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Custom Fitz-Colt Engraved

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by mm6mm6, Aug 3, 2011.

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  1. mm6mm6

    mm6mm6 Member

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    It's finished!

    When I was a kid, I was fascinated by a Fitz-Colt I saw in one of my dad's gun magazines. When John H. Fitzgerald worked for Colt in the early 1900's, the shortest barrel available from the factory was 4". Fitz made snubnoses by cutting factory barrels down to 2 1/2", 2", or even 1 1/2" lengths. He also created the first custom handguns by also bobbing the hammer spur and cutting away the front of the trigger guard (Fitz had huge hands and he coulnd't get his trigger finger inside the trigger guard when wearing gloves) for fast trigger access.

    A co-worker gave me a jar of gun parts he found while cleaning out a friend's old home. There was a 2 1/2" cut and re-crowned Colt Official Police .38 barrel in the jar and that's what got me thinking about those old Fitz-Colt revolvers.

    I bought a 1948 Colt Official Police .38 Special off Gunbroker (after looking for a very long time) that had a lousy barrel and a terribly worn finish. Colt made tons of these common revolvers and this one had no collector value. I didn't care about the condition of the barrel since I would be having it replaced. This gun had a tight action and functioned well.

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    I gave the gun to my local gunsmith, Mario Matelli (http://bullseyefirearms-il.com/), and he disassembled and cleaned the old Colt and smoothed its action.

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    Then Mario bobbed the hammer, cut away the trigger guard, and attached the 2 1/2" barrel.

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    Mario then removed the original front sight from the old barrel and re-attached it to the new shortened barrel.

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    I had an old set of Colt grips with factory medallions from the same era as the walnut factory grips that came on the Official Police. I sent those medallions to Patrick Grashorn (http://grashornsgunworks.com/) and he inserted them in a handsome set of his American Elk Stag grips.

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    I then turned the Fitz'ed Colt over to a local guy that does fantastic re-blueing. He doesn't want more business because he has too much already so he asked me not to put his name out on the internet. He is truly an artist and when the Colt came back, it looked just wonderful!

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  2. mm6mm6

    mm6mm6 Member

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    (continued....)

    I sent the Colt to Michael Gouse (www.mtart.com) for American Scroll coverage. Gouse has engraved several other guns for me and I just love how his engraving turns out.

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    I made a cigar box into a custom presentation case for the Fitz-Colt too:

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    While the Colt was with Gouse, I looked around for a proper holster to go with the revolver. I couldn't find one that looked vintage but still covered the cut away trigger guard. Then I found Tom Dyer (http://www.saguarogunleather.com/index.html) and ordered one of his custom tooled and dyed leather holsters. I had him use silver Mercury dimes for the hardware. By pure luck, the dimes are dated 1929 and 1927 which are the years my mom and dad were born. Amazing, and it makes this whole project just that much more special to me.

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    Tom even stamped my initials on the back.

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    So the gun is finally finished and it's exactly the way I envisioned it to be. I am so happy with my Colt and I can't wait to shoot it. If I'm lucky, I'll shoot it this Friday!

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    -Steve
     
  3. Rexster

    Rexster Member

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    Truly, a great "little" sixgun, a work of art. :)
     
  4. mrbro

    mrbro Member

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    Very nice!
     
  5. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    sounds like you had a lot of fun with the project.

    it this going to be your daily carry?
     
  6. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

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    Oh my goodness thats pretty. But I would have thought the engraving was done before the bluing. Shows you what I know. I like it.
     
  7. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I love everything but the Fitz treated trigger guard. Just not my thing. Minus that, I would love to have that gun to carry.
     
  8. Gordon

    Gordon Member

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    What a wonderful project! I don't like the cut trigger guard, but what ever blows up your skirt! People should do more of this kind of thing and buy less plastic and MIM trash IMHO!
     
  9. llwsgn

    llwsgn Member

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    very very nice!
     
  10. Cocked & Locked

    Cocked & Locked Member

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    Looking good Steve...Very Good! :what:
     
  11. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Turned out great! Beautiful sixgun.
     
  12. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    I won't repeat my previous comment.
     
  13. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    Wow that is one COOL piece. Talk about a labor of love.

    I've been thinking of making a .32-20 snubby 'just for fun'. I don't know if I'd go 'full Fitz.. but now I'm tempted.

    And THAT my freinds is a Texas BBQ gun.
     
  14. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    I would think it would get blued after the engraving not before...
    Can someone please edumacate me? Intuitively, it makes sense that if you put a surface treatment like blueing on a gun, that when to scrape bits off the surface to engrave, you'd be engraving away the blueing... no?

    Either way, it's absolutely beautiful.
     
  15. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    It had to have been re-reblued after engraving.

    I don't like Fitz mutilated trigger guards, either, but the rest of the job looks sharp.
     
  16. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    I'm sure that the metalwork was done first, then it was blued, then engraved, then reblued. Engravers usually have long lead times and it'd be better to have a serviceable sixgun with a finish than to leave it in the white for several months.

    EDIT: The original project thread was posted nearly 6 months ago.
     
  17. rdrancher

    rdrancher Member

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    One word...LUST!

    And thanks for the new wallpaper photos. :D
     
  18. dbb1776

    dbb1776 Member

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    Everyone should have at least one gun just the way they want it. Sweet little snubbie
     
  19. johnjohn

    johnjohn Member

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    Really pretty(trigger guard and all.)
     
  20. Fat Boy

    Fat Boy Member

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    Really nice - And likely an exceptionally good shooter as well as a great example of gunsmithing all around.
     
  21. Vonderek

    Vonderek Member

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    BBQ gun Champion.

    And great photography too!
     
  22. gb6491

    gb6491 Member

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    Wonderful outcome to the project and I agree that's great photography!
    Regards,
    Greg
     
  23. JoeShmoe

    JoeShmoe Member

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    I never liked the look of the Fitz Special.

    But then I saw yours. Something about the combination of bluing, engraving, and grips, makes that gun look pretty sweet. Nice work.
     
  24. content

    content Member

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    Hello friends and neighbors // A treat to see the process, hats off to you.

    Seeing the starting photo makes your Fitz project all the more pleasing to the eye.
    Thanks for posting, adding this to my favorites list.
     
  25. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

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    Well, it might not have started out as a collector item, but it is now. Nice job. Nice resurrection too, real nice.
     
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