Sold For: $8,506.99
Model: Bisley, 1st Generation
Serial Number: 309458
Year of Manufacture: 1909
Caliber: .38-40 W.C.F.
Action Type: 6-Shot, Single Action, Side-Gate Loaded Fluted Cylinder Revolver.
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “BISLEY MODEL 38 W.C.F.”, the underside is marked “41”, the top is marked “COLT’S PT. F.A. MFG. CO (small “O” with a line underneath) HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.” The left side of the frame is marked “PAT SEPT 19 1871 / JULY 2, 72 JAN. 19, 75” with the circled “Rampant Colt” logo, the underside of the frame, trigger guard plate and toe of the grip frame’s butt are marked with the serial number, also observed on the inside of the grip panels, written in pencil (only “3094” is legible on the inside of the right panel. The left side of the trigger guard bow is marked “VP” in triangle and “W”. The hammer cut is marked “S”, the rear of the loading gate is marked “1674”. The lower flanks of the grip frame are marked with a scripted “U”. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “9458”. The right grip panel has a “CAM” monogram. The loops of the holster are marked “C.A. MAC.MILLAN” (upper loop) and “R.T. FRAZIER / PUEBLO COLO” (lower loop). The leather of the belt and holster have beautiful floriated tooling, please see our pictures. The included factory Colt letter reflects the serial number and configuration of this revolver.
Barrel Length: 7 ½”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a target-style brass beaded blade that is on a blued base, which is slotted onto a smaller base, which is fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” notch on top of the frame, sitting before a “U” shaped channel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are mother of pearl, the right panel has a raised and detailed “CAM” (C.A. MacMillan) monogram, which is correct to the pistol as factory lettered; the inside of both grips have the serial number written in pencil, though the inside of the right panel’s number reads “3094”, the rest is missing. The right panel has a few chip losses at the frame, both panels have excellent fit to the grip frame and show some yellowing from age. The grips rate in about Good Plus to Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: Silver plated, with a brass beaded front sight in a slotted blued base.
Finish Originality: Factory original
Bore Condition: The bore is light to mid gray and the rifling is still sharply defined. There are some scattered spots of light to moderate depth pin prick surface erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: About 60% of the silver plated finish remains; the surfaces have wispy scuff marks showing that the surfaces were cleaned, with natural darkened patina remaining on protected areas; higher concentrations are observed on the trigger guard, cylinder flutes, the upper portion of the back strap of the grip frame and left side of the frame by the cylinder pin release. The front sight’s upper portions have solid surface oxidation. The silver plating on the surfaces show areas of bubbling and some chip losses, as photographed. The surfaces have general handling marks indicative of utilitarian items of the era. The underside of the barrel, forward of the ejector rod housing, shows a deeper mark, the straps of the grip frame have notable losses to the plating, with resulting patina and light surface oxidation on the exposed metal. The screw heads are sharp with only a small amount of tooling on the grip screw slot. The markings are crisp. Overall, this handgun rates in about Good Plus condition.
Mechanics: Due to the pistol’s age we did not function test the action, however there are no damages to suggest that the item is in any way incapable of operation. The base pin bushing slides in and out of the cylinder with ease. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: Included is a Colt factory letter which reflects the silver finish, barrel length, serial number, pearl “CAM” monogram grips and caliber. It also indicates that the item was shipped to a C.A. McMillan on May 4th of 1909. The factory letter has no reportable damages and is in Excellent condition. Also included is a matching tooled leather belt and ‘Mexican loop’ holster with elaborate floriated tooling. The belt is 3” wide with heavy leather band stitching on the upper and lower portions, also featuring 31 cartridge loops; the belt measures 43” long, with an 8-hole adjustment strap; the belt has discoloration from age and use, with some wrinkling to the material; there are no major damages or apparent repairs. The holster is marked “C.A. MAC.MILLAN” on the upper loop and “R.T. FRAZIER / PUEBLO.COLO” on the lower loop (http://www.vintagegunleather.com/company-marks/frazier_history.html). The holster shows some discoloration from age and use, with some light losses and scuff wear but no major damages or apparent repairs. The holster and belt are in Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: From Wikipedia “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. The distinguishing feature of the Bisley Target Model is the topstrap, which is flat and fitted with a sliding rear sight, adjustable for windage only. The front sight is a removable blade, which fits into the slotted base attached to the barrel. The revolvers were supplied with different blades for elevation.” This 1st Generation smokeless powder Colt Bisley is silver plated with mother of pearl grips; the right panel has a “CAM” monogram, which is reflected in an included Colt factory letter, also confirming the serial number, shipment date, barrel length and caliber. This Bisley has a target-style front sight with a beaded blade that sits about 0.33” up from the barrel. The pistol comes with a R. T. Frazier brand leather cartridge loop belt and ‘Mexican loop’ holster, both with elaborate floriated tooling and no major damages. The holster bears C. A. MacMillan’s name, making this a highly historic lot. The revolver has scattered handling marks indicative of utilitarian items of the period, portions of the plating have chipped or worn off but about 60% remains in all. The pistol is chambered in .38-40 W.C.F. which was introduced in 1874, with a rimmed, bottlenecked design, producing about 538 foot pounds of energy. The bore is light to mid gray with sharply defined rifling and a few spots of light to moderate depth pin prick surface erosion. Whether you are interested in turn of the century firearms, Colt specific products or just happened to find this auction, an opportunity to own such an historic lot is a rare opportunity; this revolver will do well in any collection, please see our pictures and good luck.