View Full Version : OLD Colt Quiz

November 21, 2006, 10:16 PM
I am trying to find out what gun my Grandma has.
Here is the background:
She got from her father. He got it from his father who bought it new in the late 1800's. Maybe early 1900's but not likely.
The description: (I have never seen it)
Colt six shot revolver. 4" barrel. 41 long colt I believe. Markings are as follows; On the barrel it has "Colt DA 41" One side of the frame (trigger guard area) it has 99086, it also has SEP and JAN plus some unknown dates. The other side has the Colt pony rollmark/engraving. It has Plastic grips with the Colt pony on them.

This gun has peaked my interest any any help identifying it would be appreciated.

T. O'Heir
November 22, 2006, 12:05 AM
"...Plastic grips..." Plastic or Bakelite? Bakelite is an early form of plastic that dates from 1909, but not exactly plastic as we know it. It wasn't petroleum based.
"...I have never seen it..." Ever ask grandma to show it to you?
In any case, Colt will send you whatever info they have. Not exactly cheap though. $100 for grandma's Colt.
From this page, there's an 1877 and '78 DA revolver.
"...Colt DA..." This is the model. You're likely right about it being a .41 Colt.

November 22, 2006, 01:38 AM
Sounds like you have a Colt New Army & Navy revolver.

These were the first double action swing-out cylinder revolvers ever made.
We'd need more info or pictures to narrow down just which model it is but Colt made improved versions as the Model 1889 Navy, and the New Army & Navy Models of 1892, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1901, and 1903.
These were officially adopted by the US Government, and military marked versions are more valuable.

These were made in barrel lengths of 3", 4 1/2", and 6", and in blue or nickel.
Grips were usually hard black "Gutta Percha" rubber. This hard rubber looks like plastic and has molded in Colt Ponys, logos, and checkering.

Calibers were various obsolete .38 and .41 calibers.
It was the New Army & Navy in .38 Colt Long that failed to stop the Moro Islamic warriors in the Philippines and led directly to the adoption of the Model 1911 .45 Automatic.

These revolvers were chambered for low pressure, obsolete ammunition. Many of them will actually chamber .38 Special and even .357 Magnum ammo, but they should NEVER be fired with ANY modern .38 caliber ammunition, not even light loaded .38 Special ammo.

Due to the complex and rather weak actions, and the lack of repair parts, these old guns should be considered as non-firing relics, and care should be taken not to damage or break anything.

These are historical firearms, since Colt invented the swing-out cylinder revolver with these models, and every Colt made after, right down to the Colt Python was a direct decedent of the New Army & Navy models.

November 22, 2006, 07:51 AM

I sent my Grandma a picture. This appears to be it. Apparently the gun looks the same, but it has some more "writing" on it.

Pretty cool if you ask me! There are a lot of stories behind this gun. Self defence shootings and what not.


P.S. No plans to ever shoot it Dfaris. ;)
P.P.S. She lives in Cali, I live in FL. I might get to handle it (see it for that matter!!) one day, I had never known she had it though.

James K
November 22, 2006, 03:10 PM
You will have a hard time getting ammo even if you wanted to shoot it. .41 Colt is not made any more, and collector's ammo costs an arm and a leg.

The gun is the Model 1877 double action (the .41 was called the Thunderer, the .38 was called the Lightning), Colt's first DA revolver. They were subject to breakage and other problems, and not considered too reliable, though Billy the Kid reportedly carried one.

The grips are NOT plastic or Bakelite. They are hard rubber, also called gutta percha, a natural product that becomes very hard and brittle with age, so take care with any old grips.

That gun was made in 1895, so it is legally an antique under federal law should that question ever arise.

Per the Blue Book, prices can range up to $3000, though in my experience an average is around $1200 for one in decent shape.


November 22, 2006, 03:57 PM
Yep, looks like an early Colt double action made before the New Army & Navy swing-out cylinder guns.

These older Colt DA's are even MORE delicate than the later guns, and you should take extreme care with them.
Parts are about non-existent, and there are VERY few specialty pistolsmiths who will touch one.

Strangely, even though these were relatively fragile guns that had a reputation for problems even when new, they were favored by Billy The Kid, and John Wesley Hardin.