Original U.S. Civil War Colt 1851 Navy .36 Caliber Revolver - Manufactured in 1861, Matching Serial No 100161
Original Item: Only One Available. This Colt Navy Model 1851 Percussion Revolver in .36 caliber was widely used by both sides in the U.S. Civil War. The Colt Revolving Belt Pistol of Naval Caliber (i.e., .36 cal), later known as the Colt 1851 Navy or Navy Revolver, is a cap and ball revolver that was designed by Samuel Colt between 1847 and 1850. Colt first called this Revolver Ranger model; but the designation Navy quickly took over. It remained in production until 1873, when revolvers using fixed metallic cartridges came into widespread use.
This nice example features a 7½ barrel and all matching serial numbers of 100161 indicating manufacture in 1861 and bears the bears on the top of the barrel:
Revolver was manufactured by Colt Firearms, Hartford Connecticut, the Model 1851 revolver, a percussion fired six shooter, .36 caliber, was originally designed for the Navy but widely utilized by others. Standard design employed an octagon barrel, creeping style loading lever, barrel and cylinder held in place and easily removed for loading by releasing removable wedge, three screws, rounded cylinder with notches, rounded brass trigger guard, brass back strap, walnut grips. Top of barrel is marked " - ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT HARTFORD CT -". Left frame is marked "COLTS / PATENT". Cylinder is marked with the serial number. Matching serial number, appears multiple times, underneath on both sections of frame, trigger guard, backstrap, cylinder, wedge, and inside on cylinder pin. Octagon barrel length 7.5 in. Metal appearance very pleasing, wood grips solid with usual dings and scratches from use, mechanics are fully functional.
Dating from the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 this Navy Revolver is still in tight excellent working condition, shows use and retains it's matching numbers but what actual part it played in the war we shall never know. If only it could speak!
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.
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