Original U.S. Civil War Colt 1851 Navy .36 Revolver 3rd New York Volunteer Cavalry- Manufactured in 1861

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This nice Colt M-1851 Navy revolver that was delivered to the New York Dealer COOPER & PONDin a shipment sent on August 5th, 1861 as part of a grouping of 25 revolvers in all. Cooper & Pond was a large wholesaler handling many manufacturers and sold in quantity to military units throughout the Union and no doubt did a brisk retail trade as well during the Civil War.

From the date range of this revolver's serial number research shows that it was shipped to the 3RD NEW YORK VOLUNTEER CAVALRY in 1861. This is supported by included research documents and as well as a Colt Authentication Letter issued in 2003.

The 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 109108 indicating manufacture in 1861 and bears the bears on the top of the barrel:


The revolver is in very nice condition showing extensive use but no abuse. The finish is mottled and there are scattered patches of old pitting but nothing alarming. The trigger guard and pistol grip frame are brass and one can still see a military inspector's "T" stamp on the left side of the trigger guard. The barrel is correctly marked ADDRESS COL. SAML. COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA The cylinder shows only slight traces of the naval scene. The revolver has all matching serial numbers (10910). This honest revolver is still tight and presents extremely well after 155 years. A scarce opportunity to get a researched Civil War Colt 1851 Navy Revolver.

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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