View Full Version : Researching Colt U.s.army Model 1901 With Unusual Characteristics
July 10, 2005, 02:33 AM
I HAVE DONE ALOT OF RESEARCH ON THIS GUN,BUT THERE ARE SOME CHARACTERISTICS THIS GUN HAS,THAT ARE LACKING ON ANY OTHER 1901 MODELS WE'VE FOUND. PLEASE HELP IF YOU CAN. TOP OF BARREL (6" BARREL) IS IMPRINTED "COLT.DA.38. COLTS P.T.F.A.MFG.CO HARTFORD CT.USA" PATENTED AUG 5 1884,NOV 6 88,MAR 5 95. BOTTOM OF BARREL STAMPED "R.A.C" and LETTER "P"(UPSIDE DOWN) STAMPED " US ARMY MODEL 1901 "ON BOTTOM STRAP,"No. 1052" BELOW LANYARD HOLE. "R.A.C" STAMPED ON THE LEFT SIDE OF LEFT SIDE OF FRAME JUST ABOVE THE GRIP. HAND CHECKERED HAMMER AND CYLINDER RELEASE.CYLINDER RELEASE STAMPED "1052" WITH A "K" ABOVE NO.CRANE IS STAMPED "1052" ON MAIN FRAME WITH NO."1" ABOVE.AND NO." 7 " BELOW.CRANE IS ALSO STAMPED ON CRANE SWING OUT CYLINDER "1052" WITH LETTER "K" ABOVE. THE No."74" IS STAMPED ON MAIN FRAME HEAL STRAP LEFT SIDE,UNDER GRIP(WHEN REMOVED) SIDEPLATE,RIGHT SIDE,INSIDE,STAMPED "R.A.C", CYLINDER TURNS COUNTER CLOCK WISE,HAVING 1 " FLUTES WITH ROTATION AND EXTRA LOCKING NOTCHES. CYLINDER(REAR)STAMPED "R.A.C."NOS."71 27 K" ON FACE AND THE NO."526 40."UNDER RACHET ON CYLINDER.EJECTOR ROD STAMPED NO. "7950" WITH A SMALL NO."7" ABOVE AND TO THE LEFT SIDE OF THE 5 CONTAINED AMONG THE 7950. BLUING ORIGINAl IS 75% ORIGINAL OVERALL,WITH SOME HOLSTER WEAR ON BARREL,CYLINDER,CRANE FORWARD OF TRIGGER HOUSING,AND CYLINDER RELEASE. IN A NUTSHELL WE HAVE FOUND NO OTHER 38 DA WITH ALL THE MARKINGS ON AS MANY PARTS WITH INSPECTORS INITIALS SUPERVISING,STAMPING THE CONVERSION. THANK YOU FOR ANY LEADS
July 10, 2005, 11:15 AM
Sounds like the gun has mismatched parts and spent some time in the armorers' shop.
Any arrow marks on it? I'm wondering if R.A.C. is Royal Armoured Corps? BTW, nice ivory.
July 10, 2005, 09:35 PM
Wow! That gun is almost a history of the Colt Army and Navy revolver.
First, it was a military revolver; the grips are a civilian replacement. "RAC" stands for Rinaldo A. Carr, the government sub-inspector at Colt, in charge of inspecting component parts. His mark appears in several places on the revolver, notably the left side of the frame above the grip. It would also appear on the bottom of the left grip if the original wood grip was still on the gun. The "K" is a Colt inspection mark, possibly that of one A. Kind, a known Colt inspector.
But the serial number does not jibe with an original Model 1901. So the gun was one of many older models that were rebuilt and updated by Colt after 1901, and marked that way to indicate that for parts replacement purposes they were now Model 1901's rather than the older models. The mixture of assembly numbers indicates that parts from several guns were used in the assembly of the rebuilt gun. The number 1052 was probably the original serial number (which would indicate a Model 1892), and it was restamped when the revolver butt was "cleaned", drilled for the lanyard loop, and re-stamped during overhaul.
More detail can be found in "A Study of Colt's New Army and Navy Pattern Double Action Revolver" by Robert Best.
Shooting note. The .38 Long Colt for which those guns is chambered has the same cartridge diameter as the .38 Special, but is shorter, so .38 Special cases can be trimmed and light loads used. Some guns will accept regular .38 Special, or even some .357 Magnum loads, but should NEVER be fired with other than light loads.
Those guns are notorious for going out of time and for broken parts, especially springs. Parts are scarce and expensive. I strongly recommend they be considered collector's items and not fired.
