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I am new here and looking forward to enjoying this forum. I read a very likely apocryphal story about the demise of the New Service many years ago. Yes, I actually saw this print, possibly in a gun magazine. Sadly I have no idea where at this point and can find nothing on the web to support the story--so I'm leaning toward the belief that this was untrue. And yes, I do understand that most magazine writers are hobbyist like many of us, thus my further doubts as to the authenticity of the story. Without further babbling:

What I read was that due to the demands of building other guns during WWII (M1911A1, Colt Commando, etc), as well as the fact that Colt discontinued the New Service in 1942, the machinery on which the New Service was built was moved outdoors to Colt's parking lot in order to make room for expansion of other lines. Then, after suffering the Hartford weather for the remaining years of the war, the machinery was ruined and this contributed to Colt's decision not to return the New Service to the line after WWII ended.

So--nonsense, or true, Colt experts?

Thank-you to anyone who can confirm this either way!

--Mark
 

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Welcome to the Colt Forum.

I have heard that story told about the machinery for the SINGLE ACTION ARMY. That is why Colt didn't bring back the SAA after WW II. So I heard. :)
 

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Certainly sounds plausible. But Colt could quite easily moved the the machinery to some other roof covered location. There are so many urban legends concerning the Colt Company that it is doubtful we will ever know which story is truth and which is fiction.
 

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The story I heard was that the other calibers of the New Service were not selling well before the war, so Colt had decided that the gun owner was going to want to buy a .38 revolver, and if they wanted a .45 they'd buy an automatic.
This is why the New Service was abandoned and why it took a while for Colt to offer a .357 Magnum DA.

This does make some sense because after WWI the sales of lever action rifles dropped and the hot seller was a bolt action.
Colt possibly figured that since so many GI's had used the 1911, the sales of large caliber DA revolvers would drop in favor of a .45 auto.
 

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Machinery , metallurgy and manufacturing methods came a long way from 1909. Especially during WWII. Quite likely the old tooling and machinery was worn out and obsolete , and the demand for the NS was just not sufficient to justify the cost of new tooling.
 

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"This does make some sense because after WWI the sales of lever action rifles dropped and the hot seller was a bolt action."

Just the 94 Winchester alone far outsold the Winchester 54 and 70 and every other bolt action after WW1 and for the next 50+ years. Then there were also Marlins and Savages. The lever actions remained the hot seller for long after WW1, proofhouse production records go into the 1980s, and the 94 was way ahead of every other gun in production.
 

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I suspect by lever action rifles he was referring to the handgun caliber models 1873 & 1892 which shared the same calibers as the New Service .
 

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While doubtful as fact, I don't ever recall hearing it in regards to the New Service. It would seem that the New Service was allowed to die a dignified death following the shutdown of virtually all commercial production with the coming of WWII.
 

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While doubtful as fact, I don't ever recall hearing it in regards to the New Service. It would seem that the New Service was allowed to die a dignified death following the shutdown of virtually all commercial production with the coming of WWII.
I think that WWII production put the end to production of several models from various manufacturers, that might have been produced a bit longer.

The New Service is a big heavy pistol and at the time the Officer's Models seemed to dominate the shooting fraternity, as well as the .38 Special.
 

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"I suspect by lever action rifles he was referring to the handgun caliber models 1873 & 1892 which shared the same calibers as the New Service."

What do lever action rifles have to do with a pistol's production? He compared the sales of lever action rifles and bolt action rifles.

The New Service was a big, clumsy revolver. It was destined to die. Even today most people handling a NS say it is too awkward to handle comfortably and hard to shoot double action.

After WW1 and WW2 people wanted smaller, handier handguns. 1908 .25s, and 1903 .32s, far outsold 1911s. Small and mid size revolvers far outsold large frame revolvers. After WW2 Colt got out of the big revolver market with the NS and SAA. S&W continued to make their large frame revolvers for the small but still present market. If Colt felt there was a profitable market in the future for the NS they would have tooled up and produced it. The change in the market with Western movies got Colt to remake the SAA. If an item is profitable, it will be produced. The NS was a dead horse.
 

