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Strange Colt DA revolver


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#1 1917Corpsman

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 08:01 AM

Hello All,

A friend of mine told me he has a Colt DA revolver 1902 dated and in 38 Long Colt. He also says it was used by the US Navy. There is the letter 'N' stamped on the butt and also a star stamped on it. He firmly believes these are US Navy stamps. I have my doubts. I'm thinking it's a manufacturer's proof markings. Also this revolver still has the rearing horse on the side plate. Anyone out there able to provide your expertise on what my friend has? Look forward to your replies!

Thanks!

Rick

#2 doyler

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 08:07 AM

I dont have my Flaydermans book handy but I think the serial number will also give you a beter idea to the issue of the revolver.

#3 doyler

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 08:16 AM

Im no expert on Colts but Im fairly certain that depending on the model contract Navy colts were marked USN or US Navy on the but.

#4 Blair217

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 04:44 PM

The naval variations are marked on the butt U.S.N./anchor/38 D.A. per Flaydermans.

#5 1917Corpsman

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 05:23 PM

The naval variations are marked on the butt U.S.N./anchor/38 D.A. per Flaydermans.


Based on what the Colt Factory told me, the star stood for a refinishing mark meaning it was either reblued or repaired by the Colt Factory itself. The letter 'N' which is just a plain letter was not made by the factory and they said could have been stamped on by a civilian. Also based on the serial number it was dated to a Colt DA 38 Model 1892 which I thought it was in the first place. It is also a civilian market revolver. Colt didn't make a Model 1902 that was a revolver I was told, but the Colt Army Special 38 continued to be produced past 1902. Another reason he thought this was a US Navy revolver because he said he got it from a US Navy corpsman that said he used the revolver for self-defense during WWII, Korea and Vietnam. I don't even think the 38 Long Colt ammo was even being produced by WWII if I remember right looking through old gun catalogs from that era. Does anybody else think a US Navy corpsman would even use such an obsolete weapon by WWII and even in Vietnam?

#6 doyler

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 05:49 PM

I have spoken to a handful of vets who carried personal side arms.Two of them stated they had pistols/revolvers sent to them by their fathers.

#7 TomcatPC

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 08:34 PM

Hello
If this link works, .38 Long Colt can still be bought from this place. It is still in production to this day, not very popular, but still being made. I can't imagine that during the War finding it would have been easy? I do not have a Colt Double Action Revolver from the turn of the Century, but would not mind finding one at a decent price one of these days.
Thanks
Mark

http://www.midwayusa...mensionid=10068

#8 Blair217

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 06:13 AM

The .38LC round has kind of found a new lease on life by use by the cowboy action shooting fraternity.Less recoil than some of the higher powered rounds for faster shooting times.You can shoot them in guns chambered for the .38 S&W Special and .357 Magnum.Older Colts of the M1889 series revolvers when in worn condition will accept the .38 Special round but it could be hazardous to your health to fire it.

Having shot one of these I can't imagine someone carrying one for self defense when other options are available.The round was found to be lacking in stopping power in the Philippine Insurection.

Colt did produce a revolver the military designated the M1902.It was the M1878 DA in .45 Colt with the oversized trigger guard issued mostly to the Philippine Constabulary.

Edited by Blair217, 16 December 2011 - 06:14 AM.


#9 dalbert

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 04:29 PM

1917Corpsman,

It sounds like your friend has a Colt New Army or New Navy pattern double action revolver. However, without pictures, I cannot confirm. I don't know of any Colt New Navy pattern revolvers used by the Navy that were not marked "USN" with an anchor on the butt. That being said, there is a large "N" in the middle of the butt, with an offset "o" next to it, which together says "No" for the prefix to the serial number. I suppose if the butt were very worn, the "o" might not be apparent, and the "N" would still remain prominent. But, it would also be marked "USN." So, pictures would help, and what he has is likely a civilian version.

Several updates were made to this revolver style between 1889 and 1908. I have a Model 1901 style Colt New Army Revolver in my collection. The main interest in it for me is that the Army guns that entered into service between 1901 and 1903 bear the inspector initials, "JTT," for John Taliaferro Thompson, the namesake of the Thompson Submachine Gun. He was the Army Inspector of Pistols during that time.

