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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Does anyone know if Colt ever produced 1851 Navy barrels without progressive rifling? I ask because I recently encountered something of a puzzle. Here's the story:

I ran across what at first appeared to be one of the 4th Model 1851 Navy revolvers assembled (possibly as late as the 1940s) from original Colt parts by the Philadelphia surplus arms dealer W. Stokes Kirk. I had it examined by a very reputable and experienced auction house. The two-digit serial number stamped on the frame, trigger guard, and barrel was clearly the "assembler's" serial number, so there was no intended forgery, the three numbers appear to have been struck at the same time (clear, crisp stampings, identical font, perfectly aligned), and they were all in the range reported by Wilson for Stokes Kirk assemblies. The barrel markings were correct, as was the bluing. The verdict was that the frame, cylinder and TG were authentic, but the barrel had to be post-19th century because it did not have Colt's signature gain-twist rifling. The rifling was more consistent with modern reproductions. I am very puzzled as to how a reproduction barrel (which, from what I've read, first appeared around 1956) could possibly have the correct Colt markings and bluing, as well as a SN perfectly matched to that of the "original" TG and frame.

From what I have read about Colt rifling, it seems even less likely that the barrel is in fact original.

I seem to be confronted with two scenarios that are both highly improbable, so if anyone can offer some insight on this bit of mystery, please write to [email protected] or simply reply via the forum.

Thank you,

hfrank
 

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Gain twist rifling in old Colts is new to me. I never knew they did this. When did they stop?
Do any modern repros have gain twist rifling??
 

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Yes, Colt started using gain twist rifling with 7 lands / 7 grooves in the 1850's, I do not know when they stopped.

"United States Firearms 1776-1875" by David Butler, page 202.

R,
Beck
 
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