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I have a 1st gen 1897 Peacemaker and the caliber was changed fro 32-20 to 45 Long Colt. I know this hurt the value of the gun but I don't care. My question is Was this a common practice thing to do ?
 

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Yes. I have one changed from 44 wcf to .44 special. I have also changed a ruger .357 to .44 special. Years ago there were more and cheaper parts and guns around plus the gunsmiths worked reasonable, the guru`s today seem think their time is worth $500s a hour and belive only them has the magic touch. Even takeing inflation in consideration when I had work done in the early 70s it wasnt much of a fraction of what they want now. Parts too.
 

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I have a 1st gen 1897 Peacemaker and the caliber was changed fro 32-20 to 45 Long Colt. I know this hurt the value of the gun but I don't care. My question is Was this a common practice thing to do ?
Yep, very common. The guy in 1897 decided the 32-20 didn't have enough knockdown power so solved the problem.
 

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Yes. I have one changed from 44 wcf to .44 special. I have also changed a ruger .357 to .44 special. Years ago there were more and cheaper parts and guns around plus the gunsmiths worked reasonable, the guru`s today seem think their time is worth $500s a hour and belive only them has the magic touch. Even takeing inflation in consideration when I had work done in the early 70s it wasnt much of a fraction of what they want now. Parts too.
What..............? guess I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer as I missed your point.
 

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I have a 1st gen 1897 Peacemaker and the caliber was changed fro 32-20 to 45 Long Colt. I know this hurt the value of the gun but I don't care. My question is Was this a common practice thing to do ?
Check the right rear trigger guard bow for an asterisk (*) or Ampersand (&); also check the face of the cylinder and under the stocks on the sides of the grip frame for numbers similar to "B200", etc. Also check for a "VP" in a triangle (proof mark) on the left front trigger guard bow. Any or all of these will denote a factory rework, which wouldn't hurt the value nearly as much as a "Bubba Special"!
 

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I have a 1st gen 1897 Peacemaker and the caliber was changed fro 32-20 to 45 Long Colt. I know this hurt the value of the gun but I don't care. My question is Was this a common practice thing to do ?
In the late 30's well into the 50's most of the two # calibers of ammo were very hard to find,but if u were out hunting someplace or in a small town & stopped in a general store most of them stocked .45 colt & some of them were still loaded w/blk pwdr. so it was reasonable to convert an old Colt to .45 so it could be used,when my mentor Bob Howard died he left me several cigar boxes full of matched 2 # bbls. & cyl's.When I first started tuning & repairing Colts a bbl. was $7.33 & the same price for a cyl. so it made sense to re-do the cal. so the gun could be enjoyed they weren't considered collector items then,the 1st Colt I used when I started shooting fast draw was an 1898 38/40 which Bob Howard converted over to .44 spcl. instead of .45 was because he & I both liked the cal. better that a .45. & I still have it & still shoot it once in awhile.
 

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Caliber change still happening, me for instance, different kind of gun for different reason. I was building up this what started as a .45 ACP 1917. Couldn't find a cylinder for it so I fitted in a .45 Colt cylinder from a 1909..



Cylinder is marked RAC and the barrel from a 1880s SAA also with RAC's mark on it.

Another caliber change my DIY décor shooter was .44 Russian, I reamed the cylinder to shoot .44 Special.



There are a lot of quick change kits for the Colt 1911 from .45ACP to/from .22LR. Also for autos of other mfgr.
 

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Check the right rear trigger guard bow for an asterisk (*) or Ampersand (&); also check the face of the cylinder and under the stocks on the sides of the grip frame for numbers similar to "B200", etc. Also check for a "VP" in a triangle (proof mark) on the left front trigger guard bow. Any or all of these will denote a factory rework, which wouldn't hurt the value nearly as much as a "Bubba Special"!
I just looked at my 1911 vintage SAA converted by the factory in 1969. It came with the Colt rework invoice and price list converting to .45 from .32-20. the left front bow of the trigger does in fact have a triangle with a "v" in it but no "p". The triangle points down. You can see it if you look close in this picture here on the bottom. I don't know if that's what I should be looking for but I do know this is definitely a factory job with paperwork.
 

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Wyatt; your 1911 manufactured Single Action would have had the proof mark on the left front trigger guard bow from the original production. The OP's 1897 Single Action wouldn't have the proof mark. If the OP's gun was reworked by Colt in 1905 or later and the caliber was changed, Colt probably would have stamped it as part of the rework.

Edit to add: I should have mentioned that the "P" is formed on the right leg of the "V".
 

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Wyatt; your 1911 manufactured Single Action would have had the proof mark on the left front trigger guard bow from the original production. The OP's 1897 Single Action wouldn't have the proof mark. If the OP's gun was reworked by Colt in 1905 or later and the caliber was changed, Colt probably would have stamped it as part of the rework.

Edit to add: I should have mentioned that the "P" is formed on the right leg of the "V".
Looks like the only trigger guard marking on mine is that V which I now know is original. But no other marking under the grips. The Colt invoice has the serial number. Here's something weird. I also have two poloroids of the gun, before or after, with the other parts next to it. Colt did the work including a new recoil plate, or shield, it says. I don't have the original parts and the family who had the gun for years don't either that they know of. Did Colt take pictures of the guns at the factory and send them back with the gun? If not, the family took the pics and the original parts might still be around.
 

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Wyatt: The comments I made about factory rework were in regard to prewar rework; sorry if it was misleading. Other than the invoice you have regarding the 1969 factory rework, I really don't know if Colt applied any markings during any postwar time period.
 

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Rick, my point is it used to be much cheaper and more practable to convert colt saa`s years ago than now. Now besides the cost of the conversion you ruin the huge collector value where years ago there wasnt near as much of a collector value. Back then it was smart. Today its worse than dumb.
 

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This one shipped in 1904 as a 32WCF, factory converted and refinished in June 1934 to 38 Spl by reaming out the original cylinder and adding a new bbl, it also got a wide trigger. The factory gunsmith's initials are on the cyl and frame along with the date of rework:

 

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Memory lane again -- 1949 the Colt SAA would never be made again. I wanted a nice one to keep so I bought one in fair condition, don't remember what cal but .38-40 is most common around here. Dixie Gun Works had new old stock Colt barrels, etc. Barrel I recall $6.95. Sent parts with the gun to a restorer in San Antonio, TX. It came back a new SAA .45 Colt at a cost of $150. Whether it would pass muster now, knowing what I know now, I dunno but it was beautiful to me then.

My Dad thought I was out of my mind to put that kind of money in it. After I went back to Europe he traded it for a seven foot pair of longhorn steer horns he had a hangup about - which my Daughter & Son-in law still have. Today the horns are worth maybe $500, the SAA would fetch maybe $2000. OTOH my Dad was a good trader & I have several of his acquisitions such as my Merwin, Colt 1860 fluted. etc.
 

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Rick,
I originally bought the gun just to get the grips, :eek: then fell in love with the whole thing after I got it in my hands!:eek: I don't know if this is a typical factory 1934 finish, or if the original owner requested a special finish, but it is beautiful, and the action is one of the smoothest I have handled. I'm assuming that the grips were fitted at the same time the other work was done, as it was originally shipped with gutta percha grips. Apparantly the Colt craftsman that did the work was "JFQ", he put his "Q" mark in several places where he did modifications.




 
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