Author Topic: Interesting Colt Bisley  (Read 1394 times)

Offline Blackpowder Burn

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Interesting Colt Bisley
« on: October 21, 2018, 11:25:10 am »
I recently found and purchased the Colt Bisley shown in the attached photo.  I know the collectors value is negatively affected by the modifications, but I don't care.  It's beautiful and, appears to have been shot little, if ever.  The serial number dates it to 1900, and the gun is pristine - not a turn mark on the cylinder and the bore is sharp and perfectly clean. Crisp and sharp rifling with no sign of wear or corrosion.  And the grips are real ivory!  ;D

The big "problem" from a collector's standpoint is the vent rib.  But I like the darn thing!  While I don't know for sure, what little I can find out makes me think it was done by King's Gunsight Company.  It has a nice adjustable front sight.  And maybe you folks that know more can tell me for sure, but looks like the rear sight is aftermarket to me.

Another interesting thing is that the barrel is correctly marked for "Russian and S&W Special 44" (two lines), although the 44 Special was not introduced until 1908 (remember serial number dates to 1900) and Colt didn't chamber the Bisley for it until 1913 according to what I've read.  I know it wasn't uncommon for frames to be unused for a number of years, so perhaps this revolver was built after Colt began chambering the 44 Special.  Or perhaps the barrel was remarked and renickled by King's (or some other gunsmith)- after all the only physical modification required is lengthening the chambers in the cylinder.

At any rate all the work is first rate and the gun is a great shooter.  And I bought it for less than the grips would cost now.  No matter the collector value, I love it and am darn pleased........
« Last Edit: October 21, 2018, 11:41:05 am by Blackpowder Burn »
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Offline dusty texian

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2018, 11:36:04 am »
I like it , that should be a great shooter. BP Burn ya got good taste Amigo !,,, DT

Offline Blackpowder Burn

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2018, 11:45:08 am »
Thanks Dusty, but who wouldn't grab an eye-catching piece of Colt like that?!  Given the price on the tag, I at first assumed it was a clone someone had gussied up, and still thought the price was attractive.  When I realized it was a 1st Gen Colt, I couldn't pull out my wallet fast enough!!
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Offline Abilene

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2018, 12:44:03 pm »
Heckofadeal!  Sort of a single action predecessor to the Python.   :)

Offline Blackpowder Burn

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2018, 01:58:51 pm »
That's what a buddy of mine said - a Python prototype!
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Online Coffinmaker

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2018, 04:12:59 pm »

Blackpowder Burn .....

How ungentilmanly of you.  Really and truly inconsiderate.   :o   While I am not necessarily a Colt fan .. I could have made an exception.  Had you only had the consideration to refer me to this one while you were still struggling to retrieve your wallet.  After all, it is known I am a practitioner of Frankenpistols   :o  I have often been known to build something Colt or the Makers of Replicants should have built   8)

The Colt you have just acquired is just OUTSTANDING.  I am thinking, your example is a total custom build.  The gunsmith who built it began with an unknown caliber original, or even just a bare frame and went from there.  Re-Barrel with the added Rib, added rear sight, probably a replacement or re-chambered cylinder.

Just flat out EXCEPTIONAL!!!  Collector value simply doesn't figure in.  Go fourth and ENJOY!!

Offline Blackpowder Burn

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2018, 07:18:25 pm »
Coffinmaker,

Unfortunately, my gentlemanly nature (such as it is and what there is of it) just disappeared in those few seconds required to turn over the required greenbacks!  It's mine and you can't have it! So there!!  ;D

Yeah, we'll never know how the gun started and got to how it ended up, but it was clearly a darn near virgin safe queen.  I can assure you it won't remain so!  ;D  It's already been introduced to proper ammo (44 Russian and 44 Colt) and the proper original propellant.  She seems to like them as she puts them all in the same spot.

Just to show you that the previous owner had a screw at least somewhat loose, also for sale from the same estate lot was a Colt COWBOY which had been 100% engraved and had stag grips, then case hardened and beautifully re-blued. Why would you spend that much on a Cowboy?  It along with a very nice damascus Bowie knife and display case were available for $775.
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Online Coffinmaker

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2018, 02:56:29 pm »

Humpff.  Well well and all that other foot tapping stuff.  You probably aren't up to turning it over for a modest profit either .. I bet (I Wouldn't).

Really really nice gun.  Another consideration too.  It's not "Just another SAA."  Be a long while before you see anything like it at any range you hang out at.  Of course, now, I'm figuring out how to build something very similar on a Pietta 44 Navy frame.  Would be just too cool to have an open top percussion .36 or .44 with a Pythonesque vent rib.  Wish I knew where the original builder got the Vent rib.  Bet it would make the Cap Gun a really heavy sucker too. 

Hope Tinker Pierce doesn't beat me to the finished product   :o

Offline Blackpowder Burn

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2018, 10:40:53 pm »
Coffinmaker,

I tend to think the vet rib came from the King Gunsight Company, which went out of business in the 1950's when Dean King died.  They were famous for putting vent ribs on all types of guns.  I found a copy of a 1939 catalog of theirs and the price for installing a vent rib on a Colt SAA was $20.  They were also known for some darn nice custom gunsmithing.  My personal bet is that all the work done on this gun was by them.  But then, what the heck do I know.................
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Offline Professor Marvel

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2018, 11:57:00 pm »
Coffinmaker,

I tend to think the vet rib came from the King Gunsight Company, which went out of business in the 1950's when Dean King died.  They were famous for putting vent ribs on all types of guns.  I found a copy of a 1939 catalog of theirs and the price for installing a vent rib on a Colt SAA was $20.  They were also known for some darn nice custom gunsmithing.  My personal bet is that all the work done on this gun was by them.  But then, what the heck do I know.................

Ah My Good BP ... you beat me to it.

from my ecledtic reading and perusal of antique auction websights, I have seen quite a few specials done by  the King Gunsight Company.

from  the 1920's thru the 1950's they were known for fine target conversions,  micrometer adjustable sights, ribs, grips, etc etc
The  King Gunsight Company vent ribs & conversions on revolvers were the "bowmar ribs" of the 1930's target crowd.

another of their target conversion features was the "short action" job....

http://www.histandard.info/King/KingCatalogs/cat19/Kingcat19D0-FCP200R_1280_960.html

here is a Colt SAA with a King rib
https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/71/1223/factory-engraved-colt-single-action-army-revolver-king-sights

other examples
https://www.gunsamerica.com/952137248/Colt-King-Super-Target-Bisley-Model.htm
Colt Bisley King Super Target conversion. This Bisley was produced in 1907 and subsequently went through a conversion by King Company sometime in the 1930's or 40's. King Co. reworked Colts, Smiths and other handguns into highly accurate Target guns. They did all their own work including producing their own target sights, which included vent ribs, adjustable sights, and mirrored sights for high-lighting the front sight. Action jobs, weight tubes, knurling or hand checkering grip straps and triggers were all part of their conversion processes to upgrade standard factory handguns to target weapons.


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Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2018, 07:57:10 am »
Look under the ejector rod housing.  Christy's (Custom Gun Shop in CA) signed some of their work under there.  Neat old Bisley!!
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Offline Jack Straw

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Re: Interesting Colt Bisley
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2018, 06:28:54 pm »
Now that is a major score..........

Congrats ;D :D ;) :)