Colt Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's wrong with this picture of a Colt SAA sn 101196, shipped June 13, 1883?:confused:
OK, you experts...lets give the "novices" a chance to answer first!!!!!:D

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,841 Posts
I am a total novice on old SAA's but I also don't think the VP stamp was used that early and the 44 CF stamped at that location seems wrong. In fact the 44 CF itself seems wrong is that supposed to mean 44 center fire? Was that designation actually used?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,131 Posts
It is a darn good thing Parsons didn't see this Single Action before he wrote his book in 1950, otherwise we'd have the majority of Colt Single Action reference books claiming the VP stamp started in 1883 instead of the also incorrect date of 1902. Wow, a transition period from 1883 to 1905 instead of 1902 to 1905 would really be hard to wrap your mind around! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,514 Posts
I'm no expert, but I'll still leave the answers to others although IMO they already got it if that's what you were looking for.

I'm curious as to the actual chambering of the this gun which I believe has been converted.
44 CF could mean:

44 Henry Center Fire (converted firing pin on a 44 Henry RF gun or converted from any other center fire cartridge)
44 Colt (1st choice)
44 S&W American
44 S&W Russian
44 S&W Special
44-40 WCF
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The rest of the story:

The 44 CF stamp is correct according to A STUDY OF THE COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER, page 42:
"This "44 CF" stamping was used by the factory to designate .44 caliber centerfire chambering until late 1885. A placement change for the stamping, from the rear trigger guard flat to the left-front trigger guard bow, was in progress during the 45000 to 50000 serial number range."

As a side note, it is also interesting that on page 50-51 they make this comment:
"In mid 1883, Colt's began applying all of their previously-mentioned frame markings to a new type of frame, one manufactured of steel. There is no factory record of this innovation. We learned of this manufacturing change--from iron to steel--in a letter from Colt's General W.B. Franklin, U.S.A. (Ret) to the Army's Chief of Ordnance, noting that the new type of Single Action frame material was introduced during completion of the April 9th, 1883 U.S. Government contract. It is safe to conclude that the changeover to steel frames also took place in civilian production very near, or before, that period, in about the 95000 to 96000 serial number range."

This gun is in the serial number range to have an etched "COLT FRONTIER SIX SHOOTER" marked bbl and has the 44 CF mark on the TG. When I got it, it had a COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY .45 marked bbl and 45 cylinder. Upon dis-assembling it for inspection, I discovered the stamp "933" on the grip frame and the bottom of the frame. This indicates that the gun was returned to the Colt factory and some type of work was performed in September of 1933. My prognosis is that at this time it was converted from 44-40 to 45 Colt, refinished, and the trigger guard was stamped with the verified proof for smokeless powder, resulting in the incongruity of the combination of a 44CF stamp along with a VP stamp.

A call to the Colt Archive Dept verified that it was originally shipped in caliber 44-40 on June 13, 1883 to Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett in a shipment of 53 guns. Since I just happened to have an etched FSS bbl and a 44-40 cylinder on hand, I decided to return it to it's original configuration.

Here is the final result:






 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,514 Posts
Swamprat,

What a great old SAA.

Outstanding thread, and the most interesting and informative thread I've seen on this forum! I never knew that Colt would update their markings. Very much like S&W adding the 4 line address to pre war guns that they refinished after WW II until Roy Jinks got them to cease doing it!

I knew the 44-40 barrels were marked 44 under the barrel but not that they were also stamped on trigger guard bow. Bravo, that is such a great restoration of sorts. Not the entire gun just back to original cartridge, I like it even better!

I had forgotten how early that Colt's frames were improved to steel.

A couple of questions:

1. Do you know the vintage of the 44-40 cylinder? Was the barrel and cylinder a 'set' from the same gun? Not trying to be critical, please understand, I only ask because the 'black powder' chamfer on the front edge looks a little less than 1883 vintage (more turn of the century).

