Location and Length of Serial Number ranges

There can be as many as 10 serial numbers located on a '49, subject to differences for each model. Those locations are listed and depicted below. Further down is a table of the most common abbreviations for each model.

1 Barrel These three located together on the underside of the gun, ahead of the trigger. All three show the full serial number.
2 Frame
3 Trigger Guard
4 Cylinder Under the "COLTS PATENT" stamped on the cylinder. Generally the full number, until later models when it is abbreviated to 5, 4, or 3 digits.
5 Butt Strap Always full length number - but in later models can be split into two rows, as shown below.   
6 Wedge Often abbreviated, as listed below.
7 Arbor Regularly abbreviated.  
8 Loading Lever Generally 4 digits when applied.
9 Lever Latch Very hard to see without dismantling the latch spring etc - which is definitely not advised.
10 Grip Hand written, in black ink (occasionally pencil). Few grips are removed, so abbreviations are not well documented.

Barrel, Frame, and Trigger Guard

Arbor, Trigger Guard, & Frame
Cylinder
Butt Strap

Wedge
Loading Lever
Grip
Lever Latch

The following table shows, for various models and serial number ranges, whether a number occurs in each location, if it is normally a full length number, or how many digits it is most frfequently abbreviated to. It is important to note there are many variations to these "norms". Some are noted below.
 
Barrel
Frame
Guard
Butt
Cylinder
Wedge
Arbor
Lever
Latch
Grip
Baby Dragoon without Rammer
 
3 to 1888
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
N/A
N/A
Full
 
1890 to 14152
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
3
3
N/A
N/A
Full
Baby Dragoon with Rammer
 
11670 to 15461
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
3
3(1)
Full
3
Full
Wells Fargo - Short Frame
 
14462 to 15784
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
3
3
N/A
N/A
Full
 
15785 to 63348
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
4
4(2)
N/A
N/A
Full
Wells Fargo - Long Frame
 
78488 to 99996
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
4
4
N/A
N/A
Full
 
99997 to 164182
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
5
4
N/A
N/A
4 or 5
2-Line New York
 
14454 to 45000
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
3
3
4
3
4 or 5
 
45001 to 69000
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
4
3
4
3
4 or 5
 
69001 to 100000
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
4
4
4
3
4,5, or 6
 
100001 to 175000
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
5
4
4
3
4,5, or 6
 
175001 to 174537
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
4
4
4
3
4,5, or 6
2-Line Hartford
 
171452 to 182000
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
5
4
4
3
4,5, or 6
 
182000 to 184500
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
4
4
4
3
4,5, or 6
 
184800 to 201600
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
5
4
4
3
4,5, or 6
 
201900 to 205100
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
4
4
4
3
4,5, or 6
 
205900 to 206532
Full
Full
Full
Full
5
5
4
4
3
4,5, or 6
1-Line New York
 
187131 to 198918
Full
Full
Full
Full
Full
5
4
4
3
4
 
198919 to 261680
Full
Full
Full
Full
5
5
4
4
3
4
 
261681 to 327761
Full
Full
Full
Full
4
5
4
Blank(4)
3
4
 
327762 to 327850
Full
Full
Full
Full
3
5
4
4
3
4
 
327850 to 332993
Full
Full
Full
Full(3)
3
Blank
3
4
3
4
Notes:
1
At least one example (#12872) exists with full number on arbor pin.
2
5 digits are occasionally seen.
3
From approximately # 330000 these numbers are stacked in two rows of three, as depicted above - without exception.
4
Exceptions are the "L" marked export guns in the ranges 269000 and 296000-298000 which have 3 digits.