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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently was given a revolver for some assistance I provided. The problem I'm having is actually determining if it is an actual Colt. Took it to the last gun show and was told it was a Colt, unfortunately due to replating the only identification on it is the serial number 63752. This number is on the strap on the grips, the trigger guard and the body, all matching. I was also told that it was originally a 7" barrel but had been cut down to 5 and 1/8. It is single action, nickel plated. When you cock the hammer the cylinder does not rotate back to the left, but, will rotate to the right. There is probably an fraction of an inch play, forward and back in the cylinder. Don't have any idea on the caliber, but was told it is black powder. If I sound ignorant, it is because I've never touched a revolver older than 20 years old. I have a Colt A11911 that was used by the british. My goal is to learn what ever I can about this revolver. Don't have any pictures to provide at the moment.
 

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I'm assuming its a single action army you have (Model 1873)? If so, the online Colt serial number database shows it was made in 1881. This would have the "blackpower frame", distinguishable by a screw on the front of the frame, just under the barrel, that holds the base pin in place. Later "smokeless frame" models had a spring loaded crosspin, as illustrated in the following picture:

Product Auto part Bicycle fork Revolver Metal

Are there any other markings on the frame, backstrap, cylinder? What are the markings on the barrel? What are the exact patent dates on the side opposite the loading gate? Do you know the caliber?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The patent lettering is either worn off or covered in a bad "renickling". Haven't seen any markings on the barrel or any other part of the gun. Caliber is unknown, guessing either 45 LC or 44-40. Yes it has the screw on the front of the frame.
 

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The only way they would be worn off is by refinishing.... The revolver was likily very rusty so someone filed off the rust and pits, taking the markings with it, then nickel plated it so it wouldn't look like crap. Funny that all the markings from the barrel and frame would be gone, but not the serial number. Is there a small letter on the frame, above the firing pin hole where the hammer falls? Need pictures....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice. I will call Colt on Monday to find out more about this gun. I'm really curious about it. My understanding is that it originally had a 7 1/2 in barrel, but has been shortened to right at 5 1/8. I know that hurts the gun, but it had to have been done many years ago. Why would they cut it down?
 

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My understanding is that it originally had a 7 1/2 in barrel, but has been shortened to right at 5 1/8. I know that hurts the gun, but it had to have been done many years ago. Why would they cut it down?
A few reasons come to mind: times change, fashions change, the need and use changes. Cutting the long barrel is cheaper than buying a new gun with a short barrel. It continues even today. Regards.
 

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Well, my guess with a civilian gun is simply a matter of preference. Someone preferred a shorter barrel over the long 7.5, so they had a smith chop it down to a smaller length. The US Army did the same, if you look into "Cavalry" and "artillery" model SAAs. The army initially bought the SAA with a 7.5" barrel, and it was used in this configuration for more than 20 years. In the 1890s, apparently after some complaints about the comfort of wearing such a long pistol in artillery roles, the army did some research on shorter barrel lengths. They found that a reduced barrel length did not significantly effect accuracy or stoping power, but it did make the gun lighter and easier to manipulate. Thus, the US Army had its arsenal of Colt SAAs altered to a 5.5" barrel configuration. The standard Colt barrel lengths are 7 1/2, 5 1/2, and 4 3/4"....
 

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Well, in my non-expert opinion, it's certainly appears to be an authentic SAA from 1881. I've compared the size and style of the serial numbering to that of my 1874 saa, it looks almost or exactly the same. It's possible yours was hand retouched to keep the serial visible during a heavy refinishing. Peacemaker gunsmiths like peacemaker specialists, turnbull and Dave Lanara have the ability to fully restore barrel and patent date rolls marks. One thing I notice that may not be original is your ejector head... The information I have suggests that the round "bullseye" style rod head was in use until 1882, when the oval style began on Civilian guns....You can get more information from a Colt letter, which will tell you date of manufacter and to whom it was shipped and when. The Colt letter should also tell you the original barrel length and grips. Serial number info may be found in John Kopec's book "A Study of the Colt Single Action Army". I don't have a copy, but there are members here that do, that maybe be able to have a peek for you.
 
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