1st Model or Regular New Model Army (RNMA)

# Recollections of a Contemporary Witness

# 1st Model/RNMA – Common Characteristics

# 1st Variation RNMA – 3 Sub-Variations

# Pricing, Extra Cylinders & Serial Number Ranges

# 2nd Variation RNMA – 2 Sub-Variations

# Serial Number Ranges

# 3rd Variation RNMA – 3 Sub-Variations

# Pricing & Serial Number Ranges

# 4th Variation RNMA – 2 Sub-Variations

# Serial Number Ranges

# 5th Variation RNMA – 2 Sub-Variations

# Pricing & Serial Number Ranges

# 6th Variation RNMA – 2 Sub-Variations

# Pricing & Serial Number Ranges

# 7th Variation RNMA

# Serial Number Ranges

# Pending Issues

# FAQ

 

Recollections of a Contemporary Witness: During my quest for contemporary witnesses of the time when the Centaures were young I had a conversation with Peter Harlos, former manager at Bärbel Harlos, Schwäbisch Hall. Back in the days Bärbel Harlos was exclusive Centaure importer and dealer in Germany, Western gun shop and mail order gun business. This conversation took place December 9, 2010. I am very thankful to Harlos for filling in some blanks, confirming many aspects of our research related to the later period of the Centaure story. He also added views questioning some earlier assumptions. Here are his recollections.

“The Centaures were always in short supply. We could have sold many, many more but the Belgians were not interested to invest in their old machinery.”

“I used to personally collect all Centaures at the factory in Liège after an order was placed with the Belgians. At such a day at Fabriques d’Armes Unies de Liège (FAUL) all pistols of my consignment would be disassembled into their major parts for my physical inspection. This was to make sure that only top quality revolvers were then taken to Germany.

“One often found issue at my inspections relates to the way the rifling was cut into the bore which could lead to bulging barrels. I would usually reject 20 % of the pistols presented for one reason or the other!”

This inspection procedure implies that Centaures sold through Bärbel Harlos were selected quality. But we can also speculate that the rejected pistols were sold … through other channels … possibly to other markets?!

Harlos continued to explain that it was him who suggested a number of new Centaure variants to be added to the line, like the ones finished in the white (what we call 5th, 6th and 7th variation Regular New Model Armies (RNMA) today and the Marshal Models) after he had learnt of FAUL’s earlier experiments with that type of finish.

In cooperation with his “opposite number” at FAUL’s, Roger Vryens, he arranged the re-launch of fluted cylinder New Model Army (NMA) versions in traditional blue/case colors finish (RNMA 4th variation 2nd sub-variation and Cavalry Model 2nd variation). It was Harlos who suggested to use free-lance engravers in the Liège vicinity to create the factory engraved Centaures.

His rational for offering these new variants to the German market was to sell unique pistols that were neither available from the Italian replica makers nor could be had from Colt’s during the 19th century.

“Even after all these years I feel that Roger Vryens’s role in the FAUL set-up was totally underrated. De facto he was the managing director at that time but not the Hanquet cousins or later Nadine Hanquet.”

Adds Harlos: “Vryens was always supportive, he was the driving force when a project was to be pushed through the FAUL organization.”

Interestingly Vryens was a school teacher. His job at FAUL’s was part-time only in addition to his role as a teacher.

 

1st Model

Regular New Model Army or RNMA – Common Characteristics

Barrel

8"

Frame

3-screw, recoil shield with notches for shoulder stock

Prefix

none

Comments

Centaure variant most often observed. Some variations were exclusively available in the USA or Europe.

Of this 1st Model or Regular New Model Army (RNMA) 7 variations have been discovered so far. They are described and pictured below in some detail.

1st Variation

Regular New Model Army - Key Features

Cylinder

rebated, plain

Finish

blue & case hardened (B/CCH)

Comments

first variation made from 1959 to 1973

The 1st variation of the RNMA is the mother of them all. This version with the rebated, plain cylinder and traditional finish is the classic Centaure. Her 3 sub-variations combined account for almost 40 % of all NMAs produced.

