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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello all ...

My first post. I'm a lifelong shooter and hunter and am happy to join and learn. I'm hoping you guys can help me with the Colt I inherited from my Dad almost 25 years ago. A few months back I began to try to research exactly what I have.

Here's what I know:

-Gun was re-blued at some point. Pearl Grips installed.
-Colt Factory Rep said gun was a "Colt Army Special Model"
-Left side of barrel stamped .45 Colt.
-Serial # found on inside of crane and frame. 86XXX
-Right side of frame stamped C586. (can be seen in pic)
-Cylinder stamped 586.
-Just above Cylinder release G7 with an E under. Beside that to the right a B with B2 under it. There are faint symbols above these marks.

Any ideas on exactly what I have here? ProofHouse indicates a 1915 production date based on Serial #.(Assuming it's a New Service") Is it a "New Service" or a "Colt Special Army Model?
Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much ...

PsTaN
 

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Hi PsTaN,


Your Revolver is a Colt 'New Service'.

And is a Commercial ( not Military ) Model/version.

The Colt 'Army Special' was a smaller Frame Size ( sometimes called the "41 Frame" since it came in .41 Colt and smaller diameter Cartridges, and, did not have room for being chambered in the .45 Colt Cartridge.

Your Revolver does appear to have been re-Blued, just as you had mentioned having been told.

Right side of the Barrel would have originally been stamped "New Service 45" - and the Top of the Barrel would have originally had a fair amount of small Text Stamped in it also, being the Patent Dates and the Colt Mfg. related mentions.

These may have been buffed away in prepping for the re-Blue.

The "C586" Stamping would not have been something the Revolver had originally, but is something someone added somewhere along the line.


If the Timing and Lock-up are good, and the Bore is clear and has Rifling in it, this should be a fun one to go plinking with, definitely.


The Pearl Stocks are fairly valuable, and sought after by people who like them. Pretty nice it has them!
 

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Welcome to the forum. Would it be possible to see clear, close-up pictures of the markings on the left side, including the caliber marking on the barrel? This gun might be a refurbished NS, with caliber changed from .455 Eley to .45 Colt, and with British proofs from British service in WWI. Or maybe not.:D Anyway, if you can post photos, perhaps we can infer more.

Buck
 

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Welcome to the forum. Would it be possible to see clear, close-up pictures of the markings on the left side, including the caliber marking on the barrel? This gun might be a refurbished NS, with caliber changed from .455 Eley to .45 Colt, and with British proofs from British service in WWI. Or maybe not.:D Anyway, if you can post photos, perhaps we can infer more.

Buck

Good point Buck!


It may indeed have began Life as a .455...


Maybe some images looking into the Cylinder Chambers too, would be good. ( In case Side-Barrel Text was buffed away ).
 

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Many years ago, a friend had a New Service that had the C prefix number on the right side of the frame. His was a .455 that had been re-chambered to .45 Colt and had that caliber marking applied to the barrel overstamped on top of the original .455 Eley caliber marking. I was a former British military weapon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks so much guys ... I feel like I'm learning ... I thank you all!!

Now, the polishing done on this gun was "harsh" when it was refinished. Most markings that are left are faint ... if there at all. All that's left on the top of the barrel is "PT FA MFG". As Oye stated there was quite a bit more there at one time.

I might add that the gun locks up tight, has a really nice bore, and there is very little forward/rear play in the cylinder.

The 3 pics below show the best markings left on the gun. Pardon the dirty cylinder as she still needs a serious bath.

I really do appreciate the time of everyone here.

PsTaN
 

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Bunches o' British small Stampings...

The side Barrel Stamp ( what's left of it ) may be a re-Stamp.

Should have read "New Service 45"

Re-Stamps or modifying a Stamp which had originally read "New Service 455", tended to be done when what had been an original .455 Chambering was later modified to oblige .45 Colt, which is a longer Cartridge.

Some originally .455 New Services were modified to accept .45 ACP and Moon Clips, also. This one does not appear to have been modified in that way though.

I can not tell by looking at the image of the Cylinder, whether this was originally a .455 Revolver, or, a .45 Colt Revolver...but, probably, or if I had to guess, I would guess it began Life as the former ( .455)...and, the side of the Barrel was re-Stamped somewhere along the way. ( Characters are not all on the same base-line, either .)

Britain did also bring in some .45 Colt New Services, but, by far the New Services they obtained, were ordered in .455 Eley.
 

