SOLD FOR: $1350
Model: Single Action Army, Bisley Model
Serial Number: 251247
Year of Manufacture: 1904
Caliber: .32-20 WCF
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading-Gate Cylinder
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. Co. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.” The left side of the barrel is marked “(BISLEY MODEL) 32 W.C.F.”. The left side of the frame is marked “PAT. SEPT. 19. 1871. / JULY 2. 72. JAN. 19. 75.” and with an encircled Rampant Colt logo. The loading gate is marked with assembly number “5095”. The hammer slot is marked “3” (upside-down). The bottom-front of the frame and trigger guard are marked “251247”, the back strap’s serial marking is not legible. The inside of the right grip panel has “JJ JOHN 29” hand-scribed.
Barrel Length: 5 1/2”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a fixed blade. The profile of the blade indicates that it has been filed-down some. The rear sight is “V”-notch in the top strap.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are two piece checkered hard rubber with rampant colts in ovals at their tops. The left panel is broken in half across the grip screw hole with the pieces held in place by the screw when installed. The bottom half of the left panel has a repaired length-wise crack across the indexing pin hole and a repaired chip loss on the front edge. The right panel has a repaired break across its screw hole and a repaired chip-loss at the bottom-front. Otherwise, the grips show light-moderate handling wear with a few scattered light marks and generally well defined checkering. Overall, the grips are in Poor-Fair condition as repaired.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original to the parts, based on the fit we suspect that the ejector housing is not original to the gun.
Bore Condition: The bore is dark. The rifling is worn, but visible. There is moderate erosion and pitting scattered through the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 2% of its metal finish. We determined the original finish by removing the ejector housing where there is a little bit of blue finish remaining. Otherwise, the metal surfaces have gone to a light-moderate patina with some scattered light surface erosion and infrequent spots of more moderate erosion. There are some light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The cylinder pin head is tool marked. There is a gap between the frame and the ejector housing, indicating that it may be a replacement part. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with usable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fair condition (see Mechanics).
Mechanics: There is no safety-notch. When the hammer is cocked, at the first click the cylinder can be turned. At the second click, the cylinder can also be turned. Pulling the hammer back further will engage the cylinder stop, but the hammer will not catch further back, falling to the second position. The trigger has excessive creep. The cylinder locks up with minor rotational play and barely perceptible end-shake on each chamber. The cylinder was made with a removable bushing, but it is seized in place. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: The Colt Bisley was introduced in 1894 as a target pistol. The name Bisley came from the famous firing range in Bisley, England. The Colt Bisley can be distinguished by the longer grip, the wider hammer spur, and the wider trigger. Bisleys were serial-numbered in the range of 156300–331916, in the same sequence as the Single Action Army. This is an example of a 1st Gen. Bisley, chambered for .32-20 Winchester with a 5 1/2″ barrel. The revolver will need some work before it is functioning properly, but would be an excellent candidate for restoration. As it is, it will make a great display piece with its “been there, done that” appearance. Please see our photos and good luck!