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Discussion Starter #1
My new service is 84000 range. It is British proofed all over the cyl and frame and has the .455 E stamp under the left grip. Wooden grips with penciled serial Nos. The cyl. and frame are in 98% condition with original bluing. Here's my question. It has a new Colt barrel which doesn't exactly match the color of the frame and cyl. The barrel is blacker where the frame has a deep black-blue color.The barrel says COLTS PT.F.A.MFG.C HARTFORD CT.U.S.A on the top and NEW SERVICE 45 COLT on the left side. Was this the standard engraving on all Colt replacement barrels or is it likely a pre WW1 replacement for the original .455 Thanks for any help.
 

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If it is original British,it would have hard rubber grips and a .455 Eley marked bbl. The barrel also should have a step,where it meets the frame,not a smooth taper like the 1917 U.S. Army Model(the Army insisted on this change,and Colt kept it on the later commercial N.S. in all calibers(except a bunch of parts guns they cobbled up in 1932-33 in mostly .38 wcf & .44wcf. The "E' you mentioned was the correct marking for British Contract guns,and while there are NO definative figures like on the 1917s or British W.W. One Smith & Wessons,the number made has been estimated to be 50-55,000,or about 1/7th of N.S. production. Why arent there more ALL original guns?? Probably the .455 chambering & the ease to convert these to .45 Colt or .45 auto by an inexpensive cylinder modification(not alaways done correctly. If you read through gun mags. like American Rifleman from the late 50s & early 60s,you will see ads for these .455s at very low prices. Also,Colt was "cleaning out the storeroom",and N.Service parts,including barrels & cylinders in more "popular" calibers were listed at around $5.00! Even Numrich Arms made .357 mag barrels/cylinders for these conversions. 2 N.S in my collection were originally .455s,but converted(with Colt Parts) in the mid 60s by a fine gunsmith to .357 mag(4") and .44 Spec.(5 1/2"). You also havent mentioned IF the cylinder is also is in .45 Colt,instaed of the much shorter .455 Webley. These are wonderful pieces,and were the first Colts I started to collect & shoot 20 years ago. They were "honestly priced" back then,but when SAAs prices soared outta sight,the N.S. in its great variety of calibers & configurations,shot up in price as well.As far as the different shades of blue;the deep carbona bluing process was a victim of the 1920s at Colt! Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Lone Wolf, Thanks for the detailed info. Would you happen to know the length of the .455 vs .45LC cylinders? -Albert
 

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All N.S. cylinders have the same outside length. I take it you dont have any cartridge cases to try out? Look into each of the chambers,if it is still a .455 Webley,there will be a ridge or step about 1/2 way down,but if it is a .45 Colt,the ridges will be 3/4s of the way down for the longer cartridge.Not a very "scientific" way,but lacking shell cases etc... Bud
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It's a 45 LC cylinder, cartridges fit, It must have been drilled as I can see bright metal down to about 3/16" from the front where there is a slight ridge and bluing starts. The barrel face is also bright metal. It doesn't have a pronounced forcing cone like my S&W's do. Is this normal?
 
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