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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My great uncle gave me a SAA artillery model back in 1968. Story was he bought it from a rancher in Wyoming who carried it daily and used it occasionally to drive in nails. More on that later. I shot it a few times and then stored it.

I recently came across an article about Custer colts, so I pulled this one out to satisfy my curiosity. I went to the colt serial number lookup site and entered the serial number on the frame as it was the lowest. It appeared to be in the group #5, I also came across the unbelievable site by one of the current members named Rusty. The same serial number indicated that this frame had gone to the New York Militia. So it goes.

A little more curiosity and searching brought up a GunsAmerica site, the contents of which have apparently expired, but were still displayed. This individual had for sale a Custer Era CoIt serial # 4571 so I wanted to check the value. I will enter the link to this site, but in case it is no longer up, I will try to enter the information directly.

Link is:https://www.gunsamerica.com/992316207/Colt-45-Peacemaker-4571-Custer-era.

Following are the pics from the ad.
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Following is the text:

Description:Hello, up for auction here is a VERY NICE AUTHENTIC 6 Shot Colt 45cal. Peacemaker #4571 Custer era hand pistol. IN EXCELLENT CONDITION!!!

“Description:

It has a 7" barrel and is an army combat revolver from lot #5 issued to the 7th Calvary Jan. 1874. It includes two authentication documents which prove its authenticity which are written BY THE COLT FACTORY. The documents give information about the people/officers and dates the pistol was refurbished and reshipped to. one of the documents also indicates reshipment in 1903. Copies of these documents are available for copy upon request.“

Amazingly, this revolver has a few things in common with mine. The most interesting of which is the serial number on the frame. It appears to be the same as the number on mine.

These pics are from my colt:
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I know little about the SAA, and mine appears to have been through a lot of remediation during it's lifespan. No color case hardening showing. Pretty good blueing as it probably was refinished at least once. My uncle filed and sanded down the nail marks on the base of the grips and replaced the grips. Probably a new barrel or at least cut down. No serial number to be found on it. Did they cut from the breech? Hammer appears to have been replaced sometime.

I contacted the GA seller, who vaguely remembered posting it online for a friend who was computer challenged. That, according to him was a long time ago. He had no knowledge of the firearm's whereabouts. I actually wanted to purchase the revolver for the purpose of owning two SAA's with the same serial numbered frame. Can't happen that often.

Please feel free to offer your thoughts. As I said, I know little about these firearms and look forward to hearing from any who do know. Picture posting problems are the result of my limited experience.

D
Ad pic5.jpg Ad pic2.jpg Ad pic3.jpg Ad PIC.jpg Frame-number.jpg Under-trigger-guard.jpg Cylinder-202.jpg
 

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There are instances of duplicate serial numbers but being a Lot 5 Custer era number raises red flags. Just checked Kopec's book and 4571 is listed as a New York Militia issue which was subsequently sent back for conversion to "artillery." You could call John Kopec and explain the situation. He could probably shed more light on this. Personally I think the GA gun was made up to match a letter.
Your cylinder 202 shows the lack of approaches which the GA gun clearly shows. Guns in this range do NOT have approaches. Now, #202 is photographed in Kopec's 30th anniverary edition of 'A Study..." Owned by Dr. Ricard Horton the pic shows the frame and TG serials. It doesn't mention if the gun is all matching but one would assume so. This makes one wonder how your cylinder came to be marked 202.
If ever there was a candidate for a Kopec inspection and letter this is it! It's appx 400.00 but would be worth every penny. Very interesting!
 

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I'm fairly certain that the entire serial was stamped on the various parts until Colt got into 5 digits. At that point if memory serves, the barrel and cylinder got the last 4.

Deem, look cylinder over with magnifier, Look for a "P" and an "A." Any serial or letter stamping on barrel on bottom? The cylinder looks in nice shape for 1873. Maybe too nice.
 

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That is crazy interesting. Please post the out come of the appraisal, It would definitely be worth it.
 

