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 Wheelgun Chronicles
 Colt New Service 1917
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Olddog84
Senior Member

USA
610 Posts

Posted - September 10 2018 :  09:31:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I found a weird one the other day and picked it up. It is a Colt NS 1917 that someone extensively modified in the past into their idea of a perfect carry piece. The barrel has been removed completely and a new 3.5" barrel installed: this barrel is an absolute beast, though. It is a bull barrel that is extremely thick: the barrel wall at the muzzle is easily 3X as thick as a normal NS barrel. On top a ramp has been welded and a blade front sight inset into the ramp: the blade seems to made from solid brass, as it is shiny and shows up somewhat like a gold bead. I replaced the hacked and bashed on Python grips that came with it with stag New Service grips and an adapter. Overall it makes for one wicked looking big bore carry gun. I will say that whoever designed the NS must have mammoth hands: I have big hands but even with minimalist grips and the adapter the double action trigger is barely manageable for me. I don't see how someone with average hands could handle it. Has anyone seen anything else like this in the past? I would love to know who did the mods and who owned this thing in the past, I bet it could tell some stories!
Mike

"Somebody Tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." Malcolm Reynolds

gw
Advanced Member

4385 Posts

Posted - September 10 2018 :  10:47:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
the Colt NS was designed to be thumb cocked, da was for close range emergency work

if you remove the grip adaptor, the original grip shape moves the hand up into the grip and positions the thumb higher for thumb cocking.

they fit good for single action fire, but I really can't handle one double action

early NS like the 1909 .45 Colt did not have a tappered barrel, if yours is indeed a 1917 maybe it was an early one fitted with a non tappered barrel.

then later on someone cut it back to 3.5 inches

not seeing it, I can't say

but if it was rebarreled it might not have been stamped

if the original Colt stamps, government acceptance stamps, etc. are present that might be a clue the barrel is original.

large frame Colts were modified into guns like the Fitz Special, not unusual to see one chopped on.

depending on who and why it might be worth money, if you ever find out


"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."

Edited by - gw on September 10 2018 2:09:33 PM
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Olddog84
Senior Member

USA
610 Posts

Posted - September 10 2018 :  1:04:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
gw, agree on most front. I always thought the ergonomics on the old DA guns were pretty bad, but once I had a few, I actually found that for me they worked, IF I fired from the hip...they seemed to point OK that way: maybe that was intentional. I have a NS in 45 colt made in 1908 that has the straight non-tapered barrel, a 44 special NS made in 1914, if memory serves, and an original 1917 with the tapered barrel and I can tell you the barrel in this one does not resemble any of the others: it is void of any markings at all and has a different profile than any of the others. If I can post pics (have to review forum rules) I will do so. Just intriguing. If you read period stuff by Keith, Skelton, etc. there were many people who advocated using 1917's and hand loading 45 AR cases to make a kind of inexpensive magnum, not that I would do so or advocate doing so, but it must have been fairly common at one point.
Mike
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gw
Advanced Member

4385 Posts

Posted - September 10 2018 :  1:21:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've had a couple NS that were modified

both mine were 1917s that were rechambered, polished, andor reblued

guess it was common back in the 50s before anyone thought about collectors value

just some more surplus old guns

I wonder how many blackpowder Colts were melted down in WWII scrap drives.....

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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ironhead7544
Starting Member

USA
47 Posts

Posted - September 12 2018 :  07:48:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The 1917 Colts and S&W revolvers once sold for very low prices. Many were customized in a lot of different ways.

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gw
Advanced Member

4385 Posts

Posted - September 12 2018 :  08:33:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
you could buy that stuff mail order from Bannermans Castle out in the Hudson river

Numrich bought up most of what was left

Bannermans was a gold mine of military surplus, you won't see anything like it again.

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not..."
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Olddog84
Senior Member

USA
610 Posts

Posted - September 12 2018 :  12:54:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Those golden days are gone forever!

"Somebody Tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." Malcolm Reynolds
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Jim Higginbotham
Moderator

USA
9681 Posts

Posted - September 13 2018 :  08:14:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
GW is right about how they were intended to be shot in the old days, a couple of police training books refer to this.

But I'm basically a DA guy when it comes to self defense shooting (I do see the rare occasion when one might cock the gun for the rare long range shot - though I have some DA guns I'd stick with DA even for that).

That 3.5" gun sounds pretty neat!

I had a New Service back in the late 70s but I found I could not shoot it as well as an N-frame. It had a really heavy trigger and I did not try to tune it. I traded it off for an 8 3/8" Model 29 S&W.

A few years back I found another one, a 5.5" .45 Colt. It has a really smooth (if sorta heavy) DA trigger. I kept the factory stocks and put on a Tyler T-grip and I can hit with it. I'll leave that one alone - and not lose my mind and trade it off!

Still, Colts are neat to own but I'd rather shoot and tinker with S&W actions. One of these days I'm going to fool with a GP-100 but so far I've only tuned one and it was decades ago.

Jim H.

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Russ Larges
Moderator

USA
2311 Posts

Posted - September 13 2018 :  09:34:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I too, had a new service back in the day. It was military issue .45acp. and I had smith adjustable sights put on it, but I could never zero it right as the front sight put on it was not high enough. Traded it off for something I really needed, don't remember what, that I don't have anymore.
Russ

The pistol, learn it well, carry it allways. Jeff Cooper
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