 

1st Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 1st Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

yes

Logo

none

Barrel marking

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

Chambers

large

Arbor

1st version

Comments

sub-variation is only known from the USA, see 3 specimens #87, #128 & #925 below

DSC_1512-004

RNMA #87 1st variation 1st sub-variation: made 1959 before the official US launch 1960

belgium_lg-2pix367252828-1

RNMA #128: back-strap cut for stock, MADE IN BELGIUM (left) RNMA #925: no logo (right)

 

2nd Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 1st Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

yes

Logo

rampant (early), walking centaur (intermediate & late production)

Barrel markings

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"    CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK  "1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

Chambers

large, mid-size & small

Arbor

all 4 versions found in line with year of production

Comments

sold on both sides of the Atlantic, see 2 specimens #2851 & #5535 below

Cennt8-0031615997_4_477fb5f66ef41[1]

RNMA #2851 1st variation 2nd sub-variation rampant Centaure logo (left) RNMA #5535 1st variation 2nd sub-variation walking Centaure logo (right)

 

3rd Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 1st Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

none

Logo

walking centaur

Barrel markings

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"    CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK  "1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

Chambers

mid-size & small

Arbor

2nd, 3rd & 4th version

Comments

available on both sides of the big pond, see #6176 below:

RNMA #6176 1st variation 3rd sub-variation (left) not toe on butt (right)

 

Pricing, Extra Cylinders & Serial Number Ranges: Early in 1960 Centennial Arms Corp. in Chicago (CACC) would have taken $ 99.95 of your hard earned cash, but in 1972 they had dropped their prices to $ 89.95 due to the changing market climate from Italian competition.

US shooters could purchase an extra cylinder for their 1st variation RNMA at $ 14,95 back then. They had a choice: either the one with the Centaure proprietary naval scene or the one with below described Ormsby-style naval engagement scene of the 3rd variation RNMA.

In Germany during the early 1970s dealer Paul Jacoby of Iserlohn would ask DM 337,50 for 1st variation RNMAs. As an extra the cylinder featuring the Centaure naval scene of the 2nd variation RNMA was available.

No matter which extra extra cylinder was chosen its serial number does not match the one of the revolver.

Regular New Model Army 1st Variation

Serial Number Ranges

lowest serial number - year

highest serial number - year

Total

%

1st sub-variation

#         1:                      1959

#    1135:                       1961

1,095

17,3

2nd sub-variation

#   1153:                      1961

#  14270:                       1973

3,132

49,3

3rd sub-variation

#   5412:                      1966

#  10628:                       1970

2,070

32,7

MSFRs

#5 1971:                      1971

#043573:                       1971

20

0,3

"Colterized"

# 17562:                      1963

#  17568:                       1963

10

0,2

"Others"

pictorial proof only

pictorial proof only

10

0,2

TOTAL

 

 

6,337

100,0

At your friendly French or German gun dealer you could get this 1st variation RNMA with silvery Centaure logo medallions inlaid into the grip.

 

FAQ: “If the Belgian Colt Armies were introduced to provide US re-enactors and shooters with a Colt 1860 Army pattern pistol to commemorate the Civil War from 1961, and these 1st variation RNMAs were the first variants available why are their cylinders not featuring the roll engraved naval scene of the Colt Armies from the Civil War era?”

IMHO it is a fair guess that Bill Edwards and Sig Shore wanted to have their Belgian Armies ready for sale in the USA before the centennial of the Civil War festivities in 1961. They managed this with their launch campaign from 1960.

Until 1963 the Centaures were the only modern made Colt 1860 pattern C&B revolvers available.

We should also disregard thoughts that Edwards’s 2 model guns after which the first variation RNMAs were patterned, were so worn out that no more cylinder scene was detectable for copying. But tight production or shipment schedules at FAUL’s before the projected US launch date in 1960 as a cause for the lack of this feature sound like a viable concern.

But please, consider this thought: William B. Edwards, “driver” of the Centaure project during the late 1950s/early 1960s was somewhat biased. As a respected Civil War historian and Colt collector in the USA he was aware that although the vast majority of the Belgians were sold through his company Centennial Arms Corporation to US shooters, re-enactors but also to a few collectors. To these latter US initiates, he was the one to blame for the use of Centaure parts in cases of fakery of original Colt Armies. That was a serious issue.

