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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello Colt Collectors
I am new to this forum and have recently purchased my first "real Colt".
I have always loved cowboy guns and have owned several late model SAAs, I also own many Uberti copies and shoot then almost every weekend.
I have always had a strange attraction to the conversions and the open top revolver.When ASM and Uberti started selling affordable guns I could shoot, I was in heaven !!
I just recently have started to buy originals and in my price range they are relics.
My first is a 1860 Army Type II conversion with the barrel shortened to 5 1/2 inches, has a lot of character and I love it.

My second gun is a 1860 Army Type I, same condition and barrel length.
Here is my question :
This gun is in the serial number range of the non percussion guns at 3XXX. It has an assembly number of 25XX on the loading gate and on the arbor, the strange thing is it has a different number under the barrel and on the ejector assembly 17XX, the serial numbers on the frame, trigger guard, back strap and barrel all match 3xxx (the cylinder number is almost unreadable and I don't think it matches, but measures to be a cylinder made for the conversions).
The gun looks all the same age, the metal color is the same does not look "married", it has the internal gate spring, the small hammer screw, and the frame does not have the patent dates stamped on it, just "Colt's Patent", kind of a late number for that but again all appears to match.
Could this still be a factory assembly, and not a parts gun ?
Would love to hear from someone who knows more than me (a lot of people)
.
Thanks for any input.
Asa Smith
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Hello BigG
I know all are black powder guns, was referring to muzzleloader/percussion as opposed to cartridge.
The 1860's were made from leftover parts, some of the frames at the factory were serial numbered in the same percussion range as the muzzleloader/percussion guns and were converted at the factory and sold as conversions.
Some of the leftover frame were not yet serial numbered and those started at 1 and counted up.
My type II is a blackpowder/percussion serial numbered gun and was made in 1871, not sure when the factory converted it and sold it, they did not keep the records for any of the conversions. The serial number on it is 196xxx.
Asa
 

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asa, might I suggest that, if you have not already done so, you buy a copy of McDowell's book on the Colt conversions? It's the Bible on the subject and will be money well spent, even though it may initially seem expensive.

Rio
 

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Meanwhile see a Richards conversion - original 1860 Army barrel ----


And a Richards-Mason conversion - new barrel configuration ----


Both nickeled some time back in the day - quite a bit of use since considering showing quite a bit of wear ----

And for comparison a '72 Open Top - often mistaken as a conversion - see differences such as straight sided cylinder, frame made without conversion ring, rear sight integral on barrel ----


Worth comment is an example of "doing it the hard way": Colt's Richards ejector, incredibly complex machining operation in making the assembly in one piece to mount by insertion into the rammer hole in the barrel. There's probably a story about it I haven't heard yet.

Richards-Mason & '72 Open Top were simplified by screw mounting.
 

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Colt 1860 Richards Conversions ran in 2 serial number ranges. High percussion era aprox #167,000 to # 200600, then to use up left over parts the un-numbered guns started with #1 on up to about #8,700, these were mixed with the Richards-Mason models. Your #3XXX gun should have the same #'s throughout even the barrel and cylinder. The assembly # is different and should be visible on the thumb-catch, and on top of the cylinder pin. (Some already purchase guns are known to have been returned to the factory for conversion to cartridge.)
Your second gun is in the right serial # range to be a Second Model, however they are rare, if true second model it would have the Richards-Mason conversion ring, with the firing pin on the hammer and the Richards type barrel and ejector ass'y. All numbers must match.
Only detailed pictures of each would afford additional information....Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Type I conversion

Thanks for all the comments.
Love the pics of the conversions and the open top, navy grips even !!
Would love to have a Richards-Mason and an open top some day.

My type I has matching serial numbers, just the assembly numbers on the conversion ring and the barrel are not the same, thought someone may have seen this before.

I do have the MCDowell book and have read all the 1860 info.
The gun agrees with all the book says except all of the ones in the book have all have matching assembly numbers throughout the gun, my barrel and ejector assembly are the same number but not the same as the conversion ring and arbor, even though the serial number is the same.

Will try to figure out how to post pictures.
Asa
 

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I'm a little confused asa. Are you saying that the serial numbers on the bottom of the barrel are the same as the numbers on the conversion ring or back of the gate? ( which is the assembly number)Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I'm a little confused asa. Are you saying that the serial numbers on the bottom of the barrel are the same as the numbers on the conversion ring or back of the gate? ( which is the assembly number)Jim
Jim thanks for the reply
The serial number and assembly number are different, as are all on the type I guns.
The serial numbers on the frame, barrel, trigger guard, and backstrap all match (3xxx), the ASSEMBLY numbers on the conversion ring and arbor are the same (25xx), the odd thing is the ASSEMBLY numbers on the barrel and ejector are (17xx) even though the serial number is the same.
Hope this helps
Asa
 

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asa:. OK very clear now. My opinion is as follows: I know that a number was put on the barrel and ejector to keep these parts together during final assembly. These numbers were positioned so that when the barrel was cut for the ejector assembly they were cut away. Now, one of 2 things may have happened; the numbers were put on by a novist, and left visible, or the barrel and frame may have gone for some adjustment/fitting and to keep the parts together they were numbered.

Enclosed picture is a Richards Army, NOT cut for ejector assembly. Serial number 24XX, assembly number 12XX and on the barrel, exactly where the ejector assembly would be cut and fitted is 16XX. So although unusal I believe it was done at the factory.....Jim
 

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...Enclosed picture is a Richards Army, NOT cut for ejector assembly. Serial number 24XX, assembly number 12XX and on the barrel, exactly where the ejector assembly would be cut and fitted is 16XX. So although unusal I believe it was done at the factory.....Jim

And the serial # on the barrel matches the frame? :confused:
 

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The serial number of 24XX on the bottom of the barrel does match other serial numbers. A number half way up, where the ejector would go is 16XX, but not cut away to fit the ejector housing....Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Jim
Thanks for the input.
The assembly numbers on the barrel and ejector are not visible when the barrel and ejector are assembled, they are in the correct location and font per the McDowell book.
If it was done by a novice he must have had good info and stamps, just thought someone out there had seen this before.
Asa
P.S. nice gun !
 
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