By James M. Triggs retary of War, approved the recommendation by the Chief of Ordnance, Brig. Gen. D. W. Flagler, that a cal. .38 Service revolver be adopted in lieu of the cal. .45 Colt revolver then standard. Flagler's recommendation was based upon reports of troop commanders who had tested these revolvers plus the findings of a final selection board convened Nov. 28, 1891, which recommended adoption of the Colt revolver with modifications to correct certain defects encountered during the trials. The board reconvened Mar. 1, 1892. to examine a Colt revolver incorporating certain improvements and recommended its adoption as modified.
Conn., was for 5000 cal. .38 double-action revolvers of the final pattex-n approved for adoption by the Secretary of War. This revolver was designated Army Model 1892 and the solid-head reloadable case ammunition for it was produced at Frankford Arsenal. Additional quantities of the Model 1892 revolver were later ordered and issued.
Use of the Model 1892 in service indicated that its design, which allowed operation of the hammer without fully closing the cylinder, could damage the arm. Accordingly, a hammer and trigger lock was devised to correct this condition. Model 1892 revolvers in the hands of troops were recalled and replaced with Model 1894 revolvers obtained under contract with Colt's.
Subsequently the Model 1892 revolvers were reworked by Colt's to conform with Model 1894 specifications.
A summation of the various Service models is contained in the Description of the Colt's Double-Action Revolver Caliber .38, published in 1917 by the Government Printing Office, which states: "The Colt's double-action revolvers, caliber .38, in service are marked Army Models 1894, 1896, 1901, and 1903. The first model issued was that of 1892, but all revolvers of that model were altered into model of 1894 by the addition of the locking lever, which is pivoted by its screw in a recess (Text continued on following page)
To remove cylinder and crane assembly, unscrew crane lock screw (21) and withdraw crane lock (22). Press latch (10) back and swing out cylinder. Grasp crane (8) and pull forward out of frame (1). Further disassembly of cylinder and crane is not recommended. However, if this disassembly is absolutely necessary, note
4. Ejector & ratchet
5. Ejector rod
6. Ejector spring
7. Crane bushing
9. Ejector head
11. Latch pin
12. Latch spring
13A. Hammer pin
15. Stirrup pin
16. Strut pin
17. Strut spring
20. Mainspring tension screw
21. Crane lock screw
22. Crane lock
23. Recoil plate
24. Locking lever
25. Locking lever screw
26. Trigger 26A. Trigger pin
28. Hand spring
30. Bolt spring
31. Rebound lever
31 A. Rebound lever pin
32. Rebound lever spring
33. Rebound lever spring pin
35. Side-plate screws (2)
36. Stock pin
37. Stock screw
38. Escutcheons (2), right only shown
39. Stocks (2), right only shown that, after pressing in ejector rod (5), clearing ratchet from cylinder, ejector and ratchet (4) must be unscrewed from ejector rod clockwise and a special wrench or spanner will be necessary to remove crane bushing (7).
To disassemble lock mechanism, unscrew stock screw (37) and remove stocks (39). Remove side-plate screws (35). Loosen side-plate (34) by turning revolver over and tapping frame with a fiber or wooden mallet. If it is necessary to pry out the side-plate to any extent, do so most gently and gradually to avoid burring edges of side-plate cut in frame. Remove side-plate, exposing lock mechanism.
mainspring tension screw (20). Pull hammer to full cock and slip a Vi" wooden dowel or handle of a small screwdriver between mainspring (19) and rear strap of frame. Pull trigger, releasing hammer and allowing stirrup (14) to rise clear of its seat in end of mainspring as shown at "A" in sketch 1. Remove dowel and pull mainspring up out of its seat in frame. Rebound lever spring (32) may be removed by drifting out its pin (33). Pull hammer back to almost full-cock position and lift out of frame. With the blade of a small screwdriver, lift bolt (29) up off its pin and remove. Rebound lever (31) and trigger (26) may now be lifted out of frame. Locking lever (24) is removed by unscrewing locking lever screw (25). Latch may be removed by drifting out latch pin (11) with a very thin punch, withdrawing latch (10) and spring (12) toward the front.
Removal of hammer pin (13A), trigger pin (26A), or rebound lever pin (31 A) from frame is not recommended and is seldom if ever necessary.
place latch assembly, locking lever, and trigger first. Replace rebound lever spring and pin. Compress tip of rebound lever spring with pliers, the jaws of which have been taped or otherwise covered to protect the finish of the arm. applied at A and B as shown in sketch 2. Drop rebound lever into place while holding spring compressed fully. A little juggling will be necessary when replacing bolt (29), and bolt spring (30) must be pressed down with blade of small screwdriver or other small tool to clear forward arm of rebound lever before bolt can be pressed all the way down into position on trigger pin (26A).
Pull trigger back and replace hammer. Replace mainspring in its seat and compress with a dowel as previously described. Pull stirrup back until it is in position over its seat in tip of mainspring. Pull trigger releasing hammer and withdraw dowel. Replace hand and push forward into its slot. When replacing side-plate, be sure hand spring slips into the recess milled into reverse of side-plate. Replace side-plate screws and stocks. Replace cylinder and crane assembly. Place crane lock and crane lock screw together and press into frame, tightening crane lock screw as it engages its threads.
in the left side of the frame and prevents the hammer being cocked until the cylinder is positively closed and locked. The models of 1894 and 1896 are identical. The model of 1901 differs from the previous models in having the butt swivel for lanyard. The model of 1903 differs from the model of 1901 in having the diameter of the bore reduced to insure better accuracy and in having a smaller and better shaped handle. The model of 1901 revolvers last made have the thinner stocks".
It is important to note that Service arms are often turned in for repair at arsenals and that replacement parts may differ in pattern from the original. A case in point is use of the .357" groove diameter Model 1903 barrel for rebarreling of Models 1892, 1896, and 1901 revolvers with original .363" groove diameter barrels.
Concurrent with production of Service revolvers for the Navy and War Depts., Colt's manufactured commercial versions with hard-rubber grips (the Service models had plain walnut grips). These were advertised as New Army and New Navy revolvers and in catalogs and advertisements were given the Service model designations, such as New Navy Model of 1895 or New Army Model of 1894, despite the fact that the guns were substantially identical. The Service revolvers had 6" barrels and were chambered for the cal. .38 Colt long and short cartridges. Commercial models were offered in 3", 4Vi", and 6" barrel lengths and in several calibers, including .38 Colt long and short, .41 Colt long and short, .32-20 WCF, and .38 Special.
In the spring of 1904 Colt's offered a target version designated Officers Modefand chambered for the .38 S&W Special cartridge. It featured adjustable rear and front sights and immediately became popular with target shooters.
The Marine Corps in 1905 adopted a Colt cal. .38 revolver mechanically identical to the Army and Navy arms, but with rounded, narrower butt. The Service version was furnished with butt swivel, but this fixture was not present on the companion commercial model, optionally available in blue and nickel finishes.
In 1908 production of the New Army, New Navy, Marine Corps Model, and 1904 pattern Officers Model revolvers was discontinued. In their stead Colt's introduced the Colt Army Special revolver with greatly improved lock-work, double leaf mainspring, and cylinder revolving to the right. The target version of the Army Special revolver, also introduced in 1908, was again designated Officers Model. ■
This sectionalized view shows all of the lock mechanism parts in the proper relationship when assembled. Note that the inner (reverse) face of the side-plate (34) is shown here
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