Hence, he had FAUL built the Centaures with subtle differences to the Civil War Colt 1860 Model Armies. The advanced Colt students will notice this immediately, like the “Centaure step”or the less pronounced “S” curve of the barrel lug, the shallow rifling of .446 caliber, or the back-strap being welded from 3 parts whereas it was one forged part in the 1st generation 1860s. By this approach Edwards hoped to prevent situations where his brain child Centaure was getting connected too easy to fakery of the real thing, by the powerful Colt Collectors Associations.

There might have been other considerations as well. During the early stages of the Centaure project the prime objective was to provide re-enactors and shooters with a high quality, functional and rugged, no nonsense C&B revolver of Colt 1860 pattern at a decent price, but not a display piece. This could be another explanation for the plain cylinder as opposed to one with a naval scene.

As we know today Edwards’s fakery concerns were unfounded. They were the solution for a problem that did not exist. Italian made 1851 Navy pattern revolvers from the same period not only had the period correct naval scene on their cylinders but also the reference to the famous Ormsby engraving. They did not care less.

 

2nd Variation

Regular New Model Army - Key Features

Cylinder

Centaure proprietary engagement scene similar to Ormsby-type but less background details

Cylinder marking

NEW MODEL 44

Cylinder legend

none

Finish

blue & case hardened (B/CCH)

This old and worn Belgian Navy 1851 left & below from the 2nd half of the 19th century saw action in Turkey according to the proof marks. Her barrel marking reads COLT’S SYSTEM OF NEW-YORK V.GULIKERS-MAQUINAY MAKER so she was not made by the Hanquets.

Belgian Navy Brevete #199910 made by V. Gulikers-Maquinay Maker

Take a closer look at her cylinder engraving below.

P1010436

What do you think of this? Would it be too far-fetched an idea that above stylized scene of a naval engagement on the cylinder of Belgian Navy #199910 was the role model, the inspiration for the engravers at FAUL’s, when they designed their period proprietary Centaure naval scene - that we admire today on the Civilian Models, a few 1st variation Cavalry Models or Pocket Army variations, and the 2nd variation RNMAs discussed in this chapter?

RNMA #2722 2nd variation 1st sub-variation: note cylinder with Centaure proprieatary naval engagement scene & NEW MODEL 44 marking

Based on the 2nd variation RNMAs recorded by July 17, 2010 I was led to believe that this variant was made between 1962 and 1964 only and in one variation only. At the 1st European Centaure conference to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this first industrially manufactured Colt 1860 pattern pistol after 1873 FROCS #77 Sliding Horse presented an unusual 2nd variation RNMA with a serial number indicating manufacturing during the end of the 1960s and without the toe on the butt. All specimens known until that date had the toe on the butt.

Therefore, the 2nd variation of the RNMA was made at least in 2 sub-variations: one “early” variation with i.e. 1st variation, one

“late” variation i.e. 2nd variation without the toe on the butt.

1st Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 2nd Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

yes

Logo

rampant centaur

Barrel markings

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"         CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"         CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK CHICAGO U.S.A.

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK  "1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

Chambers

large & mid-size

Arbor

1st & 2nd version

Comments

this variation is only known from the USA, Canada and New Zealand, see specimens #1833 & #2535 below

The Belgians shipped the RNMAs 2nd variation, 1st sub-variation exclusively via Mars Equipment to Centennial Arms Corp. in the USA between 1961 and 1964. Centennial Arms sold the majority to US and a few Canadian dealers and shooters. In addition exports to New Zealand are recorded.

RNMA #1833 2nd variation 1st sub-variation: pretty grained grips after disassembly and cleaning

A thoughtful US pard felt sorry for me because I could not obtain an early production 2nd variation RNMA here in Europe. This US cowboy liberated #1833 for me. She has a new home in a German herd now. Thanks pard.

Incidentally, did you notice that FAUL used nicer grained wood for the grips during the 1960s, compared to the panels found on the pistols of 1970s manufacture?

RNMA #1833 2nd variation 1st sub-variation: right side view                                              RNMA #1833: rampant Centaure logo & all marks

#2535 below was discovered in the used gun display of a Swiss gun shop in spring 2009. She features the 1963 barrel marking "1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"           CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK CHICAGO U.S.A..

This indicates that she was originally made for the USA or found her way via Shore’s Mars Equipment import/export company via New Zealand to Switzerland. Incidentally, the cylinder is stamped “353” and not “535”. This makes her a somewhat iffy 2nd variation RNMA.

