Colt 1860 Army Revolver

Jeff in Ohio

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Without having this in hand, it is difficult to know what it is. One thing is certain - that's not an old Colt cylinder - the old ones do not have those strong, deep approaches to the cylinder stops.
The barrel address is soft, as if buffed / polished before being bluing.
The font (shape and size) of the serials on the iron metal is not identical to that on the brass trigger guard.
Charles Pate wrote that he believes the frames were serial numbered at one central station, and then the (un-serialed) other parts were fitted to that frame, and then the rest of the serials were stamped, those numbers were all stamped at the same time by the same man who laid the put-together revolver down side up in a cradle, took a number stamp "1", and stamped the three unstamped exposed locations (butt, guard, barrel) with that stamp - bang, bang, bang - without putting that stamp down or moving the revolver and then took the next stamp in hand and did the same with it.
Look at the "2"s and you can see they are not the same. The "8"s are fatter on the iron compared to the thinner 8 on the guard.
 
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RedRaider94

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Apr 3, 2021
I completely stripped it looking for any other marks that might hold a clue (Italy, Japan, or some other symbol).... nothing anywhere. Only marks are the K's, PP, matching serial on each part, BH cartouche, and the Colts Patent on the frame and what is on the top of barrel. Nothing else that I could find. The main spring and brass under the grips were fairly corroded. Not like the rest of the gun.
Without having this in hand, it is difficult to know what it is. One thing is certain - that's not an old Colt cylinder - the old ones do not have those strong, deep approaches to the cylinder stops.
The barrel address is soft, as if buffed / polished before being bluing.
The font (shape and size) of the serials on the iron metal is not identical to that on the brass trigger guard.
Charles Pate wrote that he believes the frames were serial numbered at one central station, and then the (un-serialed) other parts were fitted to that frame, and then the rest of the serial were stamped, those numbers were all stamped at the same time by the same man who laid the put-together revolver down side up in a cradle, took a number stamp "1", and stamped the four exposed locations (butt, guard, barrel) with that stamp - bang, bang, bang - without putting that stamp down or moving the revolver and then took the next stamp in hand and did the same with it.
Look at the "2"s and you can see they are not the same. The "8"s are fatter on the iron compared to the thinner 8 on the guard.
I took a magnifying glass to the numbers and for certain, the trigger guard serial was stamped (all numbers) with a different set of stamps than the other areas just as you noted Jeff. The wedge serial numbers font matches the trigger guard font exactly. The barrel, frame, and butt are all identical and were the same stamps (every number) when you look under a magnifying glass. So, trigger guard and wedge used one set of stamps and frame, butt, and barrel used a different set of stamps (all numbers).

Does anyone know for certain what the serial numbers were for Gen 2 and Gen 3 to rule out one of those guns. I am starting to wonder if I have an original frame, barrel, and butt and then someone made a new trigger guard and wedge and then re-blued the barrel?

Is there any markings on the cylinder that would for certain identify it as original or repro that I can look for? I can't get a good high res image of the original scene anywhere. Have to assume something is different on the original scene that cant be reproduced on later attempts?
 

Jeff in Ohio

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Oct 17, 2015
As I mentioned, an original Colt NEVER had such deep, sharp approaches to the cylinder stop notches cut into the metal, so this is a new cylinder.
This is a simple first step to evaluating a cylinder and does not require careful review of the stamped scene on the cylinder - and usually, just a look at those cylinder notches will tell the tale.
 

RedRaider94

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Apr 3, 2021
As crazy as this sounds, i really focused in on the cylinder serial numbers and they are stamped with the same stamp as the barrel, frame, and butt. Agree the notches in the cylinder are well pronounced and a picture of another 1860 Army were more shallow. Just can't wrap my head around how anyone would have made this gun and used old serial numbers from 1867 if it is a repro. This is quite the mystery.
 

Patrick H

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Joined
Mar 7, 2014
but it is still a Colt, which counts for something.
This is the very point I wanted to make. If it's a genuine Colt 2nd generation, as many here state it is, then it is not a reproduction. It is a genuine Colt. It just happens to be a re-issue or modern generation and not an antique. But it is not the same as an Italian reproduction. Yours is a Colt! I think you have a nice piece!
 

Jeff in Ohio

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Oct 17, 2015
As crazy as this sounds, i really focused in on the cylinder serial numbers and they are stamped with the same stamp as the barrel, frame, and butt. Agree the notches in the cylinder are well pronounced and a picture of another 1860 Army were more shallow. Just can't wrap my head around how anyone would have made this gun and used old serial numbers from 1867 if it is a repro. This is quite the mystery.

It is not unknown for a gunsmith who is "improving" an old revolver to start with a single honestly serial numbered part, and redo all the other serial numbers to match that one single, original, honest serial number. Sometimes all the parts are old, but were just not matching, and sometimes the other parts are new or sometimes a mixture of old and net.
The barrel looks old, but refinished.
The cylinder is new.
The wood doesn't fit well enough against the frame to have been there originally.
If you took the gun apart, you might look for a serial inked in the groove of the backstrap - that would be a good clue.
The rest would take more examination.
 

RobertH

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Jan 25, 2019
I was going to say it looks Italian. But then saw this on the cylinder. What does it say? I think it may answer your question about where it came from though.

1860colt.JPG


1860colt.JPG
 
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James N.

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"Pleasing to the eye to some people" sounds like an opinion, MY opinion. Cost has nothing to do with what I find appealing. Just like you find color case hardening attractive.(and so do I, by the way) I find most firearms to be a attractive. Not all mind you, some are almost as ugly as sin itself.
Can you say Rogers & Spencer?
 

