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Discussion Starter #1
i have a rusty single action that belonged to my wife's grandfather. i believe it is 44-40, but can't find it stamped anywhere. the barrel has been shortened and it's missing some parts. the serial number is stamped on the frame and grip in 3 places as 11208, and on the barrel and cylinder as 1208. can any of you experts tell me the significance of this difference and what they mean? also, considering it's condition, does it have any value?

thanks a lot for y'alls help
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It is just that Colt did not use the full serial number on the barrels, or cylinders once they hit 5 digits. They just used the last 4 digits of the serial number.
 

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it is an 1884 gun with all matching numbers. There may be a matching number on the inside of the grips. It should be 45 Colt as it is early for a 44-40. It may also have a US stamped on the left side of the frame. I would like to see the top of the hammer to see if it too is period correct. The barrel is cut too short for an ejector housing. A very interesting gun. Value is a bit hard to pin down without holding the gun in hand but I would guess 2000 to 2500 give or take a bit. Some of us like the early guns.
 

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Yes 1874 is correct. I hit the wrong key. As for value it comes in two forms. Actual value which would be 1000 or less based on the condition. Perceived value based on history, romance, and this being the iconic colt Single Action would surely drive the price higher in an auction.
 

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Nice old Colt. Don't buff it up or clean with anything abrasive as it will hurt the value. Bit I would spray it down with a good penetrating oil.
 

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One persons "nice" is another persons "wall-hanger". Personally, that thing looks rough to me. I cant imagine it bringing anywhere near $2000.00 unless it has some very interesting and well documented history.
 

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I have to agree with hearsedriver…..although I really like the OP's Colt, I do think 2K for that Colt is way too much. BUT that doesn't mean that someone out there wouldn't pay such a sum!:)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
thank you mikebiker for comments and estimate. i'm afraid to take a screwdriver to the frame screws to check the inside of the grips, or anything else. the slots are worn and look to be rusted in. i don't see a US stamp on the frame, just 1871 and 1872 patent stamps. i made some rough measurements of the chamber and cylinder and it does look like it's a 45 colt. i'll post a couple of more pics, including the top of the hammer.

it is an 1884 gun with all matching numbers. There may be a matching number on the inside of the grips. It should be 45 Colt as it is early for a 44-40. It may also have a US stamped on the left side of the frame. I would like to see the top of the hammer to see if it too is period correct. The barrel is cut too short for an ejector housing. A very interesting gun. Value is a bit hard to pin down without holding the gun in hand but I would guess 2000 to 2500 give or take a bit. Some of us like the early guns.
 

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thank you. i agree with you on that. for the last couple of years i've been hitting it with penetrating oil; and more recently with 50/50 acetone and atf. it was completely frozen when i got it. most of the moving parts are free now, but the cylinder pin/shaft is frozen to the cylinder, so can't get it out. i would like to get the rust off and get it disassembled and cleaned, if it doesn't impair the value.

Nice old Colt. Don't buff it up or clean with anything abrasive as it will hurt the value. Bit I would spray it down with a good penetrating oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
thank you. i agree with you on that. for the last couple of years i've been hitting it with penetrating oil; and more recently with 50/50 acetone and atf. it was completely frozen when i got it. most of the moving parts are free now, but the cylinder pin/shaft is frozen to the cylinder, so can't get it out. i would like to get the rust off and get it disassembled and cleaned, if it doesn't impair the value.

Nice old Colt. Don't buff it up or clean with anything abrasive as it will hurt the value. Bit I would spray it down with a good penetrating oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
a few more photos

first thank you all for your comments.

i added a few more photos. i found another number '646' stamped on the inside of the loading gate.

what i do with this gun depends a lot on its value, and i don't want to do anything to decrease that. i appreciate your comments on how to go about cleaning it up (preserving,restoring?).

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I think it's very cool. As someone who likes rusty dug-up condition, I would pass on it if you took it apart or cleaned it in any way. The gun tells a story the way it is now. Any reconditioning would ruin it for me.
 

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thank you. i agree with you on that. for the last couple of years i've been hitting it with penetrating oil; and more recently with 50/50 acetone and atf. it was completely frozen when i got it. most of the moving parts are free now, but the cylinder pin/shaft is frozen to the cylinder, so can't get it out. i would like to get the rust off and get it disassembled and cleaned, if it doesn't impair the value.

You are doing the right thing. If you search back a ways you will find a thread on a tool to remove a stuck cylinder pin using the hammer and mainspring to knock it loose. You can make one or buy it I believe. Active red rust is bad. Brown rust is usually a patina and helps protect the gun from rusting any further. Take your time and you will get it apart. The screws will loosen in time. A few taps with a brass punch will help break the seal the rust has built up in the threads. You can also tap around the screw holes to break the head loose from the part.
 
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