This is a rare and fine condition Colt US Model 1909 Revolver in .45 Long Colt (modified).
Only about 19,000 of these were made and almost all of those went straight to the Philippines and few survived in any condition, let alone with as much original bluing as this one retains. The Model 1909 was an "emergency" attempt to provide a double action .45 caliber side arm to US Army forces in the Philippines to fight the Moros in the Southern Philippine islands. Prior to the Model 1909, the US Army’s standard sidearms were .38 caliber, which had very little effect on attacking fanatical Islamist Moros, who were often drugged up.
In response to a call from the field for a larger caliber weapon, the Army brought out old Model 1873 Revolvers in .45 Long Colt as a stop gap measure until the Model 1909 was fielded. This Model 1909 is serial number 45556, and it is all matching with the serial number on the frame, crane, cylinder release latch, both grips and butt.
Although the new Colt 1909 was designed around the original Model 1873 .45 Long Colt round, Colt modified the cylinder for the new Model 1909 design. Since the cylinder was slightly larger than the early Model 1873, the gap between the edge of a loaded cartridge and the extractor edge of the star extractor was slightly wider on the Model 1909 than on the Model 1873. While the older Model 1873 .45 Long Colt rounds could still be used in the Model 1909, the star extractor could sometimes bind on the edge of a Model 1873 .45 Long Colt round. To remedy this, Colt changed the Model 1873 .45 Long Colt round slightly by extending the total diameter of the rim of the case. This modification allowed the round to seat cleanly over the star extractor and minimized extraction problems. Once the design of the new round was finalized, the Model 1909 ammunition was manufactured at Frankford Arsenal, which was the only arsenal ever to make the Model 1909 .45 Long Colt (Modified) round.
The Cylinder retains 90%+ of the blue finish and has the "RAC" inspector mark on the rear cylinder face, which stands for Rinaldo A. Carr, who is the famous Colt inspector of the Model 1873 Models. Wear is generally on the front edges, but there is considerable bright blue finish in the scalloped portions of all cylinders. The cylinder chambers still retain considerable original blued finish and are very clean. The Star Extractor is remarkably clean, and the extractor spring is still very strong. The extractor works perfectly.
The Barrel is marked "COLT D.A. 45" on the left side and on top it has the Colt Patent information, “COLT’S PT F.A. MFG CO. HARTFORD CT USA. / PAT’D AUG 5 1884 JUNE 5 1900 JULY 4 1904.” The bottom of the barrel is marked "UNITED STATES PROPERTY," and Rinaldo Carr’s serif "RAC" inspection stamp. Just to the left of the “RAC” stamp is a serif “P” firing proof stamp. The Barrel retains about 60% of the blued finish with wear along the left and right side and around the muzzle. The bore is, however, very clean with strong rifling and with only minor frosting in the grooves.
The Frame has a very clear Rampant Colt and stylized Colt “C” on the left side. The right side of the Frame has the inspection initials of Rinaldo Carr ("RAC") as well as the Army acceptance stamp, which consists of the stylized initials “WGP” in a circle, which is the inspection stamp of Walter G. Penfield, who inspected and approved Model 1909s from serial number 42,801 to 49,503. The Frame retains 80%+ of the blue finish with scratches but the finish still retains its bright polished blue. The Cylinder Latch has the last 4 matching numbers “5556” on the thumb side and retains 95% of the blue finish. On the face of the latch is the serif “K” inspection stamp. On the inside of the frame, hidden by the right grip panel, is an old electro-penciled name of a former owner. It does not detract from the revolver in any way as it is completed concealed when the revolver is assembled.
The inside of the Frame has the matching serial number “45556” over a sans serif “E” stamp. On the corresponding part of the crane is the matching serial number “45556” and a serif “K” inspection stamp. The interior portions of the frame in the cylinder recess still retain the majority of the original blued finish.
The Hammer remains correctly in the white on the sides and there is still considerable original fire blue finish on the top and bottom edges of the outer surface of the hammer. The thumb checkering is still very strong with minimal wear. The Main Spring remains in the white in fine condition and is still very strong. The sides of the Trigger still retain considerable original fire blue. The balance of the Trigger retains a pewter and plum patina.
The Butt is marked "US/ARMY/MODEL/1909/No/45/556" and has the original lanyard loop present. The loop still rotates freely. The original Model 1909 walnut grips are present, and both are inspector marked "RAC" on the bottom. Both panels remain tight to the frame when installed. The matching serial number “45556” is written on the inside of each panel in the original pencil. The brass bushing is slightly pushed through the back of the left panel, but it is not visible from the front and there are no other cracks or chips noted. The front and back grip strap finish is starting to turn a plum brown and pewter color.
This Colt Model 1909 still locks up tight in battery. The cylinder release is smooth, and the cylinder rotates smoothly in single action and double action mode. The trigger release is still crisp in single action mode.
This is a very rare Colt revolver with a unique history fighting the Moros in the Philippines and is in incredible condition given that service. Of the 19,503 Model 1909 Army Revolvers manufactured from 1909-1911, 19,153 of them went straight to the Philippines, often straight from the Colt plant in Hartford without going through a stateside arsenal. Such was the urgent need for these large caliber weapons. Of those manufactured, the vast majority were left in the Philippines so the Colt Model 1909 Army Revolver is a very rare weapon.
This revolver still functions perfectly.