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  #1  
Old 10-02-2019, 2:48 PM
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Default Old Colt experts - a little help?

An acquaintance had her husband pass on a few months ago, she was left with a few old firearms and wanted some info. A couple old rifles and swords, along with this old Colt. IMO it's in awful and nearly worthless condition but admittedly I know nothing about old Colt values and anything I would own would be in far better shape than this... But I figured a couple of you might know if it's as worthless as I suspect?

FWIW the hammer does not lock back, and I really couldn't get it to do much of anything that a normal revolver does in my world. The only reason I even agreed to post it here and ask questions us because it's a Colt. Here are the pics I took, I can't provide much more info than that...

I'm leaving on a bike trip in the morning for a few days so forgive me if I can't participate much on this until Sunday. Thank you in advance for anything you might be able to help with.










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Old 10-02-2019, 2:54 PM
edgerly779 edgerly779 is offline
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Looks like someone cleaned it up and upgfked it. Should have a patina not be shiny.
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  #3  
Old 10-02-2019, 2:57 PM
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Originally Posted by edgerly779 View Post
Looks like someone cleaned it up and upgfked it. Should have a patina not be shiny.
Yep, first thing I told her.
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Old 10-02-2019, 3:05 PM
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Looks like a colt lightning model 1862 may be in .41 cal. Billy the kid gun. The lanyard on base of grip is strange to me.

Last edited by edgerly779; 10-02-2019 at 3:09 PM..
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Old 10-02-2019, 4:19 PM
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With the remnants of the lanyard loop attachment (sans loop), it appears to be a Colt 1878 "Frontier" DA revolver. It was produced in many centerfire calibers. Can you determine the approximate bore diameter? The serial number appears to be a partial (422) with an added 17, which may be an assembly number.

The position of the trigger with the hammer down says to me that it needs a lot of TLC and internal parts. It appears to be in fair shape for a 100+ year old gun, lacking a grip set. Finding an original grip set will most likely be like looking for hens' teeth.

I have no clue what it may be worth. Flayderman's book says if it was complete and in working condition maybe $350.

Regards,

Jim

Last edited by AKexpat; 10-02-2019 at 4:21 PM..
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  #6  
Old 10-02-2019, 4:30 PM
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If I had to guess it's a 44 or 45 caliber. I wasn't really able to dig into it much or check the bore size today, I can probably do that in more detail Monday.

If it's worth $350 complete then it's worth about $0 now best I can tell... but that's why I am asking you guys. She was mumbling something about "might be worth $4,000" and I was just trying to be polite.
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Last edited by ACfixer; 10-02-2019 at 4:34 PM..
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Old 10-02-2019, 4:40 PM
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Thunder, Lightning or Frontier, these were the earliest Colt DA guns.
The lock work is prone to breakage, but often it is the springs that fail which are easier to source.
Some parts here:
https://jack-first-gun-parts.myshopi...ghtning?page=2
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Old 10-02-2019, 5:12 PM
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Nickel or chrome plated?
If you can get the serial #, it would be interesting to get a Colt letter.
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Old 10-02-2019, 9:08 PM
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I have one of these in 44-40. They are very difficult to repair and very few gunsmiths are able to time them out properly. Mine was not working and I sent it to a gunsmith who was in Reno who knew how to work on those guns. This was 20 years ago and I do not remember his name. The 1878 have a very delicate and complicated action and very few people can work on them.
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Old 10-02-2019, 9:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pofoo View Post
Nickel or chrome plated?
If you can get the serial #, it would be interesting to get a Colt letter.
factory finish choices were blue-case colored or nickel this one appears to be worn nickel
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Old 10-03-2019, 7:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pofoo View Post
Nickel or chrome plated?
If you can get the serial #, it would be interesting to get a Colt letter.
Serial number was on the butt of the grip.

Colt has a serial number lookup that will show you every model with that serial number and the year of manufacture.

I don't remember any DA revolvers having the manual ejection rod (SA type.) I'm not exactly a revolver expert though (and certainly not well versed in old firearms.)
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  #12  
Old 10-03-2019, 7:35 AM
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MODEL 1878 DOUBLE ACTION REVOLVER

Made in 1886

Per Colt serial number lookup.
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  #13  
Old 10-09-2019, 9:31 PM
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Thanks everyone! Yeah looks like an 1878 DA in .44-40, and in my opinion it is as some of you expected... a long ways from working order and missing grips, nearly worthless.

