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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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)

67 Posts
Last row, left to right ("Proof" means British proof mark; firearms imported to Britain were required to be "prooved" at a Proof House):

View Proof, "Not English Make" required of arms made outside of England, and I'd have to look up the crossed flags.

Broad Arrow, doubled (one inverted). The Broad Arrow indicated Brit military ownership, doubling the arrow indicated that it was released for sale to the public.

Colt Verified Proof mark.

Stippled-out mark of some sort, therefore, unknown. Possibly related to the revolver's military service.

Proof House identification; I'd have to look it up, either Birmingham or Londaon.

Rampant Colt, Colt trademark.

Brit Proof marks.

Brit Proof mark.

More Brit Proof marks, e.g., "NP" is "Nitro Prooved." "Nitro" was the term used for smokeless powder.

.455 Eley is a shorter cartridge than .45 Colt. The .455 chambering was for export to the UK, because .455 Eley was the standard Brit revolver cartridge. Many returned .455 Eleys were rechambered for .45 Colt, a quick and easy conversion. .455 Eley ammo was not available in the US until recently, though you could shorten .45 Colt cases and load your own.

If the revolver has been rechambered for .45 Colt, the collector value is less.

Ammunition nomenclature is inconsistent and confusing. ".45 Colt" is a specific cartridge, which contains a bullet of about .45" in diameter. .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol) uses the same diameter bullets (there is a difference, but it's very small and not germaine to this discussion), but has a shorter cartridge case, without a rim, and is intended for automatic pistols originally.

From a practical standpoint, .455 Eley is very similar to .45 Colt, with the exception of a shorter cartridge case. The chambers of this pistol appear to be bored the same diameter all the way through (the chambers are the six "holes" in the cylinder) so it may have been rechambered. I am not an expert on Colt New Service Revolvers, so I don't know if the chambers originally had a "step" where the mouth of the cartridge case would come to rest or not.

See this link for a discussion of the matter: Colt new service .455 eley/.45 long colt

...and this link for some examples of New Service revolvers in .455 Eley (Scroll down to the "New Service" revolvers): Collectors Firearms

I assume you've read the WikiPedia entry on the Colt New Service.

Hope this helps.


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