RNMA #2535 2nd variation 1st sub-variation: reported from Switzerland, MADE IN BELGIUM stamped on but & twice on barrel

 

2nd Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 2nd Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

none

Logo

walking centaur

Barrel markings

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"  CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK

Chambers

small size

Arbor

3rd version

Comments

this variation is currently only known from Germany

In July 2010 Centaure #9036 surfaced in Germany. We could find no indications of a history of ownership in the USA or elsewhere. After disassembly it was confirmed that the cylinder had matching digits 36, i. e. it is the original cylinder with the Centaure proprietary naval scene installed at the Belgian factory. Therefore, a 2nd sub-variation of the 2nd variation RNMA exists. Below are her pictures to prove it.

RNMA #9036 2nd variation 2nd sub-variation: left side view of NMA discovered in Germany, note walking centaur logo of later production

This rare RNMA #9036 2nd variation 2nd sub-variation is unlike RNMA #9139 which was entered in the survey earlier. #9139 looks like a RNMA 2nd variation 2nd sub-variation with no toe on the butt. But the digits stamped on the breech side of #9139’s cylinder are 46. Hence she more likely a RNMA 1st variation, 3rd sub-variation with an extra cylinder installed featuring the Centaure proprietary a naval scene.

RNMA #9036 2nd variation 2nd sub-variation: right side view - no toe on the butt!

Based on the inspection of the only currently known specimen the 2nd sub-variation was assembled during the late 1960s only. We do not know if specimens were sold in the USA as well.

Regular New Model Army 2nd Variation

Serial Number Ranges

lowest serial number - year

highest serial number - year

Total

%

1st sub-variation

#1099:                     1961

#3989:                           1964

1,365

97,3

2nd sub-variation

#9036:                     1969

#9683:                           1970

38

2,7

TOTAL

 

 

1,403

100,0

 

FAQ: “How come that the first decision regarding naval scenes on Centaure cylinders was reversed and 2nd variation RNMAs have this Centaure proprietary naval scene but not the Ormsby style?”

IMHO Bill Edwards realized early after the launch of the 1st variation RNMA that his fears related to fakery were unfounded, that only few Colt Collectors got up in arms. Actually, most of them were happy to have now a reasonably priced 1960 Army as a shooter made of much stronger steel than their priced original pistol. His anxiety selling a Belgian made Colt Army pattern revolver in the USA with a naval scene was unjustified. But he still felt not comfortable offering a Centaure with a naval scene engraved in Ormsby-style. Later in 1960 this led to the introduction of the Civilian Model with its Centaure proprietary naval scene. This type of engraving is still kind of period correct as we have seen above.

In my book, the reason for the introduction of this 2nd variation RNMA as well as the above mentioned extra cylinders was simply $$$, to make use of the excess stock of cylinders with this proprietary naval scene from the Civilian Model project.

 

3rd Variation

Regular New Model Army - Key Features

Cylinder

Ormsby naval engagement scene

Cylinder legend

ENGAGED 16 MAY 1843

Finish

blue & case hardened (B/CCH)

Comments

sold in America North of the Rio Grande only

Centaures with cylinder engravings of the Centaure proprietary naval engagement scene found on the Civilian, a few early Cavalry Models, one variation of the Pocket Army Models and the 2nd variation RNMA described above were produced at FAUL’s in Belgium. However, and as proven by the limited sales of these pistols, these were not satisfactory for the US market.

Therefore, as early as ca. 1961 Bill Edwards and Sig Shore of Centennial Arms Corp, Chicago (CACC), hired Thomas “Tom” Haas to produce a roll cylinder die with the Ormsby naval scene as used on a number of 19th century Colt C&B revolver models. According to other sources the die was made by Haas’s associate Horacio Acevedo.

Be that as it may Haas was a noted “custom manufacturer-gun maker” of early Colt revolvers and friend with Bill Edwards and Sig Shore. Haas also made guns to “duplicate” original guns like his famous serious of Walkers. You can read more about that subject and the role the Centaures played in that scenario on the MOTHERLOAD page.

