Help ID'ing an Old Colt revolver


September 10, 2007, 08:09 PM
Hi all, I need help ID'ing an old colt revolver. from my limited research so far it appears to be a Colt Model 1892 revolver similar to a US Army revolver, BUT!
I observe no numbers on the butt not even extremely worn numbers. The cylinder release has the number 1490 with a star stamped above that. THis star has a "W" inside it. In the crane area on the frame a number 7 with the 1490 number under it. inside the crane another star and the 1490 number. at the chamber end of the cylinder when opened at the bottom is the star again as well as on the left side front of the trigger guard. On the right side barrel is Colt D.A. 38, on top of the barrel is the following: colt's pt f a mfg co hartford ct usa patented aug5,1884 nov6,88 mar5,95
THe grips are the old hard rubber black with COLT at the top. Overall finish is poor most patena some remnants of the old blue.
I would like to know when it was made and any history of this revolver like was it a commercial made revolver of the 1900 era or were these all made for the ARmy. What are the little stamped stars? worth if any? I'll try to post pics. THanks for any and all help.
Robb Parthemore

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Old Fuff
September 10, 2007, 10:11 PM
You are right. It is a Colt model 1892 "New Army/New Navy" model that was made for commercial sale. The militaty models (with the exception of the USMC) had plain, walnut stocks. The commercial revolvers came with black hard-rubber stocks, with checkered walnut, pearl or Ivory being optional.

The were made from 1892 to about 1907,with serial numbers running from 1 to 291,000. The serial number was usually stamped on the bottom/front or rear of the butt in two rows running crosswise. I think the number 1490 is an assembly number, put on those parts that were specifically fitted to that frame before it was serial numbered. I presume that the star is an inspector's mark or stamp.

Serial number 1,490 would have been made in early 1982, and I don't see it with a barrel marked with a patent date from March, 1895, although it could have been rebarreled.

It is chambered in .38 Long Colt. Don't shoot .38 Specials in it, even though they will fit.

They were one of Colt's early hand ejectors, preceeded only by the model 1889 Navy. Once adopted by the military services they generated a substantial amount of commercial business for Colt, and they were so popular that Smith & Wesson was forced to counter it with their Military & Police model in 1899.

September 10, 2007, 10:18 PM
You have one of the Colt New Army and Navy revolvers.

Colt invented the modern swing-out cylinder, double action revolver with the Colt New Navy Model of 1889.
In the following years, Colt did a rapid series of perfecting changes.
These were designated the Colt New Army and Navy Models of 1892, 1894, 1895, 1896, 1901, and 1903.

These were sold both as commercial and US military models, with the military models being so marked on the butt, along with the serial number.

Your model can't be an 1892 model, due to the last patent date on the barrel being 1895.
I'm not sure what your actual serial number is since "1490" is simply the last 4 digits.
By 1895, the serial numbers were at 15100.

Old Fuff
September 10, 2007, 10:28 PM
Colt's commercial advertising did not refer to the various military upgrades, although they were incorporated into commercial production as older parts were used up. They were simply called "New Army/Navy" revolvers. Later-day collectors added the 1892 date.

In addition to the .38 Long Colt, they were also offered in .32-20 (.32WCF) and .41 Long Colt. The basic frame (but not the internals) became the basis for the Python many years later.

September 12, 2007, 08:37 PM
Thanks guys, I appreciate your help. Any tips on a good book that has info / serial number / data on these old revolvers, I have a 1925 Colt Police Positive in really good shape and now this one, I think I see a pattern developing.

Thanks again,

Old Fuff
September 12, 2007, 09:36 PM
For serial number vs. year made information, go to ( Unfortunately, background information on early Colt hand ejector revolvers is still a largely unresearched field.

September 14, 2007, 03:39 AM
I used to have one of those. If memory serves - I think the cylinder rotates "backwards" when cocked.

September 18, 2007, 03:54 PM
Yes. The cylinder rotates the same direction as a S&W which if you are referring to more modern Colts is backwards.
And..... I received more info. Someone told me that the stars with "m" is a navy inspectors mark. and these were issued to state Naval battalions. Before they were released (to whom I don't know) they had the numbers filed off of the butt of the gun?
Anyone have anything different? Thanks

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