Original U.S. Civil War Colt 1851 Navy .36cal Percussion Revolver with Plated Grip made in 1861 - Serial No 103194

Regular price $2,195.00

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. 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 very nice example features a standard 7 1/2" barrel and fully matching serial number 103194 on all parts including the barrel, frame, trigger guard, grip, and cylinder! The loading rammer, barrel wedge and cylinder axis pin have shortened matching serial numbers. This makes this a very nice "ALL MATCHING" example! Colt records indicate that this revolver was produced in 1861, right during the beginning of the Civil War, and it doubtless saw service during the conflict. There is still much of the original "Naval Engagement" cylinder scene, and the COLT'S PATENT No. marking is fully visible.

Top of the barrel still has the full original Colt address marking:


The revolver looks to have seen some service during the war, though it does not look to have been used extensively. Overall the metal finish is a slightly worn blued patina, with a bit of light pitting in a few areas. The COLTS PATENT marking is still visible on the left side of the frame, and the trigger guard and grip frame look to have been re-plated. It almost looks like they were plated silver at some point, and then nickel plated again over this. Definitely an interesting feature to note!

The bore shows clear lands and grooves, however also fouling and areas of oxidation. The revolver cycles correctly, with good indexing and cylinder lock up. The grip scales are in very good condition, with a lovely oiled finish and color. The barrel wedge is worn and does not hold securely in the frame. It looks like the spring was possibly removed and repaired.

A very nice example of a Civil War issued Colt Percussion revolver, most attractive 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: 1861
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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