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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My colt book shows this Colt 1st gen. in 45 colt serial number 32139 made in the 1880's but the right side wood grip has the RAC stamp and 1903 on it. Im confused as to what this means. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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You have what was originally a Cavalry model Colt Single Action Army revolver made in 1876 with a 7 1/2” barrel. In the late 1890s most of these that were in resevice were recalled, disassembled, refurbished and put back together without regards to matching up the original numbered parts, the barrel cut down to 5 1/2” and the gun refinished. They were termed “Artillery” models and were reissued for use in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection. Yours was refurbished in 1903. Beautiful Colt! Some in this serial number range were known to be with the 3rd Cavalry in 1886 but there is no assurance yours was.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much for the response. Is the value affected much by the refurbishment?
 

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Cavalry models and Artillery models are each evaluated based on their condition, any historical significance, authenticity (many have been faked), etc. We have no idea what conditon your Cavlalry model was in when it was recalled so there is no way to evaluate what it might have been worth. As a very nice Artillery, assuming it is all legit, it is a valuable Colt, more valuable than a standard commercial model in the same condition. If your photos were taken with a flash, it would be helpful to see side views taken in natural shaded light, since a question was raised about the case hardened finish on the frame. You should consider getting a Kopec Authentication letter on your Colt. It isn't cheap but if the gun is as good as it looks, the letter will boost the value by more than the cost of the letter. Many collector's would be hesitant to take a risk on the gun without a Kopec letter. Here is a link. John A. Kopec
 

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Ill bet there's an inspectors initial on top of the backstrap behind the hammer.

Bruce, I don't recall the inspector marks being behind the hammer after the Nettleton's. I just looked at pictures of a Cavalry that I own in that SN range --56524. It does not have an inspector's
mark on the back strap, near the SN, either. I will pull that out and check it over for an inspector's mark behind the hammer.
745522
 

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Very interesting for sure, I just have not had a lot of the Cavalry examples over the years to be sure as to all the various inspectors stampings and locations. The OP's Artillery is a very nice example - possibly in it's original 1903 configuration?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the replies. There is no inspector's mark on the strap behind the hammer only on the right side grip "RAC 1903".
 

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I just examined the entire backstrap of my Cavalry SN 56524 and old David Clark did not proof it anywhere. I looked at another Artillery in the 90xxx range and it had no proofs on either the TG or the BS. I guess David Clark just shortcut the practices of previous inspectors.
Of course, I am sure Ian or Rick could have told us that from their experience with Military SAA's. Lanara could have done the same!
 

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I think you have a very nice Artillery Model revolver. As others have already stated, please send it to John Kopec for his expert evaluation, and be sure to post the results here, as we all learn from what Mr Kopec has to say.

As for value, if an original Cavalry Model revolver vs as reconfigured Artillery Model, comparing, condition-wise, “apples to apples”, the Cavalry Model revolver is always more desirable than the Artillery Model revolver, as more individuals collect Cavalry Model revolvers and, technically, they can be unaltered from original. Having said that, your Artillery Model revolver appears to be one of the nicest I’ve ever seen and is very desirable.

Where did you get it from?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Cavalry models and Artillery models are each evaluated based on their condition, any historical significance, authenticity (many have been faked), etc. We have no idea what conditon your Cavlalry model was in when it was recalled so there is no way to evaluate what it might have been worth. As a very nice Artillery, assuming it is all legit, it is a valuable Colt, more valuable than a standard commercial model in the same condition. If your photos were taken with a flash, it would be helpful to see side views taken in natural shaded light, since a question was raised about the case hardened finish on the frame. You should consider getting a Kopec Authentication letter on your Colt. It isn't cheap but if the gun is as good as it looks, the letter will boost the value by more than the cost of the letter. Many collector's would be hesitant to take a risk on the gun without a Kopec letter. Here is a link. John A. Kopec
Blackjack33, Can you tell me what the difference is between a Kopec letter and Colt archive letter?
 
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