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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello to all,
I'm new to this forum and have just acquired an 1851 navy London!

I've not come across any information or pictures of nipple cut outs like on this one before (the thinned shoulders), anyone know if this could be a modification made by a previous shooter, a possible in factory test modification? (I can imagine it would help with spent caps falling out easier) there is no scene on the cylinder, the nipples are all stamped colt's patent.

The serial numbers match on all parts of the gun, but there are no british proof markings to be found on any part of the gun!

Theory 1: Either the scene has been removed by an unfortunate restoration/modification or
Theory 2: The cylinder never had a scene stamped on it as it was a cylinder used for testing out the modified cut-outs.

All input appreciated :) thank you!

IMG_1733.jpg cylinder.jpg
 

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Hello to all,
I'm new to this forum and have just acquired an 1851 navy London!

I've not come across any information or pictures of nipple cut outs like on this one before (the thinned shoulders), anyone know if this could be a modification made by a previous shooter, a possible in factory test modification? (I can imagine it would help with spent caps falling out easier) there is no scene on the cylinder, the nipples are all stamped colt's patent.

The serial numbers match on all parts of the gun, but there are no british proof markings to be found on any part of the gun!

Theory 1: Either the scene has been removed by an unfortunate restoration/modification or
Theory 2: The cylinder never had a scene stamped on it as it was a cylinder used for testing out the modified cut-outs.

All input appreciated :) thank you!

View attachment 204761 View attachment 204769
IMHO, I would either try to acquire (or find someone near to you with) a copy of the (now out-of-print) " '51 Colt Navies" by Nathan L. Swayze (1967). Not cheap!

https://www.amazon.com/51-Colt-Navies-Nathan-Swayze/dp/B0006BQUF2

https://www.amazon.com/51-Colt-Navies-Nathan-Swayze/dp/0882270303

I was lucky to score one 3 years ago for $75; my wife thought I was nuts for spending that much on a used book.

Quite a bit of London Model info and photos in the book (pp. 142-166, especially on pp. 148-151).

Your cylinder photos are fairly dark, but the book shows what I think you are referring to in Plates #90 (p. 148), #91 and #92 (p. 150).

All London photos in the book have roll-marked cylinders except for the one in Plate 100 (p.162), which is plain/not roll-marked, S/N 44388.



Sorry for the poor scan quality with my 10-year-old printer/scanner.

Good luck, sir, and welcome to the forum!

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you sourdough! Yes I have been contemplating buying that book (even though shipped to EU it costs the same as what I paid for the gun!!=) I know very little of how the original finish on a navy london should look, but on the one I've got all the parts are blued/almost black, the cylinder really is as dark as in the photos, the gun is in such nice condition that it leads me to believe that it must have been refinished at some point (mechanically it is perfect)...
IMG_1753.jpg
 

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Thank you sourdough! Yes I have been contemplating buying that book (even though shipped to EU it costs the same as what I paid for the gun!!=) I know very little of how the original finish on a navy london should look, but on the one I've got all the parts are blued/almost black, the cylinder really is as dark as in the photos, the gun is in such nice condition that it leads me to believe that it must have been refinished at some point (mechanically it is perfect)...
View attachment 204937
IMHO, sir, I wish to address several things about your pistol. I am in no way an expert but certain things stand out with the posting of your pic of the complete pistol.

1.) The blueing is too good to be original, especially for a 150+ year old pistol.

2.) The original London pistols, as well as the balance of the other 1851 pistols made in the U.S., had case hardened receivers, hammers, and load levers. The parts on your pistol are blued.

3.) The trigger guard is fairly squared (not either the large or small oval TG of the London models) at the front which is somewhat typical of Third/Fourth Model Colt 1851 Models and not that of any London models I have seen pics of.

4.) Although a couple of documented specimens exist, yours appears to have a rounded octagonal barrel where it meets the round barrel portion. Highly unlikely that it is original, but stranger things have happened. One must remember that Sam Colt almost always used every part in his inventory to produce a complete pistol.

In closing, from your pic, that is a very beautiful pistol, better than Sam made! The wood and the blueing are fantastic, even though I feel it is not original or authentic.

Do you have any serial numbers for this pistol? I am thinking it may be a defarbed Italian repro, whether or not it is a Navy Arms, Replica Arms, Uberti, Pietta, ASM, ASP, or any others.

Once again, I hope you did not pay a fortune for it, but I would be proud to have it in my hands insofar as fit and finish. IMO, a very good refinished pistol.

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Yes I do have the serial number, I bought it thinking it might be a replica or a 2nd-3rd generation colt, (for around the price of a brass Pietta 1851 so not a fortune=)
The font of the serial number matches other london guns build around 1854!
wedge.jpg serial-num.jpg

I found a few pages from '51 colt navies' on the internet and saw something mentioned about a broken S and end of T's in the colt's patent stamp. Also the knurling on the hammer seems to fit, as does the horizontally stamped serial on the loading rod.
patent.jpg hammer.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The grip is lightly waisted...
grip1.jpg
And the barrel address
address.jpg
It's all very interesting and confusing! oh and the rifling is progressive right hand twist (I've only found information on the dragoon having RH twist)... but no British proof marks!
 

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Yes I do have the serial number, I bought it thinking it might be a replica or a 2nd-3rd generation colt, (for around the price of a brass Pietta 1851 so not a fortune=)The font of the serial number matches other London guns build around 1854!

I found a few pages from '51 colt navies' on the internet and saw something mentioned about a broken S and end of T's in the colt's patent stamp. Also the knurling on the hammer seems to fit, as does the horizontally stamped serial on the loading rod.
I have that treatise from the Swayze presentation [.pdf format] also and I have to apologize to you.

Swayze specifically states that your style TG is iron (that is, blued) and specifically found on London Navies, and I was wrong.

