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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I just joined the forum from Australia, as I have just inherited an old Colt .45 SAA which I have had the serial number verified with Colt Mfg as being shipped in 1875 to Colt - London Agency. The firearm appears to be in pretty good condition and seems to be original. I have had a bit of look around on the net and it seems this forum is place to go to find out a bit more about it.

Is there any way of tracking the guns movement from the London Agency? Everything I've read so far suggests no, but maybe some of you experienced owners/collectors can give an insight. I wouldn't mind trying to get a handle on the approximate value either, although I'm keen to keep it as a family heirloom, providing I can jump through all the hoops that you need to have a firearm in Australia!!! I have attached a couple of pics and would appreciate any feedback from more knowledgeable people than I.
Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Gun accessory Gun Revolver Trigger Gun accessory Shotgun Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Gun accessory String instrument Folk instrument Plucked string instruments Musical instrument Product Revolver Electronic device
Thanks
Phil
 

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Collect older handguns from Colt and S&W primarily
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Hey Mate, good to have you on the Forum! Wow, you see it in the movies, but it really does look like somebody used the butt of that old Colt as a hammer to tack up wanted posters! I hope some of the experts here can help you out; I'm not amongst that august group...:rolleyes:
 

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It does look like a fine old Colt in well worn condition but as you say, all original and no real abuse save for the use as a hammer. The screw for the butt is readily attainable here in the states but you must specify a 1st generation Colt, pre WW II screw. Here are the sizes:

Frame screws = 8x34 all six the same but three different lengths. The one you need, the butt screw, is about 3/8" long.

The grips screw: 1st gen = 6x38;
Ejector attachment screw = 6x38
You may even find a gunsmith mate with some old thread size screws in 8x34.

It's a very early gun made in the third year of production and only suitable for use with black powder cartridges.

Your best bet for tracing its travels since leaving the London Agency is to contact museums, libraries and historical societies in England. Some entity has possession of and is custodian of the London Agency records. Unless it was destroyed by fire. If you can trace the gun in the records by its serial number to a buyer, than you'll have a name. Names are quite easy to find in computer genealogy sources. But I wouldn't be surprised if it has had multiple owners since the original owner.

Cheers,
Jim
 

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Can you provide a photograph of the barrel address and markings? In that serial number range, it should have an italic barrel address, and perhaps yours does. I should think for an early civilian revolver, the barrel would be 7 1/2 inches in length. It does not appear that yours is, so the barrel may have been replaced or shortened. A factory letter would confirm original barrel length.
 

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Phil,

I wonder if it's chambered in 45 Colt or 450 Boxer which would be more likely since it went to London.

Have you checked the chambering? Will it chamber 45 Colt? Are the chambers drilled straight thru or is there a shoulder or ridge in the chambers?

450 Boxer chambered SAAs were shipped in quantity in 1874. 5 1/2" domestic guns were 1st shipped the same year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the great feedback everyone, see attached photo "mrcvs" of the barrel. I am waiting for the cert from Colt but it does not give a barrel length, just a special note of "short barrel" assuming this relates to the 5 1/2 barrel on the gun.

Hondo44 I am pretty sure its chambered as 45 as the I don't recall there being a ridge Metal Brass . I currently can't check as it is with the local police at the moment waiting for my permit's etc. Man it's not easy getting a collectors licence in Oz. Going to call the proctologist tomorrow to make sure the cops havent left anything behind!!!!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks Jim (sorry for calling you Hondo44 as i didnt notice your first reply about the screws which you signed your name) I would like to have the gun cleaned up/restored a bit without messing with it. What do you think can be done to bring this baby back to life a bit without ruining its originality. I would love to be able to go and shoot it. Apparently (according to my father in law) its in working order. I am pretty hesitant to risk damaging it. I understand that it requires black powder shells, is this correct? Any thoughts would be muchly appreciated.
 

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You are correct that you should only shoot black powder cartridges in your SAA. Do NOT do anything to the original finish such as polish, buff, or otherwise mess with it. You can give it a light coating of oil, or even Renaissance wax, but other than cleaning the bore, I would leave it alone. Any attempt to "improve" the finish will drastically reduce the value of the gun.
 

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Yes, that is what the italic barrel address looks like and appropriate for the serial number range. My guess is the reference to the short barrel does mean it started out at 5 1/2 inches, as, generally, very early barrel lengths were typically all 7 1/2 inches.

 

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Thanks Jim (sorry for calling you Hondo44 as i didnt notice your first reply about the screws which you signed your name) I would like to have the gun cleaned up/restored a bit without messing with it. What do you think can be done to bring this baby back to life a bit without ruining its originality. I would love to be able to go and shoot it. Apparently (according to my father in law) its in working order. I am pretty hesitant to risk damaging it. I understand that it requires black powder shells, is this correct? Any thoughts would be muchly appreciated.
Hi Phil,

I agree completely with Blackjack, leave as is except for cleaning after shooting. Yes, black powder loads only. Substitute black powder like Pyrodex is OK, less corrosive and easier to clean after the gun has been fired.

Jim
 

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Is that a British proof in the cylinder flute as shown in one of the photos? As Rick suggested the caliber is .450 Boxer or Eley and not Colt.
 

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This is not my expertise, but I think the .450 Boxer and Eley were the same cartridge. The Boxer being the cartridge produced in the Gov't arsenal and the Eley produced by the private firm of Eley. (Or something to that affect).
In that case, it's a .450 Boxer.
 

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This is not my expertise, but I think the .450 Boxer and Eley were the same cartridge. The Boxer being the cartridge produced in the Gov't arsenal and the Eley produced by the private firm of Eley. (Or something to that affect).
This has been a subject, i have tried to unravvle for years,and have posted this same subject on the forum few months back.
it all appeared they were the same,but i got to thinking a few weeks back and pulled the cylinder's from my english saa's.
Now hear is one for someone to inform me. all my pommy saa's that letter from the factory as 450 eley, are 1/16" difference in the length to the step, then the saa's that letter as 450boxer.
This is one interresting subject and everyne has a different opinion.
can maby a cartridge expert out there inform me.
tony
 

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This is not my expertise, but I think the .450 Boxer and Eley were the same cartridge. The Boxer being the cartridge produced in the Gov't arsenal and the Eley produced by the private firm of Eley. (Or something to that affect).
Yes they are the same, but I thought Eley was the manufacturers name and Boxer was the guy who developed the cartridge, but these Brit cartridges can be confusing as heck. The .450, .455 & .476 could all be fired out of a .45 Colt barrel, but the rims were quite a bit larger on the .455 & .476.

these are far from my expertise either...........
 

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This has been a subject, i have tried to unravvle for years,and have posted this same subject on the forum few months back.
it all appeared they were the same,but i got to thinking a few weeks back and pulled the cylinder's from my english saa's.
Now hear is one for someone to inform me. all my pommy saa's that letter from the factory as 450 eley, are 1/16" difference in the length to the step, then the saa's that letter as 450boxer.
This is one interresting subject and everyne has a different opinion.
can maby a cartridge expert out there inform me.
tony
I always thought they were the same, but evidently not?? Beats the heck out of me....:confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks Everyone, looks like I have opened a can of worms. I have had confirmation from colt in the letter I am waiting on that it is .45 Eley. Below is extract of what will be coming in the letter I ordered.


Research complete. Below you will find the information that will be on the letter:

Colt Single Army Revolver


Serial Number : 21751


Caliber: .45 Eley

Barrel Length: Not Listed

Finish: Blue

Stocks: Not Listed

Special Notation : “Short Barrel”


Shipped to : Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company

London Agency

Address : London, England


Date of Shipment : November 23, 1875


Number of guns in shipment: 100
 
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