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Old 03-03-2017, 02:29 PM   #1
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Smile info sought

I have never been on one of these sites before so be patient with me! I am a retired Pastor and a few years back my Dad passed away and left me several boxes in the attic of his home that I have slowly gone through. Just recently I discovered a revolver that had belonged first to my Grandfather and then my Dad. He left it to me. It is a Colt pistol and has written on the barrel the letters and numbers: "Colt D.A. 41" -- I am curious as to how old this weapon might be? Also, it looks in good shape ("firing shape") to me. There was no ammunition that was with it and I wondered if ammo could still be purchased? Also, what would a weapon like this be worth to a collector or someone wanting to own it?

Thank you for any information you might share.

A. R. Burnett
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:06 PM   #2
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It's almost certainly a Colt New Army & Navy Model. Since it's a .41 Long Colt it was a commercial model.
It should have hard black rubber grips with molded in checkering and Colt logos.
The serial numbe will be in two lines on the bottom of the butt.

Here's some general info from the Colt forum I wrote. Some of it will not apply to your revolver:

Caliber will be .38 Long Colt or the .41 Long Colt. Later models (after about 1903) were chambered in .38 Special and 32-20.

These have very complicated and rather fragile actions. Treat it gently. If the something breaks or gets out of order it's pretty much toast. Few gunsmiths will even look at one, and replacement parts are almost unobtainable.

The Colt New Army & Navy revolver was the world's first double action, swing-out cylinder revolver, first sold in 1889 as the New Navy, then starting in 1892 as the New Army also.

These were sold as US government issue revolvers in .38 Long Colt with 6 inch barrels, and as commercial models in .38 Long Colt, .41 Long Colt, and in the last few years of production, in .38 Special and 32-20.

Commercial barrels were 3", 4 1/2", and 6 inches. Finishes were blue or nickel on the commercials with hard black rubber grips with molded in checkering and Colt logos.
Military issue guns were finished with a commercial level bright blue and smooth wood grips.
Production ran from 1889 to 1907, with regular improved models made during that time.

It was the New Army in .38 Long Colt that failed in the Moro War in the Philippines and led to the development of the .45 Automatic.

The actual serial number is the two line number on the butt. As above the other numbers are factory assembly numbers and should all match.

If you'd like to know more you can buy a Colt Archive letter from Colt. This letter will state in what configuration the gun left the factory, any special order features like fancy grips etc, and who it was shipped to.
If it's a military model it will have US military stamps on the butt and the actual serial number stamped in two lines.
If it's a commercial model it will have only the serial number on the butt, again in two lines.
Military models will also have a military inspectors stamp on the left side of the frame above the cylinder latch.
RAC was Rinaldo A. Carr the US military inspector for these guns.
The other numbers stamped on parts are factory assembly numbers used to keep fitted parts together during manufacture.
These numbers should all match. A non-matching part is a replacement.

Value is determined by how much percentage of original finish is left, the gun being in original configuration (grips) and it being in proper working order.
These guns have notoriously fragile, complicated actions and break or get out of order easily. Treat it gently. If broken repairs and usable parts are pretty much just unavailable.

As strictly ball park values here's what my copy of the Blue Book of Gun Values says:

60%--$300
70%--$400
80%--$500
90%--$700
95%--$1,150
98%--$1,650
Prices would likely be slightly higher in todays market.

Note that before about 1901 these guns were NOT made to shoot the .38 Special, even though they will chamber the .38 Special.
If the gun is inspected by a gunsmith and declared safe to shoot, you can still buy .38 Long Colt and .41 Long Colt ammo, and you can shoot VERY light hand loads in .38 Special cases.
Since the bore is slightly larger then the .38 Special accuracy will not be very good.

These guns are best as historical displays.

Post the serial number from the butt and I can tell you when it was made.

Last edited by dfariswheel; 03-03-2017 at 06:10 PM.
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:40 PM   #3
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Arthur Burnett,

Pastor, WELCOME ABOARD.

The New Army/Navy in .41 Long Colt is a STOPPER. - Many a turn of the 20th Century lawman & outlaw used that revolver "to good effect".

Presuming that the revolver is still in decent shape, the .38 Long Colt & .41 Long Colt are often available at larger gun-shows.

BOTH are also easy to reload with 200 grain HB SOFT-cast homebrewed lead bullets.
(Do NOT exceed 3 grains of Bullseye for a GREAT self-defense load for the .41LC). = .41LC cases can be easily reformed from .30-30WCF cases..

yours, sw
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Old 03-03-2017, 06:47 PM   #4
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Wow. I haven't seen 41 ammunition in ages.

The gun should be carefully inspected and I wouldn't shoot it otherwise
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Old 03-04-2017, 03:58 AM   #5
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Mr. Burnett, it sounds like you may not be intimately familiar with firearms. If that's the case, please assume that your revolver is loaded unless/until you know how to ascertain that it isn't. Years after my grandfather died my grandmother almost shot herself in the head with a handgun she found. A bullet sailed past her ear and into the ceiling.

