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Discussion Starter #62
To be honest with you, the matching numbers Artillery Model proves a bit dicey. Is it really a matching numbers Artillery Model or a Cavalry Model with a cut barrel?
This is an example of what I meant by myth. I didn't know there was such a thing as a cavalry with a cut barrel. Based on the info available and what I have heard from others including members is that cavalry models are considered unmolested, and once the barrels were shortened they would be considered artilleries. Maybe some of the confusion stems from nomenclature or just a lack of available information or where to find it.
 

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To be honest with you, the matching numbers Artillery Model proves a bit dicey. Is it really a matching numbers Artillery Model or a Cavalry Model with a cut barrel?
I knew more about these in the past, but have gotten rusty. Weren't the Colt artilleries all matching except the barrel. Didn't most of those get returned a second time, and the second time the numbers were mixed.
 

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When the Government decided on 5 1/2" barrels for Government-owned small arms - good 7 1/2" 'Cavalry' barrels were cut, crowned and re-fitted with new front sights.

If they weren't serviceable, they were replaced by new barrels and marked.

The weapons were returned to both Colt and to Springfield Armory for a thorough refurbishment and the finish returned to its original state - Springfield finished to their capabilities and standards - leaving a more 'muted' finish, but Colt did a basic commercial finish.

Parts were kept together at Colt - not at Springfield, but that was for the first iteration - after that, parts were mixed.

Parts (and grips) were a mixture of serviceable and new - grips were 'generally' new, since even back in its heyday, grips did need to be fitted - they were then marked and dated.

Meanwhile, the same basic thing was happening with the leather, and Model 1885 holsters were shortened and re-oiled for issue.

These were the sidearms of the Cuban and Philippine battles
 

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According to Kopec in A Study the common alteration by Colt was all matching numbers except the barrel. He states the all matching number including barrel variation is rare. Subsequently the existence of all matching number artilleries including the barrel has been disputed. This came up in a thread a while back. Kopec stated that rare type 3 all matching existed simply because he has seen some.

Many years ago I showed Kopec an all matching 5 1/2" U.S. He could not determine if it was an all matching artillery or a properly shortened cavalry. I think there may still be some conclusions about artilleries that are based on speculation.
 

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According to Kopec in A Study the common alteration by Colt was all matching numbers except the barrel. He states the all matching number including barrel variation is rare. Subsequently the existence of all matching number artilleries including the barrel has been disputed. This came up in a thread a while back. Kopec stated that rare type 3 all matching existed simply because he has seen some.

Many years ago I showed Kopec an all matching 5 1/2" U.S. He could not determine if it was an all matching artillery or a properly shortened cavalry. I think there may still be some conclusions about artilleries that are based on speculation.
Murky indeed! I suppose IF these do exist “classified or not”, there would be so few (under 5) I would guess that we are now REALLY getting into the weeds as far as the “myth” around artilleries. I feel like if the experts here on this forum have not seen one, they have to be exceedingly rare.
 

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"experts here on this forum"

Remember this is a forum, no one has presented their impeccable qualifications, and anyone with a computer can participate and state an opinion. Right or wrong. One respected person here just said "Parts were kept together at Colt". Kopec says otherwise. I can give many examples where respected contributors here, "experts", have made inaccurate statements and had to be corrected.

No one knows everything. Kopec has made errors. We have discussed some here. Trust, but verify. Particularly when you are basing your information on statements from unknown people on a forum using pseudonyms.
 

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According to Kopec in A Study the common alteration by Colt was all matching numbers except the barrel. He states the all matching number including barrel variation is rare. Subsequently the existence of all matching number artilleries including the barrel has been disputed. This came up in a thread a while back. Kopec stated that rare type 3 all matching existed simply because he has seen some.

Many years ago I showed Kopec an all matching 5 1/2" U.S. He could not determine if it was an all matching artillery or a properly shortened cavalry. I think there may still be some conclusions about artilleries that are based on speculation.
The all matching Artillery Model including the barrel, as long as the crown and reseated front sight are milled according to specifications, there’s simply no way to tell if this is a Cavalry Model with a cut barrel, or a “true” Artillery Model with all matching numbers, if such a variation exists. The ones with all matching numbers except the barrels—equally murky. It doesn’t take much to swap the barrels on two Cavalry Models with cut barrels, or even simply put an Artillery Model barrel on a Cavalry Model that currently presents with a 7 1/2” barrel of dubious distinction, and now you have just increased the value of an otherwise problematic Cavalry Model, as it has now become a less common variation of an Artillery Model.
Yes, this part IS rather murky!
 