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  1. You could certainly send your revolver to John Kopec for his expert evaluation, and it would be interesting to see what he has to say, and my interest in what he has to say means I think you should do it. Of course, it's not my money on the line and being reblued and with replacement grips, it would be a lower value Artillery model revolver, and might actually decrease the value of your revolver if significant discrepancies are identified. But, being an heirloom revolver, it might be worth the investment just to know..
  2. In addition to already identified problems, both with your revolver and the one on Guns America, the cylinders on both are problematic, one way or another. There really can be only one cylinder numbered 202, as Colt numbered revolvers into the 4 digits. At that point, there could be revolvers with the same 4 digits on the cylinders, the same 4 digits being utilized every 10,000 numbers. As Rick correctly stated, the Guns America cylinder should not have the more pronounced cylinder stops if that revolver contained its original cylinder, as it is too early for that. Your cylinder is also unlikely to be the original cylinder numbered 202. The 2 in the turn line is as prominent as the rest of the digits, which is impossible, as it should exhibit wear from the turn line. Therefore, it was stamped after the creation of the turn line and is a facsimile representation. John Kopec in his evaluation might identify the original serial number of the cylinder or, sometimes, on an Artillery Model, no serial number will be present on a replacement cylinder.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Interesting and informative points, all. Thank you. To clarify, the GA cylinder is marked 4571. Could there have really been two frames with the same assembly number?
 

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I also note your cylinder is marked D.F.C. That would be for the ordnance sub-inspector who would have inspected your revolver's cylinder, as the subinspector assesed cylinders during that time frame.. DFC are the initials of David F Clark, who was subinspector of cylinders no earlier than serial number 53,006 (and no later than in the 121,000 range). But your cylinder lacks the bolt stops which evolved in the 8,000 serial number range, and so it suggests your revolver is earlier than serial number 8,000 or so, and yet stamped with a DFC subinspector's initials. I am guessing someone later stamped an earlier cylinder with the initials of David F Clark, as the individual was unaware he would not have inspected a cylinder that would be this early. Unless, of course, heavy buffing led to the demise of more prominent bolt stops, and the cylinder was (sub) inspected by DFC. In which case, nonetheless, all serial numbers should be 4 digits in length.
 

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Here is a 100% correct Cavalry Model revolver with a cylinder inspected by David F Clark depicting the appropriate bolt stops I would expect to see on a revolver inspected by David F Clark. This particular revolver is in the 81,000 range.
 

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As this Thread exhibits, there are lots of faked Colt SAA Cavalries & Artilleries in circulation. That is why it is difficult to sell one at a reasonable price unless Kopec has 'blessed it.' Unfortunately, I own several that have not been 'blessed.'
 

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Being Custer era, it doesn't surprise me that two revolvers showed up with serial number 4571. Both have problems, as identified...and probably more. What DOES surprise me is that if the OP got this revolver in 1968 and didn't replace parts since then, that there would be incentive to alter back before 1968. There was a time when these were just old mismatched guns and 1968 was nearly a decade prior to Graham, Kopec and Moore's publication. Was Custer era such a big deal better than a century ago?
 

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Maybe just my eyes but the beveling on the 202 cylinder seems more pronounced than it should be.
The DFC and P show heavy wear or buffing but the 202 is sharp as are the cylinder flutes. JMO but I think this is a DFC era cylinder that exhibits minimal approaches due to buffing or turning. I think the 202 stamp is spurious. Maybe there was a lot of interest in Custer and his guns in '68. Maybe enough to suggest this was restamped. ( But then why not restamp it with 4571 instead of 202? ) This really needs Kopec's opinion.
 

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In my opinion, as previously discussed, the "202" is definitely faked. Yes, I agree, a heavily buffed D.F.C. cylinder with original 4 digit serial number from DFC time frame (e.g., last 4 digits of a 6 digit number) removed.

To get the ball rolling...

www.johnakopec.com
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thank you for all the info. Lots of interesting opinions, but I still wonder about the frame number match. It would interest me to see the: “two independent expert evaluation letters Copies of the documents are available upon request.“ that came with the GA ad revolver. Did they pertain to his colt or part of mine or neither? Maybe real, maybe fake. Who knows? Maybe the owner of the other revolver will see this post. Regardless of any provenance, I would still like an opportunity to acquire that colt. They’d make quite a pair.

This gun cost me nothing and my great uncle paid around $50 for it long before he gave it to me. It will go to my son, so it’s value to me is in that.

I’m not an avid collector and I wonder what does one gain by faking one or more of the numbers and then assembling such a mutt? Undoubtedly, there is more to it than I can imagine.
 
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