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Old January 17, 2014, 01:05 AM   #1
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C&R Pistols.... Need Some Info

I know this one is a Colt New Service 455 Elly. It is a pre WW1 revolver that was produced commercially and also for the British government. I curious to see how to determine if its been converted to shoot the 45 Colt as I know that reduces the value along with the missing original grips. The serial number is 52210. Any thoughts on the value of this revolver.

This other pistol seems to be a hammered copy of a SW Lemon Squeeze. I can't quite tell what the engraved emblem is on the receiver or what emblem on the grips matches a manufacture from back in the day. Again any info and value will be greatly appreciated.

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Old January 17, 2014, 10:17 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Aso544
I['m] curious to see how to determine if its been converted to shoot the 45 Colt...
I've not personally seen a converted Colt, but I've examined several converted Smith & Wesson revolvers, and all of them had obvious signs of machine work to the rear face of the cylinder. .455 Webley (aka Eley) has a much thinner rim than .45 Colt, so material was usually removed to allow the cylinder to close. Since this work was usually done by military surplus dealers who intended to resell the revolvers for very low prices, they had no incentive to pay for quality work, and this modification is generally pretty easy to spot.

Judging by the lack of machining marks and the matching appearance of the finish on the rear cylinder face, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I DON'T think this gun has been converted.

FWIW S&W's from this era had shouldered chambers- i.e. the rear portion of the chambers was case diameter, but the forward portion was bullet diameter, with an obvious step in between. Therefore, converting a S&W would also involve reaming the chambers deeper. However, IIRC .45-caliber Colts of this vintage were not built this way; the chambers were bored straight through. (Someone PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong.)
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Last edited by carguychris; January 17, 2014 at 10:19 AM. Reason: minor reword...
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Old January 17, 2014, 11:07 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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The Colt Question can be settled by attempting to insert a .45 Colt cartridge. If it chambers and the cylinder closes, then it has been converted. If not, not.

The only "modern" Colt with the "bored through cylinder" business was the early 1917 .45 ACP which relied on its moon clips. Later guns and, I think, a lot of replacement cylinders, had normal headspace stops and cylinder throats.

I think I can see a shoulder to throat diameter in the chamber at 6 o'clock. If so, it looks pretty short and is likely still .455.

The topbreak is one of many European knockoffs of Smith & Wesson, probably Spanish. It is the original "Two dollar pistol" than which there is very little hotter. There were a lot of small makers in Spain before Franco rationalized the industry there. Even the Zhuk reference book will say "Eibar, maker unknown." But I have seen that trademark SOMEWHERE, just don't recall it.
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Old January 17, 2014, 01:58 PM   #4
Doc Hoy
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The top break is a pretty little thing....

I like that it is blued and not plated.

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Old January 17, 2014, 11:12 PM   #5
James K
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Chris is right on the conversions, but I think that cylinder has been converted, not by reaming but with a simple countersink, maybe even something like a cone shaped cartridge case reamer. The rear of the chambers looks like that and it would probably have been enough given the small rim of the .45 Colt.

Of course, Jim Watson has the real answer; try a .45 Colt round.

On the breaktop, I agree on its being Spanish; I am sure I have seen that grip marking somewhere, but and find it now.

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Old January 18, 2014, 06:42 AM   #6
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Gangarossa's book shows pictures (taken from the ALFA catalog reprint) of two revolvers with the star trademark and says "probably Garate, Anitua or Orbea Hermanos."
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Old January 19, 2014, 02:54 PM   #7
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Could be, but Orbea usually used the intertwined "OH" and Garate, Anitua used an intertwined "GAC".

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Old January 21, 2014, 08:53 AM   #8
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I'm going to go with the thought that it has been converted. I have a New Service (in .45 Colt) and there is no bevel on the rear of the chambers.

This would have been done to allow the slightly larger rim of the .45 Colt cartridge to headspace properly. As has been mentioned, the easy way to determine if it was converted is to try and insert a cartridge.
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