Mixed Numbers U.S. Marked "DFC" Inspected Colt Model 1873 Revolver Altered to Belly Gun

.45 Colt. 2" barrel length. SN: 84150. Nickel finish, smooth one-piece oil finished walnut grip. Nickel finish obscures most frame markings with traces of the "three date in three line" mark visible and part of the "U.S" surcharge visible as well. Frame serial number "84150", triggerguard and butt numbered "110998", cylinder with weak traces of a number that appears to read "?150", possibly the last four digits of the frame serial number. Cylinder with weak "DFC" (David F Clark) inspection and traces of a very weak "DFC" appear to be present on the frame as well. No traces of sub-inspection marks could be found on the backstrap or barrel, which also shows no sign of a "P" proof. The one-piece walnut grip is carved with the initials "JR" and has two hash marks on the reverse, as well as with the profile of a man's face. Two additional hash marks and traces of initials are present on the obverse grip and more weak markings are present on the butt. Mr. Ness notes that the revolver was purchased from a dealer who acquired it on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The presence of the nickel plating suggested to Mr. Ness that this may be a "Indian Scout Gun", one of the theories proposed in Graham, Kopec & Moore's A Study of the Colt Single Action Army Revolver, regarding the existence of some nickel plated U.S. marked Single Action Army revolvers. While the remaining nickel plating on this gun is very old and almost certainly from the period of use, it was clearly applied over the markings in such a way as to partially obscure them, indicating that it is not a factory nickel finish. The mixed numbers suggest a Colt "Artillery" Model, but the lack of sub-inspections on other parts indicate that this is unlikely. More likely the gun was built up from two or more Single Action Army Revolvers during the period of use, utilizing the DFC inspected frame and cylinder and parts from at least one other gun. The overall appearance suggests that this is a real, Old West period "belly gun" but when, how and by whom it was assembled is unclear. The fact that the gun was acquired on the Pine Ridge Reservation certainly makes it a very intriguing piece and suggests that it was used by Native Americans for at least part of its working life.

Provenance:The Collection of Larry Ness


Fair to good. Retains some of the period applied nickel finish with the balance of the nickel flaked leaving the exposed metal dark and heavily oxidized. Markings weak. Mechanically functional but needs attention as the hammer only clicks three times rather than four when being cocked and will not hold in the full cock notch. However, it will "fire" from the half-cock notch. Mainspring is replaced and cylinder will only index correctly if the hammer is pulled fully to the rear. The bore of the revolver is poor with visible rifling and moderate pitting. Grip with moderate wear, not numbered on the interior and missing some small chips and showing numerous bumps, dings and mars.

Estimate: $1,500 - $3,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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