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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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So I have my great grandfather’s Colt 44 revolver. I believe it is a model 1860 cartridge conversion. Unfortunately the cylinder was blown apart some years ago with a misfire. Now I already know it’ll likely be a pain to get the cylinder replaced. My bigger question for y’all is, does anyone have any idea why the patent number is blank? Everywhere the patent number would be listed it is nonexistent. It’s definitely not worn off, it just looks like it was never stamped. Any ideas?
 

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"No Patent" Colts are a bit of a mystery, and there are a lot of theories. The two most common are that this was done on prototypes, or that these were a batch of special improved guns sent to the government for cavalry use.

There is more evidence for the second theory if you want to read here: https://www.morphyauctions.com/jamesdjulia/wp-content/uploads/images/auctions/391/prov/49631a22.PDF

It is a shame this one is blown out, because "No-patent" Colts go for a ridiculous premium, and to top it off, yours appears to have an original Richards conversion. There were less than 12,000 of these done altogether; the Richards conversion, the Richards Type-2, and the Richards-Mason. Depending on which version you have, these go for a premium as well.
 

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Interesting revolver and as PaleHawkDown mentioned it's too bad that it is blown out like that due to how rare it is. I can only recall seeing 1 of those in my 73 years on planet earth at a gun show years ago in Richmond, Virginia.
Consider stopping by the "Introduction" sub forum to introduce yourself to some of the G&G forum members.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"No Patent" Colts are a bit of a mystery, and there are a lot of theories. The two most common are that this was done on prototypes, or that these were a batch of special improved guns sent to the government for cavalry use.

There is more evidence for the second theory if you want to read here: https://www.morphyauctions.com/jamesdjulia/wp-content/uploads/images/auctions/391/prov/49631a22.PDF

It is a shame this one is blown out, because "No-patent" Colts go for a ridiculous premium, and to top it off, yours appears to have an original Richards conversion. There were less than 12,000 of these done altogether; the Richards conversion, the Richards Type-2, and the Richards-Mason. Depending on which version you have, these go for a premium as well.
As awesome as it is to know it’s a rarity, that’s also extremely unfortunate that it’s so damaged. Is there any hope of a restoration? Perhaps replacing the cylinder?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Interesting revolver and as PaleHawkDown mentioned it's too bad that it is blown out like that due to how rare it is. I can only recall seeing 1 of those in my 73 years on planet earth at a gun show years ago in Richmond, Virginia.
Consider stopping by the "Introduction" sub forum to introduce yourself to some of the G&G forum members.
Yeah I’m really bummed that it’s so damaged, but hope someday to find a way to restore it. Interestingly enough I’m based in the Richmond area myself, though this firearm was in the care of my grandmother up in Vermont until very recently.
 

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Do not restore it unless you, for some reason, want to shoot it. A good gunsmith with a rebated 1860 cylinder (or reproduction) could get it back in firing condition, and make it look better, but you would still want to keep the original blown out cylinder and you absolutely do not want to do anything else to this gun beyond that.

I've seen three of these in my life, and the least valuable was priced at nearly 6 grand. I would imagine this thing still has some value in the condition it is in.

If you go to "fixing it" that remaining value will be lost.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Do not restore it unless you, for some reason, want to shoot it. A good gunsmith with a rebated 1860 cylinder (or reproduction) could get it back in firing condition, and make it look better, but you would still want to keep the original blown out cylinder and you absolutely do not want to do anything else to this gun beyond that.

I've seen three of these in my life, and the least valuable was priced at nearly 6 grand. I would imagine this thing still has some value in the condition it is in.

If you go to "fixing it" that remaining value will be lost.
Oh of course! I meant restoring it to being an intact piece. I wouldn’t want to mess with it being in one piece at all. I really appreciate the advice here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Do not restore it unless you, for some reason, want to shoot it. A good gunsmith with a rebated 1860 cylinder (or reproduction) could get it back in firing condition, and make it look better, but you would still want to keep the original blown out cylinder and you absolutely do not want to do anything else to this gun beyond that.

I've seen three of these in my life, and the least valuable was priced at nearly 6 grand. I would imagine this thing still has some value in the condition it is in.

If you go to "fixing it" that remaining value will be lost.
While we’re on the subject, if I did get another cylinder put on the gun but kept the original cylinder with it, on display for example, would that ruin it? Would that be better or worse than just keeping the busted original on it as long as they’re kept together? Sorry I’m not well versed in all this. Whiskey is my expertise, so as much as I enjoy firearms and would love to know more, I’m just not that knowledgeable yet so I appreciate your knowledge on the matter.
 

