Original U.S. Civil War Colt 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver with U.S. Surcharge made in 1856 - Serial 59747
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 partially matching serial number 59747 on most parts, including the barrel, frame, and trigger guard. The cylinder axis pin has shortened serial number 974, while the loading rammer is marked 1911. The barrel wedge and cylinder are both unmarked, either arsenal replacements, or simply worn. Serial number records indicate production in 1856, so this was made years before the outbreak of the Civil War. However, it looks to have seen long service and arsenal repair, so most likely it saw action during the conflict.
Top of the barrel still has the full original early pattern Colt address marking:
- ADDRESS SAML COLT NEW-YORK CITY -
The left side of the frame is marked COLTS / PATENT / U.S., making this a rare example that has a U.S. surcharge issue marking. This was possibly added when the revolver was arsenal serviced. Overall the metal finish is a worn gray patina, with areas of light peppering as shown. The bore shows clear lands and grooves, however also fouling and areas of oxidation. The revolver cycles correctly, though as with any revolver of this age, it can be finicky due to wear. The cylinder has all nipples still clear, however all have been damaged / crushed by the hammer.
A very nice service used example of a Pre Civil War issued Colt Percussion revolver with a U.S. surcharge, 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: 1856
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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