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A 'true' Artillery model is a martially-marked Colt SAA with a 5 1/2" barrel.

It makes zero difference if the barrel started life fitted to an issued Cavalry revolver and was shortened or if it was new production - they 'all' started life in Cavalry-issued Colts and were shortened by Regulation in the '90's - there was no new production, just refurbishment.

The 'Artillery' comes from the fact that initial issue went to some Light Artillery batterys - collectors gave them the name because of that - it was 'not' an official term and neither was the 'Cavalry' term - so far as the Government was concerned, they were service revolvers.
 

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A 'true' Artillery model is a martially-marked Colt SAA with a 5 1/2" barrel.
Maybe, maybe not. Like I said, I showed Kopec an all matching 5 1/2" U.S. He could not determine if it was an all matching artillery or a properly shortened cavalry done by someone at a later time.

Regarding barrels you state. "they 'all' started life in Cavalry-issued Colts and were shortened by Regulation in the '90's - there was no new production, just refurbishment." You might reconsider that. As parts were needed, new civilian barrels were used. Some artilleries have new civilian barrels marked .45 Colt.
 

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When I said 'new production', I thought I was plain in meaning no new revolvers...

New production barrels were in the Colt pipeline then, as they have always been - brand-new and un-marked, sans sights - markings, sights and final finishing were done while the weapon was being refurbished.

Colt had all of the needed spares to do the work needed - and what original-issue spares that Springfield didn't have on-hand were supplied by Colt.
 

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I am hoping this thread can foster healthy debate and help to either dispel or perpetuate the myth of the artillery model SAA. It is not intended to offend or marginalize those who collect these guns rather to educate and maybe change some minds, like myself, on the subject. After all that is what discussion is all about. I will begin with why I believe this to be a myth perpetuated by the few upon the many with regards to authenticity and values.
By all collector standards these guns fail on every measure to be considered collectibles. These are the reasons why I believe this to be true.
1. They are parts guns, not original, and even though they are refurbished by Colt they are still parts guns with, in some cases, parts that are separated by decades not years.
2. There is no way to definitively authenticate this gun. There is no provenance or consensus on what can be authenticated other than the individual parts of the gun. The words possibly, most likely, fall within range, are ambiguous at best and cannot be considered authentication. Imagine if we used these words to convey the guilt of a person on trial, one word comes to mind- acquittal. Example would be if this practice were used today I doubt any serious collector would want a gun with mixed parts.
3. They are the most faked and most likely to be faked guns out there. See #2 as to why that is, too much possibility of being scammed, not worth taking the chance when you consider what prices are being floated for these guns.
4. Condition, condition, condition. That seems to be the consensus on a collector grade gun, and these guns are usually in fair to poor condition, remove the military connection and you have a $1500 gun at best.

I am hoping some of you can help me understand this gun, not with opinions but with facts. I want to like these guns but common sense, practicality, and economics dictate that this is not really possible. A cavalry model gun can be authenticated by provenance and I can understand why they command the money they get. I just don't see it with an artillery model. So let's open the discussion, not just for me but for the many who might never consider buying a gun like this because of the myth's surrounding it and the lack of facts and real understanding out there.
You're right on a few points. They can and have been parted and improved by many, many dealers and collectors over the years. The history associated with them is slim, but there is history available from Springfield Research service, as well as 4 books listing serial numbers and units they were issued to. But as for your idea of condition, this is where the rubber hits the road. Colt refurbished thousands at t he turn of the last century and they ALL were finished in bright civilian style blue and case color. These guns will letter as shipped to the commanding officer at Springfield armory. They are some of the most attractive SA's out there, and many have matching parts. The frames are generally what collectors are interested in, especially early frames between 45 and 55 hundred Custer range. Springfield refurbisihed guns are typically duller in blue and color, and always mismatched, but still attractive. And, rare inspectors are sometimes only found on artilleries.
JP
 
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