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clean it very lightly??

  • WOULDNT HURT - YES

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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I recently came into a 1st Gen SAA that was not lettered. When I lettered the gun, the letter shows the revolver was shipped to M Hartley Company on April 10th 1908 and has an engraving on the barrel of "E. DE MEX". Matching serial numbers, 4 3/4" barrel, chambered in 38 WCF. I believe the cylinder pin and a couple of the frame screws are not original.

S/N 301253

After doing some research on the gun, I came across a rock island auction listing from 2013 saying this about the SAA...(this description is NOT about my gun, but another one that was shipped to Hartley company with the same engraving on the barrel)...

Description
This an example of one of 124 Colt Single Action revolvers that were shipped to Mexico in two shipments, one in April and one in August of 1908 through M. Hartley Company of New York, New York. All of the Single Action Army revolvers had the 4 3/4" barrel and were chambered for 38 W.C.F. These revolvers were engraved "E. de Mex" (Estados de Mexico - States of Mexico), on the left side of the barrel ahead of the caliber marking. Everything else is standard on the revolver. The top of the barrel is marked with the short two-line address, caliber designation "38 W.C.F." on the left side and the left side of the frame is marked with the two-line, three patent date marking followed by the circled Rampant Colt. The matching serial number appears on the frame, trigger guard and backstrap. Blade front and frame notch rear sights, blue finish with casehardened frame and hammer and fitted with checkered hard rubber grips with the Rampant Colt in an oval at the tops.
Condition
Very good. The metal surfaces have traces of original blue finish mixed with a smooth gray patina, showing some light spotting and a few very small areas of light pitting. The grips are faded to brown and remain very good with minor handling marks and crisp checkering. The markings are crisp and clear. The action is fine. A rare Mexico shipped Colt Single Action Army revolver that served its purpose in Mexico and made its way back to the U.S.


Here is the question for the forum (and I think I know the answer)...
My engraving is not visible and the gun is not in the great condition. I was thinking of trying to clean the barrel up with good high quality gun oil and some copper wool (a VERY light cleaning) to see if I can remove some of the surface rust and see the engraving that should be on the barrel. I believe it would increase its value and make it a little more presentable IF you can see the engraving. I feel like I can see some of the letters of the engraving if I squint, zoom in, and mess with the color and clarity of the photo...but it may just be my eyes playing tricks on me.

After speaking to another Colt Forum member, Im leaning towards leaving it the heck alone and not messing with it at all, but im interested in the consensus on here.

Below are some photos
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Discussion Starter #3
Here is one that sold through Rock Island in 2013
In my opinion, the engravings look pretty shallow to begin with from the factory I could totally be wrong about that though
There are certain letters I think I can make out when I zoom in really close on my barrel, but again it could just be my eyes lol
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Before anything you could try putting a piece of paper on the barrel and gently rubbing a crayon on the paper, pressing down where the engraving should be to see if you can make an image of it. If nothing shows up I'm skeptical cleaning it will reveal it but you never know.
 

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Get some 'BreakFree', shake it well, and liberally coat all surfaces - innards, too - if you're familiar with Colt SAAs - then let it sit for a few days.

Wipe away with an old t-shirt, and look.

A 'lot' of the surface detritus should have 'floated' away - 'BreakFree' is wonderful for this - and markings - if any - should become more visible.

Repeat the above.
 

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Ryan, the above idea is the best way to go. If you get a chance bring it by when you come to Camarillo again.
Mike White
 
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