Colt Single Action 1891 Cavalry
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Thread: Colt Single Action 1891 Cavalry

  1. #21
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    "With the exception of the numbered parts you can never be certain that the non numbered parts are actually original to the gun". True, but with this gun, because of the letter, we absolutely know the gun is not all original. It is partially restored, very recently, to appear original. A very nice gun that just falls short. As has been said, with no letter it would be an all original rarity. Most likely many "gold seal" type guns that have been observed have gone through the restorations before the gun was examined, and have become all original for posterity.
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  2. #22
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    Restored, repaired, and replaced are 3 different words with different meanings. Folks tend use them interchangeably these days. They are not.

    The original hammer was replaced in order to repair the gun. It has now been fully restored to the factory original configuration by replacing the incorrect replacement hammer with a correct one.
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    This all started with one gun!
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikebiker View Post
    Restored, repaired, and replaced are 3 different words with different meanings. Folks tend use them interchangeably these days. They are not.

    The original hammer was replaced in order to repair the gun. It has now been fully restored to the factory original configuration by replacing the incorrect replacement hammer with a correct one.
    Obviously. And someone now looking at the gun would surmise that it was all original. But we know better. That letter is evidence.

    This gun is partially restored, very recently, to appear original. Nothing wrong with that. It just blurs the concept of all original/not all original. I like the thought of a gun being all original, just like some Trooper held it in his hand 130 years ago. Even if I can not prove the gun is all original, I prefer not to have evidence that it is not all original, with recent modification. There is just something about a gun that is all original. Hence the desirability of a gold seal gun, even if it is in poor condition. But, this gun would be a gold seal gun if inspected as it now is. Gets confusing, but I at least like the thought that my gun is all original, with no evidence proving otherwise.

    That said, this gun, as it is now, is a great example of a Cavalry SAA. I am actually surprised that whoever owned this nice gun did not do the "upgrades" before sending for a letter.
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  5. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnh View Post
    That said, this gun, as it is now, is a great example of a Cavalry SAA. I am actually surprised that whoever owned this nice gun did not do the "upgrades" before sending for a letter.
    [/COLOR][/COLOR]
    John...that's easy. The guy that got the first letter didn't know until he actually got the letter!
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  6. #25
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    Here is the invoice for Lot #2 ordered on 25 July, 1873 and delivered on 12 December 1873. Notice the spare parts presumably ordered and provided with each lot of 1000 revolvers. I'd bet there were many Army Colts that ultimately had other (replacement) parts with which they did not leave the factory.

    FYI, Parsons notes that the inspection certificate for Lot #1 was dated 26 November 1873 and the famous Lot #5, earmarked for the 7th. Cavalry, was dated 29 January 1874.




    PS. Pretty cool to see the famous Oliver Ainsworth's signature!
    Last edited by Rick Bowles; 02-03-2020 at 06:16 AM.

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  7. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Bowles View Post
    John...that's easy. The guy that got the first letter didn't know until he actually got the letter!
    Possibly, or he did not want to alter it into something it isn't. He did not alter it after getting the letter either, the OP did. People have different ideas about this. Lots of letters showing flaws have been been discarded or "lost". The OP had the integrity to show us the letter.

    I would think that someone with this quality of gun would be aware of the obvious cylinder pin and hammer flaws, having shown it around, but you never know. It's past ownership would be interesting, the letter was recent. Without the letter the gun's value has been greatly increased with the restoration. With the letter, not so much.
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  8. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mentallapse View Post
    According to the Kopec letter this revolver falls between a NY Militia revolver and a Cavalry revolver. It was inspected by Capt. Stanhope E. Blunt. The Ordnance sub-inspector is Rinaldo A. Carr. He could not locate this serial number in the national archives, but suspects it was possibly issued to Troop K. 8th Cavalry. He also states that due to condition it might have been issued to a state militia unit, probably California or New York.





    Wow. Just plain wow. That is the best looking "real" colt I have ever seen. Real being one that isn't a museum piece or something stored away never being used. If I owned that, I would shoot it often and fondle it almost every night.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrcvs View Post
    Correct! Had it been sent off after the incorrect hammer and base pin were replaced with correct ones, this revolver would have received a Gold Seal letter, or its equivalent.

    Now, if sent to John, he would state the last time it was evaluated, it contained a replaced hammer and base pin. To the purist, this is problematic and cannot receive the highest accolades.

    Nonetheless, I would be most pleased to have a revolver such as this one. Good eye, you did well!
    You're god damn right about that!
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  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mentallapse View Post


    For a replacement hammer, that fit is right on the money.

    Plenty of Colts have come out of the factory in the recent era that don't come close to the hammer base fitting we are seeing here. Pretty neat that this is a replacement (era-correct) hammer.
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  10. #29
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    This gun is in remarkable condition. One must note; however, that being made in 1891, it's a late production Cavalry revolver. Just two years later (1893), the Ordnance Department declared these guns obsolete and put most of them in storage. It would be far more difficult to find a Cavalry Colt made years earlier, during the height of the Indian Wars, in the same condition. If you did, it would be extremely rare and worth far more money.

    Rusty Edwards
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  11. #30
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    I'm thinking about what replacing a part does to a gun. To use some car terms, using OEM to replace a non original part is a good thing. Especially if it's a normal wear item. It seems there is a strata of what is likely to be replaced in an old US service gun, in order of likelyhood:

    1. The original holster - not really issued with one, the first would likely be with the gun for only a few months or years, until lost or swapped with another.
    2. The original lanyard, magazine (for 1911s), and other accouterments - would likely be lost or swapped in a year or two
    3. Normal wear items, like springs and cylinder pins - would likely be replaced sometime in the service life of the gun, 10-20 years, if it is heavily used (issued).
    4. Commonly broken items, like hammer spurs and notches, that were available in the spare parts inventory - would occasionally be replaced, probably about every 100-200 guns, depending on who carried it, how careful they were to avoid dropping it, if it was in a harsh environment.
    5. Rarely damaged items, like barrels and grips - would rarely be replaced.

    So to me, items 1-4 are just the norm for service guns. Back to the car analogy, I'm sure an original paint, tires, and brakes Model T is more valuable than one that has new OEM parts. But it's going to be exceedingly rare to find something "never used" that old. You would have to find a "time capsule" that was put into a box, lost from the US inventory, or sent to a Post that never let anyone check them out.
    Last edited by azshot; 02-04-2020 at 08:17 AM.
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