Original Antique U.S. Colt "New Navy" Model 1895 D.A. 38 Revolver Serial No. 97598 - Made In 1898

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. The Colt Model 1895 "New Navy" revolver is an important piece of history in the evolution of the modern handgun. This revolver is sometimes called the D.A. 38 for a good reason: they are marked COLT. D.A. 38 on the side of the barrel, as they are a double action revolver chambered for the .38 Long Colt cartridge. There are many similar models of this handgun made by Colt: the Model 1892, 1894, 1895, 1896 and later the Model 1901 and 1903, which represent incremental improvements in the design. The U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army primarily used these models, though there were civilian models as well.

This type of double action revolver represents a significant step in the evolution of the revolver, as it was Colt's first swing out cylinder revolver. It was both double and single action, it utilized the spring-loaded ejector rod, and the later models could fire the new (at the time) smokeless powder cartridges. All of these features appealed to the armed forces. The earlier D.A. 38 guns, such as the 1895, were designed to fire black powder cartridges only.

The New Army & Navy model is unique to Colt in that the cylinder rotates counter-clockwise, and the frame's side plate is on the right side. This unfortunately tended to force the cylinder out of alignment with the frame over time, and this was exacerbated by relatively weak lockwork used to "time", or match individual chambers to the barrel. In later Colt revolvers the cylinder rotation is clockwise and the side plate is on the left side of the frame. Also these Colt's have extremely complex actions that get out of order or break easily.

This is an excellent condition "New Navy" issue example with military inspectors cartouches on the metal components, and a nice set of COLT marked hard rubber grips, correct for a U.S. Navy Issued revolver. The serial number marked on the bottom of the grip is 97598, indicating production in 1898. The frame under the cylinder crane, the cylinder crane itself, and the cylinder release are all marked with assembly number 539. Only early production D.A. 38 revolvers had assembly numbers only on these parts, and later produced examples of this had the serial number, as it was found that the butt frame serial number wore off easily.

The top of the barrel is still marked with the original manufacture and patent information:


PATENTED AUG.5.1884. NOV.6.88. MAR.5.95

This correctly has the 1895 patent date, granted for one of the incremental improvements made to the revolver. The bottom of the grip frame is correctly stamped:

38 D.A.


The initials "J N J" are for Lt. John N. Jordan, who also inspected the second contract run of of the Lee Navy rifles. He inspected Colt M1895 and M1896 .38 Revolvers and Winchester-Lee 6mm Rifles in the late 19th century. Specifically, he inspected Colt Navy Contract revolvers in the 95xxx range and then another group in the 97xxx range and also contracts in the 110xxx to 112xxx range. This is definitely the correct inspector mark for this revolver.

Overall condition of the revolver is excellent, with little signs of use in service. The frame and barrel still have most of the original blued finish, with some areas of light speckling. There are areas of wear as well as some scratches and dings, but nothing out of the ordinary for a 100 year old revolver. The bore is excellent, with a bright finish and clear lands and grooves, showing just a few spots of oxidation. The cylinder swings out to the left correctly, with a functional cartridge extractor. We did not notice any issues cycling the revolver in both single and double action.

The only real condition issue is a crack in the right grip scale, which runs from the bottom up in front of the securing screw. We don't see any other damage or a mark where it was struck, so it most likely is a crack from age and original stress in the rubber.

An excellent U.S. martial revolver that may very well have seen service in the Spanish American War, with great markings. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1898
Caliber:  .38 Long Colt
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 6 inches
Overall Length: 11 1/2 inches
Action: Double / Single
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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