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Old January 1, 2012, 05:59 PM   #1
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colt d.a. 41

2012 er 184.jpg

2012 er 185.jpgThis revolver was passed down to me i was trying to find some info on it . i dont believe it is a lightning marked with pat. 1871,1874,1875 ser # 91***. Is anyone familiar with this model . on grip spline wells fargo express stamped
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Old January 1, 2012, 06:03 PM   #2
gyvel
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How about some photos?
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Old January 1, 2012, 06:43 PM   #3
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da 41

I have more photos could only upload 3
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Old January 1, 2012, 07:00 PM   #4
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you have a fine old colt that looks to be a WELLS FARGO piece, bought and paid for by wells fargo, from colt. did you get any paperwork with the DA?
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Old January 1, 2012, 07:12 PM   #5
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colt

no paperwork i was told colt could provide some sort of papers if i send them money it is in working condition suprisingly
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Old January 1, 2012, 09:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
you have a fine old colt that looks to be a WELLS FARGO piece, bought and paid for by wells fargo, from colt.
I wouldn't jump to conclusions. Genuine Wells Fargo items from the Old West can be very valuable, but this fact is well-known to forgers, and "WELLS FARGO" markings are faked with alarming frequency. It's worth seeking out an expert in Wells Fargo items to verify the history of the piece and the authenticity of the markings. (I am NOT that expert. )

I also have a note of caution that you really, really ought to heed.

**DO NOT OPERATE THE DOUBLE-ACTION TRIGGER MECHANISM MORE TIMES THAN IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!!**

These guns have notoriously fragile and complex DA trigger mechanisms, replacement parts are nearly impossible to obtain, and most gunsmiths know all this and refuse to work on these guns. The general rule with Colt 1877's is to operate the DA trigger ONE TIME so you can truthfully state that it works, and then DON'T DO IT AGAIN.
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Old January 1, 2012, 10:42 PM   #7
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colt d a

thanks for the info i will be careful not to operate the gun needlessly and i have heard there are a lot of fakes when it comes to wells fargo . i have just begun the process of reasearching this firearm so all information is much apreciated
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Old January 1, 2012, 11:15 PM   #8
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It has been said that only a small number of Wells, Fargo marked items are fakes, like 99.999%. That marking is not even in the normal format, which was "Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Express", and looks like it was done with an electric pencil. A Colt letter will tell you only the condition in which the gun was shipped from the factory (nickel plated, blue and case hardening, ivory grips, etc.) and to whom. It won't provide any information on markings applied after it left the factory, whether they were put on in 1880 or 2011. Wilson, FWIW, mentions Model 1877's with American Express Company markings applied at the factory, but no W.F. markings.

I hope you didn't pay any premium for that gun; they are worth about $600 in that condition without the W.F. marking. IMHO, the marking only damaged the gun and reduced its value.

Jim
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Old January 2, 2012, 12:03 AM   #9
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colt d a

i did not pay anything for it it was my fathers and it was passed down from his father . a gunsmith said the markings were rolled on i am not familiar with the process i had it at a gun show a guy looked at it said could not confirm real or forged then proceded to offer me $1500. i will have to contact colt and pay the money to get papers
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Old January 2, 2012, 12:04 AM   #10
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As far as I know, and with what I'm familiar with, Wells Fargo never marked the backstrap of the handguns that they obtained, they never spelled out the name like that, they never used that font stamp, and they would remark the serial number (either their own or the one from the factory) in larger characters on the side of the gun's frame.
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Old January 2, 2012, 06:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
It has been said that only a small number of Wells, Fargo marked items are fakes, like 99.999%.
You meant that only a small number of Wells Fargo marked items are real, right?
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Old January 2, 2012, 09:14 PM   #12
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I used the term "small number" sarcastically for the 99%+ that are phoney as three dollar bills. There are so many fakes that I doubt anyone any more can spot the real ones unless they are thoroughly documented or have unquestionable provenance. There are still those who look for genuine WF items, but they are the same folks who look for Rembrandts in the attic.

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Old January 3, 2012, 12:01 AM   #13
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BY the by the Colt lightning was chambered in .38 Colt, the .41s were called Thunderer. After a quick glance at what Colt info. I have I see no reference to a order from Wells Fargo but I did see one from the American Express Co. for and order of 1200. They were factory stamped AM. EX. CO. on the back strap. So Colt did mark special orders if contracted. As the other have warned I will also repeat in that the majority of Wells Fargo marked, anything, are fraudulently done.
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Old January 3, 2012, 12:14 AM   #14
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Hi, Level10,

The term "rolled on" means that the markings were put on with a roll stamp, a common method for marking areas that would be damaged by too much pressure at one point, like on an auto pistol slide. The roll stamp has the markings on it in reverse and is rolled across the work under high pressure, but only a small part of the marking will be impressed at any given time. From a factory viewpoint, a roll stamp is very expensive to make and I can't imagine Colt making one for less than, say, 500-1000 guns. If there had been that many marked that way, we should know about them. So, I think the person who mentioned a roll stamp is in error.

More BTW: Colt never used the terms Lightning* and Thunderer (or Rainmaker for the .32) for what we call the Model 1877. The first two were advertising hype by E.C. Meachum, of St.Louis, a big Colt distributor. I have not been able to find a definitive source for the "Rainmaker" nickname; I suspect it was coined by a modern collector, but if anyone knows for sure, I would like to hear from him.

Also, contrary to some statements, guns for the two calibers are not identical except for internal dimensions. The frames and cylinders are slightly larger in the .41 caliber and a .41 cylinder won't fit in a .38 frame.

*Colt used the name "Lightning", but only for their pump action rifle, not for a handgun.

Jim
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Old January 3, 2012, 11:17 PM   #15
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colt d a

so according to the responders i have a fake that de values the revolver that is very disappointing . i have heard it is unusual that it all works . not sure what to do with it i am not a collector auction maybe . thanks to everyone for the responces
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Old January 4, 2012, 12:03 AM   #16
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Regardless of the marking or the value, that gun is not a shooter. It is just too fragile and parts are either unavailable or close to it. No gunsmith will work on that gun because the frustration factor is so high - it is one of those "fix one thing and two things break" guns.

If you choose to sell it, your best bet on the marking would be to state that the backstrap is marked "Wells Fargo Express" (or whatever it is) but that the marking has NOT been authenticated. Those statements are true no matter who put the marking on or when.

Jim
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Old January 4, 2012, 07:01 AM   #17
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Some years ago I heard a collector claim that Wells Fargo NEVER had their guns or other equipment marked by the manufacturer, that it was purchased, inspected by their people, and only after it was passed by their inspectors was it property stamped and then distributed.

True or not I don't know.

One Smith collector I know has an autheticated Wells Fargo Schofield with the cut down barrel.
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