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Old May 16, 2011, 11:24 PM   #1
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silver-plated triggerguards on Colts?

Been looking alot at the original Colt belt and army pistols (aka Model 1851, 1849, Dragoon, etc) on the auction and antique sale websites and noticed that some models of the originals seem to have "silver" plated triggerguards and backstraps.

That is, what is clean brass on our modern Italian imports, appears to have been silver-plated on alot of the originals.

Now, I've heard that back during the late 1800's/early 1900's it was popular to silver-plate old guns, as I see a whole lot of old worn BP cartridge guns shiney chrome. I've mostly noted the silver on 1851 and 1849 models, but it seems to be lacking on Dragoons.

My question is, was this plating on the brass pieces from the Colt factory, or is this some kind of late-1800's pimp work? If the silver plated brass was original, which models did it appear upon?

Last edited by alpinex; May 16, 2011 at 11:44 PM.
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Old May 17, 2011, 07:13 AM   #2
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My question is, was this plating on the brass pieces from the Colt factory, or is this some kind of late-1800's pimp work? If the silver plated brass was original, which models did it appear upon?
Many models had German Silver plated trigger guards and back straps, or both applied at the factory. More common on civilian models.
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Old May 17, 2011, 07:55 AM   #3
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I have an 1851 made in 1862 and it has had the plating removed. Whoever did it neglected to remove the grips to do this and the inside of the grip frame retains it's plating. I would assume the plating wore off in spots and was distasteful to the owner.
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Old May 17, 2011, 10:41 AM   #4
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There are plating kits that are available through industrial suppliers if a fellow wanted to plate the triggerguard/backstrap of an Italian model. In fact, I think I've seen some photos either on this forum or another which showed the final results which looked nice. I've seen originals at shows that had silver plated triggerguards/backstraps - most had some degree of "wear" to them and as stated, they seemed to be primarily "civilian" models. If a person wanted to go on the "cheap" and make his repro look like that, I suppose you could always get out the Rust Oleum Aluminum paint!?
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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Old May 17, 2011, 10:58 AM   #5
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I have read that the German silver plating was done on civilian model revolvers at the Colt factory. I have seen a number of old cap and ball Colt's with worn and faded plating on the backstraps and trigger guards. My 2nd Generation Colt 1862 Police has German silver plating on it which is supposed to be authentic:

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Old May 17, 2011, 02:32 PM   #6
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Yep, Colt did it and to knowledge on some of the civilian models.
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Old May 19, 2011, 11:05 PM   #7
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Uberti does plating (and various levels of engraving) but I don't know of any US distributor of what could be very custom pieces. Colt did not only plating, but was famous for some of its hand engraving as well, guns which bring a huge premium at autction. Although the plated models were prodominantly for the civilian market, there are any number of authentic "presentation" guns of various models, including "To Maj.XXX from his Men," or from Samuel Colt to General (Grant).
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Old May 20, 2011, 11:29 AM   #8
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Standard configuration on Col Colt's revolvers was silver plated BS/TG. Wasn't applicable to all models; but was for most. They could also be had in plain brass and blued iron or steel

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Old May 22, 2011, 04:06 PM   #9
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I have a unfired 3rd gen colt 3rd marine dragoon. The frame and barrel is silver plated but has some tarnish and maybe to the fine eye some pits. Should I have it re-plated or leave it alone.?
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