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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Good: Cool old gun lots of character, born in 1899 (S/N 186918). I really wanted the 7-1/2" barrel. The roll marks and serial numbers are strong, and the partially encircled rampant colt is there. The grip straps fit the frame nicely, and the screw heads aren't buggered up. The hammer notches are good, timing and lockup is good, it has just a little end-shake (.010 gap) and rotational play. The bore is actually pretty good too, reflective with good rifling and void of pits, and the cylinder chambers are clean. It might could use an oversized cylinder pin. IMO it's a fully functional shooter. (You guys taught me well...I think)

The Bad: Paid too much or bought years too soon (see below). The grips are not original per scratched numbers inside and seem too nice for the condition of the gun. But they appear to be genuine Colt turning a nice brown shade.

The Ugly: No remaining finish, or color me rust. Localized deep pitting on the loading gate and cylinder, some on the ejector housing. It was probably in a holster or laid on the RH side for decades causing the pitting to the cylinder and loading gate. And notice the barrel changes color after the ejector on RH side. Open toe holster?? What's your guess?

The Questions: Are the grips the correct type, albeit newer or fresher replacements; I think they are hard rubber. Should they be gutta-percha in 1899? Should I try to find some "aged" ones or be happy they are nice? Should I try to clean up some of the rust or leave it the hell alone? I don't want to remove all the color or patina and turn the metal white. Does the cylinder pin look correct? Is this gun even worth the expense of lettering?

So I've been beating myself up thinking I paid too much. All of us are always curious about what members paid for their recent acquisitions. SO I'll tell you if you give me your honest opinions. I got it at one of the infrequent and better shows in central Fla.; where the old-guys bring out their old stuff. And when it's in-hand, sometimes your judgement is not the best (money burning a hole, every other 1st gen there $$ 4-6k, mostly short barrel versions, auctions are a crap shoot etc. etc...). So here it is ... negotiated down from $3k to $2,500. Let me have it... a fool and his money or did I do okay? What would you pay???
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The worst of it. Just on this side. Holster storage???
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The Good: Cool old gun lots of character, born in 1899 (S/N 186918). I really wanted the 7-1/2" barrel. The roll marks and serial numbers are strong, and the partially encircled rampant colt is there. The grip straps fit the frame nicely, and the screw heads aren't buggered up. The hammer notches are good, timing and lockup is good, it has just a little end-shake (.010 gap) and rotational play. The bore is actually pretty good too, reflective with good rifling and void of pits, and the cylinder chambers are clean. It might could use an oversized cylinder pin. IMO it's a fully functional shooter. (You guys taught me well...I think)

The Bad: Paid too much or bought years too soon (see below). The grips are not original per scratched numbers inside and seem too nice for the condition of the gun. But they appear to be genuine Colt turning a nice brown shade.

The Ugly: No remaining finish, or color me rust. Localized deep pitting on the loading gate and cylinder, some on the ejector housing. It was probably in a holster or laid on the RH side for decades causing the pitting to the cylinder and loading gate. And notice the barrel changes color after the ejector on RH side. Open toe holster?? What's your guess?

The Questions: Are the grips the correct type, albeit newer or fresher replacements; I think they are hard rubber. Should they be gutta-percha in 1899? Should I try to find some "aged" ones or be happy they are nice? Should I try to clean up some of the rust or leave it the hell alone? I don't want to remove all the color or patina and turn the metal white. Does the cylinder pin look correct? Is this gun even worth the expense of lettering?

So I've been beating myself up thinking I paid too much. All of us are always curious about what members paid for their recent acquisitions. SO I'll tell you if you give me your honest opinions. I got it at one of the infrequent and better shows in central Fla.; where the old-guys bring out their old stuff. And when it's in-hand, sometimes your judgement is not the best (money burning a hole, every other 1st gen there $$ 4-6k, mostly short barrel versions, auctions are a crap shoot etc. etc...). So here it is ... negotiated down from $3k to $2,500. Let me have it... a fool and his money or did I do okay? What would you pay???
View attachment 788401 View attachment 788402 View attachment 788403 View attachment 788404

The worst of it. Just on this side. Holster storage???
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The pitting was probably caused by storage in a holster, but could have been wrapped in a rag as well. This gun does have potential for improvement. The grips are the correct type (type 3). I would look for another cylinder. The gate can be welded up and re-surfaced to make look much better. But do not weld the cylinder! Oh, it can be welded too, but I sense that you want to shoot.

