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The gun is in my opinion is a correct, not refinished Virginia Militia nickel plated revolver. If you have the original wood grips put them back on. I think you have a very desirable gun worth a fair amount of money.
 

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The gun is in my opinion is a correct, not refinished Virginia Militia nickel plated revolver. If you have the original wood grips put them back on. I think you have a very desirable gun worth a fair amount of money.
You really think so? That A & P do not look right to me. The barrel has obviously been unscrewed, incorrectly. The back strap screw holes show a lot of damage and the screws stick out. The top of the back strap does not fit the frame properly. The 4 on the cylinder is stamped over the drag line.
20200307_143258 (2).jpg 20200307_143350 (3).jpg 20200307_143417 (2).jpg
 

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I see a gun with a lot more right with it then things that could be wrong. The A should be on top of the P but every rule has an exception. The lines are crisp and show no buffing. The font for the numbers is correct. The barrel address looks good. The cylinder pin has the hole for the lathe. The nickel is cloudy and aged. The barrel pictures are too poor to say if it was ever off the gun. The finish is even and matched on the entire gun. I could see the grips were replaced from the start and that has been confirmed. I see no amateur mistakes usually found in a fake or fraud. The gun is 146 years old so I do not expect perfection at every spot. I would sure like to own this one. Without the gun in hand it is hard to make a definitive call but I am saying it is good to go based on the pictures I see.
 

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John said it has been nicely restored. I take it that the job must have pretty well done. He said restored which means to be made as it was when new. I do not see a bright nickel finish on the pictures. The finish in the pictures looks much older and cloudy. Why wasn't the letter posted with the gun in the beginning?
 

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Perhaps the OP wanted to see what we could find. The poor quality inspector marks, rotational scratches on the barrel, fit of the backstrap/frame, 4 on the cylinder stamped over the drag line, and the grips were obvious evidence that the gun was not original.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
I thank you all for being interested in this Colt but I would like to remind you, to close this discussion, that I had not asked my Colt collecting friends if this revolver was a copy or other falsity, (I am not a trader or seller), I simply asked if US cavalry officers were sometimes equipped with this type of nickel-plated revolvers.
I note that the discussion has digressed on the authenticity of this Colt ..
Honestly, for me, this is completely secondary
 

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I thank you all for being interested in this Colt but I would like to remind you, to close this discussion, that I had not asked my Colt collecting friends if this revolver was a copy or other falsity, (I am not a trader or seller), I simply asked if US cavalry officers were sometimes equipped with this type of nickel-plated revolvers.
I note that the discussion has digressed on the authenticity of this Colt ..
Honestly, for me, this is completely secondary
I am late to this discussion, as I could not enlarge these photographs on my phone, and needed time to access these on my home computer. The very best discussions are those that state basically. "have at it, what do you think?", and then something like I will post John Kopec's letter in a few days, or this gun will be shipped to John in a few days, and we can see what he says relative to us. In your defense, you stated outright it was refinished (as per John's letter), but any revolver posted on this forum is subject to critique, and rightly so! That's how we all learn, maybe saves a few of us from expensive mistakes, and just commenting on that a revolver looks good when it has a multitude of problems amounts to nothing more than a "participation trophy".

So, being late to the thread, and having "cheated" by lokking at John's letter (and please do post the second page), I cannot offer too much, other than a few thoughts.

In Graham, Kopec & Moors, page 313 (2006 edition), it states that "This revolver, serial #13947, originally was one of the Virginia Military examples that had been nickel-plated after being sold as surplus." (Italics are mine.) This tells us that it is likely that the nickel plating on these was done after being sold as surplus, therefore, by definition, refinished. However, this is not detrimental, and actually is valuable. if a Virginia Military original renickel. If done after this, the firearm becomes nothing more than a refinished gun. The cloudiness of the finish suggests an old renickel, and John Kopec, and others, confirm this. I would think the contrast between the nickel finish of the frame and that of the trigger guard and backstrap would raise a red flag, as an original example would not, or at least should not, exhibit such contrast. The grips are obviously not original, as the original grips would have been walnut. The "4" on the cylinder, as already discussed, is a most telling sign. Being in the turn line, I would expect more wear, especially along the vertical part right along the turn line. The two indentations on the barrel, as johnh pointed out, suggest removal at one point. The italic barrel address is correct for the time frame, so it is likely the barrel was removed and then reassembled, rather than replaced. Removal of the ejector housing should reveal a "4017" under it stamped on the barrel, or perhaps the second page of John Kopec's letter mentions this.

I think the points johnh already addressed are all valid and worthy of note if not addressed in the second page of John Kopec's letter.

Still an attractive firearm even if refinished. It will not bring the big bucks of an all original one, but would be of interest to a beginning collector or one who cannot afford an all original example in their collection.
 

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People read these hobby forums for different reasons. I read them to pass the time, and more importantly to learn something about a topic I am interested in. I am continually learning things on this forum.

I may be wrong, but I do not believe the OP mentioned that the gun was refurbished until post 20. His initial post has been later edited. Reading his initial post I thought he was trying to determine if his gun could possibly be an officers gun. After his #20 post I asked what he meant by that and he said restored, and then posted the letter. Nothing against him, but that clarified things. Until I mentioned a few things, people were talking as if this was a "right out of the crate" original Virginia militia gun. Ignoring what I thought were obvious evidence otherwise.

Kopec does not say it is an old renickel, he states the entire revolver has been refinished as part of the restoration in a bright nickle finish, and all numbers have been restamped. "if a Virginia Military original renickel" An original Virginia militia gun if nickeled and sold to the public back in the day, was not renickeled, it was nickled for the first time.

I have posted pictures of my guns, and people have commented pro and con. I welcomed all comments, and learned some things about my guns. If some people do not want their guns discussed, even after showing multiple close up pictures, perhaps they should say so. We do not want to offend anyone.
 

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I thank you all for being interested in this Colt but I would like to remind you, to close this discussion, that I had not asked my Colt collecting friends if this revolver was a copy or other falsity, (I am not a trader or seller), I simply asked if US cavalry officers were sometimes equipped with this type of nickel-plated revolvers.
I note that the discussion has digressed on the authenticity of this Colt ..
Honestly, for me, this is completely secondary
I think it has been documented that a few officers carried nickeled SAAs but that they were not issued nickel plated guns.
Another member here has 136xx that shows traces of nickel.
 
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