This is a very nice Colt U.S. Army Model 1901 .38 Caliber Revolver that was manufactured in 1901. This particular Colt revolver comes an original Mills web belt and brown leather holster.
The original of the design was designated the Model 1892 Revolver and was a double-action, swing out cylinder, .38 Caliber Long Colt Revolver. The New Army/Navy was, in fact, the first issue double-action cartridge revolver issued to the U.S. Army and it officially replaced the Colt Model 1873 .45 Long Colt Single Action Army Revolver. The Colt New Army/Navy Model Revolver was primarily produced for the U.S. Government, but it also was purchased in limited numbers by the Argentine government, Wells Fargo & Company, some police departments in the United States and even for individual sale (Frederic Remington and Theodore Roosevelt both had private purchase Colt New Army Revolvers). This particular Revolver is a US Army issued revolver. The Colt New Army and Navy Models were improved several times over the years and, with each improvement, Colt would change the Model Number.
Generally, there are considered six models. The first, the Model 1892, is often referred to as the "Basic Model." The next major change occurred in 1894 with the addition of hammer and trigger locks (generally referred to as the Felton Lock for designer Frederick Felton - it prevented the revolver from being fired if the cylinder was not fully closed and secured into the frame). Several thousand Model 1892 Revolvers were sent back to the Colt Factory and were altered to incorporate these new changes.
The Model 1895 and 1896 Revolvers had insignificant mechanical modifications, but the barrel marking was changed to reflect the new patent date and the Model change. The Model 1901 incorporated the butt swivel for a lanyard and later production Model 1901 Revolvers received the improved 1903 grips.
The Colt New Army and New Navy Model Revolvers had a relatively short service life, which generally runs from 1892 until adoption of the Colt Model 1909 Revolver in .45 Long Colt (Modified). The Colt New Army Revolver, although a relatively sophisticated double-action, swing out cylinder design, for the time period, was woefully underpowered. As the Army and Marine Corp's issued sidearm during the Spanish American War and, later, during the Philippine Insurrection and fighting in the southern Philippine Islands against the fanatical Muslim Moros, the .38 Caliber Colt round simply did not have the stopping power needed, which led the Ordnance Department to resurrect the old .45 Long Colt until the new Colt 1911 chambered for the .45 ACP round was formally adopted and issued.
Nevertheless, the New Army was the issue sidearm for US troops during the end of the Indian War period and during the whole of the Spanish American War. It remained in service during the Philippine Insurrection even after introduction of the Colt Model 1909 Revolver and even saw service during WWI in the hands of some soldiers and officers who had been issued the weapon years before and liked the lighter weight as compared to the Colt 1911 or the Colt Model 1917 Revolver.
The standard military model was .38 Caliber Long Colt and had a 6" barrel. The top of the barrel on this Colt is marked "COLT's PT. F. A. MFG. CO. HARTFORD CT. U.S.A./ PATENTED AUG.5.1884 NOV.6.88 MAR.5.95." The left side of the barrel is marked "COLT. D.A. 38" and the barrel retains 50% plus of the high gloss blued fish with wear noted at the muzzle and small scratches on the surface and the balance exhibiting a plum patina. The bottom of the barrel has the final inspection, serif “R.A.C.” Rinaldo Carr stamp. The bore has a mirror finish with strong rifling still present. The original half-round front sight post is present and retains nearly all of its blued finish.
The Revolver has all matching numbers to including matching number on the Frame "9782," with "B" assembly stamp and the Crane is matching with "9782," and a serif "K" assembly stamp. The left side of the frame has the final inspection marks "R.A.C.," which stands for Rinaldo A. Carr, who was the Ordnance Officer assigned to Colt Firearms. The Frame retains 90% of its high gloss, dark blue finish with numerous surface scratches and minor dings and small, isolated areas of old corrosion and plum patina. The Frame Screws on the right side remain unmarred and retain their original bright blue niter finish.
The Back Strap retains 40% of its original blue finish that is now exhibiting a mixed plum and pewter color. The Front Grip Strap retains 95% of its blued finish and has minor dings and the trigger spring adjustment screw slot is unmarred. The bottom of the Frame, to include the Trigger Bow, still retains the majority of its high gloss blued finish with wear noted on the high points. The Cylinder Release Latch is matching to the Revolver with "9782" and the assembly mark "K" on the front face and it retains 95% of its original high gloss blued finish with wear on the checkered release portion.
The Cylinder retains 95% of its high gloss blued finish with minimal wear, which includes the normal cylinder turn mark along the circumference of the cylinder. There are only a few areas of old corrosion and patina staining on the cylinder. The Cylinder chambers are all very clean. The Star Extractor works perfectly and is very clean and in the white. The face of the Cylinder is interesting because it has two final inspector's initials "R.A.C.," stamps. The Star Extractor still shows its case-hardened finish on the extractor rod. The Cylinder turns smoothly and locks up tight when in battery. The interior surfaces of the Frame inside the Cylinder well are very clean with minimal wear noted.
The sides of the Hammer are still correctly polished and in the white with a few small areas of old corrosion, and the top portions still retains considerable original bright niter blued finish. The integral firing pin is intact, and the Hammer operates smoothly in both single- and double-action mode.
The Trigger retains 90% of its original bright niter blue finish on the sides and the Trigger pull is smooth in both single- and double-action mode and hammer release is still crisp in single-action mode after 120 years.
Both original Grip Panels, which are black walnut, are present. Both Grip Panels have the correct and original matching penciled serial number “9782” on the interior face. The left panel has a small chip at the bottom, front portion and a small sliver missing at the bottom, rear portion. The bottom of both panels also has the correct serif “R.A.C.” inspection stamp. The original Grip Panel Screw is present and both panels secure tightly to the frame.
The bottom of the grip frame has the standard Ordnance markings, "U.S./ARMY/MODEL/1901/No. /169/782," and it retains 95% of its blued finish. The original lanyard ring is present, and it still rotates easily.
This Colt U.S. Model 1901 Revolver also comes with an original webbing rig. This includes an original khaki Lanyard cord. The lanyard hook has a patent date stamp, “PAT.FEB.-20-17.”
In addition, included is a very scarce Model 1887 Cavalry Cartridge Belt. This belt is khaki webbed and has 45 loops for .38 caliber revolver ammunition. The belt has the rare squared brass Mills “US” in an oval buckle that is marked on the back, “ANSON MILLS PAT. FEB. 1,81,” indicating an 1881 patent date. The buckle attachment is also present. The belt has hangers for a saber. There are 41 original Colt .38 rounds in the 45 loops and the rounds are of different manufacturers, including Frankford Arsenal 1905 dated ammunition, United Metallic Cartridge Company, and Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
On the belt is an original and scarce regulation .38 Caliber Revolver Holster, Fifth Type, manufactured by the Rock Island Arsenal in 1909. This holster is in its original Russet color and is marked on the back “ROCK ISLAND/ ARSENAL / 1909 / T.C.C.” The flap has the oval with serif “US” embossed on the flap. The original brass closure stud is present. The original Ring and Stud on the bottom of present and remains tightly stitched. The water drain hole is unobstructed. All of the original stitching remains and is tight. There is crazing to the leather but it is in remarkable condition overall.
This is a very nice Colt Model 1901 .38 Revolver in its configuration for use in the Philippines during the insurrections prior to WWI. This revolver still functions perfectly.