Soak the metal parts in a light oil (kerosene, Kroil, ot other), and remove rust with a Big 45 Frontier scrub pad. Some areas can be better cleaned with thin sheets of brass used as a scraper, again after soaking in oil

https://www.big45metalcleaner.com/
 

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I bought a 1924 that was probably similarly stored but didn't have as much pitting nor as severe. Mechanically perfect with a bright and shiny bore and great timing. I bought it off Gunbroker for around $2,200 - it was in the fall of last year. You may have paid a little too much, but considering the fact you were able to make your evaluation in-person and see the good and bad is a plus. For shooting purposes, I would buy a good cylinder off eBay and send the cylinder and gun off to Lever Action Bill and let him fit the cylinder and go through the gun (a new trigger/bolt spring and an action job). Keep the original cylinder and any replaced parts, put in a ziploc bag and label with the serial number. He can weld up the gate and appropriately finish it afterwards if you want.
 

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I bought a 1924 that was probably similarly stored but didn't have as much pitting nor as severe. Mechanically perfect with a bright and shiny bore and great timing. I bought it off Gunbroker for around $2,200 - it was in the fall of last year. You may have paid a little too much, but considering the fact you were able to make your evaluation in-person and see the good and bad is a plus. For shooting purposes, I would buy a good cylinder off eBay and send the cylinder and gun off to Lever Action Bill and let him fit the cylinder and go through the gun (a new trigger/bolt spring and an action job). Keep the original cylinder and any replaced parts, put in a ziploc bag and label with the serial number. He can weld up the gate and appropriately finish it afterwards if you want.
Welding will destroy what is left of casehardening in the upper gate. But only the rotating shaft sector of the gate needs to remain case hardened. The shaft can be heat sinked during welding to keep temps below 390F (Faint straw color).
 

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You may want to periodically check eBay for a 1st Generation .45 caliber cylinder in approximately the same condition and finish as your gun. I suspect that you'll be able to find one without the deep pitting for about $400. The same applies to the loading gate.

Rusty Edwards
 

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You picked up a solid gun that you really liked. In today's market, I think you did fine.
All it needs is a little TLC...some gentle cleaning inside and out (as mentioned above) and a period cylinder and you are ready to make some smoke!
 

