The Colt 1901 was a slightly modified version of the Colt 1892 "New Army and Navy" revolver.
The first model in this early DA revolver was the Model 1889 "New Navy" which went through several modifications, including the Models 1892, 1994, 1896, 1901, and finally the 1903.
These were the first swing-out cylinder double action revolvers ever made, and Colt revolutionized revolvers with the new design. S&W wouldn't get their first swing-out DA on the market until 1896.
These pistols were forerunners of all the Colt DA revolvers that followed, and the basic design was made up until the Colt Python was discontinued in 2004. These early series guns were discontinued in 1907, with about 291,000 produced for all models.
The US Army and Navy bought large quantities of these revolvers in the now obsolete .38 Long Colt cartridge. It was this design Colt and the .38 Long cartridge that failed in the Philippines and led to the adoption of the Model 1911 .45 Automatic.
This is a genuine US Army issue M1901 US military model, as evidenced by the markings on the butt, grips and frame. The grips are the original smooth walnut grip with the inspector stamp of RAC on each side. RAC were the initials of Rinaldo A. Carr the civilian government employed sub-inspector at Colt, between 1890 to 1903. The frame is also stamped RAC and L.E.B. The initials L .E.B. belonging to one Leroy E. Briggs, an Army Captain that inspected revolvers rebuilt and refurbished at Remington's Bridgeport plant between 1898 to 1917.
The bottom of the butt is perfectly marked "U.S.ARMY MODEL 1901." and "No 157271." The serial number indicates it was manufactured and delivered to the US Army in 1901. The round barrel is clearly marked with two line Colt address and patent dates ending with “March 5, 95”. The barrel and frame have 90% original blue finish with some thinning and patina to the backstrap and front strap. Dull blue finish remains on the rear surfaces of the hammer with about 50% remaining on the trigger. Action works perfectly and appears to be still in time. The walnut grips are smooth and in very good condition, although one front corner is missing a small chip. A swivel lanyard strap is on the butt of the pistol. Overall condition is very good. Will ship to your FFL. This gun is priced to sell at the low end of the 2011 gun values guide and often sell for considerably larger sums. Offers and trades of like value considered.