Colt Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello Guys,

Hate to be the FNG showing up and asking noob questions, however I've just been given a Colt Model 1901 Army Revolver by my grandfather. It belonged to his step-father, an OSS Officer in WWI and WWI.

I'm interested in any knowledge anyone may have about this revolver, or anywhere you can point me for additional reading.

So far, I've pieced together that the "R.A.C." on the frame and cylinder is indicative of Rinaldo A. Carr, the inspector. And the serial number seems to indicate that it was produced in either 1900 or 1901, according to Proofhouse.

The butt of the gun states that the gun is U.S. Army Model 1901 No. 13XXXX.



I can take more photos if necessary.

Came with a leather holster marked with US in a circle on the front along with "J.C.", and "Rock River Arsenal 1907" and the initials "H.E.K" on the back.

Again, thank you very much for any insight!

Spenny.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
It's chambered in the .38 Long Colt cartridge. The parent of that cartridge is the shorter .38 Short Colt. Neither were/are powerhouses. But, S&W took the .38 LC, extended the case and created the .38 Special.
Before you shoot this gun, have it checked. These guns tend to have a cylinder "wobble", i.e. they don't lock up tightly on the barrel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info. The gun had 5 cartridges in a plastic bag with it, 4 of which were headstamped with Western .38 Special and the last one with WRA .38 Special.

From the reading I've been doing online, I can't quite figure out why my great grandfather would have been running hot loads in a gun when by all accounts he was extraordinarily meticulous about everything, including firearm use and maintenance.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
555 Posts
Nice old DA. I have 142903, not too much later than yours. According to serial number tables, both would have been produced in 1900.

At some point the Army sent some of these guns back to Colt to be refinished and, in the case of units produced in the 1890s, to install a lanyard loop that had not been a specification in production runs for earlier models. I am a slow learner and have still not figured out exactly what is going in with this process despite reading Bob Best's excellent book, A study of Colt's New Arm and Navy Pattern Double Action Revolvers, 1889 to 1908. Rinaldo Carr's initials occur on the rear face of my gun's cylinder twice, which I think means the gun returned to be refurbished. Best has determined that new production incorporating the lanyard loop seems to have started in August of 1901.

Somebody cut the lanyard loop off mine, an unnecessary butchery that I will have to fix some day. My gun looks pretty good, but the action is a little loose and could use some tightening up.




ADDENDUM: My gun definitely has the cylinder wobble mentioned in post no. 2. What is the fix for this? Peening the end of the bolt so it fits more tightly in the recess in the back of the cylinder? Peening the edges of the receiving pocket on the back of the cylinder to achieve the same end?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Very neat and informative, DCWilson!

Mine has the RAC on the rear face of the cylinder twice as well. I'll have to purchase that book stat, so I can read up on it. I agree though, the information around the net about the retrofitting/upgrade process of these seems to be sketchy at best.

Apologies for the noobishness, but if my revolver had been sent back to the factory, does that mean it is a M18XX which was restamped into a M1901?

Thanks!

Spenny

Edit: Do you have the ISBN on that book? I'm not having much luck finding it online.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
555 Posts
ISBN: 1-59196-723-6

Bob is a member of this forum, and you may be able to buy the book directly from him. If he has no copies left for sale, he may be able to direct you to the distributors who carry it for him. I can't recall now where I got mine, but I bought it several months ago. Not inexpensive, but extraordinarily informative -- nearly 300 pages of text, photos, notes and index. This is a serious work of research.

Back to the problems of this model: In my experience, the likeliest thing to go wrong is the hand spring. It can be bent or broken off completely if the sideplate is clumsily reinstalled. A pin on the sideplate needs to go on the proper side of the hand spring for it to function correctly. There are other small fragile flat springs in this action, but they haven't been damaged on the New Army & Navy specimens I have been able to inspect. If you need a new hand spring, Numrich sells hand/spring assemblies that work just fine. I have bought two for my oldest DA Colts.

I think it is the case that some 1896 Models returned for refurbishing were remarked as 1901s after the lanyard ring was installed. But this whole process is where my understanding is a little hazy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
138 Posts
DC - I think the answer lies under the closed cylinder. Your cylinder has a double row of indentations on the rear side. If you open the cylinder you should see two small "windows/slots" under the cylinder. When the cylinder is closed a small "lever" comes up into the outer window (for lack of a better term) holds the cylinder in place. But, when you cock the hammer that lever drops down and another lever comes up in the other window to hold the cylinder in place.

If you look at your pic you can see the second lever holding the cylinder. It looks like a small bump in the gap under the cylinder. I may be wrong, but I think it's the second lever that gets worn and doesn't hold tightly. I currently have both my 1901s at the gunsmith for "wobble" correction.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
555 Posts
Thanks, I see the issues now. What I should have done in the first place was analyze the range of wobble with the hammer and trigger in the three different positions: relaxed, hammer cocked, and hammer down but trigger all the way back. That would have shown me what needs to be done.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
605 Posts
.... I've just been given a Colt Model 1901 Army Revolver by my grandfather. It belonged to his step-father, an OSS Officer in WWI and WWI. .....Came with a leather holster marked with US in a circle on the front along with "J.C.", and "Rock River Arsenal 1907" and the initials "H.E.K" on the back. Spenny.
Hello Spenny:

Welcome to the Forum. I concur in the advice to get your hands on a copy of Bob Best's book on the DA Colts. It is far and away the best on the subject.

I think these guys may still have copies in stock: Gun Show Books -- STUDY OF COLT'S NEW ARMY AND NAVY PATTERN DOUBLE ACTION REVOLVERS 1889 - 1908

BTW, the holster was manufactured by the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois, not the Rock River Arsenal. RIA was the source of most, but not all, of the holsters created for this series of revolvers. As to the mention of the OSS in WW1 this organization was purely a WW2 creation.

Regards,
Charlie Flick
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,386 Posts
Hi Guys... Thank you for the kind words about my book! :)

I think Jim Bateman at Shandra's Books also has some copies of my book available for anyone who is looking for a copy. You can reach him at 925-260-9025 or email at [email protected] ...

Hope you all have a happy and prosperous New Year! :)

Enjoy!
Bob
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top