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I think the bright part is that you now own a classic Colt revolver. Yours to do as you wish. I would probably sit for many evenings just fondling it. But then again I’m a newbe. Another great thing is you don’t have to stop looking for another to either add to or replace. Win-Win!
And another plus -- is that the 7-1/2" barrel wasn't cut off! So many were.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Thank you all for the replys; hope more will chime in. Per victorio1sw's advice, the first thing to do is soak it in oil. I already lightly rubbed the frame a little with oil and #0000 steel wool so I could see the Rampant Colt. QUESTION: Will a spray on Rust Blaster take off the rusty patina...don't want that. I'd much rather replace the gate then welding and grinding it. I think a new gate and cylinder would greatly enhance the gun. LanceW, Lever Action Bill at Spring Creek Armory did a full "tune-up" plus barrel setback on the Bisley shown. (I'm sure he could weld up the pits but I think that's false economy). saintclair you will be getting a pm about the parts you have, thanks. Rick, during my 100 mile return drive from the gun show I was feeling buyer's remorse. I probably paid $250-$500 too much. But I didn't pay sales tax or shipping which would add $200 or more had I bought it on GB. But thanks for making me feel better...lol. MarklnTx thanks as well. I'm feeling better about the gun and here are some more pictures. victorio1sw I only bought it because it had the long barrel, and that is worth paying extra to me. The show had many more short ones than long, and it seems that is the case on Gun Broker as well. Ejjeff that's the plus side to having a gun with character versus a safe queen. QUESTION: Are you suggesting replacing the cylinder for safety or asthetics, or both? Is this cylinder unsafe to shoot 200 grain lead low power cowboy action cartridges?
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Thank you all for the replys; hope more will chime in. Per victorio1sw's advice, the first thing to do is soak it in oil. I already lightly rubbed the frame a little with oil and #0000 steel wool so I could see the Rampant Colt. QUESTION: Will a spray on Rust Blaster take off the rusty patina...don't want that. I'd much rather replace the gate then welding and grinding it. I think a new gate and cylinder would greatly enhance the gun. LanceW, Lever Action Bill at Spring Creek Armory did a full "tune-up" plus barrel setback on the Bisley shown. (I'm sure he could weld up the pits but I think that's false economy). saintclair you will be getting a pm about the parts you have, thanks. Rick, during my 100 mile return drive from the gun show I was feeling buyer's remorse. I probably paid $250-$500 too much. But I didn't pay sales tax or shipping which would add $200 or more had I bought it on GB. But thanks for making me feel better...lol. MarklnTx thanks as well. I'm feeling better about the gun and here are some more pictures. victorio1sw I only bought it because it had the long barrel, and that is worth paying extra to me. The show had many more short ones than long, and it seems that is the case on Gun Broker as well. Ejjeff that's the plus side to having a gun with character versus a safe queen. QUESTION: Are you suggesting replacing the cylinder for safety or asthetics, or both? Is this cylinder unsafe to shoot 200 grain lead low power cowboy action cartridges?
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Don't use steel wool. You want to remove the surface rust while retaining the underlying patina. If any blue is underneath, it will be preserved as well. Both the 45 scrub pad and brass shim stock are softer than steel. I often use kerosene for soaking, and leave that on the surface while using the 45 pad. Kerosene smells good, and in 24 hours will totally evaporate.

I recommend welding up the gate pits and restoring that pitted surface. Replacing the gate will create mismatched numbers. The good thing about a gate is that you can mail it alone to LAB or whoever does the welding and resurfacing.

As for 45 cylinders, some are available right now on eBay, one starting at a $99 bid. But you want to find one that looks right in your gun.

You mentioned a barrel setback. I will never buy a Colt SAA with a barrel set back just to decrease the barrel-cylinder spacing. Ejector housings measure 3.750" from the centerline of screw hole to where it butts up against the frame. If it is a factory refinished gun -- fine. But otherwise that measurement had better be 3.750".
 

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FloridaSteve, I would recommend replacing the cylinder (but keeping your original one) because of the deep pitting. The chamber area of a 45 Colt SAA cylinder is very thin, which is the reason that the Italian clones and Standard have a bigger cylinder window in the frame - for a larger diameter cylinder so there is more "meat" over the thinnest parts of the cylinder (especially the cylinder notches). The pitting was caused by rust, and could have microscopic cracking that is undermining the cylinder's strength. It might be OK, it might not - is it worth blowing the top strap off the frame and ruining an original gun? You can have any second or first gen cylinder fit - the mismatch doesn't matter as it is for shooting - you can stick your original cylinder back in at any time.

Also, I use a pre-1983 copper penny and gun oil to take rust off. Copper is harder than rust but softer than blued steel. I would carefully remove any granular rust, then take the gun apart and boil the frame/barrel in boiling water for 30 minutes to turn the rust to black oxide.
 

