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I have two Colt 1917 revolvers. Both have serial numbers on the crane, but immediately below the serial numbers on both guns is a separate 4-digit number. Each revolver has a different number but on each gun the 4-digit number on the crane is also stamped on the barrel just below the "United States Property" mark. I'm guessing that they are armory issue numbers, but am not sure. Anybody know for sure?
 

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When M1917s were reconditioned at military arsenals, it was required that major parts be stamped with identifying numbers prior to disassembly to assure that they went back on the original guns. This may be the case on your gun. If so, it might be confirmed as many so rebuilt were also stamped with an arsenal repair mark: "SA" (Springfield Armory), "RIA" (Rock Island Arsenal) or "AA" (Augusta Arsenal).

Steve
 

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Yep, I know about the SA, RIA, & AA arsenal recondition stamps, but neither of my two 1917's have them. So, I'm inclined to think these are not arsenal repair numbers but, then again, if they're not then I don't know what they are. I expected a flurry of information on this query but the response has been eerily silent.
 

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The problem is, these guns are almost 100 years old, have been through two world wars, a number of smaller ones, possibly the US Postal Service, and God knows how many hands AFTER they left US service.

The numbers could have been added for who knows what reason, and at any time since 1917, so it's likely NOBODY living knows what the numbers were for, or when they were put there.

Strange stamps are common on older guns, and although there was SOME reason they were put there, nobody made records of WHY or WHAT.

So, unless some advanced collector happens to have seen similar marks, and managed to find out about them, they will likely remain simply mystery stamps.
 
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