Thanks again for everyone's help on this question. Here's how things turned out:
The guy I bought the revolver from runs a small muzzleloading supply shop outside of a small town in Oregon. He was selling the pistol on consignment for another of his customers. This other customer bought it (used) from a vendor at a trade show about 15 years ago. Both thought it was an authentic Colt based on the barrel markings and the lack of any obvious foreign stamps or proof marks. This other customer shot the gun a few times, then went to single shot muzzleloaders. It's been sitting on the shelf in his closet for the past ten years or so.
The price I first paid for it would have been very reasonable for a used authentic Colt. But it was way high for a used Italian replica, even one in as good condition as this is.
I took the gun back yesterday. The shop owner got his other customer on the phone. I shared the information you all have provided with them. Both were perfect gentlemen about the situation. They were surprised - not to mention a little embarrassed. We renegotiated a price that kept all three of us happy. The upshot is that I ended up with a great-looking gun in excellent condition for a very reasonable price. And it came with the bonus of having a terrific story behind it.
Gentlemen: thank you all for your help on this question. I do have a quick follow-up question for Hawg and/or Fingers (or anyone else that might know):
- Hawg and Fingers thought that the pistol "looks & sounds like an Armi San Marco made around 1982, before Colt sued them." Hawg said in a later post that he thought ASM made the barrels under contract with Colt BPA Co. for the third generation run.
- The chronology here doesn't seem quite right. It's my understanding that the 2nd generation production by Colt (all models) ran from 1970 to late 1982. It's also my understanding that Colt Black Powder Arms Co. produced its third generation guns from 1993 to 2002.
- If that's correct, then it sounds like either the ASM-produced barrels were for the 2nd generation Colts, or that the date of the ASM production (and subsequent lawsuit) was misstated. Can anyone clear that up?
Thank you all again. Next stop is the range. After all this drama, I'm eager to see how this thing shoots!!