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  1. #1
    olivestab is offline Junior Member
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    Question New Service 455 ELEY markings? *PICS*

    hello,
    I am still green to the firearm world after owning my first handgun (passed down by the family) just over 2 months ago.
    however Ownership and various military related things have been part of my lifestyle since childhood,
    and i am always eager to learn new things.

    I recently obtained a New Service 455 ELEY revolver pistol.
    At first i tried to do some research online about where its from, and all i could uncover was that it was used in WW1 and for Boarder Patrol.
    (i don't even know if this is correct)

    There are some strange stamps on the gun, and i have always wondered what they mean,
    I read that they where certain stamps issued by different armies as firearms circulate through the military, but thats about all i know.

    Also, i watched a video of someone using the gun, its a 45btw, and he was very satisfied with the performance of the 100yo gun.
    However one thing he said struck me, he mentioned that it only fires "45 COLT".
    Isn't "45 COLT" just a brand?? I figure i could purchase any normal 45ammo.

    reason why I'm so concerned is because i would hate to dish out the extra bucks just because of the brand name.
    Idk about you guys, but Ammunition sold at walmarts is a STEAL! and i would hate to pass up this luxury if this gun cannot fire normal 45 ammunition.


    one last thing, my grandmother in law told me that she tried to sell the gun back (30 some odd years ago)
    and they told her they couldn't do anything with it, so she kept it in her house for defense.

    Im wondering why they would say that? i think the gun is only worth like 50-100$ -would that be the reason?


    anyways, if someone could confirm my 45 ammo question, and possibly let me know what these marking mean, i would be very grateful.

    here is the gun at full view:


    here is the gun with cylinder facing out. (if anyone notices anything wrong please inform me)


    Another view of cylinder for diagnostic purposes: (courtesy of my wife helping to hold it for me!)


    View of the guns service name:


    View of the guns markings (what to they mean)

  2. #2
    Bob Wright's Avatar
    Bob Wright is offline Senior Member
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    O.K. Your gun is chambered for the .455 Eley, or .455 Mk. VI cartridge, not the .45 Colt cartridge. The .455 British cartridge is much shorter than the American .45 Colt round. All of the markings indicate that it was a revolver purchased by England during World War I. The marks you show are all British acceptance marks or approval by different agencies. There is, or was, a book telling the full story of British proof marks.

    I don't know where you live, but .455 caliber cartridges, usually found under the name .455 Webley, are very hard to find, usually available only through specialty dealers.

    I once had such a New Service that had been issued to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, also in .455 Eley caliber. However, my gun had been reworked to accept .45 Colt cartridges, a fairly simple conversion. There is a slight difference in bore diameters, but not enough to make any practical difference.

    As to value as is, probably closer to the $400~$600 range at the very least.

    Hope this helps.

    Bob Wright

    P.S. .45 Colt is the actual designation of a specific cartridge, and there are several, not all interchangable. The brand name would be Remington, Winchester, Federal, or something like that. As to .45 cartridges, the more readily available are .45 Colt, .45 ACP (.45 Automatic), or in some cases .45 Smith & Wesson. The .45 S&W is also called the .45 Schofield now by Cowboy Action Shooters. They are not interchangable.
    Last edited by Bob Wright; 04-15-2012 at 09:37 PM. Reason: After thought

  3. #3
    berettabone is offline Banned
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    It's a piece of history.....but....is it just me, or does that cylinder look a little thin to be shooting a larger caliber???????

  4. #4
    berettabone is offline Banned
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    Oh, by the way, nice job BOB..........

  5. #5
    bruce333's Avatar
    bruce333 is offline HGF Forum Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by berettabone View Post
    It's a piece of history.....but....is it just me, or does that cylinder look a little thin to be shooting a larger caliber???????
    Large caliber, low pressure.

    from another web site: Standard-pressure .45 ACP is 21000 PSI while the pressure of .455 Webley is 12600 PSI
    Bruce, Life Member: NRA, NCRPA, GRNC, GOA

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  6. #6
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berettabone View Post
    It's a piece of history.....but....is it just me, or does that cylinder look a little thin to be shooting a larger caliber???????
    While the cylinder walls of the New Service seem thin by today's standards, they are still thicker than the old Colt Single Action Army. Incidentally, when the U.S. Army adopted the M1909 Colt the M1909 cartridges had rims of such diameter that they could not be loaded in ajacent chambers in the Single Action. Only the M1909 could load six cartridges.

    Bob Wright

  7. #7
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Meanings of markings in your first photo (from left to right):
    1. "Not English Make" —self-explanatory, since the gun was imported into England from the US. The gun has passed English proof firing.
    2. These are the "broad arrows" that denote British Government ownership.
    3. These "V" markings are, I believe, Colt's own proof marks.
    4. A British smokeless-powder proof mark, I think.
    5. A British military inspection-and-acceptance mark, I believe.
    6. The Colt's company logo.
    7. Another "broad arrow," plus some sort of inspectors' marks.
    8. (the tiny, square picture) This is a final black-powder proof, from the Birmingham proof house in Great Britain.
    9. "BV" = Birmingham proof house's inspection mark. "BP" = Another black-powder proof from Birmingham. "NP" = Semi-smokeless, and also smokeless, powder proof from the Birmingham proof house.

