Special Interests - Groups & Societies > Colt Firearms

A sad fate for an Artillery model

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Roscoe Coles:
A buddy sent me this sad picture of a colt that came into his shop today.  It is a martially marked artillery model that someone decided to tart up.  Bad polishing, bad engraving, cheap poorly fitted plastic grips, and tarty plating have pretty much destroyed it’s value.  I am amazed that anyone would do this to a rare gun.  As you can see by the price, it turned a valuable gun into shooter. 

St. George:
When this was done, no one revered them - they weren't placed on silken pillows and covered with Renaissance Wax, to be handled with white gloves.

Hard to imagine, I know...

Back then - not even Kopec, Graham and Moore were writing about them - and they were likely the first to do so.

These were cheap - surplus guns always are - and many fit the bill to be cleaned up and embellished with zero thought to the collectors of the future.

Back then, they weren't Holy Relics - they were just low-cost, used revolvers.

Scouts Out!

Roscoe Coles:
Well, I don’t belong to the silk pillow crowd.  My RAC 1890 cavalry model (below) lives in a holster like all my SAAs, and gets shot with BP, whenever I get the chance.  The guy who sent me the pictures has an earlier cavalry model and an artillery (that he traded from me 30 years ago) that he shoots as well.  You should see the faces of folks at SASS shoots when they figure out they are not reproductions!

I have read the articles from the 50s in the Rifleman on how to slick up your SAA with Smith and Wesson sights and a vent rib. And the ones on how to rebuild you old Winchester 1885 target rifle into some wildcat cartridge. In my years in the used gun trade, as a smith, and as a collector I have seen quite a few nice guns that where ruined by “improvement” and every time I do I think the guy who had it done should get a swift kick in the jewels.  The gunsmith who did it should have them cut off.

Just my opinion, but I am not likely to change it. 

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Dave T:
That's not just a shame, it's a crying shame.

When I got into CAS back in the mid 1980s the reproductions weren't as nice as they are today.  Back then the Italians didn't quite have the knack of tempering screws and springs.  I started with a Uberti made 45 Colt but after replacing a number of springs and stripping screw slots I gave up on it. Then I came across an 1882 Colt that someone had installed with 2nd Gen barrel and cylinder.  About the same time I found an old gunsmith who liked old guns and knew how to fix them.

I spent the next 10-11 years finding junker Colts, Winchesters, and other 19th Century firearms and restoring them to shootable condition.  Shot nothing but full charges of black powder behind soft cast bullets back then and loved every minute of it.  Like the OP I got a lot of surprised comments when fellow shooters found out I was shooting originals.  The most common question was why I had to shoot such heavy loads.  LOL

Back in the those days I would have been tempted to buy that Artillery and then try to "fix" it.  Not sure that's even possible but it deserves the effort of someone  who cares about old guns and history.

My $.02 worth,

River City John:
Perhaps as well lament the huge purchases of surplus Springfield rifle barrels and other ordnance used by Bannerman's to build a breakwater for his Hudson River island.

St. George pegged it. Different times and what was considered scrap, - now scarcity and the longings fed by nostalgia have rendered invaluable.



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