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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I have this old Colt New Service in .45 Colt. As I understand it, it’s not much of a collectors item. It’s not in factory new condition as first shipped by Colt. Not in its original Caliber, and I cannot associate it with any famous people or places. But to me, I am thrilled every time I pick it up. To me all history, off all the Colt New Service, ever made, are embodied in this one revolver.

As I tell you what I do know about this revolver. It is my hope you can understand and enjoy this old gun, and learn more from your knowledge.

Word of warning, this is the first time I have tried to do a large post.

Serial Number #403
Shipped 2 May 1899
Simmons Hardware Store St. Louis Missouri
Caliber .44/C

Knowing this, 120 years ago this gun could have gone anywhere, or nowhere. It is an open book to history. St. Louis was a hub of the world when it came to shipping things. If you were going to explore the world the Colt New Service was the only heavy duty large frame swing out cylinder large caliber handgun going. In 1899 you could find 44-40 Caliber almost anywhere in the world. The Turks used it, it was all over North and South America, The Boer in Africa, China and Asia, it was the perfect round for the world adventure. A man armed with a New Service in 1899 was "Tier One Armed"! There had only been 249 shipped by the end of 1898.

Fifty years latter April 1949, this same gun was sent to colt for a rebuild. There, it got a new style tapered barrel, new higher strength steel cylinder, both in .45 Colt. A full reblue with polished sides and bead blasted top and bottom. It was given a new proof mark on the trigger guard and stamped with the 1949 current style of poney on the side of the frame. We know this because of the colt Ampersand "&" stamps and the "495" stamps on the left side of the grip frame under the grip and on the cylinder under the ejector star. This was a major rebuild of an old gun. When first bought new in 1899 this gun most likely went home on the back of a horse or in a wagon. Four years later man learned how to fly, two world wars had taken place. A lot of history had taken place.

Eighty years after it was rebuilt by Colt. Here I am, in the Arizona desert shooting and carrying a Colt New Service revolver, that's in truly great condition. 120 years old. I am just so lucky no one wanted to buy it, 20200731_141341_2.jpg 20200731_141233_2.jpg 20200731_141204_2.jpg 20200731_141140_2.jpg 20200731_140911_2.jpg 20200731_141034_2.jpg 20200731_140858_2.jpg 20200731_140813_2.jpg 20200731_144041_2.jpg 20200731_144058_2 (1).jpg because it wasn't Original.
 

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Excellent research and a nice summary of it's history. I have my first NS that was reblued so well, I always figured it was done by Colt. I need to check a few of these items you mention, 25 years ago I just figured I got suckered at a gun show with poor lighting.
 

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That gun looks great. I'd be happy to own it too.
If it doesn't have an original finish, then nothing beats a genuine Colt re-finish. Especially one in Dual Tone. I have a 44-40 NS from 1919 that was re-finished by Colt in 1950.
And I'm still kicking myself for not buying an early 30's OMT in .22 that was re-finished in Dual Tone Nickel.
Enjoy that New Service. It's a nice piece.
 

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Interesting revolver, if only they could talk. I am curious abut the barrel address on the top of the barrel. Could you post a picture of it. I am wondering if it includes patent dates or not. I am assuming it doesn't have the hammer block.
 

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Matt does yours have any cartouches that indicate it was refinished at Colt? I know they did the & sign sometimes, but didn't know the other marks Del points out. It would be nice if they always marked them the same way, if redone by Colt. I need to check under my ejector star, and grips. I always thought the & would just be in the crane.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
22_Matt,

Nice seeing there are more of the rebuilds out there. Very nice New Service, in a great caliber. Could be the most common caliber of its day! The grips set it off. Are they Grashorn Elk Horn Grips with the bark removed?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Colt1860,

There are no markings on the top of the barrel. It is a Colt replacement barrel. You see these type of barrels mostly used on replacements and caliber conversions.
I am not sure when Colt made them but they seem to be 1940-1950 time frame. Maybe sooner then that, considering I don"t see Colt making commercial barrels during WW2. Of course once made, you don't know how long one could lay around before it gets used. The markings on each side are all there is. Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
AZshot,

I saw a post a while back were the rebuild on another gun in the 50's had a stamp that was year and month whereas mine (495) is year then month. I don't know if it was changed back and forth, it was unclear directions that just said to date it, or it just depended on the guy with the hammer. If anyone knows, please post it.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Colt1860,
Your correct, no hammer block. That they did not update.
 

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Numrich also supplied new-made barrels and cylinders - 'back in the day', a lot of old Colts got a new life.
 

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22_Matt,

Nice seeing there are more of the rebuilds out there. Very nice New Service, in a great caliber. Could be the most common caliber of its day! The grips set it off. Are they Grashorn Elk Horn Grips with the bark removed?
The stocks were made by a forum member from Fort Collins CO. He used to sell them in the classifieds and on gunbroker. I had requested a pair without any bark.
 

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Matt does yours have any cartouches that indicate it was refinished at Colt? I know they did the & sign sometimes, but didn't know the other marks Del points out. It would be nice if they always marked them the same way, if redone by Colt. I need to check under my ejector star, and grips. I always thought the & would just be in the crane.
Mine has 310 stamped on the cylinder under the extractor and on the lower front of the left side of the grip frame the same as Del's gun. I would expect that to mean Oct 1953.
Earlier marks are an ampersand (&) and a six pointed star. Both are usually on the right side front of the trigger guard. I have also seen them on the frame crane area below the serial number. I have a guns that have been re-barreled and have examples of both marks.
 

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Thank you so much for posting your narrative on your New Service along with your photographs.

I especially like the New Service so always enjoy reading about them.
 
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