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Colt New Services: which ones most \"desireable\"?

I really like the Colt New Service revolver, and have started a small collection that currently consists of a 1917, a flat-latch in .45LC with a 7.5" barrel, and a round-latch again in .45LC with a 7.5" barrel.

Up to this point I've just been buying any NS revolvers that I find and like and can afford (I'll undoubtedly keep doing this!), but I'm curious, which versions of the Colt New Service revolver are most desirable? Which calibers are least commonly found? Which barrel lengths?

Thanks!
 

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Re: Colt New Services: which ones most \"desireable\"?

My opinions & observations .

I feel that any NS in 90-95% or better condition is a good one to buy . The "Target" , "Shooting Master" or any of the police ordered (inscribed back straps) would be good choices . The 4.5" seems to be the least encountered bbl length . the 5.5" is the most common . With the Model 1917 being half the total NS production , the 45acp is most common . 455 Eley was chambered in large numbers for the British in WWI . The 45 Colt is most common commercial chambering . As for rare , some of the obscure British chamberings are very unusual .

Good luck in your search !
 

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Re: Colt New Services: which ones most \"desireable\"?

I would consider the New Service Targets and Shooting Masters as the most desirable New Service Models. There were only a few thousand of each made over a span of about 40 years. The rarest chamberings in each are the .44 Special with the .45 ACP and .357 close behind. The square butt was standard on the NST, but the round butt was available as special order so a round butt NST is quite rare. The reverse is true with the SM, where the round butt was standard, but the square butt was available on special order. The 7.5-inch barrel is the most common on the NST, but a 6-inch was available so 6-inch NSTs are rare.
 

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Re: Colt New Services: which ones most \"desireable\"?

Sounds like you have a nice start on a collection!

I am lucky that I began over 2 decades ago,with my grandfather's 4.5" .45 Colt,circa 1922 in 95% shape.

The New Service is addictive,especially if you handload and shoot them regularly,as I do(don't let that brawny size fool you,the steel is "elderly",and best leave the magnum type reloads to newer platforms!)

The best book on the subject will cost you only about $7.50. It is Bob Murphy's paperback,"Colt New Service Revolvers",a paperback,around 70 pages,published in 1985. I think I.D.S.A. Books(www.idsabooks.com) in Piqua,OH still carries it(?)

Mitch and judge gave you good advice. Other desirable models are the older ones,with the rebated trigger guard,and a slightly different internal lockwork;only about 21K made.They also had the "old style" polishing,and bone charcoal finish,that Colt did away with circa W.W. One.

The N.S. used to be "cheap",until the "SAA wannabee collectors" discovered them about 15 years ago. With SAA prices rising,they were attracted by the plethora of large calibers,size and finish.

A problem encountered today is finding original New Services! Colt "dumped" a huge lot of N.S. parts in the 50's,and many 1917's and British .455s were converted to different calibers. Numrich arms even made new .357 mag and .45 Colt bbls. and cylinders, which were also used on many of these older guns.

While a close to 1/2 of the N.S.s were 1917s,some of us think that the number of British contract guns were close to 60K(plus some more private purchases).

The New Service went through several subtle changes over its production,and some of these variations are rare(like the 1932 made "Commercial 1917s"). Beware of fakes!!

I have seen very few "nickled" N.S. revolvers compared to contemporary smaller Colt DAs and SAAs.

The 1932 ".38 Special Model"(and .357 Mag in 1935) were only made a few years,and many are LEA marked,but like many New Services,will show "honest wear". Target guns generally will show "less blue wear",further driving up their price!!

The 38/40s and 44/40s used to be "cheap",but with the reintroduction of lower priced commercial ammo,due to SASS,they have gone up in price.

I am fortunate to have bought mine "a few years" ago,and have at least one in all production calibers, except the .476 Eley(be a helluva time finding those heeled bullets to reload!): all are shot with handloads,regularly but prudently,despite the N.S. not being as good a fit to my hands than E framed Colts and pre war N frame "big" S&Ws.

Best of luck in finding them,you will probably see many "reblues",so don't shy away from a "worn finish" but mechanically perfect gun.

Bud
 

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Re: Colt New Services: which ones most \"desireable\"?

Hi Too Tech Most desirable has been well covered. Some help on calibers least comonly found may come from a little [63 page] paper back book COLT NEW SERVICE REVOLVERS by Bob Murphy. It contains things like a chart of Colt factory inventory on Jan 1 for years 1900 through 1907 broken down by caliber, barrel length etc. Wonderful reading with lots of pictures. Maybe some knows where to get it, Good collecting from Texas
 

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Re: Colt New Services: which ones most \"desireable\"?

Bud,

Welcome back to the "kinder and gentler" ColtForum. We are still working on polishing up our reading comprehension, though... /forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif
 

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Re: Colt New Services: which ones most \"desireable\"?

I suggest all those listed above....by now your head must be spinning.

The NS that's dearest to me is the year 1926 45ACP marked "NEW SERVICE 45 COLT" on the barrel. In 1926 this gun variation was uncataloged although it was cataloged many years later. In the last 3 years I've seen 3 guns of which I owned 2 of them, sold one of them to fund my addiction. These guns were in the 324,000-324,999 serial number range and all 3 guns were within this s/n range. You can read about this gun in Murphy's book (page 35-36) and the Gun Values Blue Book. I highly recommend purchasing Murphy's book. The gun I retain is 98% condition and the one I sold was about 94% condition. All 3 guns showed up at gun shows. I've not yet seen one on GA, GB or AA. Thank you for renewing my interest because I no longer search for this variation. That's going to change.

After this gun I prefer the NS target models and the Shooting Masters as they are the cream of the crop. Find one that's boxed or a rarer caliber and you found a treasure and usually command high $$'s.

Good luck in your quest.
 
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