RNMA 3rd variation, 2nd sub-varition #5252: note Colt/Ormsby style naval scene on cylinder

Early on Haas experimented with design modifications like different markings between the naval scene. These experimental roll engraved cylinders were perfect. Once the final design was agreed upon with the marking CENTENNIAL between the scene ends the die was heat treated for hardness but it shrank 1/1000 in. So the engraving would not cut deep enough.

A new die was made by Tom Haas oversized. This one shrank to proper size when it was heat treated.

These activities of Centennial Arms in the USA explain why this variation of the RNMA was only available through CACC and US dealers but not in Europe.

RNMA #2 3rd variation with experimental Ormsby style cylinder scene

Back in the 1960s CACC ordered their Centaures through sister company Mars Equipment from Fabriques d’Armes Unies de Liège with their cylinder blank, i. e. regular 1st variation RNMAs. Their naval scene was added at CACC’s shop in Lincolnwood, IL 60712, USA. Regular cylinder roll engraving operations of these 1st variation turned 3rd variation RNMAs commenced in earnest ca. 1963 with the 2nd sub-variation. The 3rd sub-variations were added 1964.

 

1st Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 3rd Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

yes

Cylinder marking

experimental CENTENNIAL or COLTS PATENT + serial number

Logo

none or rampant centaur

Barrel marking

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

Chambers

large

Arbor

1st version

Only very few such 1st sub-variations experimental specimens with or without rampant Centaure logo are known.

Some pistols like #2 pictured above or #96 were reference guns in the CACC inventory. Some are in the famous Shore Collection of early Centaures. Others were sold like #1423 below picture. Probably less than 10 such specimens were made.

RNMA #1423: note serial number between the cylinder naval scene ends

 

2nd Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 3rd Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

yes

Cylinder marking

CENTENNIAL between the naval scene

Logo

rampant (early) & walking centaur (intermediate & late production)

Barrel markings

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"         CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK               "1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

Chambers

large, mid-size & small

Arbor

all 4 versions in line with year of production

RNMA #5252 3rd variation 2nd sub-variation

RNMA #4612 3rd variation 2nd sub-variation with notch (left), RNMA #5644 3rd variation 3rd sub-variation without notch on butt (right)

3rd Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 3rd Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

none

Cylinder marking

CENTENNIAL between the naval scene

Logo

walking centaur

Barrel markings

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"         CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK           "1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

Chambers

mid-size & small

Arbor

3rd & 4th version

RNMA #8900 is another splendid example of this 3rd variation 3rd sub-variation. She was purchased at an estate auction in June 2009 in the USA. 2 features make her unique, check pictures below:

RNMA #8900 3rd variation 3rd sub-variation: digits 100 stamped in the nicely fitted grip (left), no CENTENNIAL mark on cylinder (rigt)

 

Pricing & Serial Number Ranges: 1962 Centennial Arms Corporation would charge US $ 89.95 for these RNMAs!

Regular New Model Army 3rd variation

Serial Number Ranges

lowest serial number - year

highest serial number - year

Total

%

1st sub-variation

#        2:                       1959

#  1423:                         1962

7

0,2

2nd sub-variation

#  2825:                       1963

#11458:                         1971

1,940

46,8

3rd sub-variation

#  3808:                       1964

#  9880:                         1970

2,189

52,7

MSFRs

#18408:                       1971

#18408:                         1971

10

0,2

"Colterized

assumed

 

5

0,1

TOTAL

 

 

4,151

100,0

 

FAQ: “And finally the correct Colt-type naval scene on the cylinder? What kind of a logic is this after all?”

IMHO flexible response to market pressure: At first a few experimental guns which were made during the time when the Civilian and 2nd variation RNMA were still being actively promoted but there sales behind expectations. Once Uberti had presented their 1860 replica with period correct naval scene and all marks and markings in April 1963 Centennial Arms Corporation, the principal US dealer of the Centaures, swiftly reconsidered their earlier lukewarm position. Subsequently they had most of the 1st variation RNMAs after import modified to 3rd variation RNMA specs in their Lincolnwood. IL, USA shop by roll-engraving the Ormsby-style naval scene on the plain cylinders.

Shying away from the never occurring conflict with Colt Collectors they had the marking CENTENNIAL applied between the naval scene from 1963. But they never dared to apply the period correct patent mark PAT. SEPT. 10th 1850 nor the legend Engaged by W.L. Ormsby New York referring to Ormsby between the naval scene like the Italians did.

