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Discussion Starter #1
I just picked up today at the FFL dealer a Colt New Service I bought at an on-line auction in Texas. It's serial number is 228XXX, so it was made in 1919. It's been nickel-plated (probably after manufacture) and the barrel says merely: "COLT DA .45". The auction house did not say whether it was .45 Long Colt or a Model 1917 in .45 ACP. It has a lanyard ring, and I suspected that it might very well be just a nickel-plated Model 1917, but I just tried inserting a .45 LC round and it fits just fine. Am I correct in believing that that proves that it is chambered for .45 LC?

The only people I know who do work on Colt DA revolvers are Cylinder & Slide, and those guys have a year long waiting list. I might like to have the action on this old gun tuned. Is there any good Colt gunsmith with a shorter waiting list out there?
703932
 

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The Consummate Collector
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It appears that you have one of the many Colt New Service model 1917's that were made for WWI. It was originally chambered in .45 ACP and probably converted post war to accept the .45 Colt. Check the length of the cylinder and see if it measures 1.600" long, if so it started out chambered for the auto ctg. The nickel finish was another feature that was applied after it was shipped.

As far as a gunsmith to work on your gun, you may want to reach out to Frank Glenn as he has worked on many of my pre WWII Colt revolvers. His phone number is: 602-978-9089.

Cam.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It appears that you have one of the many Colt New Service model 1917's that were made for WWI. It was originally chambered in .45 ACP and probably converted post war to accept the .45 Colt. Check the length of the cylinder and see if it measures 1.600" long, if so it started out chambered for the auto ctg. The nickel finish was another feature that was applied after it was shipped.

As far as a gunsmith to work on your gun, you may want to reach out to Frank Glenn as he has worked on many of my pre WWII Colt revolvers. His phone number is: 602-978-9089.

Cam.
Cylinder measures 1.625".
 

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I will second Frank Glenn. Came to suggest him and see Cam beat me to it. Just sent him a pre-WWII detective to look over, and he's fixed other revolvers for me in the past. Great guy. After you send him your gun, turn around time is 2-3 weeks at most. His rate is pretty reasonable too, considering he's probably one of the best old Colt gunsmiths alive.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. I was looking in Timothy Mullin's book last night, and he makes it clear that this has to be a Model 1917. The barrel inscription reads only: "COLT DA .45", which is what is found on that model. The "Property of the US Government" on the underside of the barrel, the military markings under the grip, and even the rampant Colt on the left side rear are all gone, polished off or just buried under the nickel.

It has one other problem: as you cock the hammer or pull the trigger in double action mode, one cylinder is much, much harder to index.
 

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The Consummate Collector
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It has one other problem: as you cock the hammer or pull the trigger in double action mode, one cylinder is much, much harder to index.


I am sure that Frank can take care of that.
 

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The Colt 1917s did not have the step in the chamber like S&W did so a 45 Colt cartridge will drop right in. Most S&W 1917s will head space the ACP cartridge on the case mouth if moon clips are not used. Colt 1917s won't. If you load it with 45 Colt (sometimes called Long Colt) there will be excessive space behind the cartridge when the cylinder is closed because the gun was designed to use 45 ACP with moon clips. 45 Auto Rim should work fine but I wouldn't use 45 Colt in it. A fired Colt case may set back and tie up the gun.
 

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Beginning at about serial number 30500 the Colt Model 1917 Revolvers cylinders were machined with a shoulder to correctly headspace the .45ACP round without the half moon clips. It was still intended that the ammo be loaded in the half moon clips for easy loading and unloading.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The Colt 1917s did not have the step in the chamber like S&W did so a 45 Colt cartridge will drop right in. Most S&W 1917s will head space the ACP cartridge on the case mouth if moon clips are not used. Colt 1917s won't. If you load it with 45 Colt (sometimes called Long Colt) there will be excessive space behind the cartridge when the cylinder is closed because the gun was designed to use 45 ACP with moon clips. 45 Auto Rim should work fine but I wouldn't use 45 Colt in it. A fired Colt case may set back and tie up the gun.
I tried a .45 ACP round and it came halfway out the front of the cylinder.

I guess I'll have to either fire a round of .45 LC and see if it then jams up, or find comparative measurements of cylinders and cylinder gaps somewhere. I wonder how exactly you free up a set-back case.
 

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Recommend just sending to Frank and have him inspect and repair as needed.
 

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I guess I'll have to either fire a round of .45 LC and see if it then jams up,
That sure seems like a bad idea to me.
Kerz has a better plan...send it to someone who can tell you for sure.
 

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I tried a .45 ACP round and it came halfway out the front of the cylinder.

I guess I'll have to either fire a round of .45 LC and see if it then jams up, or find comparative measurements of cylinders and cylinder gaps somewhere. I wonder how exactly you free up a set-back case.
If the .45 ACP fell through the chamber, the chamber has been altered. After serial number 35000/185000 the chambers were cut for the .45ACP to headspace correctly. Someone may have opened it up for .45 Colt and then figured out that it would not headspace correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If the .45 ACP fell through the chamber, the chamber has been altered. After serial number 35000/185000 the chambers were cut for the .45ACP to headspace correctly. Someone may have opened it up for .45 Colt and then figured out that it would not headspace correctly.
And then, he had this non-working gun nickel-plated and equipped with nice sambar stag grips. I tend to doubt that it really is non-functional.
 

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And then, he had this non-working gun nickel-plated and equipped with nice sambar stag grips. I tend to doubt that it really is non-functional.
You are the only one that has seen or handled the Colt, and you have doubt that it is really non-functional. But, a .45ACP round dropped in a standard .45 Colt chamber won't come halfway out the front of the cylinder. The .45 Colt cylinder is not bored straight through, and has a chamber throat in the .453 diameter range. The O.D.of the .45 ACP case at the mouth is in the .470 range. The .45ACP case won't pass the chamber throat in a .45 Colt chamber.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, a .45 LC fits just fine. I expect that I'll just go out and touch off a .45 LC round and see. I do mean to pack the gun off to that gunsmith anyway.
 

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The 45 LC may work fine. If it does set back against the recoil shield, usually you can just open the cylinder and eject the case. I think the "cowboy" loads are pretty low pressure. They may work in your revolver just the way it is. Hope it works for you. Sounds like a nifty revolver to have.
 
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