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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Finally found one. It's of course been updated in 1895 with most of them but I'm just happy to have scored an original military '89. In good shape too with only the slightest of cylinder wobbles. Even still has some bluing in some places. The SN puts it in the first year of manufacture. The trident stamp on the latch and the rear face of the cylinder I've read is a civilian proof mark? Can anyone explain that further? And on the photo of the top left of the frame, is that the remains of a 5-pointed asterisk or star stamp (if so, any idea what it represents?) or just some scratch marks?
Thanks!

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Now you need a copy of Robert Best's book on the Colt DA revolvers from 1889 thru 1908. It is the best single resource for these guns. I think you can find them on Amazon. Your gun appears to be one of the first 5000 that all went to the military. Actually, all sidearms went thru the Army's purchasing system at that time with certain numbers of guns going to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. A small number also went to several states National Guard units. Nice find!
 

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Having collected these Colts for years, my experience with guns marked with the trident, is that they went to the Naval Militia. Get a letter for the gun to know for sure. If it is a militia Colt, it is quite a scarce gun.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Going over the revolver with a closer eye, it's got one of the star with a C inside stamps. It's on the crane above the assembly number (which all match with the exception of the barrel which doesn't have a number since it's a replacement, although it does have the trident stamp).
So what does that signify, that it's got two sets of inspector stamps?
And is that asterisk looking stamp on the left frame just an odd set of scratches that happen to look like an asterisk or would that be another type of stamp?

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The star with the "C" is simply the inspector's initial. Many of these revolvers were refurbished, by Colt and Remington. The Navy didn't have the money to purchase new guns. I believe you have one of those rebuilt Colts. Nothing wrong with that! I collected these guns for 25 years, and never came across a good one.
 

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.... It's of course been updated in 1895 with most of them but I'm just happy to have scored an original military '89. .....
.... The trident stamp on the latch and the rear face of the cylinder I've read is a civilian proof mark? Can anyone explain that further? ...
There are no "civilian proofs". The star/C and trident are the acceptance marks of civilian sub-inspectors working for Naval Ordnance and assigned to the Colt factory. This was common practice; actual inspection work was generally done by civilian employees working for the Ordnance district.

The star/C was the mark of your gun's original inspection in 1889. Bob Best identifies the sub-inspector using this mark as A.P. Casey. The trident was the mark used at the time of the 1895 upgrade. The sub-inspector's name was Nathan C. Twining. That is all. No further conclusion can be drawn from the stampings.

.....Your gun appears to be one of the first 5000 that all went to the military. Actually, all sidearms went thru the Army's purchasing system at that time with certain numbers of guns going to the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and the Coast Guard. A small number also went to several states National Guard units. ...
And to be sure this isn't misunderstood: The Model 1889 was exclusively a Navy gun and the entire batch of 5000 to which this gun belonged was purchased by the Navy and was delivered to various Navy Yards in batches. The Marines were part of the Navy, of course. The Army didn't get interested in this gun until the Navy adoption.
 

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Good post Absalom..very concise. The only thing I can add, is that I had an opportunity to see the original Colt repair books. At the time of the 1889 Colt Navy, there were ten, that’s right 10, sub-inspectors having the initial “C”. Colt rotated their inspectors, so they wouldn’t get bored inspecting the same parts day in and day out. A. P. Casey was just one of the 10 sub-inspectors. Bob Best could not have known that, without the repair books. They are now owned by Don Jones, Colt Collectors Association Historian.
 

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One thing that is always important to keep in mind with inspector’s marks is that very often, especially on large contracts and in times of war, the stamp identified the lead inspector and was used by multiple underlings. Later it often denoted the ordnance officer in charge, rather than the individual inspector. Capt. Leroy E. Briggs likely did not inspect a single one of the more than 19,000 DA Colts that bear his initials L.E.B. after being refurbished at Remington in Bridgeport in 1918. And Col., later Gen. Guy H. Drewry never laid eyes on the hundreds of thousands of Colt and S&W revolvers that were stamped with G.H.D. during WW II; he just commanded the Ordnance District.
 

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There are no "civilian proofs". The star/C and trident are the acceptance marks of civilian sub-inspectors working for Naval Ordnance and assigned to the Colt factory. This was common practice; actual inspection work was generally done by civilian employees working for the Ordnance district.

The star/C was the mark of your gun's original inspection in 1889. Bob Best identifies the sub-inspector using this mark as A.P. Casey. The trident was the mark used at the time of the 1895 upgrade. The sub-inspector's name was Nathan C. Twining. That is all. No further conclusion can be drawn from the stampings.



And to be sure this isn't misunderstood: The Model 1889 was exclusively a Navy gun and the entire batch of 5000 to which this gun belonged was purchased by the Navy and was delivered to various Navy Yards in batches. The Marines were part of the Navy, of course. The Army didn't get interested in this gun until the Navy adoption.
What you say is true, but they were bought thru the Army purchasing system.
 
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