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  1. #1
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    Default Colt new service .455 eley/.45 long colt

    I managed to fall into one of these a while back. A very nice pistol, crisp lock-up, nearly mint bore. My question is: It was converted to .45 Long Colt. It chambers as well as ejects nicely both my .455 Eley and .45 Long Colt brass ... my question is ... can I safely shoot both cartridges in this pistol? I have a MkIV in the original .455 Eley, so I reload for this caliber. I'd like to NOT have to buy another New Service if I don't have to. I already have a M-1917! Too many guns ... not nearly enough time!

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The NS was offered in 45Colt originally and with loads that are not in the stratosphere as far as pressures go, it will hold up nicely.
    Sounds like a nice revolver.

    The conversions were done a couple of different ways.
    One leaves the gun with proper headspace for use with both cartridges,,the other leaves it with excess headspace when using the 455 ammo because of it's thinner rim.

    If the chambers were deepened & a very slight rim recess cut in each chamber for the 45Colt case, then the larger diameter but thinner 455 rim will still headspace by overlapping the smaller 45Colt rim recess cut.

    Some conversions were done by cutting back the entire rear face of the cylinder to allow for the thicker 45Colt rim (also done in conversions to 45acp). When 455 ammo is used in this type conversion, there is excess headspace for the thin rimmed 455 case.
    Last edited by ktr; 07-03-2010 at 04:01 PM.

  3. #3
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    While both cartridges are the same diameter, Rim thickness is not. You "may" get misfires with .455. Only way to find out is to try it.
    As for safety, there is no difference

    Now .45ACP is slightly smaller in diameter.

  4. #4
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    Thanks, you guys. My pistol was converted by deepening the cylinder for the longer .45 LC, but they did not touch the back of the cylinder at all. My .455" Eley brass sit "right proud" like they should with literally just a "hair" clearance to allow the loaded cylinder to rotate without binding.

    I guess my big concern was safety. I'm always a little more than anal about ammo substitutions, just because it looks like it'll work doesn't mean you should do it! Getting a second, third or fourth opinion is always a good thing in my mind. I might know a lot about alot ... but there is ALWAYS someone out there who knows just a little more about a little more ... and it makes me shake less when I'm getting ready to pull the trigger!

    Cheers, Bill

  5. #5
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    If nothing at all has been done to the rear cylinder face, and .455 Eley cases fit with 'just a "hair" clearance to allow the loaded cylinder to rotate without binding', I can't see how the cylinder would even close up (let alone rotate freely) with .45 Colt rounds chambered .....

    The .45 Colt rim is much thicker -


    Am I missing something here?
    Grant Rombough
    Medicine Hat, Alberta
    Canada
    ("Rattlesnake Jack Robson", Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, 1885)
    WEBSITE: "RATTLESNAKE JACK'S"
    http://forums.gunboards.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1483&dateline=1261416  127

  6. #6
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    Grant, if you are missing something, so am I. I saw a New Service in .455 a couple of years a go that had been altered by running 45 Colt finishing reamer in, VERY carefully so that there was an .020" counter-bore for the thicker but smaller dioameter 45 Colt rim. It wroked very well with both rounds - and while I certainly wouldn't want to play +P games (with ANY New Service of immediate pre-WWI vintage as trhat one was), there were no safety issues Somewhat to my surprise, the ejector star picked up the 45 Colt rounds well. I wish it ahd been for sale rather than one belonging to another guy on the range and decidedly NOT on offer for a change in ownership.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

  7. #7
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    Howdy, Clyde (.... from one retired lawyer to another .... )

    I have an Army & Navy CSL-marked "Webley's No. 1 .455 CF RIC New Model" revolver with precisely that cylinder modification made to it!

    I haven't considered firing it with full .45 Colt loads, and wouldn't want to subject it to any smokeless load in any event, but then again an RIC isn't exactly the dainty "pocket pistol" some people seem to assume it is (likely confusing it with the "Bull Dog" line) .... as evidenced by this comparison photo of my RIC with a full-size Colt Model P (clone) -



    The modification does at least open up interesting possibilities for using .45 Colt brass for loads, without the necessity of thinning the rims ....
    Grant Rombough
    Medicine Hat, Alberta
    Canada
    ("Rattlesnake Jack Robson", Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, 1885)
    WEBSITE: "RATTLESNAKE JACK'S"
    http://forums.gunboards.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1483&dateline=1261416  127

  8. #8
    Clyde's Avatar
    Clyde is offline Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrantRCanada View Post
    Howdy, Clyde (.... from one retired lawyer to another .... )

    I have an Army & Navy CSL-marked "Webley's No. 1 .455 CF RIC New Model" revolver with precisely that cylinder modification made to it!

