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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Finally found one, albeit, not as good as I'd like. Approx 2000 supplied to the gov. Assembly number 893 on all parts including wedge. Ainsworth 'A' on the bbl, cylinder and TG. 'US' on bbl as well. Correct 'double struck' 'P' on cylinder under the "Colts Patent" next to the 'A'. TG and BS have their original serial number 137468 but the frame, cylinder and bbl don't, as they were new made. Correct 8" length new barrel (as opposed to the normal 7 7/8" on numbered bbls). Only 130 frames were made that were not cut for the shoulder stock and this is one of them. The bad is the replaced dovetailed front sight, varnished civilian grips (which fit perfectly and have probably been on the gun forever) and a few replaced screws.







I should add, that, unlike some US Colt SAA's, all of these Army issued conversions were used hard in the West.
 

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A most wonderful gun. I have always liked and wanted one of these. A very nice find. Thanks for sharing it with us all here to admire.
 

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Chaffee,

Thanks for posting photos and info re your new U.S. Richards conversion assembly #893. Interesting and unusual in that its frame not cut for shoulder stock. Please provide the source of your information that 130 of the U.S. Richards did not have frames cut for a shoulder stock. While I am aware that most if not all U.S. Richards received new cylinders at time of their conversion, I did not know that some U.S. Richards also had new frames and barrels although from your photos it appears that both #893's barrel and frame only have conversion assembly numbers and appear to lack original serial numbers so its barrel and frame may well have been new at the time of its conversion. Although it seems logical that its frame and barrel were new at the time of its conversion, do you have any source such as McDowell or Pate for that conclusion and, if so, what is your source?

You have a very interesting and nice U.S. Richards. Incidentally, according to Charlie Pate your U.S.Richards is even rarer than you state in your post as although the Army sent 1,203 mostly well-used Model 1860s to Colt for conversion their condition was often poor so that Colt only completed the alteration/conversion of 1,126 of them. See Pate, The Colt Model 1860 Revolver p. 238.

Since about 2000 I have been attempting to identify the number of existing U.S. Richards that have either been depicted in books or on the internet and have only identified less than 50. Although I expect substantially more still exist, they nonetheless appear quite rare. Congratulations on having located a very interesting one.

RBS
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
rbs: My info came from McDowell, pages 152-153. There were 130 new (and therefore un-numbered) frames made into US Richard's and these were not cut for the shoulder stock. There are photos of un-cut frames like mine in his book. As for the barrel, I only assume that it might have been new as well, I can see no trace of a serial number there. In my experience there are no hard and fast rules with these things. I looked up the total numbers in Pate's book and McDowell also states this on page 144, although adding the test guns the number could be 1,138.
 

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Since about 2000 I have been attempting to identify the number of existing U.S. Richards that have either been depicted in books or on the internet and have only identified less than 50. Although I expect substantially more still exist, they nonetheless appear quite rare. Congratulations on having located a very interesting one.

RBS
Jeff in Ohio here. I've owned three of these and would be glad to share the serials with you. One still had a good deal of original blue, conversion serial 604, one had been nickle plated in modern times with modern checked ivory grips, conversion serial 545, and one that had the barrel cut short and was nickel plated back when it was in use, conversion serial 973. The one that had the modern refinish still had great sharp markings, including all the cylinder scene, and I would not be surprised to learn that someone has stripped that nickel off and put on an older looking finish!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That is beautiful, Chaffee. Is there any sort of reference I can look to for the history of these revolvers' use with the Army?
McDowell's 'Colt conversions....' touches on this. 10th Cavalry for sure and undoubtably other units. These were used in the Indian Wars.
 

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Jeff in Ohio,

Thanks for your conversion numbers. Until your reply to this thread I was not aware of conversion #973 so it adds one more existing U.S. Richards to my list. I've tried to keep photo copies of all the U.S. Richards that I have identified over the past 20 years so if you have a photo of #973 and time to email it to me please send it to me at [email protected].

You might be interested to know that it appears that the U.S.Richards and 12-Stop Richards appear to share the same conversion serial number range.

rbs
 

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103,

Two sources re U.S. Richards in addition to McDowell book Chafee referenced are:

1. Bruce McDowell's article "1860 Colt Army Richards Conversions issue to the U.S. Cavalry published in Issue 1 of the 1999 Man at Arms, pp. 38-42 that contains much additional information to what appears in McDowell's book

2. Charles Pate's article in Vol 52, number 9 of the February 2007 issue of the Gun Report pp. 16-26 entitled "The M Marked Colt Richards Conversion".

rbs
 
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