View Full Version : I'm needing the history and possible value of a Colt revolver.

The Mohican Sneak
September 29, 1999, 11:16 AM
Colt PTFA - Mfg. Co. Hartford, CT. USA
Patented Aug. 5th 1884 Nov. 6th 1884 (this is stamped on the barrel) On the left side of the barrel it also has "Colt 38 D.A."
Above the left grip are the initials R.A.C.

On the cylinder release there is this number K 4595. This same number is also on the arm that holds the cylinder out when loading/unloading the gun.

I can't remember if it was the left or right side, but I'm pretty sure it was the right side. There are 3 screws just below the cylinder.

The gun has no rust whatsoever, but the cylinder is loose. It has some play left to right, and forward and backward. It spins freely counter-clockwise while uncocked, and then locks up when the hammer is back.

It also has some type of white grips on it. They resemble ivory, being white and brownish yellow in color. They appear to have shrunk somehow because they are lacking a little in fit. They are loose due to the shrinkage or what have you.

I know this is pretty vague info, and it would be better if I had a picture to show, but I don't.

Any information you can give me with the details given will be appreciated.



September 29, 1999, 11:57 AM
You can contact Colt and they will research it for you and provide a letter of authenticity for a fee (I think it is $80). www.colt.com (http://www.colt.com)

September 30, 1999, 10:30 AM
Just off the top of my head it sounds like you have a Colt Lightening. These were problematic for Colt when they came out as they had rather delicate and cumbersome interals. The springs tend to break. I have one that I picked up a few years ago in non-firing condition with some spare parts for $150, IIRC. I've seen them priced up over $500 for original unretouched specimens. BTW at a show last weekend there was an older gent walking around with one that had been reblued and was in excellent shape. He was asking $600 OBO. He didn't sell because of the reblueing.

Harley Nolden
September 30, 1999, 10:53 AM
Mohican Sneak:
I have to agree w/fal308. I have sent you a slide of the Lightning by separate email. If this is your pistol, please advise and I will send you the information.

[email protected]

Daniel Watters
September 30, 1999, 01:51 PM
I disagree. Given the markings, it is likely a Model 1892 New Army. The 1884 patents are for swingout cylinders, and Rinaldo A. Carr (RAC) didn't become an Ordnance inspector until 1889.

Harley Nolden
September 30, 1999, 02:40 PM
Mohican, Dan & Fal:
Upon further research, golly I like this sort of thing, my records also indicate that it is the Colt New Army, also called the Colt New Navy, in cal's 38 short, long and Long Colt, 41 Short & Long Colt Mfg'd from 1889 to 1894.

My records further indicate that this model was adoped by both the Army and Navy, was Colt's first revolver of the solid frame, swing-out cylinder type. It lacks the cylinder-locking notches found on later models made on this 41 fram; ratchet on the back of the cylinder is held in place by a double projection on the hand.

This coincides with what Mohican describes in his initial request.


[This message has been edited by Harley Nolden (edited September 30, 1999).]

James K
September 30, 1999, 10:23 PM
Hi, Mohican,

Based on the information given, you have a Model 1892 revolver, in .38 Colt caliber, sometimes called .38 Long Colt. The .38 Colt is the same diameter cartridge case as the .38 Special and .357 Magnum, but those cartridges should not be fired in that gun even if they will fit.

The K 4595 is an assembly number; the serial number should be on the butt, along with the U.S. mark and the model number. The white grips are not original; the original grips were hard rubber ("gutta percha" as it was called at the time) and very often broke. There are reproduction grips available, but I can't give a source off-hand.

There is a spring broken on the cylinder bolt, which is why the cylinder rotates backward with the hammer down. Parts may be available from Gun Parts Corp, or any competent gunsmith should be able to make a spring. (I made dozens of them, cursing Colt all the way!)


Daniel Watters
September 30, 1999, 10:56 PM
Jim: A small nitpick...the New Army revolvers were the only Colt revolvers that turn their cylinders counter-clockwise. Of course, I can't imagine that a cylinder that free-wheels forward is a good thing either.

October 1, 1999, 09:01 AM
Sorry about the misinformation. I completely missed the swing-out cylinder reference.
That's what I get for coming on on-line in the morning after getting off work.

James K
October 2, 1999, 12:11 PM
Hi, Daniel and guys,

I made two mistakes, for which I offer only the excuse of its being very late and past my bedtime.

Daniel, you are correct about the rotation and that the cylinder can rotate forward - the hand stops it rotating backward. I also said the grips are hard rubber; this is true for the civilian model, but the military models had wood grips.

This is the only Colt to have its sideplate on the right, which sort of forces the counter-clockwise rotation. The mechanism is such that the rear cylinder stop does not engage with the hammer down, and if the bolt spring is broken, the cylinder can rotate with the hammer down. There are two cylinder stop notches. The front one is engaged by the bolt, which stops cylinder motion with the hammer down. It is disengaged by the trigger when the trigger comes back. But it does not stop cylinder rotation for firing. That is done by a second bolt stop made as part of the trigger and which engages in the rear cut in the receiver and required the long lead notch.

The guns are pretty fragile (mainly spring breakage) and a royal pain to work on.

I have called the gun the Model 1892 based on the patent dates given (shouldn't the last one be 1888 rather than 1884?). But there was a series of these, that the Army called the Models 1892, 1894, 1894, 1896, 1901, and 1903. The changes were minor and they all look alike. There was also a Model 1905 Marine Corps model, with a round butt. These are rare and are sometimes faked.

This was the gun that caused all the ruckus in the Philippines when the .38 Colt would not stop native troops. The ultimate result was the adoption of the Model 1911 pistol in .45 caliber.


The Mohican Sneak
October 4, 1999, 01:10 AM
Thanks Gents...

The gun is owned by a buddy and that's all the info I have found on it. He'll be tickled that y'all have found more for him.

Thank for giving so freely of your time,