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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone ,

New to the forum, someone suggested to post here for help with history on this gun. I contacted colt and did a serial number archive request. They wrote back and said nothing exists.
Serial number 15,434. 7.5" barrel , 45 colt -everything on the weapon matches the serial number other than the ejector rod and housing these were replaced. The cylinder is numbered 5434 with no evidence of a "1" stamped. There is "L" stamped underneath the serial number on the trigger housing, left side of the cylinder an a "P" stamp on the opposite side of the cylinder. No markings on the grips.

I received the gun on a $200 trade + a SW K frame 22 LR from a guy that was working for me , said its spent most of his life ( 60+ years) in a dresser but has been in the family as long as he could remember.

Hoping someone could shed some light on where about this gun came from, where it could have been used or issued to. The area with the "US" marking has been botched at some point in its life.
 

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It could be a U. S. Cavalry revolver. No original shipping records exist for those below serial number [approximately] 32000. The "damage" to the left side of the frame may have been done to remove the "U. S." stamp. Other members more knowledgeable about martial Colt's can give you more information.
 

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You made the trade of the week! Welcome and congratulations. Looks like a neat piece!
 

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Neat Piece! I like that cylinder. It’s certainly the correct one.
What exactly do you want to know? A no archive letter gun is hard to evaluate. Lots could have happened between then and now. I think it’s a really great piece. Very desirable!
 

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Welcome to the forum.

The cyl only has the last 4 digits of the serial # or less stamped on the cyl.

Looks like you have a great old Colt, mostly original and scarce mostly un-molested US Cavalry model.

Can't tell about the ejector rod and housing without seeing it.

John Kopec or Dave Lanara can give you the best possible info about its history and authenticity assessment. Do a google search for their websites.
 

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Should the "US" stamp be restored or left as is?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am curious why the serial number would have been restamped. Judging by the depth and marking on the "1" I am thinking it was arsenal reissue for the Span Am war. Pulling the grip off you can see the original number is 5434 or was this common practice to leave off the first digit when recording serial numbers? Both the barrel and cylinder are also numbered 5434.

When i received this pistol it was not timed correctly - took a lot tinkering to get it to cycle and cock correctly.
 

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Shadez. Why are you thinking the SN was restamped?
The 15434 on the bottom of the frame doesn’t appear restamped.
Those numbers are a little more protected there due to the proximity of the trigger guard. So far so good. Like you’ve already stated the ejector rod head is the only obvious replacement.

Hearse’: Attempting to restore the U.S. would be a lesson in futility.
 

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I am curious why the serial number would have been restamped. Judging by the depth and marking on the "1" I am thinking it was arsenal reissue for the Span Am war. Pulling the grip off you can see the original number is 5434 or was this common practice to leave off the first digit when recording serial numbers? Both the barrel and cylinder are also numbered 5434.
Common practice on any parts other than frames and grip straps.

You will enjoy your gun much more with a Colt book! A great starter book for 1st gens is:

Cochran's "ColtPeacemaker Yearly Variations". It's only 6" x 8" and 5/16"thick.
 

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First, congratulations on an excellent trade!

I would suggest you purchase any and all books authored/co-authored by John Kopec. I would start with A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, by Graham, Kopec, and Moore.

I would also suggest you send this off to John for his expert evaluation. John A. Kopec

You have a Cavalry Model revolver. You would not want to restore any obliterated markings. It is part of this revolver's history. The reason for the obliteration of the "U.S." marking is because it was likely stolen when it was property of the U.S. government. This was not uncommon. Additionally, the grips appear to be original, based on what appears to be the last digits in ink in the backstrap channel. This would have had cartouches; the left grip displayed in one of the photographs appears to have a cartouche that was intentionally obliterated. This may have occurred when the "U.S." was removed.

Your revolver, additionally, has a few replaced screws. At least one in the frame, the one beneath the serial number in the trigger guard, and the basepin screw.

You ask if it was common to not display the first digit of the serial number on parts such as the barrel and cylinder. More correctly, it was common to display only the last four digits, as after serial numbers became 6 digits in length, only four digits would have been displayed on these components.

When you get your letter from Kopec, please be sure to post it!
 

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Welcome to the forum. Your SAA 15434 appears to be one of a relatively few Cavalry revolvers that were sub-inspected by Samuel B. Lewis (L) in the 15000 to early 16500 range. Kopec has 368 of the 2,560 1875 series listed in his survey. Of these only 15 are Lewis sub-inspected guns. This Colt clearly missed the refurbishment recalls of 1895-96 and 1901-03. As Ian noted above this may be another indicator that this SAA was "liberated" from service.
I agree, a Kopec letter is in order.

PS. I checked the SRS books and 15434 is not listed.
 

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According to Kopec's A Continuing Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, serial numbers 15401-15500 were mostly civilian guns shipped around November 1874, not guns shipped to the U.S. Government for Cavalry use. It's very possible that yours is an outlier, of course, and I believe it is. Cavalry guns have been found in the early 15000s range. A Cavalry revolver would have small inspectors' initials stamped in several places. The most obvious are just below the serial number on the trigger guard and at the top of the back strap just below the hammer slot, and possibly near the end of the ejector tube on the left side. The mark on your trigger guard is probably an "L", the mark of Samuel B. Lewis, one of three inspectors during this period. Your one-piece grips apear to be original to the gun and are correctly numbered so, if a Cavalry gun, there would be an inspector's cartouche stamped into the lower portion on each side. These were often removed if the grips were sanded down.

You made an OUTSTANDING trade!
 

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if a Cavalry gun, there would be an inspector's cartouche stamped into the lower portion on each side.
While that's certainly true of most Army Colts, Kopec notes "the Ordnance Inspector [Captain J.P. Farley] did not stamp his initials within a cartouche on the grips of these early revolvers".
 

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First, congratulations on an excellent trade!

I would suggest you purchase any and all books authored/co-authored by John Kopec. I would start with A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, by Graham, Kopec, and Moore.

I would also suggest you send this off to John for his expert evaluation. John A. Kopec

You have a Cavalry Model revolver. You would not want to restore any obliterated markings. It is part of this revolver's history. The reason for the obliteration of the "U.S." marking is because it was likely stolen when it was property of the U.S. government. This was not uncommon. Additionally, the grips appear to be original, based on what appears to be the last digits in ink in the backstrap channel. This would have had cartouches; the left grip displayed in one of the photographs appears to have a cartouche that was intentionally obliterated. This may have occurred when the "U.S." was removed.

Your revolver, additionally, has a few replaced screws. At least one in the frame, the one beneath the serial number in the trigger guard, and the basepin screw.

You ask if it was common to not display the first digit of the serial number on parts such as the barrel and cylinder. More correctly, it was common to display only the last four digits, as after serial numbers became 6 digits in length, only four digits would have been displayed on these components.

When you get your letter from Kopec, please be sure to post it!
That is an interesting point that I had not thought of. It certainly does add to the history of the gun. I would leave the US stamp as-is for sure now.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Some excellent information and amazing colts from you guys .

I will look into contacting John for an assessment.

Could someone give me a ballpark range on value , I know it’s hard without having it in your hands but I would like an idea on scarcity and value for my own knowledge . I have had a few random emails offering to purchase it , it is not for sale .

Thank you all for your input
 
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