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cmreinke
October 20, 2005, 03:06 PM
I recently inherited an old revolver in slightly damaged (hammer cracked at the firing pin) and very worn condition. It seems to be a Colt from the few markings that I can see on it, although there are no visible stampings that indicate the manufacturer or caliber. It was found loaded with six .45 cartridges, though. The only writing I can read is:
PAT. SEPT 19.1871
" JULY 2.--72
.......... --7?
plus the number 64xxx in two places and 40xxx in another.

If anyone has any information on this gun (i.e. manufacturing date, approx. value, etc.), or better yet some links (or a book) where I can research it on my own, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanx,
Charles

Jim Watson
October 20, 2005, 04:25 PM
Picture?
Full description?

From the patent dates, I can guess you might have a Colt Single Action Army .45 "Long" Colt. The serial numbers are mixed which might have been done in the Army rebuild program of later years (Is the barrel 5 1/2 inches long?) or by somebody repairing a busted gun or making one up out of spare parts. The serial number on the frame - the little flat spot on the bottom in front of the trigger guard - is the "official" number for dating (and registration where required.) Colt SAA no 40,000 was made in 1877 and no 64,000 in 1881.

As worn as you say, value is not huge, but an original 19th century SAA, if that is what you have, is still worth some money.

cmreinke
October 20, 2005, 05:34 PM
Thanx for the info--you've been a great help already!

I don't have any photos handy, and the gun is actually with a family member who is taking to a gunsmith. I can have them measure the barrel length for me, though. It seems that the best thing is to have an expert look it over in person and try to appraise the value.

As for a description, I'm not sure what else I can say except that it has a shiny finish (not sure what kind of metal), cheap-looking white plastic grips, and the cylinder is fixed with a flip-out tab to access the individual chambers. Also, it is single-action, of course. Anyway, thanx again for the help.

Jim Watson
October 20, 2005, 05:54 PM
Oh, dear. A shiny finish is likely nickel plating - if not bumper chrome - and one reason the markings are indistinct is because it was done by an incompetent who buffed the metal too hard. Cheap white grips are, well, cheap. Such stuff is very hard on the collector's interest and dollar value. But you have to remember that when it was done, it was not desecration of a valuable antique, they were just trying to make an obsolete gun look flashy.

A gun this old - assuming it is a real Century XIX Colt and not a modern copy - was made when black powder was all that was available. Current production .45 Colt ammunition is pretty lightly loaded and the "Cowboy" stuff is even milder. But it still generates more pressure than black and you would be stressing the gun to shoot it. Colts were always well made and it might hold up to some use with smokeless but I'm not telling you it will. There are factory loads with fake black powder that would be easier on the works, assuming that gunsmith thinks it is in shooting condition at all.