Results 1 to 31 of 31

Thread: 3rd Generation "Colt" percussion revolvers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,709

    Question 3rd Generation "Colt" percussion revolvers

    I looked at some of these yesterday, they were offered at well under what they sold originally. I expected to buy them, all were new in the Colt boxes, but was very displeased
    with their fit and finish. The parts appeared to have been buffed and then assembled with
    extremely rounded edges where grips, backstraps, and triggerguards met the frames. I did not buy them because of this. There were 6 of them: 3rd Dragoon, 1851 and 1861 Navy,
    Pocket Navy, 1860 Army, and a 1862 Trapper?/Police.....
    Are all the 3rd generation this poorly fitted? What are they worth, unfired in box compared to issue prices?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    462

    Default

    I'm not sure if you're describing third generation Colt percussion revolvers. Can you post pictures or describe the markings? I believe the Colt Signature Series was third generation, with the highest quality fit and finish. My Colt Signature Series Walker with accessories is impeccable. The photos are of my Walker.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,709

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Clermont View Post
    I'm not sure if you're describing third generation Colt percussion revolvers. Can you post pictures or describe the markings? I believe the Colt Signature Series was third generation, with the highest quality fit and finish. My Colt Signature Series Walker with accessories is impeccable. The photos are of my Walker.

    I don't think that these were "Signature" Series. I was told that they were 3rd generation,
    but don't really know. Even in your fairly small picture the fit of the grip, frame, and triggerguard look MUCH better than the ones that I looked at......If they had looked as nice as your gun, I would have bought them. The boxes were cardboard,
    no wood.
    Last edited by royke; 09-01-2008 at 09:53 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    13,845

    Default

    Uberti made the parts, Colt finished and assembled them , then stamped their name on the barrel.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    UK, Ont Canada, OR USA & Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    1,448
    Quote Originally Posted by Clermont View Post
    I'm not sure if you're describing third generation Colt percussion revolvers. Can you post pictures or describe the markings? I believe the Colt Signature Series was third generation, with the highest quality fit and finish. My Colt Signature Series Walker with accessories is impeccable. The photos are of my Walker.
    It is generally agreed among Colt collectors, myself excluded, that the Second series were the best follow-on's made, and that the third generation, or signature series, were inferior.

    tac
    Colt Walker, 2nd Series, serial #1816

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    462

    Default

    Colt third generation "Signature Series" revolvers were of the highest quality. Both second and third generation blackpowder Colts were assembled using Uberti parts, however Signature Series revolvers were assembled and marketed, under license by Colt, in Brooklyn, New York by Colt Blackpowder Co.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,709

    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by Clermont View Post
    Colt third generation "Signature Series" revolvers were of the highest quality. Both second and third generation blackpowder Colts were assembled using Uberti parts, however Signature Series revolvers were assembled and marketed, under license by Colt, in Brooklyn, New York by Colt Blackpowder Co.
    If the ones I examined had been of "the highest quality" I would have bought them.....The fit of the trigger guards and grip frames/backstraps to the frames were the worst that I have ever seen on any percussion revolver, the buffing was terrible......

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    462

    Default To: royke

    I suspect the Colts you examined weren't Signature Series, and also suspect, if they are as badly finished as you say, Colt had nothing to do with them, licensed or otherwise. Can you find out what the markings on them are? Pictures would be even better.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,709

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Clermont View Post
    I suspect the Colts you examined weren't Signature Series, and also suspect, if they are as badly finished as you say, Colt had nothing to do with them, licensed or otherwise. Can you find out what the markings on them are? Pictures would be even better.


    No pics, I do not have the guns, owner lives 4 hour drive from here.....They were all in Colt boxes with Colt paperwork said Colt......

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    462

    Default To: royke

    The third generation Colt Signature Series box for the Walker and other Colt models is the one pictured in the first two photos of my earlier post. Is this the same cardboard box the Colts you examined came in?
    Last edited by Clermont; 09-05-2008 at 07:10 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,709

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Clermont View Post
    The third generation Colt Signature Series box for the Walker and other Colt models is the one pictured in the first two photos of my earlier post. Is this the same cardboard box the Colts you examined came in?
    I believe that they looked like the one with the Walker in it.
    Last edited by royke; 09-05-2008 at 08:32 PM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    SE Iowa
    Posts
    1,029

    Cool

    Didn't the 3rd generation Colts have silver back straps, and the Colt signature in the back strap as well. If the ones you looked at didn't have these two things, then I would think that they weren't Colt 3rd models.
    "Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do
    not.."~ Elmer Fudd......

