This highly desirable U.S. Colt Single Action Cavalry Model revolver was manufactured in 1878. This revolver is one of 3,000 Colt Single Action revolvers inspected by Ordnance Sub-Inspector Henry Nettleton and Ordnance Inspector Captain John E. Greer. Colt Single Action revolvers that bear the "HN" sub-inspection mark of Henry Nettleton are some of the most collectible of all U.S. contract Single Action revolvers. The revolver has the Colt military blue finish on the barrel, ejector housing, cylinder, trigger guard and back strap. The frame, hammer, and loading gate have a color casehardened finish. The trigger and screws are niter blue, and the one-piece walnut grip is oil finished. The ejector rod has the "bullseye" head found on U.S. contract Single Action revolvers below serial number 113,000. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with "COLT'S PT. F. A. MFG. Co HARTFORD CT. U.S.A." The underside of the barrel is stamped with a "P" proof mark and the "H.N." sub-inspection mark. The left side of the frame is roll-stamped with the Colt "three-date/three-line" patent markings. The patent markings are followed by the "U.S." property mark; the property mark on this revolver is typical of Nettleton-inspected Single Action revolvers and does not have periods after the "U" and "S" and has the upset marks that indicate the property mark was stamped on a casehardened frame. The bottom of the frame is stamped with the "H.N." sub-inspection mark above the serial number. "H.N." sub-inspection marks are also present on the cylinder, the trigger guard, and back strap, and the right heel of the grip has only the "N." The side of the cylinder is stamped with a small "P" proof mark, and the rear face is marked with a "P" and a "O". An "S" inspection mark is visible in the hammer well above the firing pin hole. The loading gate is stamped with the assembly number "802." The matching serial number is located on the barrel, cylinder bottom of the frame, trigger guard, and back strap. The left side of the grip is stamped with the date "1878" above the final inspection mark which consists of the script initials "JEG" with an oval border. The lower right side of the grip is stamped with the script sub-inspector initials "HN" in an oval. The included factory letter confirms the revolver was in .45 caliber with a blue finish when it was sold to the U.S. Government and delivered to the government inspector at the Colt plant on July 30 1878, in a lot of 100 revolvers. Renowned Colt historian and author John Kopec examined this Cavalry Model and summarizes his conclusions in his included gold seal letter of authentication. This revolver was a new listing to his survey and based on the fine condition Kopec "remains doubtful that it had even served with a U.S. Cavalry unit during the Indian Wars" but concedes it may have been issued to a state militia unit. It is known that in September-October 1878 the District of Columbia was issued 240 revolvers and in 1879 another 245 revolvers were issued to three states. Kopec concludes, "the physical evidence presented during our examination points to this revolver being a militia surplus revolver." In the letter Kopec highlights the single "N" on the grip butt and notes, "His other initial 'H' was omitted. This was the first time that we have ever observed this omission in this position." Also includes Indian Wars accoutrements. The Model 1881 U.S. Cavalry hoister was manufactured by Rock Island Arsenal and the flap carries the marking "LLRRW," indicating it was once used by a railway. The M1874 saber belt was made by Watervliet Arsenal and features an 1872 pattern buckle. The Civil War era cap pouch still contains its pin for cleaning percussion nipples and was fitted to the saber belt to carry .45 cartridges. The M1872 Dyer pouch was made by Rock Island Arsenal. Also fitted to the rig is a very scarce Hazen movable cartridge loop meant to hold twenty .45 caliber cartridges and it has the Benecia Arsenal marking with gold leaf accent. Finally there is the M1880 Springfield Arsenal hunting knife marked with the number 2527 and comes with a Watervliet Arsenal made sheath. The accoutrements are inventoried in Kopec letter.
Exceptionally fine. The barrel, cylinder, and ejector rod housing retain 80% plus original blue finish and the grip straps retain 75% original blue finish with even and consistent thinning to brown on the balance. 60% original case colors remain on the hammer and frame. The grip is very fine with high edge wear and some scattered handling marks. The cartouches and date are crisp. Mechanically excellent. The holster rig is very fine showing clear markings, and overall tight stitching. The hunting knife is also very fine and displays a mostly bright blade with evidence of sharpening and a few scattered small patches of pitting. This high condition, highly desirable Henry Nettleton inspected U.S. Cavalry Model Revolver accompanied with the exceptional Indian Wars accoutrements will make an outstanding addition to any SAA or U.S. martial collection.
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