.45 Colt caliber, 5.5" barrel, S/N 115340 (mfg. ca1885). Blued and color case hardened finish, smooth walnut one-piece grip. One-line Hartford barrel address, three-date in three-line patent marking on frame, U.S marking on frame. Black powder frame and bull's-eye ejector rod tip. Matching numbers throughout with the exception of the barrel, which is 120XXX, typical of the "Type II" artillery revolvers that were apparently in nearly unissued condition when they were initially altered from 7.5" to 5.5", resulting in some being all matching guns and others simply receiving the shortened barrel from another revolver in the same batch, resulting in an all matching gun with a mismatched barrel like this example. Many of these guns were subsequently returned to Colt for refinishing and refurbishment prior to or after the Spanish American War during the late 1890s and early 1900s. It is this cataloger's belief that this is likely one of those early alteration guns that was in near new condition and that was subsequently returned to Colt for refinishing ca1896-1898. The revolver is accompanied by a Colt letter that confirms the original shipment of the gun to the US Government on September 30, 1885 and later returned to the Colt factory for alteration to "Artillery" configuration. This is a "stock" statement that accompanies almost any M1873 returned to the factory by the government during that period. Revolver retains weak D.F.C. inspections on the bottom of the barrel and on the cylinder, with no inspection on the frame (which is sometimes correct) and with only the enigmatic G on the triggerguard and butt. Extra first two number "11" were added to the last four on the cylinder, likely during refurbishment. Left grip with weak script FH (Frank Heath) cartouche, the correct final inspector for DFC guns in this serial number range. No date is visible or DFC cartouche on the opposing side. A clear block R.A.C. (Rinaldo A. Carr) inspection is present on the base of the grip, the correct re-inspection for a Colt factory refurbished M1873 revolver. The bottom of the grip is also lightly scratch marked: JUNE 1898 / H THOMAS / 4th OVI BAND / Columbus, OH. Harry H Thomas is listed on the roster of the 4th OVI's band during the Spanish American War. Interestingly while a search of the Springfield Research Service Serial Number books did not find this exact revolver, a number of guns in very close proximity were issued to the 1st US Volunteer Cavalry (The Rough Riders) as well as a couple that went to other OVI regimental bandsmen. The markings could well be legitimate and appear absolutely believable. Includes a Colt factory letter.
Provenance: From the Collection of Charlie Hinton
Fine as refurbished. Retains much of the reapplied blue and case color with some flaking, wear and loss. Most markings legible, though weak, due to polishing and refinishing. Mechanically functional, fine bore, grip sanded with one weak cartouche and scattered bumps, dings and marks.