The accompanying factory letter indicates the revolver was originally shipped to the U.S. Government inspector at the Colt plant on March 8, 1887 as part of a delivery of 450 units. The full serial number "120711" appears on the frame, trigger guard, and back strap, and the matching partial serial number "0711" appears on the cylinder and barrel. The matching serial numbers on all components is scarce. During refurbishment to Artillery Model configuration, it was common for the revolvers to be refinished and reassembled without attention being paid to keep serial numbered parts matching. Only a small percentage escaped complete refurbishment. As explained in "Colt Cavalry & Artillery Revolvers...a Continuing Study," "Between 1896 and 1903 Springfield Armory altered 14,900 Colt Army revolvers, some of which were still in 'new' or serviceable condition and did not require refurbishing by Colt. Most of these had seen little or no military action and were still in stores at the Springfield Armory. The first of the Springfield-altered Artillery revolvers have matching serial numbers, or only a mismatched barrel, while the majority of later Springfield alterations have mixed serial numbers" (page 267). This revolver retains the original blue and color casehardened finish on the trigger guard, cylinder, back strap, frame, hammer and loading gate. The barrel was probably refinished when it was shortened and the front sight relocated. The underside of the barrel and the cylinder have a David F. Clark (D.F.C.) sub-inspection mark and a small "P" proofmark. The top of the barrel has the one-line Hartford address. The left side of the frame has the three-line patent dates marking. The frame lacks the "US" and sub-inspector initials. In the included 1977 dated letter on Arms Gazette letterhead, Colt expert and author John Kopec addressed the absent "US" marking. Kopec wrote, "We find that the absence of any U.S. markings was noted on several surveyed specimens throughout the entire U.S. production series. They are simply oversights, and of course add some degree of collector interest to the particular revolver."
Very good. The barrel and ejector rod housing retain 30% of the blue finish. Traces of original blue remain on the trigger guard and back strap in the protected areas. The frame retains traces of silvered original case colors. Flashes of original case colors remain on the hammer. The sanded and reoiled grip is very good as repaired with a couple small chips at the toe. Mechanically excellent. A U.S. Colt Artillery Model Revolver with all matching numbered components that is nearly impossible to find.
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