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Surface wise the gun does not look bad except for the cylinder and gate. The cylinder may be pitted too deep to be safe for a 45 caliber gun. The finish in the the first set of pictures looks flat and dull like it has been chemically cleaned and some cold blue applied to give it back some color. After another look at the cylinder i can be certain it was cleaned with an acid based cleaner which removed all the rust and patina. I can tell this by the ultra clean pitting. It has no remaining rust or patina it can not be cleaned this good without either sandblasting or chemicals. The second set it is a more brown color. The actual patina showing looks odd to me. It does not look like the gun was ever buffed or refinished. 2500 was a fair price and it would have been 3000 or a little more if the cylinder was not pitted. A replacement cylinder will help the gun and hurt nothing, The grips look good and if not matching numbers then they are still good on the gun. Never use a rust removing chemical of any kind. It will strip off everything down to bare metal. with a fourth or 5th look at the pictures I now have come to the conclusion the gun at one time had a heavy brown coat of rust that was chemically removed leaving the odd splotchy surface now on the gun. This is better the stripped bare but still has an odd look. ometimes a good hard buffing with just a soft terrycoth towel will restore some of the surface shine that should be there. The gun looks a bit better in the second set of pictures. It is hard to get it looking perfect after this has been done but i think your gun will be okay looking. A holster by itself will not harm a gun but when gotten wet and allowed to stay wet over a period of time great damage can be done.
 

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Untouched, even if pitted, is hard to find these days. Look at the TG fit! Look at those screw heads!
Clean it. Letter it. Enjoy it.
 

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PLEASE do not use steel wool or steel anything on when cleaning that gun! All you want to di is remove rust and dirt. The patina is what gives it the character of an aged tool. You will never be able to remove all the scratches and evidence of wire wheel or steel wool and it will look like :poop:

Soak the gun in the oil of your choice. Any of those mentioned above will work. I use a 50/50 mix of ATF and acetone in a 5 gal. Home Depot bucket. Sending the gate to LAB is not a bad idea as far as appearance is concerned. The only problem with welding up the pitting is then trying to match the patina on the rest of the gun. Replacing the cylinder (in my opinion) is a matter of safety and appearance. Keep the original cylinder and loading gate oiled up in a safe place.
 

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The Good: Cool old gun lots of character, born in 1899 (S/N 186918). I really wanted the 7-1/2" barrel. The roll marks and serial numbers are strong, and the partially encircled rampant colt is there. The grip straps fit the frame nicely, and the screw heads aren't buggered up. The hammer notches are good, timing and lockup is good, it has just a little end-shake (.010 gap) and rotational play. The bore is actually pretty good too, reflective with good rifling and void of pits, and the cylinder chambers are clean. It might could use an oversized cylinder pin. IMO it's a fully functional shooter. (You guys taught me well...I think)

The Bad: Paid too much or bought years too soon (see below). The grips are not original per scratched numbers inside and seem too nice for the condition of the gun. But they appear to be genuine Colt turning a nice brown shade.

The Ugly: No remaining finish, or color me rust. Localized deep pitting on the loading gate and cylinder, some on the ejector housing. It was probably in a holster or laid on the RH side for decades causing the pitting to the cylinder and loading gate. And notice the barrel changes color after the ejector on RH side. Open toe holster?? What's your guess?

The Questions: Are the grips the correct type, albeit newer or fresher replacements; I think they are hard rubber. Should they be gutta-percha in 1899? Should I try to find some "aged" ones or be happy they are nice? Should I try to clean up some of the rust or leave it the hell alone? I don't want to remove all the color or patina and turn the metal white. Does the cylinder pin look correct? Is this gun even worth the expense of lettering?

So I've been beating myself up thinking I paid too much. All of us are always curious about what members paid for their recent acquisitions. SO I'll tell you if you give me your honest opinions. I got it at one of the infrequent and better shows in central Fla.; where the old-guys bring out their old stuff. And when it's in-hand, sometimes your judgement is not the best (money burning a hole, every other 1st gen there $$ 4-6k, mostly short barrel versions, auctions are a crap shoot etc. etc...). So here it is ... negotiated down from $3k to $2,500. Let me have it... a fool and his money or did I do okay? What would you pay???
View attachment 788401 View attachment 788402 View attachment 788403 View attachment 788404

The worst of it. Just on this side. Holster storage???
View attachment 788405 View attachment 788406 View attachment 788407 View attachment 788408


View attachment 788409 View attachment 788412
Here is an example of a gate after welding up damage on the spherical surface. Funny thing, how the patina matches the rest of gun! Oh, and the ass'y number still matches.
 

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