This is a nice example of the Colt New Army Revolver. It is in overall NRA Antique Fine+ to Excellent condition with 90% bright Colt finish remaining. Some of the screws, the trigger, and back of the hammer still retain most of their original vibrant fire blue. RAC (Ronaldo A. Carr) Gov't Inspector Markings are found on various parts of this gun as well as L.E.B slightly above the left grip. Like many of these early Colt DA's issued to the Army, most were sent back to Colt for improvements so this one is marked US ARMY Model 1901 although the Serial number is in the 63,000 range which makes this a pre-1898 antique. Walnut grips are in very good condition with "RAC" inspector markings on the bottom of each grip next to the bottomstrap. All markings are crisp and sharp. Original lanyard ring is intact. Bore is excellent. A very fine example of an early double action military revolver. During the past several years, these early New Army DA's have been one of the few affordable 19th century miltary Colt Models left in the market but they are beginning to rise.
The United States Army bought these new Colt .38 Caliber Double Action Revolvers with the intention of replacing the Colt Single Action Army. After all, back in the early 1890's, this was a state of the art double action design that allowed the trigger to automatcally cock the hammer instead of the two step operation of manually cocking the hammer and pulling the trigger with the single action. The DA would become the grandfather to all modern double action revolvers which are still being made today. The other major improvement was the swing-out cylinder that allowed for fast loading in addition to allowing the frame and barrel to remain in one piece greatly strengthening the design. While the action and design of the DA was a dramatic improvement over the old venerable SAA, the US Army learned the hard way that the .38 Caliber ammunition wasn't. The anemic .38 Colt Cartridge was vastly inferior to the .45 and it cost a lot of American lives during the Moro Uprisings in the Phillipines at the turn of the 20th century. There are accounts where even 6 direct hits fired from a Colt DA was not always a guarantee it could stop the ferocity of a bolo-wielding Moro Warrior in time as he charged an American officer.... Due to the problems with the 38, the SAA and 1878 DA in .45 Colt were issued to the troops stationed in the Phillipines along with 1897 Winchester Riot Shotguns.