This is only to be found on “colterized” Centaures from Thomas Haas.

Incidentally the period correctness of the Ormsby reference on Army cylinder can be argued.

 

4th Variation

Regular New Model Army - Key Features

Cylinder

fully fluted

Finish

blue & case hardened (B/CCH)

Logo

walking centaur

Chambers

small

Arbor

3rd version

Comments

very rare variant, currently such pistols are known in Germany only

Many collectors consider this 4th variation RNMA variant the most gracious of them all!

 

1st Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 4th Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

no

Barrel marking

1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"          CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK

Comments

first early production or prototype 4th variation RNMA #6382 discovered so far.

In April 2013 the first specimen of this RNMA variant #6382 was offered at Egun’s internet auction house by the heirs of the first owner. The deal included an extra FAUL made cylinder of the rebated, plain kind.

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All numbers were matching. There was not toe on the butt. She featured the typical factory and proof house markings of 1967. A 3rd version arbor was installed. The first owner had worked the grip, frame and hammer some.

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RNMA #9382 period barrel marking, no toe on butt, grip custom varnished (left) 3rd version arbor, case colors of frame & hammer partly removed (right)

After the original purchase of the revolver the first owner acquired a second rebated and plain cylinder some time later from FAUL’s. It is proof tested but was not numbered at the factory. His gunsmith stamped 6382 on the breech-side in different sequence of the digits and using different fonts, see below.

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RNMA 6382: factory cylinder stamped 382 (left) whereas the extra rebated, plain cylinder is stamped 6382 (right), note sequence of digits

 

2nd Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 4th Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

yes

Barrel marking

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK   1960 NEW MODEL ARMY

Variants of these pistols with serial numbers below 11700 should be inspected with care. Their fluted cylinders might be Italian replacements on 1st variation RNMAs! Such specimens have been reported from Germany and the USA.

RNMA #12043: 4th variation 2nd sub-variation

 

Regular New Model Army 4th Variation

Serial Number Ranges

lowest serial number - year

highest serial number - year

Total

%

1st sub-variation

#  6382:                       1967

#  6382:                         1967

6

5,5

2nd sub-variation

#11783:                       1971

#12958:                         1972

104

94,5

TOTAL

 

 

110

100,0

 

5th Variation

Regular New Model Army - Key Features

Cylinder

rebated, plain

Finish

high gloss polish/"in the white", stainless look

Logo

walking centaur

Comments

discovered in Germany only

 

1st Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 5th Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

none

Logo

none

Barrel marking

none

Comments

Only specimens currently known are #6759 and #8654 below from Germany

 

RNMA #6759 5th variation 1st sub-variation (left), period proof marks on barrel lug (right)

Regarding the existence of these early variant I propose 2 thoughts:

# prototype for the new stainless look finish, see also RNMA #6377 in the next chapter on the 6th variation RNMAs below …

RNMA #6759: no barrel marking (left), not toe on butt (right)

# which where found useful and eventually became special order pistols for outside engraving jobs, see #8654 below. #8654 was discovered at a gun show in Germany.

P1000541-1

RNMA #8654 5th variation 1st sub-variation: custom engraved, no barrel marking (left), no toe & MADE IN BELGIUM on butt (right)

 

2nd Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Features of this 5th Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

yes

Logo

walking centaur

Barrel marking

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK                1960 NEW MODEL ARMY

Chambers

small

Arbor

3rd & 4th version

From the few 1971-73 small production runs of the RNMA 5th variation 2nd sub-variation only a handful has been discovered without customs or factory engraving.

#11867 below was (re-) discovered in a German gun shop May 2009. According to the records of the shop owner she was delivered for a custom engraving project 1972 from the Belgian factory, together with a shipment of other Centaures. The owner stowed her away in a box in the back of his warehouse house together with an original Colt 1860 and 2 Uberti C&B revolvers of 1972 production and forgot all about this consignment.

RNMA #11867 5th variation 2nd sub-variation

With her blued screws and wedge #11867 is a nice example of the later 5th variation RNMAs. Typically the last 3 digits of the serial number are embossed on the breech side of the cylinder.

 

Pricing & Serial Number Ranges: 1972 importer and dealer Bärbel Harlos of Germany promoted the introduction of the plain Jane version  with Centaure medallion in a flyer at DM 337,50!