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Based on picture #3 of the rear face of the cylinder, I would say it was originally a .455. Note the small countersink areas around each chamber mouth. They are exactly like the ones on my revolver, which chambers .45 Colt but is still marked .455 Eley. The .455 round's rim was thinner than the .45 Colt rim, but also just a wee bit bigger in diameter, so the countersink was done to allow the thicker rim to seat further into the cylinder. The alternative would have been to machine off the entire rear face of the cylinder, as was done with the .45ACP conversions, but that would have removed the markings from the rear face of the cylinder. By doing the countersink, the revolver will now chamber and fire both the .45 Colt and the originl .455 Eley round. The countersink allows both to headspace properly.

Somewhere I have information, but I can't find the docunentation just now, that some of these New Services were purchased by Great Britian for the World War and were later sent back to Colt's for refurbishment and then on to Canada in time for the Second World War. Mine has the British markings, as seen on yours, as well as a "C" with a Broad Arrow in it (Canadian marking) on the right side of the frame and an "E" under the stocks.

These were originally bright blue, but mine has a dull, sort of bead blasted blue finish, and is also marked BB7 on the cylinder and on the frame under the stocks and 7BB on the crane. I have often wondered if this is a rebuild marking indicating bead blast and a number to keep the fitted parts together.

It sounds like you may have one that has a similar history, with an additional polish and re-finish after its military service was over.
 

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The gun was originally .455. There is a slight recess cut for the smaller diameter .45 Colt rim (it's thicker than .455) so it will headspace correctly. Both cartridges can be fired in a cylinder so modified. Accuracy with .455 may suffer due to the long freebore caused by the extended .45 Colt chambering.

The top mark on the top of the left frame is the British "Broad Arrow" property mark, so the gun was a service weapon. The original caliber stamp was "New Service .455 Eley" which has been partly obliterated, and left with just "45" to indicate a caliber change to ".45 Colt" (and is not a really good way to indicate that). I know the crossed flags on the cylinder mean something, but I don't remember exactly what. At one time each cylinder chamber was also marked with "crown over whatever" proof to indicate proofing for release for private sale. It also looks like the "pony" is still partially there.

Buck
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks so much for the time you guys have spent helping me. Here's what I now know:

- The gun is a "New Service".

- was manufactured in 1915.
- was in British Service.
- Originally chambered for .455 Eley.
- At some point after service use, the gun was heavily polished and refinished.

I took the gun out yesterday and fired a box of Federal 225 gr. SWC through it. I was able to bench shoot a 2.5" group at 20yrds. I believe the gun is capable of better .... I love it!!

What ammo would you all suggest? Would Hard Cast be ok?

Thanks so much ...

PsTaN
 

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PsTaN;497072[COLOR=#000000 said:

What ammo would you all suggest? Would Hard Cast be ok?
PsTaN
[/COLOR]
I'd stick with moderately soft bullets. For the pressure that you will be shooting (mild loads) you only need BHN of 8-10 - this is roughly 2%-3% Tin. The higher the chamber pressure, the harder you need. Go too hard, and the gun will lead from a different mechanism - blow-by from failure of a hard bullet to obdurate to fill the bore. You can get leading from too hard or too soft - there's a sweet spot you need to hit.

Buck
 
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If you can Load your Own, you would do well to use .454 or .455 Bullets ( Modern Factory .45 Colt tends to be .452 and is too small for the Cylinder Bores and a little too small for the Barrel).

My 'Avitar' shows some .45 Colt Cartridges, loaded with .454 - 230 Grain full flat front Wadcutters, with the Cartridges set into full Moon Clips.

This arrangement fits my Colt New Service Snubby ( long ago cut down from an early m1917 with the 'straight through' Cylinder Chambers ), and, one of my S & W 2nd Mdl Hand Ejectors, which had been 'shaved' and modified for accepting .45 ACP or .45 Colt.
 

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Regarding the marks above the cylinder release, I have an article that describes them as follows: The top mark is the broad arrow, signifying government ownership, the one below is the symbol of "His Majesty's Crown," the "G7" is the inspector's mark, and the "E" at the bottom is the acceptance and inspection mark of the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock, a suburb of London. I couldn't find anything on the second set. The stamp on the rear face of the cylinder (it's upside down in the photo :eek:) is called the crossed pennant with split-tails, the military proofmark.

Dick
 

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Hi Paul. Welcome to the forum. I also have a Colt NS 455 Eley. I've done a lot of research and if you search for my previous posts you find quite a bit of background in regarding WW1 New Service Revolvers. Have fun.
 

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The crossed pennants are the proof mark on the cylinder, and the Crown/G7/E indicate inspection at Enfield, with the G7 identifying the inspector.
 

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I have a commercial New Service in .45 LC and have been thinking about getting a New Service made for Britain during WWI and converted to .45LC. Are the conversions to the .45 LC safe? Would I need to check with headspace gages prior to purchase? I have my eye on one that still has all the original British markings, lock-up is good and is in Exc. condition. My concern was the conversion. Thanks for any information!
 
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