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    2,709

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuffy 25th IA View Post
    Didn't the 3rd generation Colts have silver back straps, and the Colt signature in the back strap as well. If the ones you looked at didn't have these two things, then I would think that they weren't Colt 3rd models.
    These had silver backstraps, or at least several of them did.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    461

    Default

    The second generation Colt BP revolvers I've seen and had were of very good quality speaking of the fit and finish. The 3rd generation series that I've handled generally showed over buffing and poor fit of frames to grip straps, rounded edges, etc. Some worse than others, but none up to to the standards you'd expect of a Colt revolver . But,, not that much different from what Colt itself was doing on their centerfire SAA revolvers finish wise at that same time. If the Signiture Series was done separately by some one else under lic from Colt it could answer why they look nicer than the rest of the bunch but I'm not that familiar with the 3rd's to know if there are two distinct groups of guns within the 3rd Gen of BP revolvers. Maybe it's just a case of some good polishers and some bad ones at where ever the work was completed. I do know that Turnbull was originally going to do the Case Colors on the 3rds but his price ended up being too high per/piece.
    BTW I've had quite a few people in the industry and collectors of Colt BP's tell me that the 2nd gen. BP revolver 'frames' were investment cast in the US at Pine Tree Casting in NH (owned by Ruger) to avoid importing the frame which would have required stamping an import marking on the gun. At the time those were made, investment casting was the most expediant method to produce a part like a frame with very little machining to be done after casting. Now , modern CNC automation can make a frame faster, cheaper and with less problems from a billet than investment casting. The story of the inv/cast frames makes sense but there are more than enough storys to the contrary. Taking one apart can usually reveal a casting surface in a hidden area or two as they do on some of the modern shotgun frames no matter how much followup machining is done. Perhaps Colt had only shopped around for Pine Trees services and never really used them other than for a few test pieces and ended up using Uberti partially completed frames imported to the USA as 'non-firearms' not requireing an import stamp.
    The 2nds and those particular 3rd Signiture Series pictured are certainly nicely finished C&B revolvers.
    Last edited by ktr; 09-06-2008 at 04:11 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    8

    Default

    I have two of the Signature Series Colts, one 3rd model dragoon and one 1860 Army. I also have the Colt Blackpowder Arms brochure that pictures all models offered and their prices. Some guns were offered with brass back straps, some with sliver steel and others with black iron. Mine both have brass back straps. The Signature Series Colts have Sam Colt's signature engraved along the back strap. Both pieces are nicely finished but I don't have the complete boxes they were shipped in for both any more.

    I prefer the 3rd Dragoon for shooting, but I have shot both a fair amount over the years. The Dragoon is an accurate shooter but you have to learn to use those primitive sights and aim low. At 25 yards I sight the Dragoon half way between the bottom of the paper target and the bottom of the black rings. No adjustment for windage, the gun shoots dead center. But that is how high the gun shoots, but it will group all shots in the black, no problem.

    Cleaning them after shooting is very important. I take the gun apart, unscrew the nipples from the cylinder and put everything except the frame in a pot of very hot soapy water. I have never taken the frame apart to clean it so I squirt black powder solvent down behind the hammer so it gets into the works. Then I work the action and flush it out with a can of WD40 until it flows out clean. The parts that were in the soap and and water will air dry quickly but I wipe the bores with patches and solvent then coat everything with a mist of WD or some other kind of oil.

    Been shooting and cleaning my Colts for years like this and never have had a hint of rust anywhere, and the actions have always been smooth. I just wish I knew how to take apart the frame so I could really get the action clean but I am pretty sure my flushing method works well.

    Another thing about the Signature Series is that the markings are as the old Colts were. None of this 'use blackpowder only' or 'made in Italy' Just the original stampings Sam Colt's guns had. Aside from Colt's signature on the backstrap that is.

