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Colt US Model 1894 Revolver w/ Holster

This is a US Model 1894 Army Service Revolver.  Serial number is in the 61,000 range, making it in the 1st contract of 3,000 Model 94's delivered to the US Gov't in April 1895.  Caliber is .38 Colt with standard 6" barrel, wood grips, and blued finish.  Frame is RAC inspected "Ronaldo A. Carr" who also inspected the last Single Action Army Revolvers shipped to the US Gov't.  The cartouches are all but worn off on the grips but if you look very carefully, you can see the faint outcropping of the cartouche at the bottom of the left grip (see photo).  Comes with an original service holster made by Rock Island Arsenal and a copy of the service manual issued by the US Ordnance Dept.

As many of you know, most of these early 1894 Models were upgraded to the Model 1901.  This one managed to escape all the modifications and improvements which means it never had a lanyard installed and still has all matching numbers including the barrel with the early 1884 and 1888 patent dates intact.  These revolvers served in cavalry units in the American West, the Spanish American War, Philippines, and the Chinese Boxer Rebellion.  When the US entered WW1 in 1917, the Army contracted with Colt to have approx. 19,500 of its DA revolvers (Models 1892 through 1903) repaired and refinished.  Unfortunately, Colt was too busy building 1911 Autos to perform extra work so the contract was awarded to Remington Arms-UMC which carried out the work at their Bridgeport plant in 1918.  In Robert Best's book, A Study of Colt's New Army and Navy Pattern DA Revolvers 1889-1908, the author points out that these revolvers were not upgraded, simply refinshed and repaired if necessary.  The Ordnance dept assigned Captain Leroy E. Briggs to inspect the work until August 1918.   If you look closely on the left side of the frame, you will see Captain Briggs' inspection mark, "LEB" just above the left grip panel.  Interestingly enough, nearly all of the revolvers refurbished in this contract were sent to the US Navy.  Mr. Best notes that no Navy property stamps or inspector markings were applied.  However, we did notice that the words "Army" and "Model" were purposely removed with a file from the bottom strap where it normally reads:

ARMY (removed)
MODEL (removed)
XXX (serial number)

Given the rivalry between the Army and Navy, there is little doubt that this was done by the Navy during WW1.  See photo.  That said, it's interesting to know that despite being obsolete, this old Colt Revolver was still serving its country in World War One.  Indeed, some of these made it to Great Britain circa 1939-40 to help the British defend their islands from the Nazis.

Overall condition grades to Fine with 35-40% of its original finish with the balance turned to smooth brown patina.  The edges and markings are so crisp and sharp on this revolver, that I question whether it was refinished by Remington but simply inspected by Briggs and accepted.  You can still see good traces on the trigger and back of the hammer.  Grips show plenty of wear but are solid with no chips, cracks, or repairs.  Holster is in Good condition with its original brass lanyard ring intact.  Nice mechanics and a Fine bore..

Item# 1311




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