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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 1917 Colt New Service that I have a question in regards to the factory vs Army property serial number. The factory serial number is 207856 and the Army number is 98748 (difference of 109108). From what I have seen from my collection and other examples, the majority of the 1917 Colt New Service revolvers have a spread of approx 150,000 digits between the Colt factory serial number and the US Army property serial number. The difference in the serial numbers on the other 4 revolvers in my collection range from 151236 on the low end, to 153555 on the high end. The gun has not been refinished - has sharp edges, markings and the correct grinding patterns on the frame and around the front site, but the area around the Army number has more of a heat treated finish rather than heavy blued. However, it doesn't appear to me that the Army serial number has been ground or altered? Also, the font appears correct with the stylized fonts. I photographed it next to another example to show the similarities and contrasts. Based on the ranges that I have observed, the Army serial number should be around 57000 vs the 98748 which it is. So my question is whether anyone else has seen something like this or have an idea of what went on with this specific example? Could the gun have been held back from receiving the Army serial number for some reason? Any thoughts or input would be appreciated.
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The JMG acceptance mark would only have been used from approximately military serial number 30,000 to 62,000. The Colt serial number on the crane would fit into this range.

The area of the military serial number has a rainbow appearance in the photograph, as maybe heated. Does it actually have this appearance?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Johnny. Yes, it does have the appearance of having been heat treated (kind of a rainbow appearance) on the lower section where the serial number is stamped. On the upper section, it is blued.
 

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Something is definitely off here. Maybe something wrong was found on it coming off the line and was held back to be repaired and re-numbered? Interesting.

Edit: Perhaps a Colt letter on this one would shed some light.
 

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Maybe something wrong was found on it coming off the line and was held back to be repaired and re-numbered?
That is kind of what I was thinking. I assume the Army numbers were added after the fact and perhaps this one was held back for some reason, thereby accounting for the Army number being much higher than normally expected? It doesn't really appear that there was an original number which was ground off and a new number stamped. I still don't get why the area appears to have been heat treated rather than blued. Hopefully somebody else will have more knowledge or have seen other examples such as this.

Just curious - what additional info might a Colt letter provide which could help explain? Do they go into that much detail on an individual revolver?
 

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The military acceptance stamp, JMG in this case, was not applied until the weapon had passed all Colt and military inspections.

The serial number on the Model 1917 Colt revolvers was not applied until after the pistol was finished. The revolver shown on the right shows the slightly raised metal around the numbers, where the revolver in question does not.
 

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Good to know. I also noticed the font is different as well. It's larger and the last 8 is smaller on the bottom than the top. Also not evenly spaced. Hmm...
 
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