Originally Posted By DriftPunch:
Anything you can tell me about the model pictured above would be appreciated. Information is lacking on them...
Your New Service looks to me to be a classic WWI era .455. They (and of course the .45 ACP version for the US) were the bulk of New Service production and naturally most of them went off to England and Canada for war service. They were meant to supplement the meager supply of Webley revolvers in service. The barrel on yours is 5.5" and has the usual "shark fin" shaped front sight.
It has the correct unbolstered barrel profile (straight barrel- no taper) indicating it was probably made prior to 1918. The gutta percha grips might be original to the gun- remove the grips (CAREFULLY) as they commonly chip on the bottom where they meet the frame. If original the grips would have a crude scratching that matches the serial number of your revolver. The cylinder latch is probably rectangular in profile and not the rounded knob of later New Services.
If your New Service was in the English service it would have proof markings on it to indicate that. The Brits required all firearms coming into Britain to be officially proofed and usually the barrel would be stamped (often crudely) with a proofload marking, the mark of the proofhouse in question, and sometimes a snobby "Not of English Manufacture" stamp added for good measure. You can often find proofmarks on the cylinder indicating each specific chamber passed proof.
Once they marred up the guns this way they may have been crudely refinished. For some reason the Brits loved to paint metal surfaces. I have seen a lot of WWI era revolvers with a nasty black paint finish on them.
As your revolver doesn't appear painted you may have a revolver that was in service with Canada. There are appropriate marks for that as well. Unit marks were commonly added that could be deciphered with a bit of work.
Finally, that model was what the Mounties carried. The RCMP (there was another name for them depending on where in Canada they were situated and the name changed over time) issued two styles of New Services. IIRC the .455 was issued on the Eastern part of Canada, and the New Service in .45 Colt was issued in the West. I think they did this to ease logistical problems with getting ammo.
Far from simpleton Dudley-Do-Rights the Mounties were actually hard core. Their history is full of battles with bad guys, serial killers, and wingnuts who had to be sorted out with a .455 (or .45 Colt) bullet. If you have a RCMP revolver (they were ordered in large batches) you can probably find markings on the revolver someplace indicating this.
The lanyard ring on the New Service was a good addition for the time. The New Service served a lot of State Police agencies from their inception in the US. New York State issued New Service .45 Colts from day one. They also "issued" a matching horse and a snazzy hat. You would probably welcome a lanyard when you were on horseback (or the motorcycle that replaced the horse). The lanyard also was useful if you were on snow shoes and you took a spill. Losing your New Service in a snowbank would not have been a wise career decision.
New Hampshire S.P. issued the New Service in .357. The gun was issued to the Border Patrol in .38 Special. Charles Askins Jr. carried one in WWII and Askins was probably the reason the BP went with the New Service. By the 1950s the guns started to be swapped out for (most commonly) .38 Special K Frames (or .357s).
I can only imagine when they took the .45 Colt from a grizzled State cop and handed him a weenie .38 Special replacement. I am sure there were some choice words said about that!
The .455 lingered in Canada longer than any where else that I recall. Dominion cartridge of Canada had the loading available for a long time due to the large number of guns still in service. I used to see Dominion cartridges at gun shows in the 1980s. You can get fresh .455 from Fiocchi of Italy. I have some for my Webley and it shoots OK. Hornady used to load it as well but I haven't found any of it in stock. Many .455 New Services were converted to take .45 Colt as well, especially when they were imported back into the US.
I love the New Service. I have a .45 Colt made in the early 20s and a New Service Target .44 Special made in 1914. They both shoot wonderfully, but I tend to shoot mild loads in them (cast bullets). I have shot them in .38 Special and .38-40. The .38-40 was what hotrod reloaders liked to play with back in the 20s and 30s.
Enjoy your rig and see if you can find any markings on your revolver. If it served in the war (or with the Mounties) it would likely have some marks on it.
Best to you,