Original Pair of British-Proofed Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolvers - Manufactured in 1866

Item Description

Original Items: One Pair Only. These original Colt Revolvers very nice, and are a NEAR Pair! They are not consecutive serial numbers, but are closely numbered 193100 and 193389. They were made in the U.S. in 1866 and shipped to England by special order. The Colt outlet in England that marketed LONDON NAVY COLTS ceased production in 1856 after about 42,000 revolver marked LONDON had been made.

These two revolvers from the same production run were selected and shipped to LONDON where they were submitted to the London Proof House and identically marked at the same time. One can see traces of the New York Address on the tops of the barrels:


Both pistols appear to have matching numbers on the visible parts.

The have been well used but are still very good and how rare is it to find even a NEAR PAIR of Colt 1851 Pistols not in a case surviving today? Almost certainly ordered and purchased by a British serving Officer, no doubt before being transferred to some Colonial destination be it South Africa, the Middle East or India, where they saw much use.

Totally honest and still functioning well, though the action on both can be a bit finicky, as expected revolvers of this age and usage. They are both smothered in British proofs. Finish is a bit worn, and they were probably arsenal refinished at one point. The serial numbers on the cylinders are faint, and the original "naval engagement" scenes are all but gone.

Very hard to find, fully cleaned and ready to display!

History of the 1851 Navy Colt Pistol:

The .36 caliber Navy revolver was much lighter than the contemporary Colt Dragoon Revolvers developed from the .44 Walker Colt revolvers of 1847, which, given their size and weight, were generally carried in saddle holsters. It is an enlarged version of the .31 caliber Colt Pocket Percussion Revolvers, that evolved from the earlier Baby Dragoon, and, like them, is a mechanically improved and simplified descendant of the 1836 Paterson revolver. As the factory designation implied, the Navy revolver was suitably sized for carrying in a belt holster. It became very popular in North America at the time of Western expansion. Colt's aggressive promotions distributed the Navy and his other revolvers across Europe, Asia, and Africa. As with many other Colt revolvers, it has a six-round cylinder.

The cylinder of this revolver is engraved with a scene of the victory of the Second Texas Navy at the Battle of Campeche on May 16, 1843. The Texas Navy had purchased the earlier Colt Paterson Revolver, but this was Colt's first major success in the gun trade; the naval theme of the engraved cylinder of the Colt 1851 Navy revolver was Colt's gesture of appreciation. The engraving was provided by Waterman Ormsby. Despite the "Navy" designation, the revolver was chiefly purchased by civilians and military land forces.

The .36 caliber (.375-.380 inch) round lead ball weighs 80 grains and, at a velocity of 1,000 feet per second, is comparable to the modern .380 pistol cartridge in power. Loads consist of loose powder and ball or bullet, metallic foil cartridges (early), and combustible paper cartridges (Civil War era), all combinations being ignited by a fulminate percussion cap applied to the nipples at the rear of the chamber.

Famous "Navy" users included Wild Bill Hickok, John Henry "Doc" Holliday, Richard Francis Burton, Ned Kelly, Bully Hayes, Richard H. Barter, Robert E. Lee, Nathan B. Forrest, John O'Neill, Frank Gardiner, Quantrill's Raiders, John Coffee "Jack" Hays, "Bigfoot" Wallace, Ben McCulloch, Addison Gillespie, John "Rip" Ford, "Sul" Ross and most Texas Rangers prior to the Civil War and (fictionally) Rooster Cogburn. Use continued long after more modern cartridge revolvers were introduced.


Year of Manufacture: 1866
Caliber: .36cal
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 7 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 13 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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