Original U.S. Civil War Colt 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver - Arsenal Refit with Mixed Serial Numbers
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 particular example was re-assembled by Army Workshops from War Damaged Colt Navy Revolvers, in about 1863. It's serial number ion the cylinder is 13890 made in 1852 , on the frame 30506 made in 1853, on the Trigger guard 81399 made in 1858 and on the barrel 112780 made in 1862. The great shortage of weapons compelled both sides to rebuild weapons from those that were destroyed in combat, and this was especially true of the Confederacy.
Top of the barrel still has part the original Colt markings visible:
- ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT
Guns with "Mixed Numbers" are always looked down upon by Collectors however these examples of multi-numbered Civil War Revolvers are the evidence that in the time of war such measures were very much necessary and it made no difference to the Trooper on whatever side whether his gun was matching numbers as long as he could defend himself with it. Probably having countless stories to relate each part has its own individual history and then a fresh history once re-built and re-issued yet again probably in 1863.
Sometime after that, abalone shell diamonds were inlayed into the grips, which while solid, are worn so that they do not show the original cartouches. The revolver cycles correctly, though it is stiff and somewhat finicky, expected from a revolver of this age and usage.
Re-blued over some pitting but usable in 1863 and now 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: 1852 - 1863
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 6 1/2 inches
Overall Length: 13 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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