SOLD FOR: $1631
Model: New Service Model of 1917 US Army
Serial Number: 32890
Year of Manufacture: 1919 (Per R. L. Wilson’s The Book of Colt Firearms, Third Edition, Pgs. 359, 364)
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Double Action Revolver with Swing Out Cylinder
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “COLT D.A. 45”, the top is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD, CT. U.S.A. / PAT’D AUG. 5, 1884. JUNE 5, 1900. JULY 4, 1905”. The underside of the barrel is marked “”UNITED STATES PROPERTY””. The crane cut is marked “H”, “184791”, and “C”. The crane is marked “184791”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “H”. The side plate has a worn rampant colt. The left side of the frame near to the hammer has a proof stamp. The bottom of the frame is marked “U.S. / ARMY / MODEL / 1917” and “No / 32 / 890”.
Barrel Length: 5 1/2”
Sights/Optics: The front sight is a tall Patridge style blade. The rear sight is a “U” shaped groove in the top of the receiver.
Stock Configuration and Condition: The grips are two-piece smooth walnut. The grips are overall dark in appearance, and have light nicks most notably at the tops of the panels. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grips rate in Good-to-Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is rather bright with well-defined rifling. There is no erosion, but there is light stubborn fouling in the grooves.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 92% of its current metal finish. There is moderate scuff wear at the barrel tip. The barrel itself has a few light compressions and nicks scattered about. The lower edges of the frame have light thinning. The backstrap has intermittent minor nicks. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. Markings are clear. Overall, this revolver rates in Very Good-plus condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder lockup has only faint play with the trigger depressed. The single action trigger pull is crisp and the double action is smooth, though a bit spongy. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork, and Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: This revolver was made for the U.S. Army, who wanted a revolver capable of using the same ammunition as the 1911 semi-auto. The .45 ACP rounds were loaded in 3 round half-moon clips. This revolver had stepped chambers in the cylinders, the intention of which was to allow .45 ACP rounds to be fired without the half-moon clips should none be available, although the fired cases couldn’t be ejected. This pistol will also fire and eject the .45 Auto Rim, which was a special cartridge developed for Colt and S&W 1917 revolvers so they didn’t need the use of clips. Although this revolver has seen some honest use, the bore is really in good shape and the action is in remarkable condition for a revolver of this age. We often don’t see cylinder lockup this good on revolvers that are new in the box, let alone on those more than 100 years old. This revolver ought to get the attention of the Colt collectors out there, especially those with an interest in WWI firearms and militaria. Good luck and happy bidding!