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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was recently told by a Colt "expert" that during the Civil War, Colt made many 1860 army's with no engraving on the cylinder to speed up production. Question: Is this true? I have one with matching serial numbers, but nothing on the cylinder, only an "H" that is also on the barrel.
 

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The cylinder scene was not that deep. Although I can't prove it, I think some lighter than others. If used and carried in a holster for a long time it often wore off. It is not uncommon to see a decent gun with little or no scene. As to the op's question: I've never heard that.
 

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I have to agree with John Gross! The cylinder scenes on Colt percussion revolvers was considered to be Colt's trademark "back in the day". However, as someone else has replied, many cylinders were very lightly roll engraved that easily wore off during extended periods of use. You have to realize that in the military, many M1860's were in daily use until the 1880's, especially in "Buffalo " soldier regiments in the "wild" West.
Although anything is possible with Colt, you can rest assured that the Colt factory did not intentionally manufacture a conventional Colt M1860 Army without a cylinder scene. The only M1860's that did not have a cylinder scene were those with fluted cyllinders.
If your cylinder does not have a scene, examine it carefully with a magnifying glass for wear marks. Also check the serial numbers to those on the rest of the gun to see if they match the size and style as those on the rest of the pistol. Lastly, carefully examine the patina on the cylinder to see if it matches that on the rest of the pistol. It could well be an Italian replica that has been artificially aged.
For more complete information about Colt percussion cylinder scenes, and Colts in general, I suggest that you acquire a copy of R.L. Wilson's Book of Colt Firearms, 2nd Edition. You still can find a reasonably priced copy for sale on e-bay and other sites.
In closing, I will state an adage appropiate to all Colt collectors: Lord, save us all from self proclaimed "Colt Experts".
 

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I assume by your meter, that you don't agree and that all 1860 army's had engraved cylinders. It will be interesting if I get more input.

The BS Meter means I don't agree with your expert friend. I've been reading about guns and the Civil War for 45+ years, and I have never heard that "Colt made many 1860 army's with no engraving on the cylinder to speed up production."

Very simple solution is to ask your expert where he got his information from. We would all like to learn something new.

John Gross
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I thank you for the info. I put the expert in quotes because I also had not heard of a plain cylinder. The guns does have matching s/n's and was made in 1863, per the s/n. It does appear to be fully functional, but I have never fired it. I will try to attach photo.
 

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From looking at your picture showing condition of pistol, I'd almost guarantee that the cylinder scene has wore off from use. Nothing wrong with that, it's fairly common. This gun probably went through the war and then was used and carried for many years afterwards. Also looks like the nipples have been replaced.

BTW, you didn't happen to purchase this gun from that "expert" did you? :)
 

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No, I didn't purchase from that dealer.
I was just kidding. I just went and pulled out one of my 1860's, also a '63 or so vintage. The scene on it is completely gone except for one little spot. I hadn't had this gun out for a while and thought there was more scene visible than there actually is. Also the address is gone as well, which is also common. But mine is just a wallhanger compared to yours. Broken/missing guts, broken nipples. I bought all the parts to fix, but I think I ended up using them in something else. So you're not alone! :eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Is there a way to clean to surface to check if there is anything on the cylinder? I know that generally, you don't want to remove the patina on the gun, and to leave it alone. The address is visible on the barrel and all the s/n are easily read/
 

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Your best method is to view the piece in strong, natural light.

Flourescent lighting is not your friend, when it comes to examining a piece - you need brightness.

Get yourself a 'Surfire' tactical flashlight, and it'll help in poor light - and almost all gun show lighting qualifies as 'poor light'.
 

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For what it's worth, until you are experienced enough to recognize a genuine patina from an artificially aged gun, and period repairs from modern, I strongly suggest you put your Colt "expert" on your list of people to never buy from. If enough collectors did this, the skunks would soon be out of business!
In addition, remember, there are extremely few bargains in gun collection, unless you have access to someones attic that hasn't been entered in over 50 years, and even then you must be careful! Rareities are rare for a purpose. As for Antiques Roadshow, where firearms are concerned, the remarks and values are largely B.S. That's Showbiz!!!!!
 

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I once heard a comedy routine that reminded me why so many Colts have cylinders without the rolled scene visible.
The comic explained when a man soaps up in the shower, he spends the time and effort on the easy to reach parts. That means a well soaped and very clean chest but dirty soles on the feet.
I think that when a man cleans up a percussion revolver of some rust or black power splatter, it is all too easy to remove the cylinder, put it on a lathe, spin it, and polish it nice and smooth.
 

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I once heard a comedy routine that reminded me why so many Colts have cylinders without the rolled scene visible.
The comic explained when a man soaps up in the shower, he spends the time and effort on the easy to reach parts. That means a well soaped and very clean chest but dirty soles on the feet.
I think that when a man cleans up a percussion revolver of some rust or black power splatter, it is all too easy to remove the cylinder, put it on a lathe, spin it, and polish it nice and smooth.
Well I don't think everybody had a lathe with them in the Civil War :)
The scene was always rolled fairly light, especially when the die was worn, and cleaning the cylinders using very hot/boiling water and scrubbing them with a dirty rag wore most scenes off. Sand, dust or other fine material makes for excellent abrasives.
 
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