Regular New Model Army 5th variation

Serial Number Ranges

lowest serial number - year

highest serial number - year

Total

%

1st sub-variation*

#  6759:                       1967

#  8654:                          1969

13

3,3

2ndnd sub-variation*

#10202:                       1970

#13366:                          1972

79

20,3

Subtotal “regular“ 5th variations*

 

 

92

23,6

De Luxe factory engraved

#11189:                       1971

#14003:                          1973

276

70,8

Super De Luxe factory engraved

#13446:                       1972

#13446:                          1972

9

2,3

Presentation factory engraved

#11842:                       1971

#14000:                          1973

13

3,3

Subtotal factory engraved

 

 

298

76,4

TOTAL

 

 

390

100,0

 

FAQ: “Why have so few regular production 5th variation RNMAs surfaced”

IMHO This variant was probably never planned for sale to the public. They were supposed for factory engraved de Luxe, Super de Luxe and Presentation style RNMAs at FAUL’s or shipped to outside engravers like Rothenburger Waffeneck in Germany for customs engraving. Only the few leftover pistols of the 2nd sub-variation not used for these inside or outside engraving jobs were sold to deplete inventories.

This makes them today a rare and sought after variation.

 

6th Variation

Regular New Model Army - Key Features

Cylinder

fully fluted

Finish

high gloss polish/”in the white” stainless look

Logo

walking centaur

Comments

to protect these pistols from rust the surface is specially heat treated. Only discovered in Europe.

Like the 4th and 5th variation RNMA this 6th variation of the RNMA was made in 2 sub-variations, namely as the early 1st sub-variation – prototypes or preproduction during 1967, and regularly as the 2nd sub-variation between 1971 and 1973!

 

1st Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 6th Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

none

Barrel marking

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK               1960 NEW MODEL ARMY

Chambers

mid-size

Arbor

3rd version

Comments

only pistol known is #6377 from 1967 found at German gun show pictured below, possibly another prototype of the new "in the white finish" (see #6759 in chapter on 5th variation RNMA)

RNMA #6377 6th variation 1st sub-variation (left), no toe on the butt (right)

RNMA #6377: visible serial numbers in usual positions (left), note inspector marks * under U sideways (right)

 

2nd Sub-Variation

Additional Specific Properties of this 6th Variation RNMA

Notch on butt

yes

Barrel markings

1960 NEW MODEL ARMY

1960 NEW MODEL ARMY    CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK                1960 NEW MODEL ARMY

Chambers

small

Arbor

3rd & 4th version

Comments

regularly encountered RNMA variant in Europe from 1971 through 1973

 

RNMA #13859 6th variation 2nd sub-variation

In February 2009 6th variation RNMA #14238 below was offered at German internet auction house Egun with an extra rebated, plain cylinder. The Centaure has all matching numbers. The breech-side of the fluted cylinder is stamped 238 (last 3 digits of the serial number).

RNMA #14238 6th variation 2nd sub-variation with extra plain, rebated cylinder, initials PE carved in square cartouche in lower part of the left grip panel,

in reverse order in the upper left corner, COLTS PATENT stamped on left side of frame between logo and bolt screw

The extra cylinder is not numbered at all but features the Liège proof mark of the right size and in the right position. This indicates that the extra cylinder is from FAUL.

There are a couple of unusual features to be mentioned, however:

RNMA 14238: close-up of COLTS PATENT (left), PE stamped on trigger guard (right)

COLTS PATENT marks on Centaures frames are known from Centaures “colterized” by Thomas Haas or Horacio Acevedo in the USA for US exclusive FAUL dealer Centennial Arms Corp. from the early 1960s. Their COLTS PATENT marks look like the real thing, see the MOTHERLOAD page for details.

On the other hand fonts used for all this customized enhancement of #14238 differs significantly from what we know from FAUL but also from Colt or the “colterized” Centaures.

RNMA 14238: “1960” of 1960 NEW MODEL ARMY altered to “1860” (left), close-up of “1960/1860“ (right)

RNMA 14238: no serial number on plain, rebated extra but “238” on fluted (left), genuine looking Belgian proof marks on both cylinders (right)

 

Pricing & Serial Number Ranges: Back in 1973 German dealer Bärbel Harlos had this interesting offer:

“Get this variant with an extra 5,5” barrel at DM 448,00!”.