David Albert
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#10 fredh46

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 05:18 PM

Gentlemen...the revolver is listed for sale at: http://www.gunsameri...Navy_Marked.htm

It looks like a refinished civilian model that has nothing to do with the Navy....IMHO

#11 1917Corpsman

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 01:32 AM

Gentlemen...the revolver is listed for sale at: http://www.gunsameri...Navy_Marked.htm

It looks like a refinished civilian model that has nothing to do with the Navy....IMHO



Yes this is the exact same revolver I was speaking of. I do recall the military versions with the hard rubber grips would have had a rearing horse with the Model date for example 1892 or 1895 below the rearing horse. However this does indeed appear to be civilian and was confirmed by the Colt factory itself being made for the civilian market. I believe the grips with Colt stretched height-wise was a way to promote the Colt revolvers of the time. I actually have an 1895 dated Colt New Navy that was traced back to a sailor aboard the armored cruiser USS Brooklyn (ACR-3). My New Navy doesn't have the hard rubber grips, but has the smooth walnut grips. On the butt of my Colt it has the USN above a fouled anchor with the serial number below that anchor.

#12 Blair217

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 10:04 AM

Lack of the lanyard ring also marks it as a commercial sales model.A little basic research would tell the seller what he has is not what he's advertising.

#13 1917Corpsman

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 10:53 AM

Lack of the lanyard ring also marks it as a commercial sales model.A little basic research would tell the seller what he has is not what he's advertising.


He had sent me photos of the revolver including the butt section of the revolver and there are no markings on the steel section, only a plain font letter 'N' on the bottom of the grip. The Colt factory letter stamps were more of a Roman font so that proved that mark was not made by the factory. I believe the stamps alone prove this is a commercial manufactured revolver, but my New Navy does have a lanyard ring either, but that doesn't mean it was made civilian when it has US Navy stamps on it.

#14 1917Corpsman

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 11:07 AM

He had sent me photos of the revolver including the butt section of the revolver and there are no markings on the steel section, only a plain font letter 'N' on the bottom of the grip. The Colt factory letter stamps were more of a Roman font so that proved that mark was not made by the factory. I believe the stamps alone prove this is a commercial manufactured revolver, but my New Navy doesn't have a lanyard ring either, but that doesn't mean it was made civilian when it has US Navy stamps on it.



#15 Keith

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 11:21 AM

Hi, If I may. The New Army and the New Navy commericail 1892's were the same gun with different grips. The New Navy had hard rubber grips with the name COLT spelled out on top in an oval. The New Army had hard rubber grips with the Rampant Colt in a circle at the top of the grips. The 1892 New Army and New Navy military had two piece, smooth wood grips. All of these were in .38lc caliber. There were commercial 1892's made in .38 and .41lc caliber. There were some New Navy commercials that were sent to military destinations and they would retain the hard rubber grips with the word COLT at the top. I do not have an example of a commerical New Army, but here are photos of my New Army Military, My New Navy commercial sent to the State of New Jersey Naval Militia and my 1878/1902 DA revolver in .45 Colt. Thanks.
Posted Image
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Posted Image

Edited by Keith, 17 December 2011 - 11:23 AM.


#16 Blair217

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 02:48 PM

He had sent me photos of the revolver including the butt section of the revolver and there are no markings on the steel section, only a plain font letter 'N' on the bottom of the grip. The Colt factory letter stamps were more of a Roman font so that proved that mark was not made by the factory. I believe the stamps alone prove this is a commercial manufactured revolver, but my New Navy does have a lanyard ring either, but that doesn't mean it was made civilian when it has US Navy stamps on it.


That lanyard ring :think: ,according to my information it wasn't a feature until the M1901 model changes.I'd forgotten. :blink: I've got the M1903.

#17 1917Corpsman

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Posted 18 December 2011 - 01:25 AM

That lanyard ring :think: ,according to my information it wasn't a feature until the M1901 model changes.I'd forgotten. :blink: I've got the M1903.


Now that I brought this subject up to the forum I noticed a couple things have happened in the past couple days. I was a part of a website dedicated to preserving the USS Olympia called the Cruiser Olympia Historical Society and I noticed that I have been kicked off as a member to that site, on top of that I also noticed a friend, or who I thought was a friend had deleted me as a friend from my facebook site. Thirdly I now notice that the website mentioned about the Colt is gone, my former friend was selling that Colt. So I'm not sure if this was some sort of punishment for what I had said on this forum or what. But I have been dedicating my time and efforts to preserve this ship and make people all over Wisconsin aware that the ship is in need of repair and restoration and needs donations to do that. I have even been asked by the living historians aboard the ship themselves to reproduce the leather gear for them. Also a company I have been working with a some time now has been making some replicas of the Model 1895 6mm Lee Navy rifles for the Marine detachment unit and will also be making some reproductions of the Colt New Navy revolvers in 38 Long Colt.


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