver, which sold for $109,250, which could be regarded as an extreme outlier: https://www.rockislandauction.com/de...le-action-army

    There does not seem to be the problem with the curvature of the backstrap ears relative to the frame, the curvature of the rear of the hammer, the roughness of the base of the frame relative to the triggerguard is absent, although not particularly problematic, there is no double stamping of any serial numbers evident, none of the screws, and surrounding areas have the problems as discussed with regards to the D.F.C. sub inspected revolver, and, above all, the turn line contains a dull look about it, much less conspicuous, having occurred long ago. Not so with regards to the D.F.C. sub inspected revolver!

    I originally thought the prominent turn line occurred from firing, and I still think it did, but as crisp and unoxidized as it is, I'm thinking it occurred from improper handling since 2004, when John Kopec examined this revolver, as incredulous as that seems!

    I did not think I would be writing such a post, I thought the WOW factor really precluded any close examination, but this was proved wrong!!! I almost would prefer (no, I would prefer) the Nettleton revolver over this one, presuming it goes for far more than the Nettleton one sold for, which I believed to be, at least to some degree, an "extreme outlier". The Nettleton revolver requires no further explanation. Surprisingly, the David F Clark one does!

    You are basically paying a substantial premium for how vivid this revolver appears, with emphasis on substantial! I guess I simply don't hang out with the Rolls Royce crowd, but I prefer an honest gun in the 90 - 95% range, because it can be explained a lot better than the 99%+ ones. That is, light use, dulled a bit due to the passage of time, etc. The Nettleton revolver fills this criteria.

    I'm not saying the David F Clark inspected revolver is a very good restoration, as it is unlikely that this is the case, and John is very good. However, I will say that there are some very good restoration experts out there that do a very good job. The Nettleton sub inspected revolver appears to be an honest gun, and that is not within the realm of possibility. This David F Clark sub inspected revolver, one cannot exactly say the same thing. Caveat emptor!

  9. #28
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    I think the Kopec letter on this gun is null and void. 15 years ago this Colt was a genuine museum piece. His letter says as much. But the owner couldn't resist the temptation to tinker with it. Even fire it. Permanently changing the guns condition and drastically changing its collector value (...my opinion anyway). I think Kopec should take another look at this and issue an updated letter based on current conditions. When asking this kind of money, what's another $350 for an updated L.O.A.?
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  10. #29
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    I would add that firing a SAA type revolver does not make score lines. Improper handling does

    Both these guns have been fired.

    The 3rd generation Colt not much I agree. But the Uberti below has seen it's fair share and some of it with blackpowder loads, it has been fully disassembled, washed, dried and reassembled more than once. I still can see no score lines in any of them.

    DSC00023 (1).JPG
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  11. #30
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    This could be Fed Exed to John and be back in time for the auction if he were made aware of the urgent circumstances.

    If anyone with connections to Rock Island Auction is reading this, how about the challenge?

    Trouble is, any letter will lessen the appeal of this revolver, not enhance it. Detrimental to both auction house and seller.

    It seems really hard to believe a gun described as unfired in 2004 would actually have been fired with a live round within the last 15 years.

    However, it seems that this revolver might have been dry fired since then. A turn line is unlikely to be this crisp/unoxidized, I should think, if less recent than a decade or so.

    Is an owner that negligent if the owner of a pristine Cavalry Model revolver? Difficult to say, but seems unlikely. But there are other possibilities. Rich daddy leaves out on desk after admiring. Pre teen or teenaged son decides to play with it. Or, the owner in 2004 dies and heirs know nothing about it and decide to dry fire, spin the cylinder, etc.


 
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