Colt Artillery model .45 caliber single action revolver. Serial #119033, manufactured in 1887. As stated in a Letter of Authenticity from Colt expert, author, historian and collector John A Kopec: "We have today examined your Colt Artillery model revolver #119033 for the purpose of an authentication. This revolver was a new listing to our survey and falls between #117780 (an Artillery Mdl.) and #119043 (also an Artillery Mdl.) in this survey. This revolver represents the lowest recorded serial number we have to date observed from the John G Butler (1887) Ordnance inspected series.
Historically, we could find no direct listing of this revolver's serial number in the National Archives records available to us. There are no recorded Cavalry issues within the early 119000 serial number range, and a good percentage of these which are recorded were issued to the Post Office Department. The fact that your revolver was made into the Artillery configuration would indicate that it did see service during the Spanish American War era.
Your revolver #119033 would be classified as a "Springfield Alteration". A good majority of these revolvers while still in brand new condition were taken from storage at the Arsenal, barrels were removed and shortened to the 5 1/2" length, then refitted to these revolvers while no attention was paid to keeping the serial numbers matched. Hence your revolver has all matching original numbers, with only the barrel being mismatched. (See page 120 of "A Continuing Study).
The left grip cartouche has purposefully been obliterated and should have had the un-circled JGB Ordinance Inspector's initials under the year-date 1887 on this panel. The right panel bears the faint DFC Ordnance Sub-Inspector's cartouche.
It is important to realize that this revolver bears its original (as manufactured in 1887) finish. It was not refinished when its barrel was shortened at the arsenal, the barrel only sustained an arsenal blue finish. The barrel does show about 80% of its arsenal blue finish, while the guards display about 60% of their original finish, the cylinder shows a blue which is turning brown with deeper hues within the flutes. The fram's case-colors show an 80% coverage which is beginning to fade.
It is my opinion that this revolver is basically authentic as re-issued during the Spanish American War era from the arsenal. There is no indication of any attempts at faking found on this example. It is also my opinion that the hammer on this revolver is an arsenal replacement, because of its mottled case-coloring pattern.
This is a very fine example of a rare variation of the Artillery revolver and worthy of the finest Colt collection.
Sincerely your, John A Kopec".
Equally noteworthy is an accompanying letter dated 1996 from Jack C Schubert, dealer in fine antique firearms, this U.S. government revolver rates at least .90% overall in regards to condition.