.45 Colt. 7.5" barrel. SN: 5387. Manufactured in 1874. Relic condition with no finish, no grips and frozen action. No visible barrel address, weak serial numbers appear to match on frame and triggerguard, with no visible numbers on butt or cylinder. Ejector housing could not be removed for inspection of barrel due to relic condition. Frame with still legible, correct style two-date in two-line patent information and small "U.S." marking. Revolver appears to be in its original, "as issued" configuration, with the exception of a period modified front sight that includes a small copper blade. Revolver's action is frozen, chambers are fully loaded and the mainspring is broken. There are a significant number of pry and tool marks on the frame near the loading gate, as if someone had used a knife to try to pry the gate open. Possibly when the mainspring broke the user was hoping to retrieve the cartridges from the cylinder chambers and since the hammer was cocked, the loading gate would not open. This is pure conjecture, but the obvious damage makes it clear why the revolver was discarded to be found at some point in time many years later. According to research published by Kopec & Fenn, this revolver's serial number falls in the range of Lot Five that was delivered to the U.S. military with guns numbered from #4500 to #5504. According to their research, 600 of those guns were issued to Custer's 7th Cavalry, slightly more than half of the total delivery. Mr. Ness' notes regarding the gun additionally mention that he feels the gun is associated with Troop M which was under Marcus Reno's command at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. He references Single Action #5337 which is in the range of Reno issued Model 1873 revolvers, and further notes indicate that at least 6 guns in the 5100 range have direct Little Bighorn association. Very few 7th Cavalry single action serial numbers are found in the Springfield Research Service serial number books, but they do list #5637 as having been lost by the 7th in November of 1875. Other guns close to this one listed in the books included #5360 issued to G troop of the 3rd Cavalry and #5542 which was stolen by a deserter from H troop of the 2nd Cavalry on April 5, 1878. A really interesting, untouched relic condition Colt single action in a prime serial number range to have seen use at the Little Bighorn, which was clearly discarded for a catastrophic failure in the heat of battle.
Due to the fact that this gun is loaded with live ammunition it cannot be shipped and must be picked up in person.
Provenance:The Collection of Larry Ness
Relic condition, thickly rusted and heavily pitted with most marking obscured. Action frozen, fully loaded chamber, grips missing, ejector rod head missing, front sight with period modification performed prior to loss.
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