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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, I finally got my archive letter yesterday which told me that my 5.5" nickel finished revolver was originally blue and more than likely had a 7.5" barrel. I was shipped in a lot of 50 to Hartley and Graham on March 12, 1884. What I don't know is what rework was done to it at some point in time. It has the VP marking. Does Colt normally not give you that info?

Attached is a pic of it (along with an Evil Roy Cimmaron).
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Colt does not keep records of guns returned for repair or rework, so they will have no information about this.
Letters of older guns will show no bbl length and no grip description because this was not noted in the ledger. The letters will usually have a notation at the bottom stating: "this is usually an indication of a 7 1/2" barrel length as this was considered standard issue for that time period".
These letters must be taken with a grain of salt, I have an etched bbl FSS 44-40 shipped in 1883 that shows the bbl length as "not listed" and has the notation at the bottom of the letter. However, this gun has an original, unaltered 5 1/2" barrel.

Though, maybe not......it has a Colt factory rework date stamp of 933 (Sept 1933). so the bbl could have been shortened by Colt, although I believe the work performed was a refinish. They also stamped a VP on the trigger guard which was obviously not originally on a 1883 gun! Why would they "verify proof" an 1883 black powder gun?????:confused:







 

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bbates123,
Does your gun have a rework date stamped on the grip frame under the grips, like mine?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep, it's "660" or June of 1960...I guess 099 wouldn't make sense, so it has to be 660. Really wish I knew what they did then. Is it possible that they were fitting 2nd gen barrels to first gen frames in 1960?
 

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Though, maybe not......it has a Colt factory rework date stamp of 933 (Sept 1933). so the bbl could have been shortened by Colt, although I believe the work performed was a refinish. They also stamped a VP on the trigger guard which was obviously not originally on a 1883 gun! Why would they "verify proof" an 1883 black powder gun?????:confused:
I understand that before the war, guns that were sent back to the factory after a certain serial number which indicated the frames were made of steel instead of the original wrought iron, they were stamped VP as Ok to shoot with smokeless ammo. I believe your 1883 vintage Colt is right at the beginning of steel frames.

Does it also have a star or ampersand (for rework) on the right rear trigger guard bow?

Jim
 

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Yep, it's "660" or June of 1960...I guess 099 wouldn't make sense, so it has to be 660. Really wish I knew what they did then. Is it possible that they were fitting 2nd gen barrels to first gen frames in 1960?
In a word yes, they did.

Does it also have a star or ampersand (for rework) on the right rear trigger guard bow?

Jim
 

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I understand that before the war, guns that were sent back to the factory after a certain serial number which indicated the frames were made of steel instead of the original wrought iron, they were stamped VP as Ok to shoot with smokeless ammo. I believe your 1883 vintage Colt is right at the beginning of steel frames.

Does it also have a star or ampersand (for rework) on the right rear trigger guard bow?

Jim

No star or ampersand!
 

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The 'VP' would signify that it's safe - 'but' that doesn't mean you're going the shoot anything beyond standard factory pressure and still be on the safe side.

Today, you can buy 'Cowboy' ammunition that's loaded far lighter, so get some and enjoy your Colt.
 

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A Colt-reworked Bisley with an ampersand on the right rear trigger guard bow, but I'm not sure the 666 B is the date of the rework (666 or June of 1966?)

View attachment 51877
From all the information I have read and heard in conversations this number is not a date code. It is a bin or drawer the gun is assigned to when received at the factory that it goes in until work starts. All the parts are stamped with that number when disassembled as to not separate them by accident when at different areas of repair or finishers,fitters etc. Then when completed back to that drawer and then to invoice and ship. A tracking number so to speak. It is also assumed on refinishes that the addition of the "B" to the number denotes blue/color case finish. As always my .02 cents.

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Interestingly, the paperwork from 1954 values the Colt at $150.00, which, in 1954, was 3.8% of the average wage of $3,960 in that year. Now, on average, an American makes around $50,000 a year. If one interpolated, 3.8% of $50,000 is $1,900. More than what a new Colt SAA costs, IF you can get one from the custom shop. However, much less than the cost of a first generation SAA other than one in fair to poor condition. I am no statistician, so my values could be erroneous, but something to think about.
 

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Can anyone who has contacted Colt to receive one of their Archive Letters please comment on approximately how long it took to arrive and how much this service costs at present?

EDIT: I did find the pricing list at the bottom of this page here - http://www.coltsmfg.com/CustomerServices/ArchiveServices.aspx

But would love to know their timeframe for turnaround.

Kind regards,
Craig
 

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Can anyone who has contacted Colt to receive one of their Archive Letters please comment on approximately how long it took to arrive and how much this service costs at present?

Kind regards,
Craig
Craig,

My last one took about 2 weeks. The cost varies depending on what you have. Single Action Armys are $100. Engraved gun letters used to cost more. The price schedule is on the Colt website: http://www.coltsmfg.com/Portals/0/colt media/publications/Archive Properties 2014 Price List.pdf

Archive Services is here for the mail in form and Ph # using a credit card: Colt's Manufacturing Company LLC > Customer Services > Archive Services

Jim
 

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If you order a letter, it will cost $100 and take about 3 months, if you call them on the phone and ask for an expedited letter, they will give you the basic info over the phone with a follow up letter in about two weeks, this service is $50 extra. If you belong to the Colt Collectors Assoc, and tell them, you get a 10% discount.
 
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