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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The photographs are of a London made 1851 Navy that I own. It is in decent condition with good markings, matching numbers and tight action. You will notice two sets of proof marks on the barrel lug; the horizontal marks next to the wedge are the 1855 stampings while the vertical marks were done around 1955. There is no requirement in the UK to put these later marks on the pistol. The only reason I can think of is that someone wished to shoot it and wanted to make sure it was OK. Now here's the rub. The barrel has been bored out to about .40 calibre but the cylinder is still .36! It would obviously not hit the proverbial barn door in this condition. Can anyone suggest a reason for the barrel's diameter? The photograph of the two muzzles shows my pistol on the left and a Hartford Navy on the right.

Rio

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Is there rifling in the barrel it appears smooth from the pic. nice piece by the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A little more info on the London Navy. In this photograph you will see the owner's name inscribed on the backstrap. I have done a bit of research on Robert Place Gould: born in 1831, his mother purchased a commission as an Ensign in the British Army in 1850 (I have copies of the correspondence between his mother and the Duke of Wellington's secretary) for the sum of £450, a considerable amount of money in those days. Robert was promoted to Lieutenant in 1853 and to Captain in 1855. In November, 1856 he was placed on half pay for some reason - possibly illness? - and died in 1857. Although his regiment served in the siege and capture of Sebastopol in the Crimean War, Robert was not present, presumably not fit for active service.
Some years ago I visited the village in Dorset where the family lived and found a number of his family, including parents, buried in the local church yard but no sign of Robert. His parents' graves were quite close to the church door, a sign of high standing back then, and information from locals told me that the family had been quite "well off" and had owned a lot of land in the area. I went to the "cottage" which was the ancestral address but was told the last member of the family had moved to the United States some two years earlier. Visiting the local café I was informed that this guy had been in just the previous day while on vacation in the UK! The lady said it was possible he may come back so I left a copy of this photograph with my contact details but heard nothing more. Anyone know any Gould's over there?

Rio


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I can think of only two reasons for a bored out barrel with only faint rifleing; 1. the gun was used for trick shooting, ala Buffalo Bill or English Music Hall, or it was use to shoot blank charges for theatrical purposes.
I also think, there must have been a spare cylinder bored out to match the current caliber of the barrel. In all probability it did not have a matching serial number, and somewhere down the line someone did not include it when they sold the gun, not thinking it was important.
Like they say: "If only these old Colts could talk"!
 

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With due respect, in over 30 years of studying percussion Colt revolvers, I have never read or heard of a Colt percussion revolver being loaded or fired with multi-ball or shotgun type charges.
The only variance of standard loading was done by the German Navy Armorers, who truncated the powder flask spouts of
Their '51 Navies, having determined that a 25 grain powder charge was too large for shipboard use.
If you have any reference or proof of multi-ball or shotgun charges I would appreciate it.
 

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Yeahhh...as steg relays - the Bored-out-Barrel makes no logical or practical sense to me either.

It would not be useful for anything whatever, other than to induce so much Blow-By to a Ball or other Projectile, as to render the Arm useless for any serious defense or offense.

I am sure one could get the Barrel 'sleeved' ( even if maybe not with progressive Rifleing though ) and, have a good Shooter then.

Or, find an extra Cylinder, and get it Bored to a matching Caliber, and, have a .40 Caliber more or less Smooth-Bore Revolver ( if there is enough meat in the Cylinder Walls, and, I do not know if there would be ).


Nice old Colt, and quite a curious one!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The 20th century proof marks would seem to indicate that the pistol was intended to be shot, although, as stated, the standard ball would be useless, just rattling down the barrel. It was suggested some time ago that perhaps a hollow base bullet might expand enough to grip the remains of the rifling but that would be asking too much with the difference in size. Guess it will remain one of life's little mysteries.
I'll try to do a bit more research on Mr. Gould this summer then probably see if I can turn it into a couple of derringers.

Rio
 

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Not quite sure why the bore size was increased, but I suspect the re-proof in circa 1955 was required due to that bore size change. UK re-proof is demanded when the bore size is enlarged ten-thousandths of an inch.

Also, what number and any letter code is the Birmingham proof?
 
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