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Question about Italian Colt Repros

2617 Views 11 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  elhombreconnonombre
Other than the Armi San Marco Walker, which Italian manufacturers made close repros of Colts, including Colt address barrel marks and Colt's Patent cylinder marks. Were there other Colt models made by the Italians with such Colt marks.
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No Italian firearms company was ever authorized by Colt to use their copyrighted company markings on any of the reproduction percussion revolvers. Both 2nd and 3rd generation Colt percussions were made from un machined and unfinished Uberti castings. But these parts were imported without any markings. The various Colt markings were put on the various parts as appropriate in this country by the subcontractor who actually assembled and finished these pistols.
If you closely examine the Italian repros and compare them with original generation Colt percussion revolvers, dispite whatever markings they bear, they are close replicas but no cigar. For example, none of the cylinder scenes are exactly the same as the scenes on the originals. In fact there is a book published about this variation.
A few Italian companies did use the Colt name and address markings with out legal authorization; most notably, the Hartford address (which was never used on 2nd or 3rd generation guns.) However, these guns were never legitimately imported into the US. They were made expressedly for the French market and bear Italian proof marks. Colt did go after the Italians who illicitly used the New York address and other markings, but failed to do anything about the Hartford Address repros. I guess they didn't want to get tied up in the Common Market courts.
The only exact replics of Colt Percussion pistols that also bore the exact markings of the originals were those of the 2nd and 3rd generation which, as stated earlier, were made from Uberti made castings which were imported in the rough, were machined, marked and finished in the US. If you compare them with originals, you will find them almost exactly the same, right down to their screws and the size of and the threads of their nipples. There is one exception to this. The nipples on the original Colts were all stamped COLT on their flats, whereas the modern nipples bore no markings.
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Thanks for your experienced and learned comments to my question. I assume you are referring to Denis Adler's book which I dont have currently. I have noticed several Italian Walkers (ASM) with "close but no cigar" Colt markings including my own ASM Walker. It also has Italian manufacter and proof marks. So it doesnt fool anyone. Do you know if ASM or any other Italian maker made any other "close but no cigar" Colt repros other than the Walker with the same level of detail as the ASM Walker. FYI IMHO I truly believe that sn1081 civie Walker posted here is a defarbed and antiqued ASM based on the barrel marks.
BTW, you might be interested in a project I am working on. I am researching the Texas State archives and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame archives to "attempt" to find out what documentation still exists
See less See more to which sn# Walkers were issued to which Rangers at Vergara, Mexico in Oct. 1847 AND which sn# Walkers were lost or damaged when the Rangers were mustered out of federal service the next year. to which sn# Walkers were issued to which Rangers at Vergara, Mexico in Oct. 1847 AND which sn# Walkers were lost or damaged when the Rangers were mustered out of federal service the next year.
Sounds very interesting. If you find out anything about B Company No. 26, Please let me know, because it is my Walker. Incidentally, its partner, B Company No.25 is one of the ones sent back to Colt for repairs/refurbishment in the period. It has a shortened bbl and a 1st model Dragoon loading lever. I had the chance to buy it at a fairly cheap price about 11 years ago, but turned it down because there was something else I wanted to buy with the money at hand.
I will certainly let you know anything I find. This is One of my bucket list research projects regarding the Walker. From the few récords available I have estimated that the attrition rate (lost or damaged) out of the 394 Walkers issued to the Rangers over 8 months of hard combat was 47-57%. The 100 Walkers issued to Lt. Claiborne of Co. C USMR likely suffered a similar attrition rate. It is unknown how many Walkers that were returned to the Army by the Rangers or the estimated 203 Walkers retained by Rangers after they mustered out of Federal service still survive. Likewise for the 100 issued to Lt.Claiborne ore the 500 reportedly that never got to México instead going to the Baton Rouge armory for allocation to frontier use. One can reasonably estimaré based on hard combat 430-530 of the 1,000 military Walkers MIGHT haved survived frontier use into early 1860.Again how many actually still exist is unknown.
My other bucket list Walker research project is to find out which of the sn civie Walkers were presented to Army brass at the time and which ones still exist. I have a short list of General and staff officers plus others that were presented civie Walkers including Sam Walker and Jack Hays. I have located a previously unknown still existing civie Walker sn 101, supposedly one of two presented to Hays by Colt. I would suggest that these cased presentation Walkers probably did not see combat at all and have very low attrition and conversely high survival rate as compared to the military Walkers. Perhaps they reside in some unknien private collection like Hays sn 101 or an unknown museum.
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The late Robin Rapley is the one who brokered my acquisition of an original Walker. At the time of his death he was working on a book about all of the surviving Walkers, using as a base the data collected from the TGCA "Parade of Walkers" show a few years ago. There were well over 100 Walkers submitted to that show. All of them were examined by a panel of 4 Walker experts, and only 55 were considered 100% genuine and made it into the show.
In a private conversation with me, Robin said he thought that there were about 112 originals left, and that he acquired photos of most of them.
I have no idea as to what his progress on the book was, or what happened to all of his photos and other research material. In all probability it is with his family in New Zealand.
Interestingly, that number by the late Mr. Rapley concides with my estimates of the total survivors given my estimated survival rate up until the 1860s and assuming a 60% survival rate from1860 until present day. Per Whittingtons list of surviving Walkers based on Kirklands "1983 Catalogue #132" there were 168 known surviving military Walkers. Adding the Parade of Walkers 55 Walkers (although several of the Parade Walkers were already on the 1983 list) plus the 112 Mr.Rapley mentioned to you totals 335 surviving Walkers. My independent estimate of surviving military Walkers is within 5% of Mr. Rapleys info.
This is definitely worth a published book or technical monograph. If he is still with us Col. R.L. Whittington, US Army Retired, who authored the seminal books on the military Walkers over 30 years ago would be the one to continue with Mr. Rapleys work. I have his old address somewhere. I have been meaning to track him down for my civie Walker research project.
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Also your B Co. Walker and its "brother" were either one of the 60 B Co. Walkers issued in Mexico in Oct 1847 to the Rangers OR in Nov 1847 to co. C USMR OR one of the 160 B Co. Walkers held at the Baton Rouge armory for post war frontier use in Texas.

Sorry I have seemed to have hijacked my own thread...oh well.
I should think that the pair B Company No. 25 and No. 26 were among the 60 issued in Oct. or 1847. My reason for thinking this is that No. 25 is obviously a factory rehab with its shortened bbl and first model Dragoon loading lever. A high proportion of Walkers that actually saw combat in the Mexican War were sent back to Hartford to be rehabed for everything from burst cylinders to defective loading levers.
I also think that those Walkers that are in fairly good shape today probably saw little if no combat. You have to remember that the Walker was the "wonder weapon" of the age, and any desk jockey officer with rank did everything they could to get one to wear. It was the complaints from this group, that the gun was too heavy, that led Sam Colt to create the much lighter Dragoon and ultimately the '60 Army.
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Indeed, your Walker seems to be in much better shape than the other one. Now it would be fabulous if I could prove your hypothesis. Perhaps even learning who drew those two Walkers.
If the refurbed Walker was sent back to Colt that leads to another research project. It is known that of the 191 Walkers returned to the Army by the Rangers, 109 were in various stages of damage: burst cylinders, damaged barrels, etc.
Did all of these 109 get repaired after the whole lot (191 total turned in) and sent to the Baton Rouge for ultimate disposition. Did they get put in the dust bin or did the Army pay to get them fixed. Remember Colt was not required to fix or replace any Walkers under his contract with the Army...quien sabe.
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