Sorry for the misinformation, sir.

Your grip definitely has the "wasp-waist" style, although not as prominent as Swayze's London example, but he also states that the three grips illustrated can have variations, so that is a plus for you.

The only info on barrel rifling I could find was a LH twist (Swayze), and that did not pertain specifically to the London models, only to the Hartford/U.S. 1851 Navies.

[As a slightly off-topic aside, in the sixties (I am 64) every gun my father brought home just "had" to be made "better" by refinishing all of the wood, polishing metal parts on his buffing wheel, re-bluing parts (or whole guns) with Herter's products, trying to make them "new", as was the custom during that period. He "brought back" into "nice shape" two Fox Sterlingworth SXS double barrel shotguns (1930's, a 12 and a 20), a Win Model 12 16 gauge (1920's), a Marlin Model 39 (1928), and a Win Model 94 in .25-35 (1919), among others. I remember him heating the Win 94 wood under a heat lamp for days to drive out all of the oil finish so he could apply a satin-sheen Herter's finish to it. I happily helped him do that back then. :bang_wall: He actually reduced the value of those guns by 2/3 or more in today's market.

Thank God he did not get into C&B pistols until years later, and they were repros. I am thinking that may have happened to your pistol.]

And to this day, that is a holdover with me as I have applied a "nice" Birchwood-Casey Tru-Oil finish to my 3 1851 replicas. The metal stays factory, however!

Carry on, sir!

Jim
 

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You may find a copy of the book in England. I did.
The OP may need sources. Do you have any, sir?

I got my book 3 years ago, and it is somewhat of a gold mine insofar as old out of print books are concerned. I also have other books concerning Confederate 1851 Navy pistols, and others, printed and issued in the 50's and earlier and they are not, for the most part, easily or inexpensively available today.

navylondon may need some help. These books are few and far between. In my post #2 my sources are far from cheap.

Any help to the OP would most likely be appreciated, sir. I like this guy and he is just honestly trying to find out what he has. I truly wish him luck.

I feel that it is what we are all about on this forum. It is so much different than the competitive modern gun forums, and that is what sets us greatly apart from them.

I am sure you must feel the same.

Keep the faith.

Jim
 

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Would comparing the location of the cylinders' serial numbers on the original poster's gun versus the one on page 162, plate 100 of Swayze's book give a clue as to whether the op's gun originally had a cylinder scene?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you sourdough, I think you have confirmed my feelings! Yes, I can imagine a time when making old look new was all the rage and bought much pleasure to those who partook =) at least in my case the buffing wheel didn't take away the edges and in some positive way kept the gun in the care of some doting black powder enthusiast who kept it in great functioning shape.

I personally have a 1851 navy Uberti replica (it surprises most modern gun enthusiasts with its comfort and ability to aid ones accuracy) which I appreciate very much! But after cocking this London model, the difference both in feel, balance, sight picture (i find Uberti front sight very thick!) and sound is quite amazing, the original colt really is as silky as a swiss watch (no ke-clunk)! I hope to get hold of a 2nd generation 1851 one day to compare all three!

I look forward to taking this one down the range (after getting the cylinder checked out by a gunsmith)!
 

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Thank you sourdough, I think you have confirmed my feelings! Yes, I can imagine a time when making old look new was all the rage and bought much pleasure to those who partook =) at least in my case the buffing wheel didn't take away the edges and in some positive way kept the gun in the care of some doting black powder enthusiast who kept it in great functioning shape.

I personally have a 1851 navy Ubert<script id="gpt-impl-0.35105286119775064" src="http://partner.googleadservices.com/gpt/pubads_impl_105.js"></script>i replica (it surprises most modern gun enthusiasts with its comfort and ability to aid ones accuracy) which I appreciate very much! But after cocking this London model, the difference both in feel, balance, sight picture (i find Uberti front sight very thick!) and sound is quite amazing, the original colt really is as silky as a swiss watch (no ke-clunk)! I hope to get hold of a 2nd generation 1851 one day to compare all three!

I look forward to taking this one down the range (after getting the cylinder checked out by a gunsmith)!
I hope that my posts have helped a bit.

Regardless if it is a refurbished, refinished pistol (ignoring the fact that it probably an original London), to me it is a very well done piece of work.

I would be proud to own it. The oohs and aahs that you should receive upon anyone seeing it, even if they have no clue, should serve as a +.

I hope the gunsmith pronounces it as sound.

Just my $.02 worth: If it was mine it would be a safe queen to be admired. Seriously!

I have a set of 3 Pietta 1851 Navy pistols (all .36) that I can convert with simple barrel/cylinder changes (no screws/screwdrivers involved) into an 1851 Navy Second Model, an 1851 Navy Third/Fourth Model, a Griswold and Gunnison, a Schneider and Glassick, a Leech and Rigdon, and my fantasy 1851 .36 Navy Dragoon, shown below.



Although I don't shoot them, I would gladly do that rather than shoot your Colt if I owned yours.

Please rethink that, sir. It may be refinished but it is still a 170+ year old pistol with a lot of history.

At any rate, it has been a pleasure conversing with you. sir!

Thanks so much!

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Your posts and information have been very useful :)! The search of provenance, history and information is the most interesting part of aquiring something.
I will reconsider the urge to shoot it as I may regret it later on in life ;) ... I do really like the navy caliber, so it is nice to see a .36 Dragoon!
I think my next shooter will be an Uberti 1851 London.
It's been a pleasure too!
Thank you!
 

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You may find a copy of the book in England. I did.
I managed to buy a first edition at a reasonable price a few years ago. I put it on my bookshelf and only occasionally looked at it; but since getting my Navy, I find I am constantly referring to it - a fantastic reference book.
Jim
 
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