One such combo inspected had the serial number #13106. The 2 barrels had matching numbers!

Regular New Model Army 6th variation

Serial Number Ranges

lowest serial number - year

highest serial Number - year

Total

%

1st sub-variation

#  6377:                       1967

#  6377:                         1967

7

1,3

2nd sub-variation

#11377:                       1971

#14243:                         1973

531

98,7

TOTAL

 

 

538

100,0

The 2nd sub-variation of this RNMA 6th variation could be had in Germany with or without 2 silvery Centaure logo medallions inlaid into the grip.

 

FAQ: “Rational for the introduction of 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th variation RNMAs without toe on butt?”

IMHO there must have been significant inventories of 3 part forged & welded back-straps without toes on the butt at FAUL’s since the anticipated sales volume of the regular production Civilian Model and the special production Pocket Army had not materialized as expected. To correct this situation these parts were randomly used in the assembly of the 3rd sub-variations of 1st & 3rd variation RNMA, and during 1967 also for the 1st sub-variations of 4th, 5th & 6th variation RNMAs, until these stocks were exhausted around 1970.

This represents another interesting field for the collectors today.

 

7th Variation

RNMA - Key Features

Cylinder

fully fluted

Finish

high gloss polish/”in the white”, stainless steel alloy

Notch on butt

yes

Logo

walking centaur

Barrel markings

"1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK               "1960 NEW MODEL ARMY"

Chambers

small

Arbor

3rd version

Comments

Fabriques d’Armes Unies de Liège wrote gun history with the making and introduction of this first ever stainless C&B revolver in 1972!

RNMA #12307 7th variation

I had the chance to physically inspect 7th variation RNMA #12301 and consecutively numbered #12305, 12306 and 12307. The unexpected find? All matching numbers except 3 digits on the breech-side of the cylinders: The cylinders were not numbered 301, 305, 306 or 307 but 101, 105, 106 and 107!

Is a “1” instead of the “3” some early internal code at FAUL’s for “stainless steel”?

7th variation RNMAs of higher serial numbers like #12736 or #13859 have the “regular” digits on their cylinders. Go figure!

 

Serial Number Ranges: 7th variation RNMAs have surfaced in Germany, plus one in South Africa and one in the USA! The pistol in South Africa was purchased in 1972 from German Western gun shop Bärbel Harlos by a German who immigrated to the Cape Republic some 20 years ago, whereas the US specimen was probably brought home by an American soldier stationed in Germany during the 1970s.

Regular New Model Army 7th variation

Serial Number Ranges

lowest serial number - year

highest serial number - year

Total

7th variation

#12301:                         1972

#12924:                            1972

61

 

Pending Issues: When I had the chance to pick the brain of Peter Harlos we also talked about these stainless steel 7th variation RNMs during our December 9, 2010 conversation. Interestingly he does not recall that FAUL ever made Centaures of a stainless steel alloy.

The Belgians did not make this variant at the request of Bärbel Harlos company but I cannot rule out that they made such pistols. Possibly it was on an experimental base.”

Except for #12301 and #12924 all 7th variation RNMAs carry the two line importer stamp B. HARLOS RIEDEN on the butt.

Harlos explained that they never pretended their “white” Centaures were “stainless steel” pistols. Back then they rather claimed their “special heat treatment to protect the surface from flash rust”. They called the finish “stainless look”.

The fact remains, however, that there are a few Centaures out there that do not rust!

Until proof is presented to the contrary, I believe FAUL made a number of RNMAs in stainless steel. These pistols might not have been regularly manufactured but represent more of an extended prototype production. This assumption is supported by the low number of confirmed 7th variations that were discovered. To add to the confusion there are also a few “white” pistols with fluted cylinders made of a mix of steel alloys including stainless. E. g. they could come with a frame of stainless steel but the cylinder or barrel is of the polished and heat treated carbon steel variety!

Therefore, I suggest that you view any offer of a “stainless steel Centaure” with caution and reticence until we have the chance to study more specimens of these rare 7th variation RNMAs.

 

WDN/June 27, 2013

© 2007 Wolf D. Niederastroth

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