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Monday, February 4, 2013

A Little Colt Help?

Tonight I visit some dear friends that have just downsized the house and the wife just came back yesterday attending to the passing of her Father. 

So I wandered about the network wiring, the TV setup, and all of that. I have to go back to complete those tasks.  I was presented with this:

It was her Fathers.  Its a Colt Single Action and locks up tight and a trigger that breaks like glass. Some light surface rust but oh, what a beautiful revolver!

So it has on the Cylinder "Colt patent #320".  Very little else visible without a disassemble

I have no idea where to go from here except determining the caliber and a more detailed examination.  I will get it here for a light run through with Break Free and present back to them and more detailed pics.

So tonight I ask my friends, what is it? What do I need to do to at least get enough info for the Colt Historian letter?

I continue to be humbled in this endeavor.      


  1. If that's all it says- it could well be an original...say maybe a colt Navy or Army (depending on the caliber).
    A Colt Navy was .36 and I think the Army was .44.

    To get it into it's three large components (barrel, cylinder and receiver)
    You want to remove the wedge in front of the cylinder (use a non-marring punch) that will let you pull the barrel forward off the central pin.
    The cylinder should come off next.

    Be advised that the old black powder was *really* corrosive (or hydroscopic, anyway) and might have done some damage.

    If you want to experiment- get a Pedrosolli repro pistol and experiment on that first.

  2. Unless it's a modern replica, that may date from the mid-1800's. I strongly recommend that you don't mess with it if you don't know what you're doing! I'd take it to a good gunsmith with experience of such weapons, or perhaps even call Colt, or someone like Hamilton Bowen (probably the most knowledgeable revolversmith I know) to ask them how to proceed. In fact, the more I think about it, Hamilton Bowen might be a very useful resource. Explain the gun's provenance to them, and they may even be willing to take it in, strip it down, and check it out for you at a reasonable price.

  3. Need to see the other side, but that looks like a 1851 Navy Colt with a Richards Mason metallic cartridge conversion. Kurt's takedown instructions are correct but as to the caliber, I wouldn't know other than to guess .38 Long Colt as many were converted to that caliber. There were others though.

    Bring it up and let's look at it. Oh, and BTW, 340 Defense is now open so you've got that excuse to come!

  4. It looks like a .32 caliber, the british designation for caliber was .320, that will be a beauty when it's refinished.

  5. IF thats an origanal colt Mod-1860 cartrage conversion it should be a 44 rim fire or 36/38 rimfire A few were bult as 44 henrys RF. I can't tell from the photo but it may also be a factory built 1872 colt in 38 colt or 44 colt CF . Origanal colt frames and barrels should be roll marked. There have been MANY Repros. of that revolver over the last 25 years.

  6. I'm at a loss, but it does resemble a mid-1800s Navy Colt. Real or repro? No idea. and Bowen is a good (if not he best resource)...

  7. Five or six shot?

    That's the big question, and hard to tell from the photo.

    1862 Pocket & Police conversions are a good bit more common and less valuable than earlier Thuer or Richards-Mason conversions.

  8. Thanks all! More pics and detailed info coming this weekend.

  9. Of curse, I am of no help, but she's a beauty and how cool for you to have an opportunity to research it!

  10. That's beautiful! I'm no help either but I'm sure with the talent you have commenting here, it will be figured out soon.

  11. Hey everybody! It's here! More later!