Might be worth something for parts I suppose.
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  #14  
Old 10-10-2019, 4:56 AM
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I am going to jump in here. Before you make decisions hopefully.
I was given an old Colt Bisley in 32wcf 7.5 barrel.
Rough shape. Really rough. I spent some time with Google, found the serial number look up and found it was born in 1903. So I want to preserve this piece of history. First gunsmith I took it to told me it wasn't worth fixing cause it was made in 1974. I had to explain to a gunsmith that he was referring to the patent date, actually xx 19, 74, which is 1874. I then told him how I looked up the date of manufacture. He then said, well if I fix it, I have to tag it unsafe to fire because you can use modern rtt sounds in it.
By then I was done the moron. I logged into Colt forum and asked what, when, why and how.
I hot everything from send it to a company back east, spend 6 thousand and they will make it like brand new. Not what I wanted. Then I get a simple reply. Wait for Jim, he will log on in a few days.
Sure enough I get a message from Jim, a gunsmith who 8s backed up 3 to 4 months, has no website, no business cards, no internet info other than people referring Colt owners to him. I sent the pistol, quite a run around here behind the Kommiefornia curtain, and then he called me.
I have been through the pistol, it needs this, this this and that. He asked what I wanted at the end. My reply was simple, I want it to work but look as if you have never touched it. The scratches, Mark's and wear are part of the story. He agreed.
He did everything the pistol needed but left it looking as if he had never touched it. I then took the original grips to a local guy who refurbished them and fit them to the pistol, then he knocked them back down so they looked as if they had made the journey since day one, because they had. Mine has ALL original parts in her, except the trigger spring. I have that a zip lock and label.
Now I have a awesome piece of history that works, looks as if it was a ranch gun ( used and maybe abused a bit) that I am into for about 850 total.
I have been told it could be worth 6 grand, but it doesn't matter. My youngest son, now 35, only said 9ne word when he saw it, ling before it was repaired...........


Mine.

So I will pass this pistol on and some day, my grandson will have, perhaps even my great grandson.

Go to a actual colt forum.
Investigate options fully.
Perhaps, if nothing else, find a local woodworker to make a set of grips and frame to.mount the gun.
But find a way to preserve it.

Just my 2 cents, and a bit more, worth.
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Old 10-10-2019, 6:58 AM
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^^^ Yeah but... not my gun. It's belongs to a dingbat blonde who's hubby died and now she thinks/hopes it's worth money like an SAA with a pedigree. And it's a dingbat blonde that unlike most dingbat blondes, I have no interest in... so my effort begins and ends with this thread.

She has no money and zero ability to do what it takes to return it to glory, nor will she spend time on a Colt forum figuring it out. I guess she could go there and offer it for sale. Since it's an antique I assume it's clear of any FFL restrictions right? I might offer her $100 for it on the off chance it's worth something to someone, but I don't think she's thinking $100 for her dead hubby's "prized Colt."
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Old 10-10-2019, 10:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACfixer View Post
^^^ Yeah but... not my gun. It's belongs to a dingbat blonde who's hubby died and now she thinks/hopes it's worth money like an SAA with a pedigree. And it's a dingbat blonde that unlike most dingbat blondes, I have no interest in... so my effort begins and ends with this thread.
Well, you could always pay her with a couple of those Obama $1000.00 bank notes -
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACfixer View Post
^^^ Yeah but... not my gun. It's belongs to a dingbat blonde who's hubby died and now she thinks/hopes it's worth money like an SAA with a pedigree. And it's a dingbat blonde that unlike most dingbat blondes, I have no interest in... so my effort begins and ends with this thread.

She has no money and zero ability to do what it takes to return it to glory, nor will she spend time on a Colt forum figuring it out. I guess she could go there and offer it for sale. Since it's an antique I assume it's clear of any FFL restrictions right? I might offer her $100 for it on the off chance it's worth something to someone, but I don't think she's thinking $100 for her dead hubby's "prized Colt."
I think $100 is fair but I am sure she'll want a fortune for a "prized Colt".
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:30 AM
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I pay $100. for it as a wall hanger.
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  #19  
Old 10-10-2019, 3:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Che762x39 View Post
I think $100 is fair but I am sure she'll want a fortune for a "prized Colt".
Like I said, she mentioned something like "I heard it might be worth $4,000..." Yeah maybe if Pat Garrett owned it or something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 71MUSTY View Post
I pay $100. for it as a wall hanger.
Which is probably all it's going to amount to. I found one on GB that was mostly original kinda/sorta and in operable condition for $500 with no bids.

https://www.gunbroker.com/item/836848870

Her best bet is probably one of those $200 gift card buybacks.

I have an old H&R .32 I'd consider doing that with and then use the dough to buy ammo for my AR. But I just can't see myself participating in that BS.
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Old 10-10-2019, 3:23 PM
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Colt keeps impeccable records and that gun will letter. As bad as the nickel is
worn it’s still a fair representation. It costs $100 for the letter but if it came up
belonging to someone of notoriety it could be valuable.
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Old 10-10-2019, 4:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GM4spd View Post
Colt keeps impeccable records and that gun will letter. As bad as the nickel is
worn it’s still a fair representation. It costs $100 for the letter but if it came up
belonging to someone of notoriety it could be valuable.
It's a gamble I'd possibly take if it were mine, but I just don't see her coughing up $100 and waiting a month or two for a letter.
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Old 10-10-2019, 5:14 PM
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With her feeling it’s worth a small fortune, you offering her $100 is just gonna make her think you’re stealing from her

I’d just give her the info you got from here and tell her that’s all you got.....bye.


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  #23  
Old 10-10-2019, 5:19 PM
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I have several old non-working guns like this on the wall of my cowboy bar. Great atmosphere pieces. Put grips on it and it would be a neat wall hanger. Tell her the truth...its not worth much, but...and I don't want to get a bidding war started, but I'd pay $200 for it and get some grips myself.
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  #24  
Old 10-10-2019, 5:29 PM
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Am I correct in my assumption that since it's pre 1900 that it can be transferred without FFL stuff?
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Old 10-10-2019, 5:41 PM
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Correct - pre-1899. No FFL needed.
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