Author Topic: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely  (Read 2921 times)

Offline Grapeshot

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Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« on: May 01, 2012, 02:57:45 pm »
I found this Colt New Service marked as .455 Ely.  The former owner had the cylinder shortened from the rear to accept .45 ACP, without the half or full moon clips.  I tried to load .45 Auto Rim and the cylinder would not close.  The Barrel is slightly pitted at the breech end but not that bad.   I still think some time using J&B Bore Cleaner might clean that up some more.

So the question is, do I buy it for the $600 the dealer wants for it?  Or do I pass.  I already spoke to my Gunsmith and we agreed that the cylinder can be turned to accept the .45 Auto Rim as the cylinder has already been butchered and it will not detract any more from the collector's value than it already has.  If I decide to get it I'll post pictures of it and my Model 1909 New Service.  I do so like the BIG BORE Colt's.
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Offline Sir Charles deMouton-Black

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 03:03:59 pm »
First, try .45 Cowboy Special cases.  And the cowboy special might be a better option if you end up turning the cylinder again. If you are stuck, you can make cases easier from common .45LC than finding auto-rim.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 06:32:36 pm »
I've got one of these, 2nd British contract, with a straight barrel, so it looks like an M1909.  Nice thing about it, is that somewhere along the way it was rechambered to .45 Colt, but instead of shortening the cylinder, the chambers and ejector star were countersunk to accept the Colt rims, still allowing the use of .455 ammunition. Great old gun!

Have you tried some .455 cases/ammo in it? Might still work.  Are you sure the cylinder was shortened, or maybe they just lengthened the chambers?
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Offline Don Nix

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 10:58:42 pm »
Ive got a Colt New Service in 45 colt ,made in 1903 that I'll sell and its in good shape.

Offline Grapeshot

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2012, 08:19:28 am »
First, try .45 Cowboy Special cases.  And the cowboy special might be a better option if you end up turning the cylinder again. If you are stuck, you can make cases easier from common .45LC than finding auto-rim.

I'll try that.  I do have over 500 Auto Rim cases I bought to use in my S&W 625.

I've got one of these, 2nd British contract, with a straight barrel, so it looks like an M1909.  Nice thing about it, is that somewhere along the way it was rechambered to .45 Colt, but instead of shortening the cylinder, the chambers and ejector star were countersunk to accept the Colt rims, still allowing the use of .455 ammunition. Great old gun!

Have you tried some .455 cases/ammo in it? Might still work.  Are you sure the cylinder was shortened, or maybe they just lengthened the chambers?

The dealer who has it told me the original owner turned the cylinder.  I will check it out with my Gunsmith.  If the head space permits the use of .45 Cowboy Special, I'll buy a couple a hundred from Whytes Leather and still be a happy camper.
Listen!  Do you hear that?  The roar of Cannons and the screams of the dying.  Ahh!  Music to my ears.

Online Niederlander

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2012, 10:06:44 pm »
I've got one of these, 2nd British contract, with a straight barrel, so it looks like an M1909.  Nice thing about it, is that somewhere along the way it was rechambered to .45 Colt, but instead of shortening the cylinder, the chambers and ejector star were countersunk to accept the Colt rims, still allowing the use of .455 ammunition. Great old gun!

Have you tried some .455 cases/ammo in it? Might still work.  Are you sure the cylinder was shortened, or maybe they just lengthened the chambers?
Drydock,
    They did the same thing to mine, and it works quite well.  I got it reasonable because it was listed as a .45 ACP, instead of .45 Colt.  Does yours have the "Not English Made" in tiny letters?
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2012, 06:57:40 pm »
I'm away from home right now, I'll have a look when I get back.  It is covered in his majestys (George V) goverment proof/acceptance marks, that I know.
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Offline Drydock

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2012, 08:08:20 pm »
Nope, can't find that on mine, I wonder if that was something they put on the high polish 1st Contract guns?  It does have the block "E" beneath the grips, denoting the English contract.

The 2nd "5" in the .455 is stamped out, and "Ely" has been overstamped with "Colt".  I'm told that this and the Colt proof mark and inspector number mark on either end of the trigger guard means the rechamber was done at Colt!
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Online Niederlander

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2012, 09:38:02 pm »
That's how mine is.  The "Not English Made" is on the lower right side of the frame towards the front of the cylinder window.  It's small enough I'd have to get a magnifying glass of know if it's "Not English Made" or "Not English Make".  I know I looked in the past, but I can't remember now.  I had no idea that the work was supposed to have been done by Colt.  Cool!
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Offline Grapeshot

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2012, 05:48:33 am »
Well, I went and bought it.  It will take the .45 CS and it shoots my 265 grain JHP's about 6ix inches left of point of aim.  I'll be doing some more shooting with different bullets, cast as well as jacketed, and see which combo it likes before I tweek the barrel to change the POI.

I did find the Broad Arrow on the frame near the hammer and crossed flags just behind where the barrel screws into the frame.  The breech side of the cylinder does  not have any markings at all.  Time will tell as I try to make this Colt a viable tool for my colection.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 10:45:17 pm by Grapeshot »
Listen!  Do you hear that?  The roar of Cannons and the screams of the dying.  Ahh!  Music to my ears.

Offline St. George

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2012, 09:31:32 am »
It's more than likely that the work was done by a dealer or gunsmith, rather than the factory.

Colt had barrels and cylinders readily available - they wouldn't've been over-stamping.

In the 1960's, these, and many other Brit revolvers came to these shores via 'Ye Olde Hunter', 'Walter Craig', and Sam Cummings - to name but a few.

They were often re-chambered to the more 'compatible' .45ACP, because of the profusion of cheap ammunition.

Many of the little Enfield .38s had their barrels shortened to the non-existent' 'Commando' length, while untold Victory Models were re-chambered to .38 Special.

Often, the work was done locally - though Parker-Hale did do a lot of contract re-chambering before shipment.

Colt and S&W weren't in the business of refurbishment - they were trying to sell new commercial weapons - and though it's not unusual to see ex-GI parts on guns produced in the late '40's, they were well-polished.

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Offline Grapeshot

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Re: Colt New Service marked .455 Ely
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2012, 07:40:59 pm »
Well, I took the Colt out to the range and fired it with the .45 CS cartridges and 230 grain FMJ RN bullets bumped up to .454.

Grouping wasn't really as good as I like it, but it kept all the slugs in the black of a 5 inch bull, with a low right hold.

I took it home and started to clean the barrel.  After a dozen patches kept coming out coal black, I began running a bore brush wrapped in fine steel wool through the barrel.  After several passes I ran a few more patches through the bore and they came out as coal black as the first batch.  So I then hooked up a cleaning rod with the bore brush to a drill and massaged the bore for five minutes with the brush wet with bore cleaning solution and swabbed it out again.  After pushing through six patches that came out black, the patches started coming out grey and then they started to come out lighter until they came out just wet.  

The barrel sure gets hot when you use a drill mounted bore brush that gets pushed back and forth thru the bore.  I was glad that I had the frame mounted in a padded vice.

Now that the bore was clean, I could see that the rifling was sharp and clear, but, there is a lot of fine pitting from the forcing cone to the muzzle.  I'll have more to rerport the next time I shoot it.  
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 05:52:56 am by Grapeshot »
Listen!  Do you hear that?  The roar of Cannons and the screams of the dying.  Ahh!  Music to my ears.