RedRaider94

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Apr 3, 2021
Here is a pic of what it says. I think it is supposed to say Engaged but either they spelled it wrong or the plate didn't stamp the rest of the "G" very well and it says "ENGACED". I think I read this was a part of the original scene.

Also have a pic of the serial number from the cylinder.

I am trying to work through this logically to piece together what it could be and eliminate what it can't be:

1) If it is a legitimate Colt Gen 2 or Gen 3, it sounds like it would be impossible to have the serial number it has since those started around 200k and one has to assume Colt would not use identical serial numbers on the exact same model guns. At least the frame, barrel, and butt (who all appear to have exact same stamps) can't be Colt Gen 2 or Gen 3. Any issues with that reasoning?

2) If it is a repro, I don't believe any of those outfits were re-using Colt serial numbers from the past but is that possible? In order for the frame, butt, and barrel to be repro, they would have to be reusing serials and if they were, mystery is solved - this has to be a repro.

3) If neither 1 or 2, the frame, barrel, and butt must be original 1867 manufactured parts and then someone has built or bought parts (trigger guard and wedge) without serial numbers and stamped them themselves to make things match. Is that possible or likely (does anyone sell these trigger guards without serial numbers?

This is going to drive me nuts :smile:

IMG_2401.jpg


IMG_2402.jpg
 

James N.

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Here is a pic of what it says. I think it is supposed to say Engaged but either they spelled it wrong or the plate didn't stamp the rest of the "G" very well and it says "ENGACED". I think I read this was a part of the original scene.

Also have a pic of the serial number from the cylinder.

I am trying to work through this logically to piece together what it could be and eliminate what it can't be:

1) If it is a legitimate Colt Gen 2 or Gen 3, it sounds like it would be impossible to have the serial number it has since those started around 200k and one has to assume Colt would not use identical serial numbers on the exact same model guns. At least the frame, barrel, and butt (who all appear to have exact same stamps) can't be Colt Gen 2 or Gen 3. Any issues with that reasoning?

2) If it is a repro, I don't believe any of those outfits were re-using Colt serial numbers from the past but is that possible? In order for the frame, butt, and barrel to be repro, they would have to be reusing serials and if they were, mystery is solved - this has to be a repro.

3) If neither 1 or 2, the frame, barrel, and butt must be original 1867 manufactured parts and then someone has built or bought parts (trigger guard and wedge) without serial numbers and stamped them themselves to make things match. Is that possible or likely (does anyone sell these trigger guards without serial numbers?

This is going to drive me nuts :smile:
It is - for some reason, instead of continuing to use the cylinder scene showing Dragoons fighting Indians that had been on the Colt Dragoon - which the M.1860 Army replaced - Colt for some reason decided to instead copy the scene from their M.1850 Navy which depicted a naval engagement between ships of the Republic of Texas and Mexican navies; this inscription is the date of that battle.
 

RobertH

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Jan 25, 2019
It is - for some reason, instead of continuing to use the cylinder scene showing Dragoons fighting Indians that had been on the Colt Dragoon - which the M.1860 Army replaced - Colt for some reason decided to instead copy the scene from their M.1850 Navy which depicted a naval engagement between ships of the Republic of Texas and Mexican navies; this inscription is the date of that battle.

Except it appears to be a misspelling-using a C instead of a G. It doesn't appear to be a bad strike.

If you blow up the "Colts Patent" on the trigger guard, it seems to be sloppy.
What's the brass rectangular thing on the barrel where "U.S." should be?
The sn on the cylinder is missing the first number
And what is the "PP" in the cylinder scene?

I think it's an Italian replica that somebody faked.
 
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ucvrelics

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The sn on the cylinder is missing the first number
The serial # on the original cylinder and wedge were on 4 digits. This one has 5 which is another tell tel of a reproduction. On an original Colt the serial # is in 7 places. As I stated originally this is NOT an original Colt and there are NO parts on it that are original.
 

Lubliner

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The serial # on the original cylinder and wedge were on 4 digits. This one has 5 which is another tell tel of a reproduction. On an original Colt the serial # is in 7 places. As I stated originally this is NOT an original Colt and there are NO parts on it that are original.
I could follow you around all day at a gun show! Good eyes.
Lubliner.
 

Jeff in Ohio

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Oct 17, 2015
The main thing to remember is that this has been newly built, likely some new and some old parts, and the serial numbers made to match.
  • I think the barrel is old and was polished before it was reblued, and
  • I know the cylinder is a new part of some sort, and both bear serials with the same stamp.
There's no way of judging much about this gun without examination of the PARTS, and not just the SERIAL NUMBERS.I'd be interested in seeing photos of the sides of that trigger guard when the gun is apart, and also the back-strap groove in the grips, and the wedge.
I think the trigger guard looks right and the serial on it looks authentic. photos of the inside, showing casting detail, will help.
Its interesting that the wedge font matches the grip. Colt wedges had both 4 and 5 numerals on them.
 

RedRaider94

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Apr 3, 2021
Definitely seeing now that this must have been pieced together from various aftermarket parts although I am still stumped on the frame and barrel. We know it isn't a Gen 2 or Gen 3 frame and barrel given serials. If repro, wouldn't there be some type of marking from the manufacturer and without those markings, would they use the previous serial numbers from the original.

Jeff, here are some pics - not sure if this is the detail you were looking for.

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RobertH

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Jan 25, 2019
Based on the absence of shear marks on the Main Spring, it appears to be a modern spring. Is that a correct assumption?

Curious as to what the actual experts have to say.
 
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