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Scratchammo 04-30-2011 02:02 PM

Quality of excavated pistols
Say I'm metal detecting in a ghost town in Arizona where it's bone dry & I come across say a Colt revolver from ~1880, what kind of quality would it be in?

danf_fl 04-30-2011 02:29 PM

Quality or condition?
I venture (as AZ does get a little snow once in a while, even in the desert) that there would be rust. Especially where bare hands had left oils or from things crawling over it.
Springs would not be in any shape to rely on. If it was left loaded, then the corrosion between the cases and the cylinder.

Wall hanger, but that would only be a guess.

Scratchammo 04-30-2011 02:35 PM

Makes sense. Thanks for the info. I plan on seeing a few ghost towns so I might as well bring a metal detector.

Hawg 04-30-2011 02:51 PM

I doubt you'll find a ghost town in Arizona that hasn't been thoroughly dug at least three dozen times.:D Good luck tho, wouldn't mind trying it myself. If you found one it would have surface rust but nothing serious, most likely wouldn't leave any pitting or at least very little once cleaned. It will be frozen but fairly easily taken apart. Grips depending on the amount of wind protection will be sandblasted way down or missing altogether. They are worth more in an as found condition than restored tho. Moreso if it's cocked and has at least one fired round showing. What kind of detector do you have?

boatme98 04-30-2011 02:59 PM

I worked at Sunset Crater Nat'l. Monument Az. back in the very early 1980's.
While there, the feds were resurveying the area. One of the crew found the remains of an old revolver some miles east of main part of the park. It was in such bad condition, it couldn't be identified. It was lying on the surface. There was no wood left, the metal was just a mass of corrosion. I wish I had gotten a photo of it. I don't know what happened to it.
Yes I do know what was supposed to happen with it.

Hawg 04-30-2011 03:12 PM

I guess it depends on location and how much moisture it gets.

pmanton 04-30-2011 03:39 PM

We might be dry but we still get rain.;) It usually comes all at once--like in thunder storms.:p

Things might not rust as fast, but rust they do.


Salome, AZ

Trez 04-30-2011 04:19 PM

Hey Scratch, where do you plain on going? Az full of ghost towns... Most ive been though have been pretty picked though (or have a caretaker, who isnt gonna let you take anything) But sometimes you can find some neat stuff, Ive found old bottles, coins, and other small kick-nacks (Im still looking for that forgotten gold nugget or small "finger" bar:D)
As for condition.... it all depends, ive found things with just a light layer of surface rust to "just a hunk of rust"

Depending where you are going to be, I might be able to point you in a good direction.... I do enjoy the ghost towns myself.....

Hawg 04-30-2011 05:58 PM

I've seen some pretty nice guns after they were cleaned. I turned down a Merril carbine that was spotless. All markings were sharp and clear. Bore was as shiny and clean as a new dime but the stock was weathered down to about two thirds of normal size. I was out of town at the time and didn't think I'd ever find a stock for it. I still kick my behind for not buying it cuz I could have had a really nice war dated Merril for under a grand.:mad:

meadville 04-30-2011 06:16 PM

When I was about 8 yrs old [1951] I found,while digging in the back yard with some freinds a H&R or iver jonson break top rusted to about 50 percent of what it once was and still loaded actually.Showed it to my Dad and last I saw of it.This was Ohio weather.

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