    One more thing. These guns are well made. My first blackpowder pistol was a 1860 Army from Pietta. He may have improved since the mid 90's when I had his gun but that thing literally rattled apart after a few sessions at the range. Those two little pins that secure the barrel to the frame came loose. Also the catch for the lever that is on the underside of the barrel came off! The thing was a piece of junk. My Signature Series have held up very well; nothing has broken or come loose and I have burned a lot of powder through those pistols over the years, especially the Dragoon.

    edit: Oops I have one piece of misinformation there. The Colt Blackpowder Arms brochure does not list any prices for the guns. It only has a list of retail outlets and their toll free number you can call to get in touch with them. The only item that is priced is a Letter of Authenticity you can get for the guns. It cost $45.00. and you get it by mailing a check to Colt's Manufacturing in Hartford CT.
    Last edited by Duffy; 05-01-2009 at 09:03 AM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Silicon Valley
    Posts
    1,715

    Default

    With the exception of a few revolvers that were completed at the Colt custom shop, all 2nd and 3rd generation Colts were assembled and finished by Iver Johnson. The 2nd generation pistols were inspected and boxed at the Colt factory, 3rd generation had the packaging and QA done at Iver Johnson.
    You know all the words and you sing all the notes but you never quite learned the song.
    I can tell by the sadness in your eyes, that you never quite learned the song.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    462

    Default

    Colt Blackpowder Company in Brooklyn, New York finished 3rd generation Colt Signature Series revolvers. Louis Imperato owned both Iver Johnson and Colt Blackpowder Co., but I believe Iver Johnson wasn't involved with the Colt Signature Series. Iver Johnson may have already been sold by Imperato prior to the introduction of the Colt Signature Series.
    Last edited by Clermont; 05-01-2009 at 03:20 PM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Gee, I hate for inaccurate information to get out there. Here is the definitive article on the subject of Colt cap and ball revolvers.

    https://store.bluebookinc.com/Info/P...fColtBlack.pdf

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    404

    Default

    If you buy a newer Colt gun, get the first generation, the heat treat and hardness of the steel will be superior- and all made in USA parts.

    The 2nd-3rd gens are basically dolled up Ubertis. The Italian steels were soft and only case-hardened.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    8

    Default

    That history lesson on Colt blackpowder replicas was pretty good. But what I still don't understand is how did Italy get involved with making Colts in the first place? Did they have special machinery and dies and such for making the barrels and cylinders? Where did Italy get the specs for the parts? Did they tear apart original guns and copy them? They must of had original specs or blueprints somehow. Where did they get those? I would think that would all be patented property of Colt. I dunno, it's all pretty fuzzy to me.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Patton State Hospital
    Posts
    184

    Default

    I have a C-series Colt 1851 Navy serial # 78** and an F-series 2nd model Dragoon serial # 28***. I bought the Navy in 1976 and the Dragoon at a gun show in 1989. Both are beautifully finished pistols fully up to Colt standards.
    I can not say the same for some of the Colt 3rd generation SAA model P's that I have seen. In 1984 I wanted to purchase a Colt SAA in .45, so I went to a gun show in Marin County, Ca. They had a few 1st, one 2nd and a number of 3rd generation Colt SAA's there. I ended up getting the one used 2nd generation with a 4 3/4" barrel because the fit and finish was superior compared to the 3rd generation Colts that were there. I'm not saying all 3rd's have this quality problem but these did.

    R,
    Beck

  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    I have a C-series Colt 1851 Navy serial # 78** and an F-series 2nd model Dragoon serial # 28***. I bought the Navy in 1976 and the Dragoon at a gun show in 1989. Both are beautifully finished pistols fully up to Colt standards.
    I can not say the same for some of the Colt 3rd generation SAA model P's that I have seen. In 1984 I wanted to purchase a Colt SAA in .45, so I went to a gun show in Marin County, Ca. They had a few 1st, one 2nd and a number of 3rd generation Colt SAA's there. I ended up getting the one used 2nd generation with a 4 3/4" barrel because the fit and finish was superior compared to the 3rd generation Colts that were there. I'm not saying all 3rd's have this quality problem but these did.

    R,
    Beck
    Gun shows in Marin county? A Grateful Dead concert I could understand, but a gun show!?