2. Does the top strap retain the 'V' notch rear sight? In 1933, the wider non-tapered front blade was transitioning from the tapered blade. But many of the frames of the period still had the 'V' notch rear! I have an original short barrel 45 shipped in 1932 with that setup and the sights are virtually useless. The front blade fills the 'V' notch completely!!

3. What length was the replacement 45 barrel and did it have a straight or tapered blade?

Thanks for the great thread,
Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,966 Posts
What's wrong with this picture of a Colt SAA sn 101196, shipped June 13, 1883?:confused:
OK, you experts...lets give the "novices" a chance to answer first!!!!!:D
Give me a bit of time as the firearm is not accessible to me right now, but I may actually own a firearm from the same shipment as yours, and may be able to post pictures of it for comparison. I know the serial number is 101118. It is acid-etched, with a nickel finish.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Swamprat,

What a great old SAA.

Outstanding thread, and the most interesting and informative thread I've seen on this forum! I never knew that Colt would update their markings. Very much like S&W adding the 4 line address to pre war guns that they refinished after WW II until Roy Jinks got them to cease doing it!

I knew the 44-40 barrels were marked 44 under the barrel but not that they were also stamped on trigger guard bow. Bravo, that is such a great restoration of sorts. Not the entire gun just back to original cartridge, I like it even better!

I had forgotten how early that Colt's frames were improved to steel.

A couple of questions:

1. Do you know the vintage of the 44-40 cylinder? Was the barrel and cylinder a 'set' from the same gun? Not trying to be critical, please understand, I only ask because the 'black powder' chamfer on the front edge looks a little less than 1883 vintage (more turn of the century).

2. Does the top strap retain the 'V' notch rear sight? In 1933, the wider non-tapered front blade was transitioning from the tapered blade. But many of the frames of the period still had the 'V' notch rear! I have an original short barrel 45 shipped in 1932 with that setup and the sights are virtually useless. The front blade fills the 'V' notch completely!!

3. What length was the replacement 45 barrel and did it have a straight or tapered blade?

Thanks for the great thread,
Jim

Jim,
The 44-40 bbl & cylinder were not a "set". I have an older BP cylinder, but elected to use this later vintage 1st gen smokeless powder cylinder to fit in with the VP proof. The top strap has the V notch and the sight blade on the bbl is tapered. The replacement 45 bbl was a 5 1/2" bbl with the straight sight blade.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Give me a bit of time as the firearm is not accessible to me right now, but I may actually own a firearm from the same shipment as yours, and may be able to post pictures of it for comparison. I know the serial number is 101118. It is acid-etched, with a nickel finish.
That would be great!:D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,271 Posts
Occasionally a Model 1911 (Military 1911) which did not originally have the VP marking will be found with the marking. As mentioned above, this indicates the pistol made a trip back to Colt in later years and after having work done was stamped with the VP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,966 Posts
I actually had my hands on Colt 101133 a few weeks ago, but the $3,850 price tag made me bristle due to the condition of the gun, which was not all that great. I did attempt to take photographs of mine, number 101118, but they came out poorly. In any event, here is the information on the letter, dated 20 November 1959:

Calibre: 44/40
Barrel length: 4 3/4"
Finish: Nickel
Stocks: Not listed (They are walnut)
Sold & Shipped to: Hartley & Graham, New York, N.Y.
Date of shipment: 16 October 1883
Number of same guns in shipment: Fifty
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,886 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
That is interesting! !!!
SN 101196 shipped 13 June 1883
SN 101118 shipped 16 Oct 1883
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,966 Posts
That is interesting! !!!
SN 101196 shipped 13 June 1883
SN 101118 shipped 16 Oct 1883
Interesting that yours is 78 numbers after mine and shipped several months before mine. I double-checked the date on mine and it is correct. Is yours correct?

I will try again someday (maybe in December) to get better photos of mine. It would be nice to post it as well!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
544 Posts
Everytime I read the reply's about the old Colt SAAs I realize how little I know about them. It is just plain luck and lots of books that I haven,t screwed up more than I have. Ronin
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top