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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just joined the forum here, because I was doing some research on my Colt New Army (New Service) that I inherited from my step-dad. I had a workmate take a look at this weapon in 2005 and he came up with a couple pages of printed information off the web, which was informative but it also raised a lot of questions. He also noted that the firearm was unsafe for firing, due to the cylinder and barrel not aligning properly. I put the weapon away and forgot about it, until recently, when I began looking into its history and age, and other details. I knew it was an English cartridge calibre, and it was either an English or Canadian service pistol. While I researched it further I discovered the two different ammo versions, Webley and Eley. At first, I thought it took Webley ammunition, which was good, since Webley ammunition is still available. Yesterday I took the weapon to a local smithy, and he identified it as an Eley, and also determined what the misalignment problem was. I called Colt Firearms LLC to send it to them, to get it repaired, but I was informed they no longer accept these for service and repair, and referred me to Jack First. I haven't contacted Mr. First yet, since I didn't know what parts I would need yet. The smith told me it was an easy fix, if I can get the part/s for it. Here's the dilemma though, without ammo for this weapon, what would be the point in repairing it, aside from the potential value as a "fireable or working" weapon?

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Eley 455 and Webley 455 are both just American names for the British Service 455 cartridge. You can fire 455 or 450 ammo in the revovler provided that the back of the cylinder has not been shaved to enable 45 ACP with half-moon clips or 45 Colt to be chambered.

Peter
 

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Colt New Service pistols in .455 are either marked .455 Eley, or .455 Colt. Colt would not mark the Webley name on their guns since Webley was a competing firearms manufacturer. Eley was primarily an ammunition manufacturer. The .455 Eley and .455 Colt are not much more than renamed .455 Webley MkI cartridges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
As best as I can tell, the cylinder hasn't been altered, but without any cylinder specs, I cannot be certain.

I just did a little experiment. I took a .45 acp. round and I inserted it into the cylinder backwards, the entire bullet fit into the cylinder, rim and all. The rim hit the rings in the cylinder and stopped, it didn't fall completely through. When I put the same round into the chamber the correct way, they dropped further into the cylinder, leaving a large gap between the bottom of the round, and the back of the cylinder. I did a measurement on the cylinder and it is 4.1 cm's long. It looks like there is a 1 mm difference between the back of the cylinder face, and where the rounds insert. Does this sound correct to any of you?
 

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sometimes these revolvers were rechambered to 45 Colt (I have a S&W 1915 that had been in 455 cal and rechambered) The rim on the 45 Colt (or 45 Long Colt) is thicker than the 455 rim. Try a 45 Colt in your cylinder just to be certain.
 

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I also have a WW1 British contract Colt New Service marked .455 Eley on the barrel, it was made in 1916 according to my Colt serial number book. Mine was converted to .45 Long Colt which along with being converted to take the.45 ACP in the 1/2 moon clips was down to quite a few of them due to the scarcity of British .455 ammo when these revolver were imported back during the 1960's. If you have an unconverted one in the original .455 chambering it has quite a bit more collectors value than one of the converted ones. Mine is a great shooter and I like the fact it takes the readily available .45 Long Colt cartridges.

Finding a gunsmith who is knowledgeable on the old Colt revolvers will take some hunting. You might try contacting Brownells Gunsmith supply company for a referral. Action parts have to be correctly fitted and it's not a job for someone who hasn't had some experience working on Colt revolvers. Good luck getting your New Service restored to shooting condition.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
I thought mine was a 455 Webley cartridge model, but the armory stamps on the barrel cover part of the ELEY. Mine has three date stamps on it as well, Aug 5 1884, June 5 1900, and July 4 1905. It also has 2 stamps that say notenglishmade, one on the barrel, one on the frame, in front of the cylinder. There are several crown looking marks on the barrel which partially cover the ELEY, under the crown marks there are two letters, or sets of two letters... BV BP NP which have a circle around them. These same sets of letters,crown, circle, are also on each cylinder lock port. There is a mark which looks like 2 crossed swords, hilts up blades down with the letter/numeral combination B 5 C which are separated by the tip of each blade.. regiment mark? I have a pic of mine in the military handgun forum under the post header New Guy with Old Colt. My serial number is 108xxx, and the number under the star on the cylinder looks like an 18 or a 13, hard to see. My smith said the gun could be fireable once I get the parts for it, right now it's unsafe and would throw lead back at you if fired... which isn't a good thing! I contacted Colt LLC and they referred me to Jack First in South Dakota for parts, and my smith feels confident he can make it fireable when I get the parts.... IF I can get them.
 

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As best as I can tell, the cylinder hasn't been altered, but without any cylinder specs, I cannot be certain. I did a measurement on the cylinder and it is 4.1 cm's long. Does this sound correct to any of you?
Yes. I have just measured three 455 NS and the cylinders are all 4.1 cm long. I suspect that all NS cylinders were the same! The rear face of a WW I British contract NS will have the crossed pennants proof stamp on it. If the cylinder has been faced off then this marking will be missing. From you dreadfull (!) pictures on the British Gun Pub forum your gun seems to have the proof mark.

Cheers
Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes, I know the pictures aren't as good as they can be, but I have to improvise with what I have on hand. I'm unfamiliar with the stamps and marks, and why they are on the weapon. I am learning much from what I read here, and any and all information is helpful, and appreciated. That "star shaped" marking behind the trigger guard on the lower edge of the frame is where the proof mark is. I cannot get a better image of it, but the marks shown on the Colt .455 in the English thread are also on my pistol, mine are a lot more worn though, and not as crisp as the OP's pictures are.
 
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