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I heard that story about Colt moving the machinery out into the weather and allowing it to rust away, too. I always doubted its truth. Why would anyone allow expensive machinery to just turn itself to scrap in the rain? We all know that Colt never threw anything away (boxes, paperwork and such). Why would they do that with precision machinery? I can see putting it in storage for possible future use, but not just allowing it to rust away. Surely, there was something salvageable there that they could put to use at a later date.
- Buckspen
 

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I also read about colt moving the machinery outside but recall that the story was about the single action army, didn't read about it also being the new service but that would stand to reason if they did it with the single action.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I heard that story about Colt moving the machinery out into the weather and allowing it to rust away, too. I always doubted its truth. Why would anyone allow expensive machinery to just turn itself to scrap in the rain? We all know that Colt never threw anything away (boxes, paperwork and such). Why would they do that with precision machinery? I can see putting it in storage for possible future use, but not just allowing it to rust away. Surely, there was something salvageable there that they could put to use at a later date.
- Buckspen
You would sure think so, but I'm thinking that the exigencies of World War II may have had a profound effect on the business around Colt at the time. Colt was building M1911A1 pistols at the time and I'm sure the government wasn't sitting around patiently drinking tea while they waited. Colt was also building Colt Commandos and Commando Specials in numbers I suspect were rather large. I can imagine the conversations that may have taken place when plant supervisors and managers got together and talked about what to do with the equipment for the New Service line that was taking up valuable floor space. Doesn't anyone find it odd the New Service was discontinued in 1942? It was long in the tooth and not a leading seller by then, and it may have just been a sacrifice Colt was willing to make. Today we find it inconceivable that valuable machinery would be allowed to rust away, but during 75 years ago during the war, supplies were precious, Americans were hoarding everything, and perhaps putting up a new building to house old machinery (perhaps well worn as someone noted) wan't in the cards--probably due to cost. Remember Colt had gone through the Great Depression along with the rest of the country and no one had any cash up to this point, until the federal govt. started throwing money at American industry for Lend Lease and American war preparation.

I'm speculating, folks, just considering how it might have been. I'm also thinking that if it were true it is not something that Colt would put into their histories to flaunt, thus the mystery surrounding the story.
 

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Colt maybe missed the perceived magnum era in the 70’s early 80’s when the Dirty Harry series sold a lot of 44 magnums from S&W, Ruger and others. The anaconda was announced in 1990. The New Service with the smaller round butt is not as awkward. The post WW2 era brought us a bunch of surplus weapons for cheap. No dought only the best sellers were continued. I believe suplus 1917 New Services were $29 in the early 60’s. Had the military not adapted the M16, maybe we would have seen a large frame MKIII revolver in 44 magnum.
 

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I also read about colt moving the machinery outside but recall that the story was about the single action army, didn't read about it also being the new service but that would stand to reason if they did it with the single action.
I read that the 2nd gen Colt SAA was made on the same machinery as the 1st gen colt saa. Then in 1975 Colt had to re-tool for continued SAA production which brought about the 3rd gen Colt SAA with some changes. As far as the NS I have no idea. If the machinery was left in the parking lot for a number of years it would be ruin.:confused:
 

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I would think that rather than leaving tooling to sit out in the weather that as much as possible would be repurposed for wartime contracts. Plus sitting out would take up valuable space needed for expanding production capability. I guess it's possible tooling that couldn't be repurposed but not desired for scrapping could have stored somewhere in an offsite facility where it could have received less than good care.

Unless some documentation is discovered we'll probably never know the facts and we'll be left to speculate.
 
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I've read the rusted New Service tooling story too, several different times over the years.

Don't know a thing about it. I do know that I like the New Service best of all Colt revolver models, even over the Single Action Army and Python. No other revolver, not even the grand Smith & Wesson Triple Lock, does "stately and elegant" as the New Service can. I like great honkin' big revolvers chambered for great honkin' big cartridges just as I like great honkin' big cars with great honkin' big V8 engines.

Society is in the throes of a "less is more" notion now.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Colt maybe missed the perceived magnum era in the 70’s early 80’s when the Dirty Harry series sold a lot of 44 magnums from S&W, Ruger and others. The anaconda was announced in 1990. The New Service with the smaller round butt is not as awkward. The post WW2 era brought us a bunch of surplus weapons for cheap. No dought only the best sellers were continued. I believe suplus 1917 New Services were $29 in the early 60’s. Had the military not adapted the M16, maybe we would have seen a large frame MKIII revolver in 44 magnum.
If the military had not adopted the M16...? Because of the business it brought Colt you mean? Maybe. But it still would have required a new frame, even if only a MkIII version of what they eventually built as the MM frame. It would have to have been larger of course than any of the E&I offspring currently available to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I would think that rather than leaving tooling to sit out in the weather that as much as possible would be repurposed for wartime contracts. Plus sitting out would take up valuable space needed for expanding production capability. I guess it's possible tooling that couldn't be repurposed but not desired for scrapping could have stored somewhere in an offsite facility where it could have received less than good care.

Unless some documentation is discovered we'll probably never know the facts and we'll be left to speculate.
That realy makes the most sense.
 
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