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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All, I'm a complete newcomer to this forum and hope this request is directed to the correct thread/audience.

I have an old 1873 that was discovered in Arizona some 20 years ago.
Matching serial numbers (98) are stamped on the cylinder, the frame and two locations under the grips. The only other markings are what appears to be a capital "U" and a mirror image of the capital letter "R", also under the grips. I'll try to attach a photo, forum rules permitting.


The calibre is 44-40 and the revolver is my everyday shooter for Western Action using soft black powder loads.


I would like to know about the the guns history and historic significance, so hopefully somebody can shed some light on it. Firearm Gun Trigger Revolver Gun accessory
 

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Stop!!!!! My advise is to stop shooting it and buy a new one to shoot. That gun is too valuable to risk any kind of unintended damage. Just my grain of salt, take it as you will...........
 

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I agree with smutt...

Maybe, some once in a while easy going Plinking with BP and pure Lead...

But no more than that, IF even that!


Too early, too rare, too valuable, and too 'special' to do routine or to do lots of shooting with.


Buy a new or newer one for Cowboy Action Shooting events, then you have the best of both Worlds!
 

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I agree with smutt...

Maybe, some once in a while easy going Plinking with BP and pure Lead...

But no more than that, IF even that!


Too early, too rare, too valuable, and too 'special' to do routine or to do lots of shooting with. especially rapid fire kinds which strain and wear the Mechanism something terrible on these.


Buy a new or newer one for Cowboy Action Shooting events, then you have the best of both Worlds!
 

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PLEASE post a picture of the rear sight. If this is truly serial number 98, it would be a pinch frame revolver. As such, this firearm would be severely modified, as it originally would have had wooden grips, a 7 1/2 inch barrel, and been in .45 Long Colt. If not a pich frame, then what have you, if serial number 98, is a mystery...
 

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As owner of several SAAs from 1870s to early 1900s -- and far from being an expert, student or historian on them -- I'm skeptical in what is presented here. Good photos would help but if it really has no other markings than as stated, what could have possibly happened to those on the left lower frame? No number on loading gate?

I agree with the other issues about rear sight, grips, caliber, etc.

The side view of the gun just doesn't look right to me. Like someone said about pornography, I can't define it but I know it when I see it.
 

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It's probably a Mexican or Belgium copy based on the low 2 digit lot number and being a 44-40 caliber that wasn't introduced until years after the time this one would have been produced.

Probably not what you wanted to hear but I think you've got a mixture of at least original colt hard rubber grips and a foreign produced revolver.
 
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Doesn't look like a Colt to me. I'm guessing Mexican or Belgian copy.

For sure, if it is Colt SAA SN 98, even with the modifications, you could buy a small house with what it is worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Here's some more detail: it's not a pinched frame ( the rear sights are just a single groove without narrowing ).Grips are not original ( there are 2 lots of holes for the locating pins )There is a hole that has been closed off next to the ejector mounting hole on the barrel (see pic)With the grips removed there is a closed off round hole visible in the centre of the butt plate ( ??? )
 

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You see the foreign copies from time to time with a lanyard swivel in the butt of the gun. More evidence pointing that way.
 
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Definitely Mexican copy.Belgian copies have a different profile.I still would hesitate to shoot it due to the huge variations in metalurgy.
 

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I concur with the above. How & where the serial # is stamped is the biggest giveaway. Looks like the cylinder has no approaches but is not beveled. Although for a copy, this one looks more like the real thing than most.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you all for your input. Greatly appreciated.Lanyard swivel - perfectly reasonably explanation.Most likely Belgian copy - makes sense, but oh so disappointing.When I took high res photos to find hidden or erased stampings/markings, I discovered a hairline crack in the bottom frame. Looks like its shooting days are finally over.As in regards to it being a Belgian copy, is there any way to date the gun, trace its history or get any other info?
 

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Thank you all for your input. Greatly appreciated.Lanyard swivel - perfectly reasonably explanation.Most likely Belgian copy - makes sense, but oh so disappointing.When I took high res photos to find hidden or erased stampings/markings, I discovered a hairline crack in the bottom frame. Looks like its shooting days are finally over.As in regards to it being a Belgian copy, is there any way to date the gun, trace its history or get any other info?

I agree with pecosriver that it is most likely Mexican and not Belgian. Either way, there is no way to tell when it was made. The copies were made in both countries for decades with no records of who made them, when, or how many.
 

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Those are obviously not Colt die stamps. They are modern, thick and heavy. The cylinder bevel is much later also. And early SA Colts were not stamped under the grips, they were stamped on visible part of the backstrap and trigger guard.
 

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Thank you all for your input. Greatly appreciated.Lanyard swivel - perfectly reasonably explanation.Most likely Belgian copy - makes sense, but oh so disappointing.When I took high res photos to find hidden or erased stampings/markings, I discovered a hairline crack in the bottom frame. Looks like its shooting days are finally over.As in regards to it being a Belgian copy, is there any way to date the gun, trace its history or get any other info?
Belgian gun makers were diligent about conforming to their country's proof laws. If Belgian, then the proofs are either mysteriously absent or have been removed.

Regards,

Walt
 

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During all of the later Mexican Revolutions,(1890 thru 1920)these copies were made by the thousands both in Mexico and Spain to supply the rebels who wanted a Colt but had little money. They probably have a better "Old West" history than 90% of the old Colts.You can find them in 44-40,44 RF, or 38 Colt calibers since only the Federales could obtain 45's.
 

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Thank you all for your input. Greatly appreciated.Lanyard swivel - perfectly reasonably explanation.Most likely Belgian copy - makes sense, but oh so disappointing.When I took high res photos to find hidden or erased stampings/markings, I discovered a hairline crack in the bottom frame. Looks like its shooting days are finally over.As in regards to it being a Belgian copy, is there any way to date the gun, trace its history or get any other info?
Would it be possible for u to post a picture of the crack exactly where it is on the frame?Over the years I've found several of them that had cracked frames from shooting smokeless ammo & I'm wondering if the crack is in the same place as the others I've found,thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Trigger

I disassembled/reassembled the gun yesterday to examine the crack closer. Made it a lot worse...

In case the picture too low res: crack is between trigger and the bottom most screw.
 
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