Are their any large caliber Colts out there besides the Anaconda? I noticed I never see any Colt revolvers larger then .357 and started to wonder. Of course I'm not referring to the SAA. Did they ever make an OP or OM in .45 Colt?
I'd recommend you go out and buy a simple buyers guide or price list and then read up. The Standard Catalog of Firearms is a good one to start with as it will have pictures as well as brief descriptions. There is also one from Gun Digest that also has a lot of pictures. The reason I say get one of the books with pictures is that way you will learn to recognize what you are looking for when going to gun shows or when browsing the local stores.
New Army and Navy models came in 41 Colt. I guess you would call that a large caliber. Also the Model 1909 in 45 LC is another. The 1917 was a 45ACP. You could probably count the Thunderer in 41 and the Model 1889. There are others.
But your observation that Colt has relatively few and far between DA big bores, is reasonable. They are out there, It's just that you need to know what you are looking for and then be ready to pay the entry fee!
joed: the previous posters are right on about the New Service,and its "high entry fee" or price! I was lucky,or smart enough(?)to start buying these over 20 years ago,when they were still reasonably priced($250-400 range then) for "original guns" in 95% or better shape). I have all the "big bore" calibers,plus the later N.Service models in .38 and .357 mag. You can still find a "shooter" for what I paid back 20 years ago,but it will probably be in the more common ,45 acp(Army M-1917) or in .45 Colt. I shoot all of mine regularly,with handloads that are at least as hot as factory loads,but NO "magnum levels". They are NOT good for double action shooting,unless you have huge hands,and even then the D.A. pull is stiff. Single action pull is superb,but the fixed sights tend to be shallow,and the square latch(until 1928 or so)can pound your thumb bloody,depending on your hand size and/or "hold",but the latter is an e-z fix with a grip adapter & later style latch. All this said,they are still a blast to shoot and handle. I have a 1922 vintage 7 1/2" in 44/40 that will stay inside a 3 1/2" group at 50 yards,from the bench with handloads. Truly a "man sized" handgun. Bud
The civilian New Service was chambered for 45 Colt among other cartridges, but the 1909 was NOT made for the 45 Colt. It was made for the Colt 1909 45, a different cartridge. (I have an original box of these along with my 1909 New Service.) This cartridge has a case length about 0.010 longer than the 45 Colt. It has a wider rim. You cannot put six of them in a SAA due to the rim width. It was loaded with a 300 grain bullet, hence the front sight is higher. The 1909 was intended to take the 45 Colt as a secondary cartridge but will shoot low with it and run the risk of getting the rim under the extractor. The 1909 45 had the wider rim to avoid problems with getting the rim under the extractor.
The series of 45's:
45 Colt (possibly derived from the 476 Enfield.)
45 Schofield (Shorter case, wider rim, for the S&W Schoefield revolver.)
45 Government (45 Colt rim, 45 Schoefield case length, nicknamed the 45 Short Colt, menat to be used in both the SAA and the Schofield at the risk of getting the rim under the extractor.)
1909 45 (slightly longer case than a 45 Colt, wide rim like the Schoefield.)
45 ACP (In its original design spec it was meant to duplicate the ballistics of the 45 Schoefield or 45 Government (Short Colt))
This said, if you go to the gun show and buy brass headstamped "45 Schoefield", you will find it actually has the dimensions of the 45 Government or Short Colt with the narrow rim.
joed;saw a nice 1917 Colt New Service in a shop last week. It was NOT fooled with,strictly as issued,which is rare these days. A few wear places,dings,but probably 95% of original dull(not parkerized) finish and original grips. Bore shows a little roughness,typical from corrosive primers,but it will shoot just fine with .45 acp fmj ammo. My guess is that it was purchased by mail order in the 1960's from a distributor,and then spent the last 4 decades in a drawer! Guy that sold it to the shop owner,had inherited from a great uncle,then found his 10 year old playing with it;no ammo thankfully! Shop owner had an idea of what gun was worth but wanted my confirmation,as he mostly deals with "newer guns". Told him;ask $750,but take no less than $650; he got $700 from a guy that I told him to call,who collects military items. So,the New Services are out there. On another note; the .41 Colt,while a "big bore,is long obsolete. Other than a special run of ammo,by W-W in the 70s, no ammo produced for it for 40+ years,and ammo is $50-75 a box,if you can find it! So it is strictly a handloaders cartridge. Other than the SAA,the other guns listed are mid sized frames. It was a good short range man stopper,better than its .38 special type ballistics would indicate. Bullets are hard to get for it today,unless you cast your own. I have a 5" Army Special and a Colt SAA,that I built up from parts on a Great Western frame in .41 Colt and have shot them extensively with both inside and outside lubricated bullets;fun guns to work with,but there is NOT the sensation of firing a "Big Bore" that I think you want. Good Luck in your quest! Bud
Bart; The .476 Enfield was an outside lubricated,black powder load,that was standard issue for the Enfield Revolver,which was the British issue revolver in the 1880s. A strange gun,it was a "top break",BUT the cylinder slid forward,retaining the empty cases in the stationary extractor. More affluent(and wiser)officers bought Webley-Wilkinsons etc. for this cartridge. Colt chambered some SAAs for it(and Keith Cochran has a special small book on these),but the charge holes had to be "canted" to fit 6 in the SAA diameter cylinder. The bullets varied in weight(285 gr. was common)hollow points,shapes etc. Black powder shoved it around 600-650 fps. This was the cartridge that did the BEST in the U.S. Govt. tests on live cattle in the 1900s. A New Service was used! It was a stopper,especially against the lightly dressed "natives" that the Brits faced in the "battle for empire". The case is identical to the later .455 Webley Mk.I EXCEPT that the .455 diameter inside lubricated bullet(usually 265 grs.) fits inside the case, which is .476 in outside diameter These cases used a heel type type bullet,like a .22 lr. for the .476,as bullet & case were same diameter Since the .455 had a deeply hollow base,it could expand to fit the .476 bore of .476 bored guns,especially with the quick jolt of black powder. So once .476 Enfield ammo became obsolete,and hard to get,.455s could keep the old guns working. Accuracy probably wasn't that bad,if my 2 .41 Colts,with .403 and .406 bores,firing hollow based .386 bullets are to be compared. The .476 is the only New Service production caliber(they had some experimental one of a kind N.Services made) that I don't own,and I'd love to fire one! I know this is "confusing",but this "family" of British cartridges had many variations! Bud
Keep looking. It took me a year to find the one I wanted, a U.S. M1917. Jim Supica had a large auction a year ago. Since I subscribe to his occasional catalogues, I received the auction edition. I bid absentee on a really nice looking specimen, $800 top. I won it for $700, plus $70 buyer's fee.
The frame is 97%, the cylinder about 90. Bore and chambers exc., as is lockup. The stocks are numbered in pencil to the gun (this bit was not in the catalogue description).
Even better, it's pictured on page 79 of Charles Pate's "U.S. Handguns of WWII."
They're out there, but most of the dealers are asking $1000 for very good examples.
I shoot 200-grain cast bullet handloads, not full but a little more than mid-range in the 1917 and my M1911.
The 1917 was shipped in Oct., 1918, by the way.