This is an original example of a U.S. Ainsworth inspected Pre-Custer Battle Colt Single Action Army Cavalry Model revolver that was manufactured in 1874. This Government Contract Single Action was inspected by Ordnance Sub-Inspector Orville W. Ainsworth and has his "A" sub-inspection mark stamped on major components. The revolver has the distinctive, early production, features which include: (1) cylinder with small bolt stops and guides, (2) first style ejector housing with barrel boss, (3) first style, "Two-Date/Two-Line", patent markings, (4) "Script" barrel address and (5) "bullseye" ejector rod head. The hammer spur has elongated, bordered, knurling. "U.S." is stamped in small letters on the left side of the frame behind the patent markings. The small "A" Ainsworth sub-inspection mark is stamped: (1) on the underside of the barrel, (2) on the bottom of the trigger guard, (3) on the top of the back strap and (4) on the side of the cylinder. Small "P" proof marks are stamped on the underside of the barrel and on the side of the cylinder. The full serial number, "3316" is stamped on the barrel beneath the ejector housing, on the frame, trigger guard, back strap and on the side of the cylinder. All of the visible serial numbers match. The assembly number "738" is stamped on the inside of the loading gate. The Ordnance final and sub-inspection marks on the sides of the grip are no longer visible. The serial number of this revolver, "3316" falls within a group of fifteen revolvers (#2902-#4596) issued to Company K, 4th Cavalry Regiment in 1874. The revolver is accompanied by a hand tooled, russet, saddle leather, 'Mexican Loop' holster. The two-loop holster has a round, sewn toe and recurved throat reinforced by a single rivet. The holster has no visible maker's markings dates from the 1890s. Early, unaltered, Cavalry Model Single Action revolvers like this example are rare. These early revolvers were primarily issued to the ten cavalry regiments on the frontier and were used throughout the Indian Wars. After 1895, nearly all of the surviving revolvers were recalled and overhauled to "Artillery" configuration and subsequently issued during the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection. Unaltered, Ainsworth sub-inspected, Cavalry Model Single Actions with matching serial numbers are historical and highly desirable firearms.
Good. The barrel, frame, cylinder, trigger guard and back strap have a silver/gray patina. The original factory blue finish is present beneath the ejector housing. The components have scattered light pitting and age spotting consistent with daily use in a harsh environment. The bottom of the back strap and butt of the grip are battered from use as a hammer. The only replaced component is the back strap screw. With the exception of the serial number on the back strap, all of the makings and serial numbers are fully legible. The walnut grip shows heavy wear and is in fair condition; the lower edges of the grip are rounded from handling and there are several small chips and one crack in the bottom. The action is tight and functions well. The Mexican Loop holster is in good overall condition. The edges of the skirt and holster loops are worn; the skirt shows age cracking and the end is torn. The stitching on the holster body is tight and the tooling is in good overall condition. This is a rare and very desirable example of a second year production, Ainsworth sub-inspected, Colt Single Action Cavalry revolver with period holster.
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