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Discussion Starter #1
Referring to what it terms a "Colt Model 1860 Long Flute Conversion Revolver" a major auction house describes the subject gun, a Richards conversion, as "...a true conversion that is probably one of a kind and MANUFACTURED using a leftover long flute cylinder." (emphasis mine) Its description acknowledges that the subject lot's "[f]luted cylinder is not numbered but does have the patent date." And then adds: "This is correct as the serial number in this range were numbered on the back of the cylinder which would have been cut off in the conversion process.

While I do not doubt that if this gun had a serial number on the back of its cylinder it would have been cut off in the conversion process, is it accurate to say, as in the write-up of this gun, that a Model 1860 in the low 4000 serial number range (where it shows a serial number, the serial numbers on this gun read "4607") would have had a serial number on the back of its cylinder but not on one of its flutes so that the absence of a serial number on the flute is "correct" [and thus presumably the absence of a serial number on the fluted cylinder of this Richards conversion of an 1860 is not a cause for concern that when this gun was MANUFACTED it had a rebated rather than fluted cylinder?

Put differently: 1. is it correct that the Colt Model 1860 Army in the serial range of s/n 4607 had serial numbers on the back of their cylinder but not on one of their flutes?

rbs
 

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Could you post a link to it so we can view it? I am looking at Pate's 1860 Army book now to see if there are any references

Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The gun may be seen at www.morphyauctions.com as lot 2605. Pate's book at page 330 does say "late fluted pistols had the serial number on the back of the cylinder and shows s/n 4040 on back of a fluted cylinder so it appears that the Morphy write up is likely correct that s/ns of guns in this serial range had s/n on back of cylinder. I find nothing in Pate on the issue of whether fluted 1860s in this serial range did or did not also have serial number in one of flutes, perhaps I just did not look carefully enough. I would be interested to know if anyone is aware of a fluted 1860 in the 4000 and whether it has serial number on flute as well as back of cylinder.

rbs
 

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A more careful and further reading of Pate shows that he says early production fluted 1860s up through about sn 3000 had sn on flutes but that although a few late sn flutes have been reported with sn on flute "but the norm was for the number to be on the back of the cylinder of late production fluted cylinders." (Pate, p. 329)

Nonetheless, the question remains if this 3-screw 1860 in the 4000 sn range left the factory with a fluted cylinder. it does, however, establish that if a "faker" added this fluted cylinder to an 1860 that left the factory with a rebated cylinder, he either knew what he was doing or was very lucky. I remain uncertain that this 3-scrsew Richards conversion left the factory with a fluted cylinder but....

rbs
 

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I've never seen an 1860 conversion with a fluted cylinder. The ser # would indicate a 1st model original cartridge Richards but those all had new made (round) cylinders because the original perc cylinders were too thin (see the 12 Stop) and the diameter was increased. Those OCM's were new made as cartridge guns. When you get into the higher numbers is where they used percussion guns to convert. Also the ejector rod seems shorter that normal. If Colt's work, I believe they would have stamped the serial number or assembly number on the cylinder somewhere after conversion. They don't indicate whether there are any assembly numbers on the gun. I think that a fluted would prove to be too thin after boring out and not prove practical. You can see by the one photo that the cylinder is quite a bit smaller diameter than the ring. On a round cylinder, it's a very close fit. Maybe a replacement cylinder that someone made to fit the gun? A fluted that someone turned into a Richard's? Some kind of prototype? So my take is...I don't know.

I have a fluted 1860 #53xx with the serial number on the back and not the side.
 

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I have seen several of these offered but have not seen one in person to look it over closely. Because of the three screw frame and 1871/1872 patent date on the frame I believe that these are Richards conversion revolvers that were numbered in their own series from one to somewhere in the 5000. This is not an early Colt 1860 fluted cylinder percussion gun that was later converted to cartridge. It left the factory originally as a conversion revolver. Now whether it came with a fluted cylinder or not, I don't know but would definitely be weary. Round cylinder conversion revolvers had the serial number on the cylinder so I would expect a factory fluted cylinder conversion cylinder to also be stamped.

I do like the looks of them though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Chaffee and Colt 1860 appear to have nailed this one! After its first 1860 Richardson conversions of existing 1860s in 1871 that had serial numbers in the 200,000 range, Colt began producing "new" 1860 Richards with new serial numbers, presumably from s/n 1 right up to s/n 5000 or more with the 1871/1872 patent date on the left side of the frame and all with 3-screw frames. With a serial number of 4607 and the 1871-2 patent dates stamped on its frame, the subject purported 3-screw fluted s/n 4607 was most likely made with a rebated and not fluted cylinder at sometime after 1872, not in 1861 when the percussion 1860s with 4 screw frames and fluted cylinders were being manufactured. If as it appears, this Richards did not leave the factory with a fluted cylinder, the faker who assembled it created an appealing look with an at least superficial appearance of authenticity based on its being in the 4000 serial range when that serial range was again being used by Colt, this time in manufacturing Richards conversions with rebated cylinders and 3-screw frames. Thanks guys for I think solving this mystery/puzzle that I have raised, lots to be learned on this excellent site. You also appear to have reconfirmed that the concept of buyer beware applies even to an auctioneer assessing a 23% buyer's penalty.

rbs
 

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That 23% buyer's penalty is zero guarantee of originality - the auction goes by what the seller describes - they don't authenticate it.
 
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