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Discussion Starter #1
Other than the obvious....what do I have here. I picked this up as part of an estate sale. The finish looks 99% and is definitely high gloss Colt Carbonia Blue....if it was refinished, it was done very very well by somebody who knew what they were doing. I know the grips are wrong but I will admit I know nothing about this model. S/N 13,xxx







I welcome all feedback and opinions.
 

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Not a lot to add to what you already know. Refinished, yes. It has early details of finely checkered grip-area front of slide and stub hammer instead of the later spur type. A very desirable acquisition.

See mine like yours below at the top, also refinished. The other two are original finish showing signs of use and abuse.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
I just checked to see and the slide is numbered to the frame....
 

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My refinish above was done by Turnbulls. Gun was pretty far gone with wear and some pitting. I freshed the slide checkering and did the prep/polish work. Turnbulls replaced the lettering and did the charcoal blue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update to this gun.


At another members recommendation, I tracked down and purchased a copy of Douglas Sheldon's book: "A Collector's Guide to Colt's .38 Automatic Pistols"


The book confirmed what I had suspected from info I had just gathered on other web sites. That being, the left slide roll marks had been re-stamped with the roll marks used between 1909 and 1918...instead of the original roll marks used in 1904...the year of this pistol....conclusion: this is nothing but a conversation piece..right?





Well in reading the entire book...particularly the section on 1900's. Page 41 details how many 1900 model pistols manufactured with the original sight safety were returned to Colt years later to be updated with the new sight introduced in 1902 and are indicated as being returned to the factory by stamping a "K" on the right side triggerguard. There were no inspector marks used on the 1902 Military pistols until 1905. Some of these returned pistols were completely refinished and 4 of the samples viewed by Sheldon during his research for this book were shown to be re-stamped with the current roll marks of the day...see where I am going with this?


My right side triggerguard:





It is fair to assume that this pistol was returned to Colt some time after it was manufactured for some reason and was then marked accordingly.


I have always thought that the finish on this gun was outstanding...not necessarily the prep work...but the color and application of what I believe to be true Carbonia Blue charcoal finish when compared to my other Pre War Carbonia Blue examples.


I don't know if I can ever prove this theory as Sheldon writes that Production records for the 1902 Military only now exist starting from 1909 through the end of production...just my luck! I will be contacting Colt to see if there is any information available regarding this guns return to the factory but I believe this info was recorded in the Production records...I'm not sure.... but seeing as this gun was probably returned between 1909 and 1918 (based on the current roll marks) maybe there is a record of it somewhere....


Sure makes it much more interesting.
 

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That was a great book recommendation. It sounds like you nailed the history for your gun and I enjoyed your pictures too!
 

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You have an outstanding gun for the several reason you discuss. I have several 1902s & 1905s that I have had Turnbulls replace lettering and their charcoal blue. As far as I can learn Turnbulls is the only restorer who does actual physical impression in replacing markings. I had a couple other done by well known restorers which were either laser or hi-speed rotograved - looked good but not authentic.

If yours was re-marked, it probably was done by Colts back in the day. I doubt you will find any info about whether-or-no from Colts. I went thru the drill with them on a SAA with a similar issue of 'probably Colt work', got it lettered, etc. but was told on phone conversation with Colts they have never kept records of individual piece returns for service. Records do exist of military contract return projects.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
rhmc24,

Thanks for that feedback on your experience. I read that Turnbull actually has some original roll dies from Colt and can restore a gun to almost new if given enough time and money. As JudgeColt said...If this was a Turnbull refinish...it would probably look better with regards to the prep work and markings. The re-stamped samples shown in Sheldon's book with the later roll marks do not look as good as you would expect them to look considering they were done by the factory.

But I for one can not testify to the condition of many guns factory refinished back in the early 1900's as I have not seen enough examples... The speculation regarding my gun and the information gained through research are part of what makes collecting so much fun.

Bottom line is: I'm gonna keep this gun for a while! ;)
 
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