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I have an old revolver that has been previously painted with black paint. I have uncovered the serial number (112851), but don't see any other identifying information on the revolver. The cylinder fits both 45 Colt and 44 Rem Mag cartridges. How can I determine the model and caliber? I don't want to mix these two up. My research thus far indicates that the serial # is too low for it to be a 44 Mag. Thoughts?

thanks,
 

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The cylinder won't be for a Colt...never produced a .44 Magnum SAA. It would have to be for some other make. How about some photos?
 

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Pictures are a must to help us help you...!!


Posting Pictures Tutorial from my buddy Robert (824tsv):



.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have an old revolver that has been previously painted with black paint. I have uncovered the serial number (112851), but don't see any other identifying information on the revolver. The cylinder fits both 45 Colt and 44 Rem Mag cartridges. How can I determine the model and caliber? I don't want to mix these two up. My research thus far indicates that the serial # is too low for it to be a 44 Mag. Thoughts?

thanks,
I'm now quite convinced that its a 45 Colt now. Still would like to hear your thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have an old revolver that has been previously painted with black paint. I have uncovered the serial number (112851), but don't see any other identifying information on the revolver. The cylinder fits both 45 Colt and 44 Rem Mag cartridges. How can I determine the model and caliber? I don't want to mix these two up. My research thus far indicates that the serial # is too low for it to be a 44 Mag. Thoughts?

thanks,
Pretty convinced that its a 45 Colt now; still would like to hear thoughts
 

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The cylinder won't be for a Colt...never produced a .44 Magnum SAA would have to be for some other make. How about some photos?
A S&W .44 Magnum cartridge will load in a .45 Colt cylinder, and will probably headspace although it would be disastrous to fire in a Colt SAA. A case of just because it will chamber, it shouldn't be fired.
 

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A S&W .44 Magnum cartridge will load in a .45 Colt cylinder, and will probably headspace although it would be disastrous to fire in a Colt SAA. A case of just because it will chamber, it shouldn't be fired.
Again, agreed. Do we agree that this is a 45 Colt caliber Single Action Army Revolver?
 

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Looks like a Colt Single Action. If you gave the correct serial number, it was manufactured in 1884. Can't tell the caliber, although we could make an educated guess from a picture of the front of the cylinder. The thin walls of the .45 caliber cylinder are fairly obvious. There may be a caliber stamp on the left front bow of the triggerguard, but that won't guaranty that the barrel and cylinder weren't changed at some time. The grips are correct for the period but may not be original to the gun due to the poor fit. If that is the correct cylinder or base pin, it is not inserted all the way into the frame. You should look through the sticky thread titled "Subtle changes in the Colt Single Action Army, a photo essay" found near the top of the Single Action Forum. You'll find a wealth of info on markings and where to find them. As stated by other posters, your Colt is well worth cleaning up.
 

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Welcome to the Forum from South Texas!

It does appear to be a true Colt SAA. Serial # says 1884. Like Kerz said, it is definitely worth a careful cleaning up. Knowing more of how you found it would be interesting as well.
 

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Interesting old gun. Bullseye ejector head is late for 1884. Oval heads appeared 1881-1882. Definately worth cleaning up, gently. No abrasives. I don't know if chemically removing the black paint would remove any blue finish remaining, but it probably would. Perhaps a soaking bath in denatured alcohol (without the grips on it!) may work. Other option I can think of at the moment would be a rub-down with a brass pad and a light oil, again gently. I like it and the challenge to bring it back....
 

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I really like your gun. I would love to have something like that. Congrats. Remember that the serial number is under 192,000 so it isn't proofed for modern smokeless powder. This may sound odd but I would use brake fluid to remove the paint. It is so thin it will cut the paint. If you ever dripped brake fluid on your cars paint (like on a front fender) you know how in seconds it starts to eat the paint right off. A little brake fluid and 0000 steel wool should do the trick . As already mentioned remove the grips to ensure they don't get any of the remover on them. Please do your own research before using my trick as I don't want you mad at me if something goes wrong. I am sure others will chime in. Wait for their advise before doing anything.
 

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Bluing will not be removed by any common solvent. Remove the stocks, field-strip it and let it sit in solvent until the paint falls off. Do NOT use steel wool on the underlying surface. If there is surface rust, and you want to reduce or remove it, use one of the Big .45 Frontier pads, which will remove raised rust without scouring the surface like steel wool will.
 

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If you will look on the side of the front left triggerguard bow you should see a "45 CAL" stamped there unless it's worn off. In this time period colt didn't mark the barrels "45 colt" like they did starting around the 130,000 serial range. The barrel appears to be 4-3/4" and you can tell if it's the original length by whether it has 2 small parallel lines on the top of the barrel next to the frame. This is called the barrel address. 4-3/4" ones were in 2 small lines and the 5-1/2" and 7-1/2" were normally in one line. The hard rubber stocks with eagles are the standard grip for a gun in your 112,000 serial range.
 
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