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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good morning everyone;

I came across this article about this beautiful Colt some time ago on Wikipedia and had set it aside for a time. For some reason, I've developed an interest in it and and was wondering if anyone knew where this particular Colt SAA is living at the moment?

Also, In the document from Springfield Research Service it says that ..... "these revolvers (including this one with serial number 5773) was rendered unserviceable at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Montana Territory, on June 25 & 26, 1876"

Does anyone know exactly what they mean by "rendered unserviceable"?

I thought perhaps it meant that they were damaged enough that they would no longer function properly but I don't know for certain.

Thank you everyone.

Bud

Gun Firearm Revolver Trigger Air gun
 

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Well, I don't know exactly what it means in the particular case your speaking of, but I have seen the term, "rendered unserviceable" in re-enactment areas, meaning the gun has been made unable to fire, generally by removal of the firing pin. In this part of the world, it would save the gun from being heisted by some local crack head.
 

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From the letter it sounds as if the guns had mechanical problems during the fight and broke down.
Looks like they were sent back to Springfield to see what happened.
Sort of like our new M16's during Vietnam
 

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No way to know exactly, but maybe the ejector rod head, the "bullseye", got bent or broken. I've read of troopers using a rock to hammer out the empties from a fouled cylinder. Also, the whole ejector assembly may have flown off, its single screw being a vulnerable spot.

Interesting to think about.
 

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As the piece was turned in by Benteen, it may have been a battlefield pickup, but in all liklihood, something happened that made it no longer able to function as it was originally issued.

That could mean a broken mainspring, a missing ejector assembly or a broken bolt spring.

The way the Army looked at it - if it didn't function as-issued - then it was classified 'unserviceable' and shipped to the nearest facility for repair and/or replacement.

It reminds me of the old M1 Carbine sales program that the NRA did - back before JFK was shot.

The carbines were all classified as 'unserviceable'.

That meant that they weren't shipped with the sling and oiler, or magazines - because missing those items made the weapon 'unserviceable' because it couldn't be issued unless complete.

Anyone who remembers those, also remembers that all those slings and oilers and magazines were readily available in commercial ads of the time frame.

Precisely 'what' the problem might have been is lost deep inside Springfield Armory's records, and they've been pretty well mined for what information as may have existed.
 

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I would think a bent barrel or broken grip frame might be the result from being in a close combat situation. It would have to be something pretty obvious for an Indian to leave it behind. They could "Mickey Mouse" things back together pretty good.
 

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It had an arrow in the barrel!! :p


Wild card guess: no bolt approaches. The Military demanded changes early in production due to over rotation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow!! Thank you John.

I hope Hans will share some of what he knows about this gun.

When I first learned about this particular revolver I had originally thought that this would be a very interesting Colt Single Action Army to own. It's nice to hear that it actually belongs to one of our Colt Forum members. That's a fitting ending to chapter one in the little notebook in my head.

Bud

That historical revolver belongs to one of our forum members, Hans from Switzerland :)
 

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Concerning #5773: According to Kopec & Fenn's 'Cavarly & Artillery Revolvers', chapter 30....the only thing apparently wrong with this particular gun was extensive corrosion, possibly caused by blood. No mechanical damage was recorded.
 

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The gun is still in my collection. In "Colt Cavalry and Artillery Revolvers, a Study" by Kopec and Fenn, page 266 - 268, you can read: "A close look at the cylinder of documented Custer Battle revolver #5773. Note the areas of deep corrosion on the cylinder and recoil shield. These corroded areas are typical of surface damage caused by blood. This deep surface corrosion may have been the reason this revolver was
classified as “unserviceable".


Revolver Cylinder
 

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Thanks for the education. Does the image also show signs of cylinder over-rotation, as suggested by Boge?

One cannot differentiate between normal drag lines. The problem was usually when the center of gravity was offset, e.g., after two or three ctgs. fired, and then cocked fast & furiously thereby causing centrifugal force to accelerate and bypassing a chamber. One sees the same thing today in CAS when a lighter piano wire type bolt spring is used and people cock fast & furiously with two hands.

That said, I bow to the Kopec info as mine was merely a guess as I stated.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Thank you very much for this information hmaag;

I couldn't have asked for a better source of that information either.

Thanks again.

Bud


The gun is still in my collection. In "Colt Cavalry and Artillery Revolvers, a Study" by Kopec and Fenn, page 266 - 268, you can read: "A close look at the cylinder of documented Custer Battle revolver #5773. Note the areas of deep corrosion on the cylinder and recoil shield. These corroded areas are typical of surface damage caused by blood. This deep surface corrosion may have been the reason this revolver was
classified as “unserviceable".


View attachment 50491 View attachment 50492
 

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Good morning everyone;

I came across this article about this beautiful Colt some time ago on Wikipedia and had set it aside for a time. For some reason, I've developed an interest in it and and was wondering if anyone knew where this particular Colt SAA is living at the moment?

Also, In the document from Springfield Research Service it says that ..... "these revolvers (including this one with serial number 5773) was rendered unserviceable at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Montana Territory, on June 25 & 26, 1876"

Does anyone know exactly what they mean by "rendered unserviceable"?

I thought perhaps it meant that they were damaged enough that they would no longer function properly but I don't know for certain.

Thank you everyone.

Bud

View attachment 50400
"Rendered Unserviceable"??..... I believe that's whats meant when you get scalped:D
 
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I would think a bent barrel or broken grip frame might be the result from being in a close combat situation. It would have to be something pretty obvious for an Indian to leave it behind. They could "Mickey Mouse" things back together pretty good.
Benteen's position was not overrun therefore the indians would probably not have had a chance to pick up this revolver.
 

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Documents I got from Frank Mallory, Springfield research Service. I think, the collected SAAs on the Reno Benteen Battlefield were not cleaned. Collected by the Chief Ordnance at the 2nd quarter of 1877, about 11 months later, blood pitting corroded the surfaces enough to render the gun unserviceable.

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