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Discussion Starter #1
My father has a Colt 1917. The serial number is 234717. Does anyone know the DOB of this revolver. Also the blue is gone off the weapon and it is starting to develop which looks like brown patina though it is not too bad. Its double action is horrible and the single action is heavy also. I have heard that Colt does not repair old colts like this anymore. If not where could I send it to be repaired. Also who can blue the weapon properly. I do not think it would hurt the value too much since it has no Blue! Any help would be appreciated. It shoots accurately by the way and is in good shape.
 

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Hi bigjohn. Please dont have that grand old gun "reblued'! Your dads 1917 was made in 1919(yes,Colt and S&W filled the contracts after Armistice Day,til early 1919. The Colt 1917s did not have a shiny blue to begin with,sort of a brush blue,over not too highly polished parts. So many 1917s,especially Colts,have been rebarreled,customized etc.that untouched ones are getting hard to find. A shiny reblue may "look nice",but it wont shoot any better,and will lower the guns value to collectors. New Services,like the 1917 have very stiff double action pulls,plus youd need a size hand like an NBA player to work one quickly! Ironically,the best double action pull on all my New Services,is a vintage 1907 Target Model;never really intended for. D.A. The single action pull SHOULD be great,and it sounds like the gun may need a good cleaning inside(Ive also felt that 1917s had their mainsprings "set stiffer",but Im not gonna tell you how to make it lighter). I think dfariswheel on this forum is absolutely correct when he points out that older Colts are very "tricky" to work on versus S&Ws. Make sure that if you have a gunsmith clean the gun,that they are familiar with the older colts(the current Python still has this style action).As older gunsmiths,who know these guns "retire",I am worried about some grand old Colts being messed up internally by people who really are unfamiliar with the complex action. Good Luck. Bud
 

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The piece doesn't sound like it has serious collector quality given your description, but it would surely be valuable to me if it were my father's sidearm and I assume it is so to you. Perhaps a different matter if it was just something your father picked up and had no real personal history with the gun. I think your first instinct was valid.

The real issue of re-furbishment is is whether you prefer to keep it as a family piece in the current condition or have it refurbished so that you could shoot it, carry it, and use it. Personally, I think it's a grand idea to give new life to a piece that now doesn't sound useable. Personally, I take great pleasure in carrying a New Service from time to time and in using one as a piece to deliver finishing shots in the hunting field.

On the positive side, you might be surprised what a good deep cleaning might do to make the action useable--though it may well still have an extremely heavy DA pull. Many older pieces with unsatisfactory actions, just have a world of hardened lubrication and dirt tying up the parts.

If the gun is in excellent mechanical condition and if it "shoots accurately" and if you do decide to refurbish it, make up your mind to spend the money to have it done properly. Don't just turn it over to just anyone who calls himself a gunsmith and end up with another clunkerized version of what was once a functional, effective military sidearm.

The last time I inquired, Doug Turnbull was charging about $650 to redo a New Service Colt--perhaps more if the action required extensive work. He advertises in GUN LIST, I believe and in SASS's CHRONICLE. If Turnbull does the work, I daresay the old piece will look better than any military Colt 1917 ever looked with a proper commercial polish and blue of the period. There is certainly an appeal to that.

I shouldn't think it necessary to get too carried away with preserving history, if the weapon really has no orignal finish and perhaps has other mechanical defects or is pitted under the "patina".

Obviously, that's just one purely personal perspective.

------------------
"And the blithe revolver began to sing/ To the blade that twanged on the locking-ring..."
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the date lonewolf. My father bought this gun back in the late 80s for basically shooting up old ammo he had reloaded in the 70s and did not want to use the ammo in his 1911s. It has not been shot in years though he maintained so it is no worse shape than when he bought it. He engraved his ssn on the backstrap because at the time the collector's value was not much to him. Actually my father is still alive though in poor health and he wants to get it reblued and the heavy action lightened. As 256m-s said I do not think its collector value is that great. But I appreciate all the info and advice you both have offered.
 

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Once you engrave a gun, it's collector value is greatly dimenished. I have a Colt 1917 and it is parkerized, but I am told that it is still a bit of a collectible, so I guess I'll leave mine as is.
 

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I came across a 1917 for sale, no blue left, intials carved in grips, missing lanard ring and knob on end of ejection rod, rechambered to .45 long colt, value if any?
 

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Certainly no collector's value! If it is mechanically safe, then it has value as a shooter. In such a sad condition, I would hazard a guess at no more than $100 to $150. It might make for a nice project gun, but do not shoot hot loads in it!
 

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I just came into posession of my grandfather's WWI issued 1917. It's been rode hard and the revolver itself looks to have been somewhat crudely manufactured. It's still all original and the left grip has the serial number written on the inside with pencil that matches the serial number in the crane recess(166876).

It's still in shooting condition and locks up like a bank vault when the trigger is pulled. Where can I find half or full moon clips for this revolver?

I would also like to identify its date of manufacture. The serial number is 166876 and its service number is 15-299.

Where can I find period correct holsters?

Edit: I ran across the following website regarding old U.S. military hardware. It answered a lot of my questions and helped me to identify the markings. When compared to the revolver pictured, my grandfather's doesn't look so rough.
It has most of the blueing except for the patina on the backstrap.
http://coolgunsite.com/images/1911/m1917colt/m1917.htm

[This message has been edited by gmchenry (edited 03-07-2004).]
 

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gmchenry

Looks like it was made in 1918

------------------
Dick

IN GOD WE TRUST,
BUT KEEP YOUR .357 HANDY,
JUST IN CASE!
 
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