First of all, I'm a newbie here, so I apologize if this is the wrong forum... this seemed like the closest thing to what I'm looking for, so if I've chosen poorly, I hope that a moderator will move this post to the proper section.
In any case, when my grandfather died last year, he left this gun to us. It belonged to his father, who worked for the railroad, as a Bull, bouncing hobos and such.
I don't know anything about it, though... how old it is, whether ammo is still made for it (or whether it would be safe to shoot... I probably wouldn't try), whether its an army model or whether it's a common model, etc.
There aren't many identifying marks. Let me know if any of you can pass along any bits of information Thanks!
Obviously, it could use some oil and TLC. It's been sitting in a Montana basement for 50 years, I imagine.
Yes, you're right... it does look like an 1878 model. This one has a longer barrel than the ones I've seen in photos. It's a .45, if I didn't mention it.
If it doesn't say "Colt's Patent Firearms" on it somewhere, it could even be a Spanish-made copy of the Colt's 1878 Double-Action Frontier Model. Look very closely, especially on its barrel.
In any case, it has good collectors' value, particularly because you have direct provenance on the original owner.
I suggest strongly against shooting it, not only because of its collectors' value, but also because its mechanism was notorious for getting out-of-time and self-destructing. Repair parts will be very hard to find.
Do not even harbor the thought of "polishing it up" or refinishing it. Doing that will destroy its value.
It may not be very clear in the photo, but it says on the bottom of the barrel :
"Colt's PT. F. A. MFG Co. Hartford CT USA"
I took that to mean Colt's Patented Fire Arms Manufacturing. That seem right to you?
Thanks again... oh, and thanks for the advice about not polishing it up. I've been considering it. What should I do to stop further damage? A little oil?
OK, it's a genuine Colt.
Somewhere nearby it might say something like "Frontier Model," which would indicate that it's .44-40, or ".45," or "US Government Ctg.," or something like that, telling you that it's .45 "Long" Colt.
It could also be .38-40.
Keep it covered, inside and out, with a very thin coating of good-quality gun oil. If there are visible rust spots, rub them out with nothing more abrasive than a small chunk of soft balsa wood (from a hobby shop) and a little oil. Every time it gets handled, wipe it down with a slightly oily rag.
For almost set-and-forget rust proofing, you could spray it with a coat of Boeshield (from Brownells).
Thanks Steve, much appreciated.