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12,840 Posts
Hi Grumpa17,

It's just that way...or, one would usually acquire knowledge a little here, a little there, and add to it with one's own increasingly informed observations, and, so on.

I do not know of any Book which will cover all salient aspects directly, of one's wishing to understand the variations ( made-up Guns, wrong parts, on and on ) of the 1917 Colt. Even if some Books would include sufficient detail for one to lean about distinguishing early, mid or late Military Issue, and to tell them from the latter Commercial Issues which used left over WWI Parts, and to tell those from re-Arsenals, and to tell those form Post Office Issue of re-arsenals, etc.

Much of that information is spread over however many Threads, here on the Forum, where the salient Posts evolve from discussion of a particular Revolver someone is writing in to ask about.

Of course, if one has some background in the earl 20th Century Dolt DAs generally, one is already half way there for understanding the m1917 and for evaluating or noticing critically, the departures from 'Stock' configurations which we encounter.

The S & W M1917 is a smaller Frame and smaller Grip Revolver than the New Service, aside from their differing details otherwise, so it is sometimes a perfect size for some people's medium-large Hands, and, the larger New service is sometimes perfect for someone with larger Hands.

Or, these two always seemed different enough from one-another to me, as to preclude being an 'either-or' sort of thing...even if both chamber the .45 ACP and both being WWI Arms and both being m1917s.

Ideally, one would have one of each, anyway, for the most fun!

· Registered
12,840 Posts
It's a lot like if one is interested in 1932 Fords, and, wishes to learn more.

Maybe it is not as bad as that, Lol, but, there is a lot to learn, if one wishes to sort of know one's way around them.

Any particular example you may be wishing to have evaluated, from Gunbroker or other, if you can direct us to the Auction or post images of it, quite a bit can then be told from there, about that particular one.

Many we to see have been messed with, or are re-arsenal, or re-finished privately.

Every exception from bone 'Stock' will be it's own example of a departure from 'Stock' and or will be valued less than a Stock example in the same condition ( or with very rare exception anyway, like say, is a period modified, period privately re-finished example, had belonged to some famous person and has the documentation to prove it ).

So, learning to evaluate an original finish or what is left of an original finish ( even if thin, worn or with no Blue left ), vis-a-via distinguishing that from an old worn re-Blue, becomes important.

And this comes easy enough for looking at examples which are being discussed in the Forum.

Early m1917 Colts had Cylinder Chambers bored more or less straight through ( even if they may have tapered somewhat ) with no 'step' to co-respond to the Case Mouth edge, which occasions a lot of Blow By and detracts from Accuracy...after that phase, the Cylinders enjoyed a proper 'step' and hence represent an improvement to some minds ( mine for example ).

The m1917 was Serial Numbed in with the on-going New Service run, so on them, one would tend to glance to the Army Inventory Number stamped on the Butt, to have some notion of how early or middling or late it may be, within the confines of the total m1917 production figures ( which I do not recall of the top of my Head but others here would).

Phosphate or Parkerized finishes are either examples of re-Arsenal for WWII, or, were done privately after WWII by individuals who wanted that kind of finish for themselves.

· Registered
12,840 Posts
I just purchased # 76 colt 45 military issue 1917. It appears to be in good to very good condition although I am interested in having it serviced. reconditioned. How does one thing the reconditioning will affect the value and what does the actual value really appear to be?>

What do you mean by 'reconditioned'?

Does it have mechanical troubles?

Cosmetic issues?



· Registered
12,840 Posts
Top Country Shooter Ralph Wolford gave the information on my colt. According to him it was # 76 made out of that series of 800. I don't know who is correct.

There was no such thing as any 76 out of 800 Series/run...and no such thing as any 'series'.

Small Press Books printed in a small number sometimes have such a series or run, and they will be numbered "This copy is No. 76 out of 800" for example, and be signed by the Author right above or below the enumeration disclosure.

I know of no instance where this has ever been encountered with any old Colts or other Hand Guns back when, nor was it part of how the Military did things when Ordering Guns.

Nor is the Number on the Butt the Serial Number.