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Patton State Hospital
    Posts
    184

    Default

    Duffy,

    Yes, imagine that, a gun show in Marin County! They had a few of these shows in the area and it was a good show, unfortunatly times have changed. I was stationed at Alameda Naval Station at the time, back then the military was welcome in San Francisco.

    R,
    Beck

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    Congo, DR
    Posts
    1,134

    Default

    2nd Generation Colts are generally more collectible due to the fact that Colt (Hartford Colt) booked the serial numbers and will issue historical letters for them. Both 2nd and 3rd Generation Colts used rough cast frames imported from Uberti. 2nd Generation Colts were made by Iver Johnson (owned by Lou Imperato) In NJ and shipped to Hartford where they were inspected and their "histories" recorded. 3rd Generation Colts (the Signature Series or Brooklyn Colts) had virtually all the parts, except barrels and cylinders, made at the Brooklyn factory then shipped across the Hudson to Iver Johnson in NJ for final finishing. Imperato started the Colt Blackpowder Arms Co. (with the Colt name only licensed from the factory) in Brooklyn which at the time had excellent former Navy facilities available at cheap rents. But there was decade long gap between the end of Generation 2 production at the Iver Johnson factory in NJ and the start of 3rd Generation production in Brooklyn in 1993.

    During that 11 year gap, Imperato sold Iver Johnson to a group of Arkansas investors with political connections who believed they had an inside track for the production of a new cartridge for the M16. The track never materialized. They also purchased 43,000 Australian Enfields that arrived damaged causing the group incur a large loss. They also imported Colt marked reproductions made by Armi San Marco in Italy but without Imperato and his craftsmen they were of poor quality. The group then defaulted on the money owed Imperato for the Iver Johnson purchasee after which Imperato retook possession of Iver Johnson` in the late 80's for under $2 million in bankruptcy proceedings. He spent the next 10 years trying to recoup the money owed him by the investors eventually recouping a small fraction of the money, about $1.5 million of the original $7 million.

    Imperato used some of this money and in 1993 started, along with his son Anthony, the Colt Blackpowder Arms Company in Brooklyn. The ensuing Signature Series (3rd Generation) Colts were produced until around 2003. Imperato always felt the Signature Series Colts were his best works, especially the comemoratives. The Cochise (2nd model Dragoon) Commemorative is arguably one of the finest "mass" produced single pistol commemoratives ever done. There's a nice picture of it in the above referenced article.

    The Imperatos were a very likable pair, certainly as far as "New York" businessmen go. Both Lou Imperato and Val Forgett of Navy Arms shared a deep affection for classic firearms. They both believed the general public should have the chance to own and shoot authentic replicas of these firearms and do it at reasonable prices. In spite of the fact Colt dumped Forgett in favor of Imperato's Iver Johnson as the supplier of 2nd generation parts, the pair remained on excellent terms. Forgett recognized Colt's decision as a strictly business one as Iver Johnson was already a major distributor of Colt products.

    Lou Imperato took the default by the Arkansas group very hard, both financially and personally. He had developed a close relationship with one of them, Larry Wallace, and felt particularly betrayed when Wallace began to hide assets from Imperato's various court judgements. But Imperato was nothing but tenacious in recouping his losses going so far as to have U.S. Marshalls repossess the office furniture in Wallace's luxurious business suite. The proceedings took a wild turn when Imperato and Wallace agreed that any profits realized by Imperato from business "leads" provided to him by Wallace should be used to offset monies owed. In court proceedings, Imperato testified that Wallace provided two leads. One to sell arms to Yasi Arafat's Palestinian police force and another to purchase several million rounds of .303 British ammunition from a Greek arms tycoon. Neither lead panned out.

    HTH
    Last edited by arcom the first; 05-07-2009 at 04:19 PM.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    8

    Default

    Imperato always felt the Signature Series Colts were his best works, especially the comemoratives. The Cochise (2nd model Dragoon) Commemorative is arguably one of the finest "mass" produced single pistol commemoratives ever done. There's a nice picture of it in the above referenced article.

