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Discussion Starter #1
Why didn't you guys warn me how additive these Colts are.
A lot of you told me not to hurry up and buy a cavalry gun without doing my homework or to be sure to buy one with a Kopec letter. Well I thing I did good. It comes with a letter. The other Wheeler guns that I found on the net went through RIA auctions and sold for big money. I spent more than I wanted to but it was the only way to get it. I believe I got mine for 1/2 price. I did make on offer on this gun a week before it was listed but the seller wouldn't take my offer as he felt it was worth $7500-$10,000. I guess I'm done buying for a while. I'm broke again. No Christmas gifts for anyone but me this year. I would appreciate any feedback on this gun positive or negative. Now I want to buy Mr Kopec's book as it list the serial number of my new gun in it. It will be awhile as his books seem to hold their value
https://www.gunbroker.com/item/835231871
 

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Looks like a great bargain at that price! I am impressed that the Kopec letter indicates it is in its original configuration. I have to assume that means with the 7-1/2" barrel. Usually Kopec at least points out some issue with finish or replaced screws, etc.
 

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Kopec himself states that "this is an exceptional example of a rare Wheeler sub-inspected Cavalry Model". I would think that a Cavalry revolver such as this one being cleaned, browned, and with modifications to the front sight independent of being a rare variation sub-inspected by Wheeler would be worth alone in the $3,000 to $4500 range, and you can add a bit more due to the Wheeler association. I think this depends just how badly a collector wants a revolver with a Wheeler association and how much condition matters. I would personally hold out for one with better condition, but, then again, at that price ($4225), I would be tempted to bite, as how long do I have to wait for another one to come along. I won't place a specific price on this one, but I would think the Wheeler association would add a couple of thousand to the valuation of this one, even in a market that is a bit soft right now for Cavalry revolvers.

Just so you know, Kopec states the following: "There are 47 "W" Ordinance-inspected SA revolvers represented in this entire series, making these revolvers extremely scarce today." Still rare, nonetheless...
 

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I am thinking the US being from the frame hurt this gun a bit. That is the main thing that sets a US issue gun apart from the others. Kopec's reasoning is sound and most likely correct but I would still like to have US on my gun if it belonged there. Having said that it is still a nice gun and the price was very fair.
 

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The ground-off 'US' would be a deal-breaker for me - it effectively removes the 'martial' aspect from a once-issued Colt, and that's the reason I collect martial small arms.

It's kinda like removing the 'United States Property' from a GI .45 - and yeah, I know the difference between a 'buy-back' and a hot piece -I just don't want anything I have to explain for any reason...

But that's 'me' - likely not the same for others.
 

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The more I think about it, the more I have lost interest in most U. S. Colt revolvers. It used to be people thought all U.S. Colts were real cavalry revolvers, out west in the hands of a trooper fighting Indians and protecting settlers. Real adventure. When you realize how many are identified as just guns that were sitting in storage in an eastern militia armory, they are really just guns that resemble real cavalry revolvers that experienced adventures on the frontier. There are true "cavalry revolvers" out there, guns that were not converted to artilleries. I can see the romance in owning one of those. To me, when Kopec identifies a gun as an eastern militia gun, he has considerably lowered it's value.

Sometimes Kopec is more complimentary than other times. He mentions light polishing, I see heavy buffing and evenly rounded edges all over, particularly on BS ears and ejector housing to frame fit. Also appears to be a wrong front TG screw, replaced firing pin, and wrong style trigger. Closer examination in person may verify or negate these observations. Just going by what the pictures show.
 

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It does have issues ( I even have reservations about the barrel address but maybe it's just the less than focused pic.) but it's not like a guy can go back to the table and pick from several other Wheelers that don't have any "issues." JMO, but the Colt removal of the US and the caliber stamping is just another interesting piece of the gun's history and wouldn't bother me. Different strokes for different folks.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I'm glad mrcvs wrote that there are 47 Wheeler inspected guns. That was one of my questions. Does anyone know when he did his inspections? I would love to know what month that was. I read he only did this for 2 weeks while thew other inspector was out sick.

I totally understand how some of you feel about the removed U.S. from the frame. Honestly if this was just a HN buy back gun I would of passed. I bought it because how rare it is to find an actual E.C. Wheeler inspected cavalry pistol. The Kopec letter really was something that made me purchase this gun. His observations put me at ease. Without the letter I would of passe because I do not pretend to be an expert on these at all. I value his opinion and didn't worry that I was being taken. I understand that everyone has their own personal taste. I honestly do not like the Artillery modified Colts. They may be full of history but I don't want a cut down barrel. That's just me and of course there is nothing wrong with them. I do find their history interesting. (Ironically I do like mix-master and rebuilt M1 Garands) I would love to own a documented Wells Fargo Colt SAA but the last one I saw sold for $7000 plus buyers premium. That one lettered to New York City. Heck it sounds like it never saw a stage coach but was a bank guards gun in the East(NY.NY.)

As far as the Colt buy back. I wasn't looking for one of them but I am OK with this gun even though it is a Colt buy back. I can appreciate that it too is part of the gun's history. It's still a real Colt with a hard to find inspector's stamp that was built for the US Gov't and shipped to the Gov't inspector at the Colt plant back in 1878. I can't help but wonder if all the Wheeler guns were sent at one time. I did find a Colt letter for another Wheeler gun that said it was 1 of 150 shipped on August 12, 1878.

I appreciate everyone that took the time to weigh in on my new toy(as the wife refers to it)
If anyone has any information on EC Wheeler please share with me. So far I have not really found anything. I hope Mr. Kopec's book has some more information on these as I plan on buying it since I understand the serial number is listed in it.
 

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If memory serves me, there were 3000 HN marked guns in 3 months. Wheeler filled in 2 weeks. That would maybe make 500 W marked guns. The really rare guns are those fully inspected and marked by Wheeler, not just one part. Some of the W marked guns are missing the US marking, an oversight by the inspector. Hard to believe an inspector could miss that important marking, but true, and confirmed in Kopec's book.
 

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Regarding serial number 49605--

If you are looking for this specific serial number as published in books by John Kopec, it is not specifically referenced in A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, by Graham, Kopec & Moore. I assume this is the Kopec book you reference. Despite this, it is a MUST HAVE book!

If you have on order Colt Cavalry and Artillery Revolvers...a Continuing Study, by Kopec & Fenn, your firearm is specifically referenced:

Page 55: Referenced in a paragraph headed "Nettletons without the U.S. Frame Stamping".

Page 59: Referenced in a paragraph headed "The Wheeler Sub-Inspected Examples", as one of twenty nine recorded from extant W sub-inspected revolvers.
 
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