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I own a 1917 U. S. Army Colt. I purchased it in the mid 1960s. I would like to identify the date of manufacture and pedigree if possible.

Markings:
Left side of barrell - Colt D. A. 45.

Top of barrell - Colt Pt. F. A. Mfg. Co. Hartford, Conn U.S.A. - Patd Aug 5, 1884, June 5, 1900, Apr 9, 01, Jul 4, 05.

Bottom of barrell - United States Property

On cylinder arm, the revolver came with 2 cylinders, one is chambered for the .45 Long Colt and the second for the .45 ACP. Long Colt cylinder - 326904 ACP cylinder - 233882

On base of butt - U.S. Army model 1917, No. 81 and either 532 or 632.

Gun came with bone hand grips. Appears to be a Parkerized Finish, 5 1/2" barrell.

Is there a way to determine who was issued this revolver and when? Date of manufacture? Insurance value?

Thanks, BigEd
 

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Welcome to the forum. Colt made about 150000 of the 1917 Army model. Your gun, numbered in the 81000 range, probably shipped in mid 1918. If the number on the .45 Colt cylinder is a serial number, it probably came from a New Service revolver manufacture in the late 1920s.

The original finish on 1917s was a blue over a coarse polish, if "polish" is even the proper word to use. If your gun is parkerized, that represents a refinish.

It's tough to find a 1917 for less than $500, and the best ones can go for more than $1000. Collectors won't pay such a premium for a refinished revolver, but yours has an extra cylinder. That makes it a little more interesting. Hard to say without seeing pictures, but what I see in my mind's eye might be a $750-800 item. If you insured it for $1000 you would probably be safe.

EDITED TO ADD: I don't think you can track a particular revolver to an individual. The factory records just tell when it was shipped to the military.
 

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Ed,

Welcome to the Forum.

Week of delivery to the Government was June 29, 1918. David is correct - there is almost no way of discovering which unit it went to, much less a specific individual. In very rare instances, that information is known (President Truman's M1917, for example).

Your gun is one of about 20,000 that has the April, 9, 1901 patent date that was later removed. The patent is for adjustable target sights which the gun obviously doesn't have. The date was removed in the 233,000 serial range making yours one of the last to have it. It doesn't have greater value because of this, but it's an interesting footnote.

Buck
 
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