The Number on the Butt is the Army Inventory Number, and once it got over 999, it went to two lines.

The Serial Number is inside the Crane Knuckle area.

As I said--I bought it cause I liked it. It's that simple. It also appears that Colt themselves wanted my revolver (before it was MINE) for 100 days to verify it's history due to the medallion. So I may submit it to Colt and see what happens. Maybe the best way to go is to let Colt research it. I will take some more photos though.
The Stocks on this Revolver mean nothing.

Someone added them at some point, and they may even be sanded/re-finished WWI plain Walnut Stocks, to which someone merely added some much later 'Medallions'.

The Medallions do not date to the era of the Revolver, they are newer.

No Colt m1917 came with Medallions in the Stocks - these were Military Revolvers and the Military required plain oiled Walnut Stocks.

There is nothing about this Revolver which would be of any interest to Colt, in any way whatever...even if it was minty and kept in a Box since new.

It is a nice example of the m1917, and it may even be in the original finish if 'mellowed', which someone modified the Stocks on by adding later Medallions, or which someone added the stocks it has on it now anyway.

No one familiar with the Colt New Service or Colt m1917 Revolvers would require 100 days to understand it.

Three seconds is more than enough time to understand it perfectly, for anyone familiar and informed, even with merely some decent images, as we have above.

Better images would help decide if this is the original finish or if it is an older re-finish which sought to emulate the original finish.

It is a nice enough, maybe even very nice ( better images would help us! ) mellow maybe original finish, wrong Stocks Colt m1917.

We all love them!

Most of us have a one or even a few in similar condition.

Sometimes these can even be our favorite old Hiking or Trail or Camping Guns.

It is anything more than that? Anything unusual?


But then too, it is plenty and it is fine just being what it is!

These are great Revolvers!

· Registered
12,840 Posts wanted the claims of the seller to be reviewed.

And the claims of the seller have been reviewed.

Just giving you the straight info on your Revolver.

Shop Owner was 'blowing smoke'.

Better images would allow a more sure determination of whether the finish is original ( I suspect it is original, but the images are not close or clear or taken from 90 degrees and do not show Barrel Text details, Butt Army info, and so on, ) or not.

The Stocks shown on the Revolver are irrelevant in this example, and merely represent a 'Medallion' contrivance someone had added to a worn/sanded pair of m1917 Stocks, or, which someone contrived however so.

Fairly high condition correct Stocks would be valued at about $150.00 or so at this point in time.

So one would in effect, deduct $150.00 or so, from whatever the price of the Revolver was, to take that into account.

If you want to know the straight info on your Revolver, this is it!

From what I can see in the images, this may well be a fairly high condition, original finish, New Service m1917...which is only detracted by the incorrect/modified/contrived Stocks.

But, again, better images would aid in arriving at a sure evaluation of the finish.

· Registered
12,840 Posts
It was a conversation after I made the purchase. Please be nicer to the next novice who comes along wanting to learn. I found a piece I liked so I bought it, nobody twisted my arm to buy it and nobody told me any stories to get me to buy it, I just liked it all on my own. I wasn't trying to say my colt was some special prize more rare than a snipe. I was simply relaying the information I had.
I think you could have been a bit more understanding to my situation. I do hope you will be more hospitable to the next novice who happens along wanting to know more about their new acquisition.
I am sorry..!

I did not mean to seem not-nice!

I am just home from a 2000 mile 3-1/2 day Road Trip and I am still a little fried.

I took you to present the claims made by the Shop Owner, for review and analysis, since they had figured in to your curiosity about what is or is not the truth about this Revolver.

I have not suggested that you supported the claims ( even if I did notice you seem reluctant to give them up! and or to resolve them based on various info being given already ) - I merely wished to put the claims into a proper perspective succinctly, and to explain to you 'why' the claims are false or confused, by providing you with the correct explanations for the details in question so you could have some added basis for understanding your Revolver, and for understanding how the claims made no sense in light of the correct information.

I did not mean to seem harsh, sorry...just meant to be 'firm' or clear.
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