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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to buy what is labled as a Colt 1917 in 45 ACP. The serial number on the frame and yoke are the same 237XXX. On the frame there is a symbol or letter(s) that I can only guess are a "B" "H" or "E"??? The butt is marked as follows: U.S. Army Model 1917 No 85502. The right side of the barrel is marked as Colt's Mfg Co Hartford CT USA and the left side is marked as New Service 45 Colt. The dealer admitted that is has been reblued and the stocks looks as they have been replaced as they are checkered wood with no medallions. Also the lanyard ring is missing. He is listing for sale at $590. I do not think that this is worth the price and I am not convinced as to what the correct caliber should be. The rifling looks good and the action seems tight. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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It sounds like a compilation of parts to me. It also sounds like it should sell for about $250 less and only if it is a sound shooter. A good usin' Colt DA .45 revolver would have some practical value. So many times certain sellers persist in attempting to obtain collectors' values for something with no true collector appeal.

Of course if the butt is marked Model 1917 the original chambering was for the .45 ACP. When used with half-moon clips such a .45 ACP revolver is an excellent general purpose handgun in my view. Given the other modifications you mention it may have been rechambered for the .45 Colt.

Thanks for joining the Forum and a warm welcome to you. Good post and please let us hear from you again on occasion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick response. Any idea on how I verify the true Caliber? A 45 acp round will fall right through the cylinder, however, it does chamber a 45 colt round. Any suggestions on how to verify if it would be safe to shoot? You mentioned that if the butt was stamped 1917 it should have been in 45 acp? So, is the assumption that all 1917 were chambered in 45 acp only? Thanks again
 

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It does sound like a put-together gun.
The barrel is not original, it's a New Service .45 Colt barrel.
The original barrel was stamped "Colt DA .45" on the left side.
All Colt Model 1917 revolvers were chambered for .45 ACP ONLY.

The Colt Model 1917 has an odd serial number situation.
Colt stamped US government serials on the butt, but they considered it to be just another version of the New Service, so they stamped Colt New Service range serial numbers on the frame and crane.

There is some dispute among collector's as to just which number is the "real" serial number.
The US Government used the butt number, and when the 1917's were sold as surplus, that's the number they were sold under.

Sounds like your gun was not only re-barreled, but probably had a new cylinder installed to convert it to .45 Colt.
The first 50,000 Colt 1917 revolvers had chambers that were bored straight through, and you HAVE to use the half moon clips in order to shoot the gun.

Later guns had a "step" in the chambers to allow shooting .45 ACP ammo without the clips, although you have to punch the cases out with a rod, since the ejector can't eject without the clips.

The point is, if the chambers on your gun are straight through, it's probably NOT a .45 ACP cylinder, because your serial number was made when the chambers were stepped.
If a .45 ACP "falls in" the chamber is NOT a .45 ACP and is a .45 Colt.

There were a lot of these .45 ACP to .45 Colt conversion made, some better than others.
Numrich Arms/Gun Parts sold new made replacement cylinders that could be fitted to the gun, converting it to .45 Colt.

However, the key word is "fitted".
Many of these were assembled by kitchen table "gunsmiths" and often the job was not done right.
In particular, home shop re-barreling jobs are often badly done and it's not unusual to find that the frame's been damaged.

Personally, in this case, and at that price, I'd pass.
The gun is NOT original so it has no historical or collector value, and such put-togethers are always suspect until proven to be OK.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the info. I have been doing some additional research and I still not convinced as to what caliber this revolver is. Today, I went back to the gun shop and looked it over again. The owner claims that his gunsmith has stated that it shoots the 45 acp with half or full moon clips. He provided a sample half & full moon clips with empty cases and it does seem to chamber properly. Do you know how long the cylinder is for a 45 colt vs a 45 acp? Also, what should each chamber mike out to? The Colt looks good and seems very tight (pull the trigger and hold it back and the cylinder doesn't move) Anyways, I got him down to $475. Any additonal help would be appreciated.
 
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