    I haven't considered firing it with full .45 Colt loads, and wouldn't want to subject it to any smokeless load in any event, but then again an RIC isn't exactly the dainty "pocket pistol" some people seem to assume it is (likely confusing it with the "Bull Dog" line) .... as evidenced by this comparison photo of my RIC with a full-size Colt Model P (clone) -



    The modification does at least open up interesting possibilities for using .45 Colt brass for loads, without the necessity of thinning the rims ....
    That is a handsome pair, Grant. I suspect a moderate amount of BP-loaded 45 Colt wouldn't hurt your IC Webley, though i don't know that I;d be comfortable with a steady diet. And - loads in unaltered 45 Colt cases that duplicate the .455 ought to work quite well and be a lot less trouble and expense (especially expense) than .455.
    Absent comrades (sound of breaking glass)

  9. #9
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    This has been one of the most informative "conversatioins" I've had in quite a while. I went to the "gun room" and double-checked. I can load either .45LC or .455 Eley and in both situations, the star extractor does what it's supposed to.

    Hopefully this week I will have an opportunity to put a few rounds of both through the pistol and I'll report back.

    Thanks a BIG BUNCH to all of you. Now the only shaking I'll be doing is 'cause I'm a HORRIBLE pistolero!
    (I'm probably the guy they had in mind when they created the M-1 carbine ... )

  10. #10
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    I picked up a Smith of the same vintage that had been faced off for 45ACP and 45 colt and cylinder reamed through. However, 45 colt downloaded still gives a sticky extraction, so what I have found is that 0.454 sized 255 grain flat-nosed lead bullets for the 45 Colt in 0.45 Autorim, sized using a 0.455 Lee set of Dies (where the sizing die is actually marked 45 Colt), gives me one of the most accurate loads I have in this revolver. I also have an uncut 0.455 S&W of almost the same vintage (1916) and it is almost as accurate using the same bullet in the 0.455 cases. Both are loaded to give ~650 fps. Before people ask, I have a bullet-maker who will run off any sized head I want if I order 3000 at a time, so I also have had him make 180 grain 0.360 sized heads for my Webleys and Enfields in 380/200 of WWII vintage. Nice to be able to feed these "old girls" ammo close to their original. Dave_n

  11. #11

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    Question gentlemen:
    I have Colt New Service that I picked up some years back, shot it a little then moved on to too many other firearms.

    Anyway, I have two cylinders, I only shot the one, which I assumed was for .45 Colt rounds.
    I have turned serious attention to the revolver and it seems all I assumed from info given when I bought it is mostkt bogus.

    The one cylinder I assume is original with with cross swords and D and P between each cylinder but it has the counter sunk cylinder so it will chamber .45 Colt rounds. (and even some, but not all, .476 rounds)

    The other cylinder which is shorter, has the letter, (I think, it is hard to be sure) N stamped once between two cylinders, and I am now supposing this is for .45 ACP rounds.
    It will chamber some, but not all, .455 mkII rounds also.

    The firearm has been modified for target shooting with what is I am assuming a S&W site cut into the top, along with a very smooth trigger action and light singe action trigger release, plus trigger boot and possibly different hammer.
    It also has an adjustable front site added that does not look as if it were done by abackyard gunsmith.

    It has markings on the stock attachment part of the frame- MGC -stamped as if to cross it out, along with other figures stamped out.

    What do I have.
    I will never assume much about any firearm again, but at the same time the target work done to it is what I wanted to have done to a New Service.
    Now I will probably send it to Jack Huntington to work on as he has two of my firearms to work on.
    RpR
    Last edited by RpR; 04-05-2011 at 12:25 AM.

  12. #12
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    RpR

    You apparently have a revolver produced for Britain during WWI. According to "Revolvers of the British Services, 1854-1954" (Chamberlain & Taylerson), in order to meet the massive requirements of this unprecedented conflict, the Ministry of Munitions formulated plans during 1915 for the acquisition of no less than a million revolvers chambered in .455! To meet that demand (which Webley & Scoot, manufacturers of the the official issue revolvers, was woefully ill-equipped to deal with) contracts were granted to Colt, Smith & Wesson and a consortium of Spanish manufacturers. Colt contracted to supply 100,000 .455 New Service Model revolvers at $12.60 each .... too bad we can't buy them for that price now!

