colt revolvers in 455

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by soundguy, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    anyone know what colt revolvers were made in 455

    I've been looking for a webley .. have some 455 on hand.. every web i find is shaved..
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    Colt made New Service in 455. I think some Single Action Armys were too.

    Smith made some of their N frames in it.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    There is an interesting thing about the SAA made for .455 and .476. The .45 Colt was made with a very small rim so it would fit into a cylinder that was made on the same tooling and only a bit larger than the .44 New Model Army cylinder. But the .455/.476 has a normal size rim (.530" vs .505" for the .45 Colt). How did Colt do that?

    First, they enlarged the frame window to take a slightly (.021") larger cylinder. Then they bored the chambers at a slant (convergent), so the rounds sit a little skewed in the cylinder. Reportedly, the firing pin hits off center, but the guns work OK.

    Jim
  4. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    I think the British bought at least 75,000 .455 revolvers from Smith & Wesson in World War I. Some were Triple Locks with commercial serial numbers (".455 Hand Ejector First Model", IIRC), some were Triple Locks in a special serial number range (".455 Hand Ejector Second Model") and the bulk had the third lock and the ejector rod shroud deleted (".455 Hand Ejector Third Model").

    Colts in .455 were strictly private-purchase guns. There were quite a few of those, but nothing like 75,000, I think.

    The First and Second Model S&Ws, being Triple Locks, command high prices now. I don't think it would be any easier, or cheaper, to find a Third Model that had not been converted to 45 ACP than to find an unconverted Webley.

    Conversion to 45 Long Colt was also possible, because of the longer cylinders in the Colts and S&W. That allows .455 to still be used. (This assumes the conversion was done by machining out the chamber steps in the .455 cylinder. If the .455 cylinder was replaced by a 45 LC one, I think you're out of luck.) I used to have a Second Model that had been converted that way. I didn't shoot it much because whoever had converted it had taken a divot out of the inside of one chamber.

    I don't know what I'd look for if I wanted a .455 revolver. Just keep hunting for an unconverted Webley, I guess, preferably Mark V or VI - I believe they had slightly stronger cylinders. Mark Is are considered black powder only now, I think.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
  5. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    Wow. Those guns must command terrific prices from collectors now.
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    I think Marks I to IV are considered black powder only, with the Mk V a bit iffy.

    The conversion of a .455 S&W or Colt to .45 Colt also requires trimming a bit off the rear of the cylinder or counterboring the chambers since the .45 Colt rim is thicker than the .455 rim. That means the .455 will have excessive headspace and possibly erratic ignition if fired in a gun converted to .45 Colt. (I suppose you could do a chamber counterbore just large enough that the ,45 Colt would sit deeper but the larger .455 rim would still sit higher, but the conversions I have seen had the rear of the cylinder trimmed down slightly.)

    Jim
  7. Lanrezac

    Lanrezac Active Member

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    I may not have fired mine with .455. I found out about the chamber divot by firing it with 45 Colt. I know .455 would chamber, but I may have never fired it again.
  8. ej38

    ej38 Member

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    i have a colt "new service" canadian military .455 revolver. this is a ww1 original martial rev. mfg. 1917. ordered out of v a in 2006.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  9. ej38

    ej38 Member

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    this colt has british proof marks on the frame and barrel.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  10. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    The S&W .455 Hand Ejector production was as follows:

    808 built on converted commercial Triple Locks.(44 Hand Ejector 1st Model)
    666 went to the British Armed Services and the remaining 142 were sold commercially. Serial numbers spread out from 1104 to10,417

    5000 built on a British contract Triple Lock designated as .455 Mark II Hand Ejector 1st Model. Serials 1 to 5000. Note: there is an overlap of 63 duplicate serials with the converted models.

    69,754 built on British contract designated as .455 Mark II Hand Ejector 2nd Model. (Without the third lock.) Serial 5,001 to 74,755.

    Some of the earlier top break Model #3's were also chambered in .455 but are quite scarce and were strictly commercial guns.
  11. nmckenzie

    nmckenzie Well-Known Member

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    Have a 1938 mfg. Colt New Service in .45 Colt. Left side of barrel is marked NEW SERVICE 45 COLT, right side is marked NP 455 . 750, with 6 TONS marked below that. Broad Arrow on left upper rear of frame behind cylinder, with crown below that, W3 below that, and M below that. Serial number's in the 345XXX range. Blue finish, checkered walnut grips with rampant Colt medallions, no provision for a lanyard swivel installation. Standard Colt factory markings, patent dates etc., on upper surface of the barrel.
  12. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    Here is a S&W Triple Lock that was .455, now converted to .45 Colt. I had a later S&W HE without the ejector shroud also converted .455/.45 Colt.

    [​IMG]
  13. Redhand

    Redhand Active Member

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    I have a S&W 44 HE that is British proofed in.455. It has a single line barrel address and a single digit serial number. The only problem is that the ejector cam is broken and I can't find a replacement.:confused::D:eek:
  14. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Are you talking about a Hand Ejector (HE) or a Double Action top break?
    (I wasn't aware that Hand Ejectors had a Cam:confused:......)

    Regardless, I would be interested to see some pictures of a single digit gun at any time...
  15. Redhand

    Redhand Active Member

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    You're right Deadin, my mistake it is .44 top break. I'll try to get up some pictures later.:eek::eek::D
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