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I need help. New member, first post. I inherited a fairly nice 1882 .45cal SAA with issues and local attempts to get answers has left me with little more than self proclaimed experts that can't agree on what they're looking at. I have the Colt letter confirming s/n date and details which was obtained in 1996. The experts mostly agree that its been factory re-worked and has a series 2 bbl, cylinder and trigger guard/strap. On the left forward trigger guard its stamped with the VP triangle and an "I" (capital letter i) stamped over it close enough that the bottom serif of the "I" touches the top of the triangle. Above all that, but on the frame is a full circled Rampant Colt. Marked on the inside surface of the loading gate is "645". On the left side, under the grip on the trigger guard is marked "340007" and same side on the backstrap is marked the same. Family members seem to recall hearing that the gun was sent back to Colt about 1907 to be "updated" but as I'm sure you guys already know, when I called, they don't keep re-work records so I was unable to learn anything new. Feel free to ask questions. I can take pictures or anything you need but as this is my first attempt to post, was first hoping to see if anyone here would be able to help me. THANKS EVERYONE! Jim
 

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Welcome to the Forum. Pictures of the gun will allow us to make some conclusions about it. The 340007 on the TG and BS would be the Serial Number of the gun they were removed from. That SN would be from a SAA made in 1920. I doubt that Colt did that TG/BS exchange.
 

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You will find tremendous help here from very experienced Colt owners and answers to all your issues but not without detailed pictures.
 

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Strange that there would be a "full circled Rampant Colt", on the frame of an 1882 SAA, (the full circled rampant colt was only used from 1890 - 1912), unless that part of the family history is correct regarding it being sent back to Colt in 1907, and Colt re-stamped it at that time. That blended with the 1920 BS and TG, and 2nd gen parts sounds like a real "mixmaster" SAA. Could still be a nice shooter if in good condition. Just remember if you do want to shoot it, that even with the "updated" cylinder it still has an 1882 vintage wrought iron frame, and black powder only is highly recommended. I'll be very interested to see the images you post.

Best regards,
 

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Welcome to the forum.

Congrats on having such a great heirloom still in your family!

our heirloom Colt made a trip back to Colt early after the turn of the century. It was also likely rebuilt again during the 2nd generation period, 1955 to 1975.

1. The VP stamp was done on the trip back to the factory; after ~ 1905 when it became standard on all new guns to verify safety with smokeless powder cartridges. Factory protocol at the time was to apply it to all frames that were actually steel which began way before 1905 and before the cross pin latch in 1896 ~ # range 165000 which has been the rule of thumb for many years to separate "black powder wrought iron frames" from "steel smokeless frames" which actually began at ~ # range 96000. And of course includes your frame because Colt stamped it VP, even though the # 96000 is normally associated with guns made in 1883. No doubt yours was a late shipper for its # and Colt determined it has a steel frame.

2. Most likely it was sent back for a re-finish in ~ 1907 and therefore the rampant colt and patent dates were re-stamped with the current roll stamp with circled colt of the 1890 to 1912 period. The factory would stamp all major parts with the drawer # that the gun's parts were stored in while worked on at the factory; typically barrel both grip frame straps, cyl, and ejector housing. Unfortunately, your gun later had all of those parts replaced except possibly the ejector housing. I would take it off and check underneath, the barrel side of the housing for a 3 or 4 digit #. That will also indicate the 1907 factory refinish, because guns of that period would not normally have any #s on the housing.

3. The loading gate # "645" is a bin # (sometimes called an assembly #) which matches a # 645 stamped on your frame bottom hidden by the trigger guard strap, so those two fitted together parts would be matched up when the gun was originally produced.

4. Does the cyl have a rampant pony on the rear face? If so the cyl, it is a 2nd gen cyl.

5. How is the caliber marking line read on the left side of the barrel? Is the address on top of the barrel in one line or right side of barrel? This will help us date the barrel. What length is the barrel (measure the entire barrel)?
 

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...

1. The VP stamp was done on the trip back to the factory; after ~ 1905 when it became standard on all new guns to verify safety with smokeless powder cartridges. Factory protocol at the time was to apply it to all frames that were actually steel which began way before 1905 and before the cross pin latch in 1896 ~ # range 165000 which has been the rule of thumb for many years to separate "black powder wrought iron frames" from "steel smokeless frames" which actually began at ~ # range 96000. And of course includes your frame because Colt stamped it VP, even though the # 96000 is normally associated with guns made in 1883. No doubt yours was a late shipper for its # and Colt determined it has a steel frame.

2. Most likely it was sent back for a re-finish in ~ 1907 and therefore the rampant colt and patent dates were re-stamped with the current roll stamp with circled colt of the 1890 to 1912 period. The factory would stamp all major parts with the drawer # that the gun's parts were stored in while worked on at the factory; typically barrel both grip frame straps, cyl, and ejector housing. Unfortunately, your gun later had all of those parts replaced except possibly the ejector housing. I would take it off and check underneath, the barrel side of the housing for a 3 or 4 digit #. That will also indicate the 1907 factory refinish, because guns of that period would not normally have any #s on the housing. ...
The VP stamp is on the trigger guard which appears to date to 1920, which was standard practice by then, so it does not indicate that Colt "verified" the frame for smokeless on it's return to Colt for it's first rebuild after the turn of the century. So still likely the frame is wrought iron and not steel, and the Black Powder only warning still applies.

Best regards,
 

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The VP stamp is on the trigger guard which appears to date to 1920, which was standard practice by then, so it does not indicate that Colt "verified" the frame for smokeless on it's return to Colt for it's first rebuild after the turn of the century. So still likely the frame is wrought iron and not steel, and the Black Powder only warning still applies.

Best regards,
You are so right! I momentarily forgot the grip frame straps were changed.
Thank you for catching that,
Jim
 
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