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While we’re on the subject, if I did get another cylinder put on the gun but kept the original cylinder with it, on display for example, would that ruin it? Would that be better or worse than just keeping the busted original on it as long as they’re kept together? Sorry I’m not well versed in all this. Whiskey is my expertise, so as much as I enjoy firearms and would love to know more, I’m just not that knowledgeable yet so I appreciate your knowledge on the matter.
To replace the cylinder, the only work that would need to be done would be on the cylinder. having both would be the best of both worlds.
 

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Dopping in to agree with what's been said, and maybe cuss a little on your wrecked cylinder. What a bummer.

If it were me and I planned to keep it I'd go ahead with getting a replacement cylinder. If I weren't going to keep it I'd stick it on gunbroker with lots of keywords and pictures and hope for the best.

There's a lot of people who hate, despise even, the thought of someone selling off family guns. It's just a piece of metal. If you decide to sell it or keep it, you do what's right by you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Dopping in to agree with what's been said, and maybe cuss a little on your wrecked cylinder. What a bummer.

If it were me and I planned to keep it I'd go ahead with getting a replacement cylinder. If I weren't going to keep it I'd stick it on gunbroker with lots of keywords and pictures and hope for the best.

There's a lot of people who hate, despise even, the thought of someone selling off family guns. It's just a piece of metal. If you decide to sell it or keep it, you do what's right by you.
Dopping in to agree with what's been said, and maybe cuss a little on your wrecked cylinder. What a bummer.

If it were me and I planned to keep it I'd go ahead with getting a replacement cylinder. If I weren't going to keep it I'd stick it on gunbroker with lots of keywords and pictures and hope for the best.

There's a lot of people who hate, despise even, the thought of someone selling off family guns. It's just a piece of metal. If you decide to sell it or keep it, you do what's right by you.
thank you for the input! I intend to keep it so I’ll probably put a new cylinder on it but keep the original cylinder close by, perhaps display them together. Trust me it bums me out too
 

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Being as that is an open top revolver design, if I did put another cylinder in it I would inspect it very closely and load it lightly. By it blowing out that cylinder it may have been overloaded and it isn't too far fetched to think it might have also overstressed and stretched that open top design.
Just my 2 cents...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Being as that is an open top revolver design, if I did put another cylinder in it I would inspect it very closely and load it lightly. By it blowing out that cylinder it may have been overloaded and it isn't too far fetched to think it might have also overstressed and stretched that open top design.
Just my 2 cents...
Also great advice! If I restore it that way it’ll be mostly just to have an intact pieces that could be fired. I wouldn’t fire it just for fun most likely.
 

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to restore it means using original pieces.
anyway tap,tap,tap,,,, you might not be able to replace just the cylinder either way your most likely gonna be buying another gun to get the parts.
i'd just frame what you got there,,,, buy the replacement, and shoot it.
 

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I'll toss in my 2 cents...

I would put the original in a display case as is with the broken pieces and a card that documents its history. I'd also make sure I had a pile of pictures, including all the serial numbers and the damage put on a thumb drive and stored safely just in case something happened to the pistol.

Then I'd go out and buy a reproduction to shoot.
 

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20 bucks says someone tried a .44 Special in it or something instead of a Cowboy load Colt. The damage looks too recent to have been done more than a few decades ago.
 

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20 bucks says someone tried a .44 Special in it or something instead of a Cowboy load Colt. The damage looks too recent to have been done more than a few decades ago.
I’ll go ahead and admit that it was in my hands as a teenager years ago. My grandmother got it from her dad’s belongings, remembered shooting it with him as a young girl and wanted to see it get shot again but didn’t have the strength to do it herself. I was young and didn’t know anything, it was also in Vermont and we didn’t have internet so I couldn’t do any research. I count myself lucky on one hand and unlucky on the other. Stupid mistakes we make as kids.
 

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I’ll go ahead and admit that it was in my hands as a teenager years ago. My grandmother got it from her dad’s belongings, remembered shooting it with him as a young girl and wanted to see it get shot again but didn’t have the strength to do it herself. I was young and didn’t know anything, it was also in Vermont and we didn’t have internet so I couldn’t do any research. I count myself lucky on one hand and unlucky on the other. Stupid mistakes we make as kids.
It’s a bit of a testament to just how safe these are. A catastrophic failure occurred and you still have your fingers and both eyes (I assume).

edit to add- I know for a fact you can fire a .30-30 out of a 44 mag lever gun, loaded directly into the chamber. It won’t eject though…I had both with me at the range and picked up the wrong rifle.
Mistakes happen.
 

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Damn shame. The 1860 was a beautiful and graceful looking gun. I would do what I could to restore it a bit but like others said replacing this or that is tough in more ways than one.
 
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