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Old 12-12-2016, 02:30 PM
gregintenn gregintenn is offline
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Default 1877 Colt DA 38

I'm sure some of you here are knowledgeable about these. Would it be o.k. to fire smokeless cartridges in one, or are they black powder only?
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:49 PM
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Non-Expert here:
I would stay with black powder pressure cartridges (Gotex))
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:54 PM
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If you can find some .38 Long Colt ammo, the pressure should be ok. I've fired some light smokeless rounds in mine without issue.
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Old 12-12-2016, 02:58 PM
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I have a Thunderer with a split forcing cone.

I'm betting the former owner fired at least one smokeless round in it.
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Old 12-12-2016, 03:12 PM
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Nothing like a consensus.

I have a trigger spring and roller ordered for it now. Assuming I can get it put back together,I may just leave it as a conversation piece.

The action looks like the inside of a pocket watch!

Thanks for the responses.
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Old 12-12-2016, 03:22 PM
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These old Colts are actually a bit different from the old Smiths. I have an 1878 in 45 Long Colt, and there is no way I would ever attempt to fire smokeless ammo in that thing. It just looks and feels like a blow up waiting to happen. On the other hand, I had an old 1880 Smith in 44 Russian that I shot with factory ammo all the time. I actually reloaded for it. . .stayed tight as a drum. Colts are just rickety to start with. The 1877 didn't have a very solid reputation even when it was new. With the old Colts, I pull the bullet and drop the powder. Then I fire the primers just to check for function. Beyond that, I just like to look at them.
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:38 PM
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These old DA Colts have delicate actions that are easily broken and expensive to fix assuming you can even find someone to work on one. Best advise is if you own one refrain from firing it.
Jim
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Old 12-12-2016, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by italiansport View Post
These old DA Colts have delicate actions that are easily broken and expensive to fix assuming you can even find someone to work on one. Best advise is if you own one refrain from firing it.
Jim
Right....I'm working on it. Parts are available. Usually just a broken spring. I wonder how many people who repeat this have actually taken one apart. It is a bit busy inside, but sort of simplistic as well.

I was mainly curious about the time frame in which it was made, and if they were proofed for smokeless powder or not. A google search hasn't turned up much either way.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:58 PM
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I see these .38 Short Colts in the stores all the time now - apparently they are popular to use for some current shooting discipline. I use them in my old breaktop .38 S&Ws since they are cheaper and even weaker than the right rounds. I bet they would work in your 1877. 125 grain LRN at very mild velocity.
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:38 PM
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Colt started stamping their revolvers with the VP proof on the left forward side edge of the trigger guard in 1904 I believe. That VP proof was their smokeless powder proof.
They advertised that the SAA was suitable for smokeless starting in about 1897,,thats also when they changed the cylinder pin lock from the simple screw to the spring loaded plunger. The cylinder pin lock is often regarded as the best way to tell at a glance if the Colt in hand is a BP or a smokless frame gun.
I believe the 1877 had that springloaded cylinder pin earlier than 1897 if not thru it's entire production.
The 1877 was made till 1909,,so late production should be VP proof stamped if actually proofed for smokeless.
Wether they did that I don't know.
If they did,,did Colt also change the frame, cyl, bbl matl as they did in the SAA back further iin 1897 to take smokeless also,,again I don't know.

I've had a couple of them in 38Colt and I shot very lightly energized 38Spcl W/C handloads from mine.
The bored through early 38Colt chamber allowed them to fit the short cylinder,,I wouldn't shoot factory W/C's in one though.
Any smokeless ammo for an 1877 should be down in the absolute lowest starting range IMO both in deference to the age of the Colts and the borderline yes/no of early smokeless proofing.
Even if smokeless proofed back then,,I don't feel it can be equated to current standards.
Go easy on them,,they are less robust to say the least than a SAA or the later DA Colts.
There's a couple multi-legged springs inside of near miniature proportions asked to do a lot of things and the SA/DA set up is unlike any other I can think of. They have to be just right.

Last edited by 2152hq; 12-12-2016 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:43 PM
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I've heard many times that the 1877 is best fired double action only. It is said that single action cocking is hard on the action.
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