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I am facinated with the Colt New Service 45 I got Saturday

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Clark, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member


    I keep going back to look at this revolver again and again.

    I have owned many Colt double actions of this design in 32 S&W Long and 38 Special for a long time.

    I have taken them apart again and again and tuned them up per Kuhnhausen's excellent book.

    This is like the big brother to all of them.

    I buy guns all the time, but this one has got me hypnotized.

    The guy was selling all his guns. I paid him $550. He said that was exactly what he had into it years ago.

    It is 14" long from butt to muzzle. Not going to fit in MY glove box.
  2. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    I have one just like it -- unfortunately, mine shot 18" high and a foot to the left. Since it had been reblued and aggressively buffed, bluring all the markings, I put a new, honking big front sight on, zeroed it for elevation then opened up the rear notch, shading it to the right, to get the gun on target.

    I love it. A while back we had a special doe season here in Arkansas, and I was coming back from getting the mail -- a 3/4 mile walk -- with my New Service on my hip. As I approached the house, in what I call my "back yard" -- which is pretty much the way Mother Nature left it -- there were three does.

    One of them is now in my freezer.
  3. Guillermo

    Guillermo member


    There is something really satisfying about hunting with a revolver.

    Good job Mr. Humphrey!!!
  4. Guillermo

    Guillermo member


    Beautiful revolver.

    Nice find

  5. ultramag44

    ultramag44 Well-Known Member

    Well done! A beautiful revolver
  6. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    I can understand your fascination with this fine old revolver. Well done.
  7. snooperman

    snooperman Well-Known Member

    One of the most classic Colts. Enjoy, and thanks for sharing.
  8. Hondo 60

    Hondo 60 Well-Known Member

    Very cool looking!
    My 2nd handgun was a S&W Model 10 with the standard (tapered) barrel.
    But to have one in 45 Colt , mmmm mmmm good!

    Very nostalgic :D
  9. Iggy

    Iggy Well-Known Member

    That is about the only revolver left that I still want.. I keep lookin'.
  10. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Well-Known Member

    Nice gun. Many moons ago my neighbor gave me a 1909 Colt Army. It was all original and even came with a box of shells. I bought some new Remington ammo and noticed that the extractor would not extract the shells. The extractor did not look like it had been "worked on", but I tried different brands of ammo and the rims were all too small. I got laid off from a job and sold it to a good friend. It was a very pleasant revolver to shoot.

    Later on I found out that there was a special .45 colt ctg. that was made for this gun which had a larger rim. That was the only colt revolver I ever had and I wish I had it back.
  11. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    If you plan to shoot it find the larger, .454 or .455 diameter bullets. Standard .452" won't shoot well and will lead.

    These older Colts require the larger bullets.
  12. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

    Word to the wise; that is one revolver that does NOT stand hi pressure loads in .45cal chambering. Just saying Clark....:uhoh:
  13. highpower

    highpower Well-Known Member

    I like them too. Mine is one of 500 made as parts cleanup guns in 1933 using Model 1909 barrels and cylinders and Model 1917 frames. It had a set of later plastic stocks on it when I bought it so I put this set of early hard rubber Colt NS stocks on.

    I got it cheap because someone had refinished it years ago.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012
  14. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    The M1909 was chambered for the .45 US Revolver Cartridge, which had wide rims. You can load .45 US revolver cartridge in a Colt Single Action .45. but the rims are so wide you can only load every other chamber.

    You can get a new extractor from Numrich Arms and other sources -- but be sure to keep the old extractor, since you can re-install it before selling the gun.

    Ask the gun. My New Service, made in 1906 shoots .452 cast bullets nicely. I use the Lee 452-255-RF mould and cast my bullets out of straight wheel weights, dropping them on a folded towel, not in water, so they're very soft. I lubricate with Liquid Alox.

    New Service revolver cylinders were heat treated, beginning in 1903, and the cylinder stop is off-set, not in the center of the frame, like the Single Action Army. It is a much stronger revolver.

    The New Service was adopted by the Army twice -- once as the M1909 in .45 US Revolver, and once as the M1917 in .45 ACP. The .45 ACP chambers are the same diameter as the .45 Colt chambers (and hence a .45 Colt New Service is just as strong as an M1917.) The M1917 will shoot .45 ACP +P cartridges with no problems. That's 19,000 CUP as opposed to the .45 Colt SAAMI standard of 14,000 CUP.

    So you can safely go up to 19,000 CUP in a New Service (provided it was made after 1903.)
  15. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    Some interesting history. The Colt New Service was made for the .45 Colt ("long Colt") cartridge. The Army wanted to return to a .45 caliber handgun and by 1909 was a bit fed up with what looked to be an endless search for a satisfactory auto pistol in that caliber. Not knowing when, if ever, such a pistol would be found, the Ordnance Department adopted the .45 caliber New Service as the Model 1909.

    They soon found out that the extractor of the new revolver would jump the small rims of the .45 Colt cartridge*, hanging up the gun, and set out to make their own larger rim ammunition at Frankford Arsenal. The cartridge was designated as the Caliber .45 Revolver Cartridge, Model of 1909. It was made only at Frankford Arsenal and was never commercially produced, It was the only cartridge issued with the Model 1909 revolver, though of course the older .45 Army (the Schofield cartridge) would fit and fire though with erratic extraction. (The Army actually used the .45 Colt cartridge for only about a year from late 1873 to August 1874.)

    In two years, as we all know, the Army found the auto pistol it had been looking for and adopted the Model 1911. Incidentally, during those famous 5000 round tests in which the Colt entrant had some problems and the Savage offering even more, two Model 1909 revolvers were fired as controls. There were only two misfires, both due to cartridges without powder.

    All of which concerned Colt not at all. They continued to produce the New Service in .45 Colt and let the customers worry about extraction; no one ever attempted to have any commercial company duplicate the Model 1909 cartridge.

    *Extraction with the narrow rim had been no problem with the old Model of 1873 (SAA) because it used a rod ejector.

  16. Slamfire

    Slamfire Well-Known Member

    Vern: Having bent the frame and squished the barrel on a M1909 I found that these older Colts are not that strong. I would recommend keeping pressures on all of these vintage pistols within standard pressures for Colt SAA's.

    Anyone who shoots one of these things out of time will find that finding a gunsmith to fix is not easy and the cost prohibitive.
  17. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    I've put a lot of 19K CUP rounds through my New Service, with no problems. I think the problem comes when you go beyond that.

    I also have a Ruger Blackhawk in .45 Colt, and I keep the ammunition for these two strictly segregated.
  18. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Please don't blow this one up Clark. That is a sweet looking revolver. :)
  19. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member

    I shot it today at 250 gr XTP HP, 8 gr Unique, 1.655" = Quickload 13.5 kpsi, 1,050 fps.

    Recoil was wimpy with the 3 pound revolver.

    I have been cleaning the old Colt under magnification.

    A week after I got this revolver, I am still coming back to look at it again and again.

    I am ordering 200 gr XTP. The previous owner said that 200 gr XTP and 9 gr Unique makes this the most accurate non adjustable sight revolver he ever shot. It is worth a try.
  20. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    Hodgdon lists that as a max load, and around 800 fps from a 7" test barrel. Your chronograph is trying to tell you something.

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