Mystery revolver, can you identify it?


March 24, 2011, 09:16 PM

A friend of mine dropped this revolver off tonight hoping I could identify it... It has no markings other than a serial number (8751) which you can only see when the cylinder is out, on the frame and cylinder arm (matching). I thought the caliber was 45 Colt, but a round doesn't fit. The barrel at the muzzle is .434 in the grooves. The cylinder chambers are .424 at the front, .474 at the back. Could it be .44-40? It is a double action. Sights are fixed. Barrel is 7-1/2'', tapered, no shoulder at the frame. It looks very much like a Colt New Service, but then, why no markings at all? A copy?

Any idea?

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Jim Watson
March 24, 2011, 09:55 PM
Sure looks like a pre-1905 New Service to me.
Maybe the rust and neglect have wiped out the markings.
Maybe it is hot.

March 24, 2011, 10:21 PM
very old colt. Possibly military issue

March 25, 2011, 03:58 AM
Could be 44/40 or 455 Colt (Webley). Might be 45 ACP, but it looks a bit too old for that.

March 25, 2011, 11:46 AM
Looks like it could use a little oil.:rolleyes:

Jim K
March 25, 2011, 11:35 PM
It is an old model Colt NS; the chamber dimensions point to .44-40. The gun would date from 1898 to 1907; the serial number should be on and also under the crane.

The plain wood grips would indicate a military gun, but the military never used .44-40, so the grips may be a replacement for the original hard rubber grips, which often broke. The lanyard loop was an option with the NS; they were often ordered by law officers and departments, mainly for gun retention in a brawl.


March 26, 2011, 12:15 AM
You can tell it's 44-40 from these pics? How do you do that? I was really thinking it was a military issue sidearm.

Jim K
March 26, 2011, 12:30 AM
Nope, no x-ray vision. I didn't figure the caliber out from the pics, but from the chamber dimensions gilgsn gave us. THe dimensions are too small for the .45 ACP or .45 Colt (which he says doesn't fit), and too big at the front for .38-40. In spite of the wood grips and lanyard loop it is not a Model 1917 or Model 1909 because the chamber size is wrong, the headspace is not large enough for the 1917, and both models are on the new (1908) style frame.

I would make a WAG at a state police gun; they were often ordered with plain wood grips and a lanyard loop. Maybe the OP can clean it up enough to see the serial number and if there are any markings. OOPS, sorry, gilgsn did give the serial number; 8751 NS dates to 1903.


March 26, 2011, 12:48 AM
Holy smokes. There sure nuf was some words before those pics! I forgot to read them.

Jim K
March 27, 2011, 02:21 AM
That gun might be worth a Colt letter that would tell if it was shipped to a LE agency. While some would say that such a relic is not worth it, the fact is that a relic with the right provenance can be both interesting and of considerable value. Just hypothetically, a gun in that condition that could be documented as having been lost by Gen. Patton during the Mexican expedition would be worth big bucks.


March 27, 2011, 11:48 AM
Could it also be a Spanish copy? I'm pretty sure the Spaniards made some Colt clones in the teens and twenties, and .44-40 was in use over there, as evidenced by the Tigre Winchesters and such.

I'm just throwing that out because of the paucity of markings- clones generally were sparsely marked.

March 27, 2011, 12:49 PM
It could be one of these:

The Orbea was a copy of the S&W made in the 20's and 30's in Spain. I don't know if it was ever chambered for the .44-40 though.

Jim Watson
March 27, 2011, 01:25 PM
No it couldn't.

It is a Colt, not a Smith & Wesson or copy of S&W.
I guess it could be a copy of a Colt but there are many fewer of those, if any New Service knockoffs at all.

Jim K
April 1, 2011, 10:47 PM
It could have been made by left-handed elves in the mountains of central Zyzzyzistan, but it wasn't. Rusty and beat up though it is, it is still an old model Colt New Service.


April 1, 2011, 11:11 PM
it looks like a colt, right barrel shape and that distinctive front site blade

April 1, 2011, 11:16 PM
Beautiful patina!

At least that's the way it would be described on the online auction....

Ron James
April 2, 2011, 12:53 AM
:D If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's a pretty sure bet it is a duck:D:D:D

April 2, 2011, 01:37 AM
It is a Colt NS.

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