July 10, 2005, 10:09 PM
Thanks So Very Much.you Really Know Your Colts!!
July 10, 2005, 10:53 PM
Dang Jim. I remain in awe of you.
July 11, 2005, 11:12 AM
Just FWIW, the information on rebuilds came from the cited book. The information about RAC and the other markings came from prior knowledge and experience.
The information on the guns themselves, and their failings, came from hard won experience, mainly in making springs to replace broken ones in those old guns, and trying to build up the cylinder latch to get the timing right. On those guns, the cylinder latch not only keeps the cylinder in place, but also locks the cylinder against backing up when the trigger is released. So the New A&N revolver has four points where timing can go awry. The hand must rotate the cylinder to the alignment point. The cylinder stop at the top of the trigger must stop rotation at the proper point. Then when the trigger is released, the cylinder latch must keep the cylinder from being dragged backward by the hand, and keep it in the proper position for the cylinder bolt to engage in the forward notch and keep the cylinder in position for the next shot. They are, IMHO, nightmares (only the Model 1877 is worse) but they show the evolution of the later Colt design.
July 19, 2005, 11:37 PM
I HAD ONE LAST QUESTION ON MY COLT 38 D.A. U.S.ARMY MODEL 1901 THAT
SOMEONE MAY BE ABLE TO ANSWER. IN REGARDS TO THIS PARTICULAR GUN'S MARKINGS ON THE HEEL STRAP. ON ALL THE OTHER MODEL 1901'S I'VE SEEN,THE HEEL STRAP,AS I'VE LEARNED FROM THIS SITE,WAS STRIPPED AND RESTAMPED. THE HEEL STRAP ON MY GUN SHOWS NO EVIDENCE OF BEING STRIPPED. ALL THE OTHER COLT 1901's I'VE SEEN HAD USUAL TWO ROWS OF SERIAL NUMBER INFORMATION,AND WERE STAMPED WELL BELOW THE LANYARD HOLE, WHICH ACCORDING TO THIS SITE/MY RESEARCH WAS ADDED TO THIS GUN IN 1901. I AM ASSUMING THAT ALL THE OTHER GUN'S PLACEMENT OF SERIAL NUMBERS WELL BELOW THE LANYARD HOLE WERE TO ACCOMADATE THAT LANYARD ADDITION. HOWEVER,IN ADDITION TO THE LOW,SINGLE LINE SERIAL NUMBER ON MY GUN,THE STAMP IS DONE DIRECTLY BELOW THE LANYARD HOLE. IS IT POSSIBLE THAT THIS GUN WAS REWORKED BY COLT,THE LANYARD HOLE ADDED WITHOUT RESTAMPING THE GUN EXPLAINING THE CLOSENESS OF THE SERIAL NUMBER TO THE HOLE,AND THAT THE GUN SLIPPED THROUGH THE HOLE SOMEWHERE AND RETAINS ALL OF ITS ORIGINAL 1893 0R 1894 GUNS COMPONENTS AND MATCHING SERIAL NUMBERS EXCEPT THE SWITCHING OF THE CYLINDER WHICH WAS SUPERVISED AT THE COLT FACTORY AND STAMPED BOTH BY "R.A.C" AND "K"
THANKS FOR ANY FEEDBACK, AND THOUGHTS ON THIS.IN MY RESEARCH I CAME ACROSS SOMEWHERE THAT THERE WAS A LIMITED NUMBER(1500) THAT WERE THE FIRST ONES REFURBISHED BY COLT WITH THE CYLINDER ADDITION AND NOT RESTAMPED.COULD THIS BE ONE OF THESE GUNS?
July 24, 2005, 03:12 PM
Best indicates that Colt restamped the serial numbers on the butts of at least some older guns using the assembly numbers instead of the full serial number. (Assembly numbers were the last four digits of the serial number.)
I suspect this was necessary simply because they forgot to record the original serials before removing the butt markings, so they didn't know the whole serial number, but of course that is speculation.
Whether 1052 is the original serial number or was derived from the assembly number, there is no way to tell at this point.
If the revolver has the swivel and the 1901 marking, it should have the updated parts. Serial Number 1052 would not originally have had the cylinder lock installed, but that would have been put in as part of the upgrade. (There should be the end of the cylinder lock screw showing about 1/8" below the latch if the lock has been installed.)
I strongly suggest getting hold of Best's book (mentioned above), which has far more detail than I can cover here. Those guns are fascinating, mainly due to the endless speculation about them, and have been the "forgotten Colts" for many years. Perhaps with "a book" on them, they will attain their proper place in the collecting field.
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