    The crossed pennant mark you describe sounds like a variant of a standard British proof mark - the "D" and "P" perhaps signifying "Definitive Proof". Any chance of posting some clear pictures of the markings you describe? Also, is your revolver marked with the original cartridge chambering? Mine (not part of the British contract .... likely produced for Canada) is stamped "New Service .455 Eley" on the left side of the barrel.)

    The stamp on the back of the grip-frame is a "unit of issue" marking. "MGC" would denote "Machine Gun Corps" (which existed as a distinct entity within the British Army from 1915 through 1922) and the figures below it would likely be a "rack number". Striking out of these marks in the manner you describe (in fact, it was officially termed "lining out") was the standard method of showing that a mark was cancelled - i.e. in this case signifying that the revolver was no longer on issue to the MGC and had been returned to Stores - presumably upon reduction of the Corps following the end of the War, or ultimately upon its disbandment in 1922.
    - http://www.machineguncorps.co.uk/
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine_Gun_Corps
    - http://www.1914-1918.net/mgc.htm

    The modification of the one cylinder to accept .45 Colt rims (no doubt after it left British military service) sounds like the modification made to my RIC revolver, which permits it to chamber .45 Colt cartridges with their rims inset far enough into the rear face of the cylinder that the amount of rim thickness left protruding more or less duplicates the thinner rim thickness of the .455 cartridge .... while the wider rims of the latter completely bridge that rebate and still rest against the original cylinder face. Here is a basic cross-sectional representation of what I am trying to describe -



    To be honest, I am not sure what you have in the case of the second cylinder. If it chambers .45ACP cartridges in moon-clips (and .45 Auto Rim cartridges) and closes and rotates properly, it is likely a cylinder specifically made for that purpose (i.e. probably from a Colt Model 1917 revolver) or possibly the rear face of a cylinder originally chambered for something else - such as .45 Colt or .455 - has been machined off to achieve that result.
    Grant Rombough
    Medicine Hat, Alberta
    Canada
    ("Rattlesnake Jack Robson", Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, 1885)
    WEBSITE: "RATTLESNAKE JACK'S"
    http://forums.gunboards.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1483&dateline=1261416  127

  13. #13
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    In any case, it's safe to shoot with either round.

  14. #14

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    Well I took my glasses off and took a close look at both cylinders; the .45 Colt one actually has D-C-P between each chamber with a, I think, 8 above all but one which has a different type of crossed sword.

    This one has a single knurled knob on the end of the case ejection rod.

    The barrel says, New Service .455 Eley

    The other has two knurls with a smooth band between on the ejection rod and there is the either N or II mark between the chambers on the hammer side.
    It has absolutely no other markings.

    The revolvers serial number starts with 127 which matches the one cylinder.

    I will post some pictures but now I am leaving till Friday.
    Last edited by RpR; 04-08-2011 at 12:38 PM.

  15. #15
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    AHA!!! The DCP marks (which, based on your earlier post, I presume appear in conjunction with the crossed pennants) in fact denote "Dominion of Canada Proof" .... stamped on many firearms acquired for Canadian military use just prior to and during the First World War and thereafter .... In fact, I seem to recall that inspection/proof of many of the firearms acquired by Britain during the Great War was in fact performed by Canadian inspectors on this side of the pond .... right at the factories in many cases .... which could explain this mark on the revolver, even if it went into British service.

    Here is one variation of the DCP mark ....

    '
    You say these marks appear "between the cylinders" which I interpret as "between the chambers" ..... are they stamped on the outer surface of the cylinder or between the chambers on the rear face of it?

    To possibly confuse the issue of your revolver's exact military service, Canada also had a Machine Gun Corps, but it was not organized as a Corps until 1917, at which time it was officially named the "Canadian Machine Gun Corps" for which the usual abbreviation would have been "CMGC". However, prior to that there a number (about twenty, I believe) independent Machine Gun Companies. If the "MGC" mark on your revolver is preceded by a number (or possibly letter) designation - i.e. either in front of, or above, it - then the unit mark could relate to one of the Canadian Machine Gun Companies.
    Grant Rombough
    Medicine Hat, Alberta
    Canada
    ("Rattlesnake Jack Robson", Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, 1885)
    WEBSITE: "RATTLESNAKE JACK'S"
    http://forums.gunboards.com/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=1483&dateline=1261416  127

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