View Full Version : Old colt (1878????)
Can anyone give me any information on this gun? It's been in the family for 60+ years. Nothing has been done to it for that long and not sure what was done to it before that. It is marked near the trigger guard ".45 colt" and the top of the barrel says " Colt's PT. F.A. Mfg. Co. Hartford CT U.S.A. Near the lanyard loop on the butt are numbers that are possibly 9T 6 17. Any idea of value?
styer, your revolver does ,indeed, appear to be a 1878 "Army and Frontier". The pics are not good enough to make judgements about finish but the condition appears to be in the "fair" range as described in"The Standard Catalog of Colt Fireams"by Rick Sapp.In fair condition you're looking at around $800. +/- according to the same source. They are, in my limited experience with this model, not hotly sought after as a collectable. In my part of the country[SE Alabama] it would be hard to sell at $4-$500 dollars. Out west it may be different.The markings on the butt may reflect a police or security companys rack,or property number. The U.S. Military never, to my knowledge, adopted this gun. Thanks for showing it to us and best regards, Nick
EDIT: I would refrain from cocking or dry firing this gun as they are known to have a weak mainspring design. NR
The military did indeed purchase some of the Model 1878 revolvers. It had an oversize trigger guard and in this configuration was known as the Model 1902. The popular name for the large trigger guard variation is the "Alaskan" as the large trigger guard was thought to be for a gloved hand, but most probably went to the Philippines. These bear the U.S. and inspectors markings on the right side of the frame.
While the large trigger guard bow was thought to be for a gloved hand, it was actually to use a longer trigger to give more leverage in shooting the pistol double action. The military specification called for a harder primer than commercial ammunition, and misfires were experienced with the pistol with military ammo and the standard hammer spring. The hammer spring was beefed up, which also increased the weight of the trigger pull.
Johnny P. is right about the military procuring 4600 of the Mod. 1902 which had a 6" barrel and the enlarged triggerguard.The mod. 1878 was made with a number of barrel lengths but the Standard Catalog of Colt Firearms does not show 6" being a standard length for that pistol.Interestingly, Sutherland and Wilsons,"Book of Colt Firearms" gives the same info on the 1902 as a "variant" of the 1878 and specifically mentions the 6" barrel for the Ordnance aquired guns BUT they show a picture of a U.S. marked and J.J.T. inspected gun with what is purported to be a 5 1/2" barrel. I can't tell if the caption is wrong or if it is,indeed, replacement commercial barrel or ...who knows? Hope this info helps. Nick
Thanks for all of the information guys. This forum has never let me down.
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