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Flasheart, that's a great gun - congrats! Now that I can see the cylinder serial number in a quality photo, I have no doubt whatsoever that it's original and NOT renumbered. The cylinder scene is fantastic. The grips are outstanding. The bore is absolutely great. The patina on the gun barrel and barrel housing is what it is, we've discussed it a lot. I have a hunch of what you paid for this Dragoon and for what my opinion is worth, I think you got a great gun at a great price!
 

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Agreed, the new updated photographs present the barrel much more favourably! Nice 3rd Model Dragoon.
Well, not exactly what I said. The new photos didn't change my mind on barrel and barrel housing patina.

I still think the metal was affected in that area by something, perhaps by sitting for many years in a tanned leather holster in a humid environment, as well as perhaps some aggressive cleaning, as we had all discussed before. It all just looks to me like a gun that had lived in a humid environment for a long, long while. I wouldn't recommend cleaning it in any way though, and just leaving well enough alone.

My mind was changed about the serial number, which I think is original to this gun, and not re-struck. And yes, overall it's a very nice gun!
 

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Discussion Starter #26
With the gun in hand, I can confidently say that every surface and every edge is original and untouched. The blue on the barrel has dulled and become patchy, maybe because of holster storage or climate. But it has not been mechanically cleaned or stripped. Original machining marks and the rolling marks in the cylinder are still very clear on every surface. The rifling cutting marks are still sharply visible and the lands and grooves are razor sharp like it has never been fired.

The entire gun gives the impression that it may never have been fired, roughly handled, or cleanEd with any sort of abrasive material. The frame, grips, hammer, brasswork are close to 100% finish. The cylinder up is unworn except for a small amount of rotational wear. Barrel, lever, rammed etc are untouched, but faded to dull.

I will take a better set of profile photos.
 

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I'm posting some photos of an original antique martial Colt Dragoon that is actually, as you said "may never have been fired, roughly handled, or cleaned with any sort of abrasive material" and you can compare the two guns.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Wow, That is a spectacular gun. I am guessing a high five or six figure value with so much original finish.
I am guessing it is close the 16393 serial number of my gun because barrel address shows the same flaws with portions of letters missing or very lightly rolled. How does a military contract weapon survive 163 years in such extraordinary condition? Must have been a presentation piece or an unissued surplus piece.

Was it factory refinished? The barrel address looks lighter and the grooves in each letter are thinner.
701645
 

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EastCoastColt,

I thought the new photographs presented the barrel better than I originally thought. I had thought the barrel was separated from the frame at one point and was in a fire. Not the case.

Still, a decent 3rd Model Dragoon compared to what else is out there commonly. Certainly not museum quality, however.
 

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Wow, That is a spectacular gun. I am guessing a high five or six figure value with so much original finish.
I am guessing it is close the 16393 serial number of my gun because barrel address shows the same flaws with portions of letters missing or very lightly rolled. How does a military contract weapon survive 163 years in such extraordinary condition? Must have been a presentation piece or an unissued surplus piece.

Was it factory refinished? The barrel address looks lighter and the grooves in each letter are thinner.
Yes, this gun is spectacular, and it's within a couple of thousand numbers of your own SN 16393. And no, it was not factory refinished. As I mentioned in earlier posts, with such spectacular guns (and there are extraordinarily few such survivors) we often have no idea how they survived. You can let your imagination run wild on that one - it would just be mere speculation. If you believe in God, that's as good an answer as any - it was God's will. This gun's retail asking price was in the low six figures.

As I mentioned earlier, it is as close as I've ever seen, to your own words, which were: "may never have been fired, roughly handled, or cleaned with any sort of abrasive material".

These martial guns were very heavily used for many years by government troops, first to protect the Westward Expansion, and then in every conflict up to and including the Civil War. Post Civil War they were used in the Wild West, in conflicts with Indian Tribes, hunting, trapping, farm use, etc. Because of their heavy, sustained use, they almost never, ever survive, even in as good a condition of your own SN 16393.

As I said before, I like your gun a lot, it's very good and well above average as compared to the surviving 3rd Model Dragoon population, but I consider your gun to still be heavily used.
 

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EastCoastColt,

I thought the new photographs presented the barrel better than I originally thought. I had thought the barrel was separated from the frame at one point and was in a fire. Not the case.

Still, a decent 3rd Model Dragoon compared to what else is out there commonly. Certainly not museum quality, however.
I never did ascribe to the fire theory, as I just can't think how the barrel would be in a fire, but the frame and cylinder would not. Did the 19th century soldier sit around the camp fire and half his gun fell into the fire, and he didn't notice for 5 minutes? Would a fire start while the gun was being cleaned in the 20th century, but only half of it was in the fire, and half not? Seems a bit far-fetched.

I did say, and still maintain, that the likeliest answer (for now) is that this gun was in a leather holster for many years, in a humid environment. The leather tanning process used formaldehyde and arsenic, all of which could interact badly with the metal and finish of the gun over a long period of time, especially if the gun sat in the holster in a humid part of the country (for example, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, etc.).

I also think something else was done to this gun's barrel. Nothing else can explain the fact that the gun's barrel and loading-lever, both appear heavily-spotted in one set of pictures, but not spotty in another set of pictures. I take a lot of pictures myself, and I can't think of any lighting conditions that would cause this magic trick to happen. I posted a few days ago a side-by-side montage of pictures of this, which no one commented on. I'm re-posting below. Perhaps someone can explain how there are spots on the loading lever in one set of pictures, but not in the other.

Sidebyside.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #32
it was just lighting that made the two photos look different. With no illumination it looks like the top photo.

I have just carefully cleaned the barrel are with mineral spirits and a lot of brown stuff came off on to the rag. I am suspecting some sort of grease? Although it may be something that has settled on the surface from a leather holster. The gun looks a lot better without it!
 
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