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Discussion Starter #1
When I was a kid, I was fascinated by a Fitz-Colt I saw in one of my dad's gun magazines. When John H. Fitzgerald worked for Colt in the early 1900's, the shortest barrel available from the factory was 4". Fitz made snubnoses by cutting factory barrels down to 2 1/2", 2", or even 1 1/2" lengths. He also created the first custom handguns by also bobbing the hammer spur and cutting away the front of the trigger guard (Fitz had huge hands and he coulnd't get his trigger finger inside the trigger guard when wearing gloves) for fast trigger access.

A co-worker gave me a jar of gun parts he found while cleaning out a friend's old home. There was a 2 1/2" cut and re-crowned Colt Official Police .38 barrel in the jar and that's what got me thinking about those old Fitz-Colt revolvers.

I bought a 1948 Colt Official Police .38 Special off Gunbroker (after looking for a very long time) that had a lousy barrel and a terribly worn finish. Colt made tons of these common revolvers and this one had no collector value. I didn't care about the condition of the barrel since I would be having it replaced. This gun had a tight action and functioned well.



I gave the gun to my local gunsmith, Mario Matelli (http://bullseyefirearms-il.com/), and he disassembled and cleaned the old Colt and smoothed its action.



Then Mario bobbed the hammer, cut away the trigger guard, and attached the 2 1/2" barrel.



Mario then removed the original front sight from the old barrel and re-attached it to the new shortened barrel.



I had an old set of Colt grips with factory medallions from the same era as the walnut factory grips that came on the Official Police. I sent those medallions to Patrick Grashorn (http://grashornsgunworks.com/) and he inserted them in a handsome set of his American Elk Stag grips.



I then turned the Fitz'ed Colt over to a local guy that does fantastic re-blueing. He doesn't want more business because he has too much already so he asked me not to put his name out on the internet. He is truly an artist and when the Colt came back, it looked just wonderful!







I sent the Colt to Michael Gouse (www.mtart.com) for American Scroll coverage. Gouse has engraved several other guns for me and I just love how his engraving turns out.





















I made a cigar box into a custom presentation case for the Fitz-Colt too:



While the Colt was with Gouse, I looked around for a proper holster to go with the revolver. I couldn't find one that looked vintage but still covered the cut away trigger guard. Then I found Tom Dyer (http://www.saguarogunleather.com/index.html) and ordered one of his custom tooled and dyed leather holsters. I had him use silver Mercury dimes for the hardware. By pure luck, the dimes are dated 1929 and 1927 which are the years my mom and dad were born. Amazing, and it makes this whole project just that much more special to me.



Tom even stamped my initials on the back.



So the gun is finally finished and it's exactly the way I envisioned it to be. I am so happy with my Colt and I can't wait to shoot it. If I'm lucky, I'll shoot it this Friday!





-Steve
 

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Beautiful project.

Chris
 

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WOW!! That is something special. A great idea and well executed. Every detail is excellent, right down to the box.

Its almost too good to actually use. Almost.

I really appreciate you sharing this and especially the photos taken throughout the process- it really helps tell the story and really are worth a thousand words each.

Thanks much.

M
 

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Well said Maudite!
 

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Only one word to describe your story, your photos, and the results... And though it was mentioned earlier, it bears repeating.


WOW
 

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Absolutely fabulous! Well documented, from start to finish. Bravo!

Your photographic skills are to be commended as well. 8)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the kind words everyone!

I made it to the range and put 50 rounds of old 158 grain lead roundnose .38 Special ammo through the Fitz'ed Colt. It shot great. The trigger pull measures just a touch over 9 pounds double action and it's short and smooth. The gun shoots about 3" low at 21 feet due to its high front sight. I may file it down and touch up the blue one day to get it to shoot to point of aim. Today, I just aimed a bit high and, if I did my part, the rounds went right in the center.



The range I shoot at only allows strings of 5 rounds at a time. I forgot I should really have just loaded one more round in then next empty cylinder and would have 6 shot groups (since the gun holds 6 rounds). Instead I fired 5 shot groups, double action, standing unsupported, at 21 feet.

All the targets looked like this one:



It was fun to shoot and the Colt got lots of attention. It is a "different" experience without the front of the trigger guard.



I took these quick photos while the revolver was still dirty. It's now been cleaned and looks just as good as it did when I picked it up!

 

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I'm Speechless.... :eek: :eek: 8)
 

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That is an amazing transformation! If I may ask...what did the engraving cost? If you would rather PM it to me thats ok. If you would rather not say... I understand! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm happy to say. The engraving was $500 from Michael Gouse. I think he does phenomenal work and his pricing is terrific.
 
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