You can check the charge holes, but that means pointing the gun dangerously close to your face. Perhaps someone else can tell you how to swing out the cylinder or open the loading gate, whichever is applicable.
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Old 03-04-2017, 05:53 AM   #6
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Anyone besides me ever shoot themselves in a full length mirror practicing quick draw? Man, I would have sworn I had checked the cylinder first.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:29 AM   #7
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No, but a good friend killed a light switch which, sadly, was on the other side of a very expensive shower
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:30 AM   #8
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Smile

I am grateful to all of you who responded to my inquiry. I am amazed at the amount of interest there is in guns generally and old relics in particular! As I said, I am a novice and have never even fired a weapon. This old beauty has been on a display case in my office for decades and I finally decided to find out something about it before passing it on to my Son.

I would also appreciate any inside scoop on who could be trusted to give a fair evaluation of its worth and what do I need to purchase to clean it up?

Thanks again for the helpful information. I am more grateful than you realize.
Oh....and be safe out there....we don't need to hear any tragic weapon accident stories!!

In Him,
Artie Burnett
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:32 AM   #9
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Ouch! I get the message....scary stuff. Glad all is okay. That is a tragedy waiting to happen!!
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:33 AM   #10
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Decided not to pursue your Jesse James or Wyatt Earpp "dream" huh?
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:35 AM   #11
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I have decided to do nothing but locate an "expert" who can both check it out and clean it for me. You are correct when you say I am not "intimately" familiar with firearms. I have never fired one in my life and I just turned 77! The crazier this world gets however, the more I feel I need to learn for my wife and my safety in our "old age"!
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:40 AM   #12
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I have no idea as to what these numbers mean in reference to the type of bullets one would purchase for this weapon. I would have to rely on someone eyeballing it and making a suggestion I am sure. I am intrigued by the words "homebrewed" and
"soft cast" in reference to shells used! I hat to be so ignorant.
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Old 03-04-2017, 07:48 AM   #13
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Thank you for taking the time to write all this information for me. Tremendous stuffAnd I am deeply appreciative!

The numbers on the butt that I assume to be serial numbers are two rows of three numbers each:

187

205
Does this help?

Thanks again,
Artie Burnett
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Old 03-04-2017, 12:53 PM   #14
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The serial number indicates it was made in 1902.

The .41 Colt cartridge is truly obsolete and proper ammo is going to be a collector item and very expensive. There have been some attempts to make it from other cases but they are questionable. If you've never fired a gun you surely should... just not this one.
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Old 03-07-2017, 01:12 PM   #15
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thx

Thank you Charlie for your helpful information. I can't afford expensive ammo and thus have intention of firing it. It boggles my mind that it is 1902 vintage! What a story it could probably tell me about my relatives if it could talk! With my luck it would probably tell me it rode with an outlaw gang being pursued by the Texas Rangers!!
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Old 03-07-2017, 02:52 PM   #16
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Arthur Burnett,

Pastor, IF you would take my advice, you would GET PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED FIRST & then ask your instructor to help you select/buy a 12 or 20 gauge double-barrel shotgun for house defense.
(Most NEW shooters can be fully competent to protect "home & hearth" with the double-barrel with 1-3 hours of training. - A double-barrel is SIMPLE, STURDY, will work fine for decades with minimal maintenance & it makes a fine hunting gun too, for all sorts of local game for the pot.)

I plead "guilty as charged" at 70YO to being a "bit old school" & I prefer a SHOTGUN loaded with #1 or #4 buckshot for house defense to any other firearm.
(I wore a badge for a city/county/parish or the federal government for nearly 50 years.)

just my OPINION, sw

Last edited by stand watie; 03-07-2017 at 02:54 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 03-07-2017, 07:23 PM   #17
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I've used #4 buckshot for a defensive load for 60 plus years. While I like a double, my current defense shotgun is a Savage Model 28 which is nearly as old as I am.

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Old 03-08-2017, 05:01 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stand watie View Post
...I prefer a SHOTGUN loaded with #1 or #4 buckshot for house defense to any other firearm.
All of ours are loaded with #1. I like it.
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:12 AM   #19
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csmkersh; CaptainGyro; All,

I recommend a DB for NEW SHOOTERS primarily because of the DB's SIMPLICITY, STURDINESS, simple maintenance, suitability for numerous defense/hunting uses & EASE of becoming competent to "defend home & hearth".
(My 60+ year old "sawed-off" Fox DB has undoubtedly killed hundreds of rabbits, squirrels, coyotes, poisonous snakes & it was used successfully the BAD NIGHT that I had to defend our farm from 4 drugged-up/armed thugs, until the County Patrol arrived & took them into custody.)

Also, a DB is INTIMIDATING & may well scare off intruders without a need to shoot them. = From the muzzle-end a DB looks like a HOWITZER.
(Imo, the BEST gunfight in your home is the one that you avoided & that ends with the intruder DRIVEN AWAY or in POLICE CUSTODY.)

Fwiw, I keep my home defense shotgun loaded with #1 buckshot.

just my OPINIONS, sw
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