    Note: In those days, guns to be proved were first fired with black powder loads, and, if they passed that test, only then were they fired with semi-smokeless or smokeless ("nitro-powder"—NP) ammunition.

  8. #8
    olivestab is offline Junior Member
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    THANK YOU BOB
    you have been extremely helpful.


    After a few reads i decided
    "all right then my gun cannot fire 45 ACP, it takes LONG COLT"
    I woke up today and read up on the forum to realize that my gun cannot take LONG COLT at all, only .455. (I'm ok with that though)

    Weather or not the gun is worth 50 or 1000, it was passed down to me in the family, i wouldn't want to sell this beauty, besides my wife would shoot me with it before i tried lol!

    As far as the alterations go:
    1. i dont trust modifications on "ANYTHING" I've learned this the hard way with cars, technology, all sorts. Basic is better, use it the way its supposed to be use is my personal motto, and life will be light and easy.

    2. i love culture, i will preserve history if it is in my power to do so, and in this case, this is my revolver, and i will not alter or modify any parts.


    As for my use of the gun:
    I have not fired this gun yet, but i want to just to make sure it works.
    Once i establish this, i want a nice backup stock of some .455, and i want it stored away, never to come out unless **** hits and i can pack some heat.

    Im a survivalists, and even though i wouldn't rely on this revolver, i want it ready.
    I appreciate the help with this revolver, i hope i can purchase some .455 and fire it through to make sure everything is checked and maintained, you guys helped me allot, if it weren't for this thread i might have just fired a normal 45 round at the range!

    im assuming i can order .455 online no?

  9. #9
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    O.K. here's two quick tests you can do to see if you gun will fire:

    First, make sure the gun is empty. Swing out the cylinder and look. I know you've been handling the gun, and have no ammunition, but develop the habit of checking the gun for cartridges every time you pick up the gun after it has left your possession. EVERY TIME!

    Now, with the cylinder closed, slowly cock the hammer. Then try to rotate the cylinder by hand. If everythings O.K. only a slight movement will occur. If you can rotate it into the locked position, you will hear and feel a click, your gun is not locking up.

    If this checks out O.K. leaving the hammer cocked, hold the gun muzzle up near vertical and drop a wooden pencil eraser first down the barrel until the eraser contacts the breech face. Now squeeze the trigger. The pencil should shoot straight up out of the barrel. The firing pin has driven it out, so will fire a cartridge. Open the cylinder and fire the gun again and hold the trigger back.
    Look at the firing pin projecting from the breech face. It should be smoothly rounded with not jagged or sharp surfaces. If all is well after this, the gun will fire.

    Bob Wright
    Last edited by Bob Wright; 04-16-2012 at 08:21 PM. Reason: Poor punctuation

  10. #10
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    AND furthermore: There is no such thing as a "normal 45" round. It will either be .45 Colt, .45 ACP, .45 AutoRim, or .45 Something. Again you will want .455 Eley or .455 Webley

    Bob Wright

  11. #11
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by olivestab View Post
    As far as the alterations go:
    1. i dont trust modifications on "ANYTHING" I've learned this the hard way with cars, technology, all sorts. Basic is better, use it the way its supposed to be use is my personal motto, and life will be light and easy.
    Well, I won't try to dissuade you, but my own experience has been to the contrary. The Ruger Blackhawk .44 Special I carry daily was once a .357 Magnum, with aluminum grip frame. It is now an all steel revolver. My own New Service was a .455 converted to .45 Colt converted to .44 Special.

    All of my Ruger Super Blackhawks have had their hammers replaced with standard Blackhawk hammers. And, most of my Blackhawks have Super Blackhawk grip frames.

    My Colt Single Action Army sports a brass Colt Navy backstrap, a Smith & Wesson Rear sight, and a Ruger front sight.

    My Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum came with a six inch standard barrel, now sports a five inch full lug barrel.

    All of my guns have had in excess of 5,000 rounds fired through them, some nearer to 20,000 rounds fired, with very little or no trouble. Only the Colt SAA has ever given me any problem.

    As to the Ruger .44 Special, I carry it daily, so in effect, I'm staking my life on it.

    Bob Wright

  12. #12
    olivestab is offline Junior Member
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    What an interesting test to see if it will fire.
    I have handled and checked the cylinder, my father in law knows it will shoot, but i gotta try out that pencil trick.
    thanks for the advice, when i get a chance to shoot it (and it won't be soon) i will post an update. (or maybe vid?)

  13. #13
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    olivestab:

    I found some .455 Webley ammunition, made by Fiocchi of Italy, at [url=http://www.sportsmansguide.com] It has the 262 gr. lead bullet, which, so far as I know, is all that is curently available.

    Bob Wright

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