    Yea that Cochise Dragoon is really nice looking. If I were to buy a commemorative set to keep around that is the one I would chose to own. Beautiful gun.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    New Baltimore, MI
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Okay, I'm a new guy here so bear with me. From what I read/see above I must have a 3rd Gen Signature series Walker never fired in the box. I paid $400 new from either Gander Mountian or Cabelas in the 90's sometime, can't really remember. When I got it there was a very small imperfection in the brass trigger guard area and it was noticably out of time, needless to say I was upset. I sent it back to Colt in NY with a letter of disapointment and asked them to correct the problems. I received a letter saying they were sorry and would correct the problems. The gun finally came back many weeks later. My original letter was in the box all greased up with fingerprints presumably from the gunsmith who worked on it. I must say it was in fact perfect. The action is one of the smoothest I have ever felt. I cannot prove this information as in moving the letters have been lost, too bad. I don't know if this is appropriate but I must now sell this gun but would like someone who can appreciate it to buy it. I will let it go for what I paid $400.00 If it is not appropriate to offer it here in this forum I appologize. Could you direct me to a site where it is acceptiable. Any reply would be appreciated.
    Thanks!

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    462

    Default

    Could it have been the Sportman's Guide. That's where I purchased my Colt Signature Series Walker revolver in the 90s for about the same price you paid.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Location
    UK, Ont Canada, OR USA & Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    1,448

    Say what?

    I'm really amused by this assertion that the Imperato's were the best thing since sliced bread.

    Back in 2002, when the barrel wedge of my brand-new, but old stock and never-before-fired Colt Walker, serial #1816, bent like a banana at the very first shot, having loaded it with a meagre 45gr of FFFg, filler and ball, it needed some VERY careful work with a Dremel to remove it without damaging the frame in any way.

    I wrote them, asking if they could supply me with a replacement wedge, serial-numbered like the original had been in fact, I even sent them the old one back so they could see it for themselves and offered $$$ in any reasonable amount to back up my request...in fact, I explained that I wasn't after a freebie, but was insistent on paying for it.

    Ten letters later, and untold numbers of e-mails, I gave up on them.

    They took absolutely no trouble at all to respond to me in any way, shape or form.

    In the end, I got one from DGW in four days, and I've been using that since.

    Needless to say, over here in UK, where BP revolvers are almost everything we can have, BP handguns form a major part of most shooter's gun-safes, and many of us, like me, have lots of $$$ to spend on fun stuff like the average BP revolver, seeing as how they are around a 1/4 the price of the cartridge-firing guns we used to have.

    I have never bought another 'Colt' product - IMO, the company back-up, at least from THIS side of the Great Water, stinks.

    tac
    Last edited by TFoley; 07-01-2009 at 03:27 PM.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    southern Illinois
    Posts
    93

    Default

    Seems like there are various opinions on the 3rd generation precussion Colts. I ordered a Walker from one of the catalog companies in the '90's when they were available. One of the grips did not fit right. Sent it back and the second one was perfect. Bought an 1860 Army also. Fit and finish was execllent in my opinion. Bought a Navy a while back that was NIB and it is great also. Bought an Army that had been well used and shoot it some. No problems.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Posts
    253

    Default

    My daughter just gave me an unfired Colt 1860 3rd generation, signature series, fluted cylinder, revolver for my birthday. I believe she paid about $550.00 dollars for it. It appears excellent in every way. But, I have no box or papers for it.

    She didn't pay too much for it because I'm very pleased with it. If you're not happy with something, it's not a bargain at any price.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    NW Orygun
    Posts
    777

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tailgunner View Post
    My daughter just gave me an unfired Colt 1860 3rd generation, signature series, fluted cylinder, revolver for my birthday. I believe she paid about $550.00 dollars for it. It appears excellent in every way. But, I have no box or papers for it.

    She didn't pay too much for it because I'm very pleased with it. If you're not happy with something, it's not a bargain at any price.
    You never pay to much, you just buy to soon. A little on the high side but not bad, not a lot of fluted 1860's.

    It funny to read all the internet myths about the 2nd and 3rd gen Colts. My favorite is they a made by Uberti. Uberti did supply raw barrels, cylinders and in some cases the backstraps. The remainder of the parts are from U.S. venders.

    There are a few bad examples of both 2nd and 3rd gens on the market, but that can be said of any manufacturer. They are certainly superior to any import.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •