Original U.S. Civil War Colt M1860 Army Revolver in Named Shadow Box with Holster & Photograph

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Set Available. This is a great collector's opportunity! Here we have a very interesting family shadow box display, consisting of a Colt Model 1860 Army .44 Percussion revolver, together with its original leather revolver holster. It also includes an early framed photograph of the Confederate staff officer named William Stuart Terrell of North Carolina. There is a small brass plaque at the bottom under the glass:


Internet research shows that Captain Terrell was a Confederate Quartermaster from North Carolina, serving in Eastern Tennessee during December 1863. This lovely wood and glass shadow box set originated from an estate sale, and we have disassembled it to better show the contents. The box looks to be made of quality hardwood, and measures 21"W x 19 1/2"H  x 3 1/2".

The holster inside is the standard leather top flap used with most percussion revolvers during the war. The photograph measures about 3 1/4"W x 4 1/2", and looks to have been taken long after the war was over. The revolver was produced in 1863, which might seem late for a confederate revolver, however captured weapons were often returned for servicing and repairs, and that is most likely how it ended up in the hands of Capt. Terrell. The barrel was replaced, showing it definitely did see arsenal service at some point.

The revolver is a very nice .44 caliber percussion, 6 shot round cylinder, 8" barrel Model 1860 Colt Army revolver. Gun is in very good used condition and fully functional, with a lovely finish. It looks like the entire revolver was copper plated and then "blacked", something we have not seen before. The wear on the cylinder has worn away some of the oxide and revealed the underlying copper, also visible on the cylinder axis pin.

Action and barrel frame lock up are tight. The address marking is still mostly clear on the top of the barrel:


The frame markings however are completely gone, and the cylinder scene has worn off as well, along with the serial number, though just a bit of the "PAT. SEPT 10th 1865" marking remains. All parts of the revolver except for the barrel and cylinder bear matching serial 91538, denoting year of manufacture as 1863. The cylinder axis pin and barrel wedge (partial) bear shortened number 1538, while the barrel is marked with 110112, also made in 1863.

Original walnut grips are solid, though they do show their age and wear. They have a lot of rounding and small chips, but still retain a lovely grain and color. The pistol is complete, action is smooth but sometimes stiff, the cylinder lock up is good, bore shows lands and groves, but also wear and past powder fouling. As with all revolvers of this age, it can be a bit finicky at times. There is only a little play in the barrel/frame connection.

This is a great named example of the classic side arm used during the U.S. Civil War, ready to display with the holster and picture in this incredible named shadow box! An incredible Civil War set with great research potential!

NOTE: Shadow Box will require assembly upon receipt.

The Colt Army Model 1860 is a muzzle-loaded cap & ball .44-caliber revolver used during the American Civil War made by Colt's Manufacturing Company. It was used as a side arm by cavalry, infantry, artillery troops, and naval forces.

The Colt 1860 Army uses the same size frame as the .36 caliber 1851 Navy revolver. The frame is relieved to allow the use of a rebated cylinder that enables the Army to be chambered in .44 caliber. the barrel on the 1860 Army has a forcing cone that is visibly shorter than that of the 1851 Navy, allowing the Army revolver to have a longer cylinder. Another distinguishing feature of the Colt 1860 Army, first introduced on the Colt 1855 Sidehammer Revolver, is the "creeping" loading lever.

More than 200,000 were manufactured from 1860 through 1873. Colt's biggest customer was the US Government with no less than 129,730 units being purchased and issued to the troops. The weapon was a single-action, six-shot weapon accurate up to 75 to 100 yards, where the fixed sights were typically set when manufactured. The rear sight was a notch in the hammer, only usable when the revolver was fully cocked.

The Colt .44-caliber "Army" Model was the most widely used revolver of the Civil War. It had a six-shot, rotating cylinder, and fired a 0.454-inch-diameter (11.5 mm) round spherical lead ball, or a conical-tipped bullet, typically propelled by a 30-grain charge of black powder, which was ignited by a small copper percussion cap that contained a volatile charge of fulminate of mercury (a substance that explodes upon being subjected to a sharp impact). The percussion cap, when struck by the hammer, ignited the powder charge. When fired, balls had a muzzle velocity of about 900 feet per second (274 meters/second), although this depended on how much powder one loaded it with.

The unfluted cylinder was 'rebated,' meaning that the rear of the cylinder was turned to a smaller diameter than the front. The barrel was rounded and smoothed into the frame, as was the Navy Model. The frame, hammer, and rammer lever were case-hardened, the remainder blued; grips were of one-piece walnut; and the trigger guard and front grip strap were of brass while the backstrap was blued."

A distinguishing feature of the Model 1860 was that its frame had no top strap, or no component running above the cylinder. Instead, its strength came from the lower frame and the massive fixed cylinder pin. This made the gun slimmer and lighter than its main competitor, the Remington Model 1858, but with a possible loss of strength. The fixed cylinder pin also meant that the barrel had to be removed in order to remove the cylinder, unlike the Model 1858, which only required you to remove the cylinder retaining pin.


By April 1861, 2,230 of Colt's earliest production went to dealers south of the Mason-Dixon line. The United States Navy ordered 900 fluted cylinder revolvers in May 1861 later issued to ships enforcing the Atlantic and Gulf blockade. United States Army orders also began in May, and 127,157 had been delivered before a 5 October 1864 fire put Colt's factory out of operation for the duration of hostilities.


Loading is a somewhat lengthy process, with each of the six chambers drilled into the revolving cylinder being loaded from the front, or "muzzle" end. A measured amount of black powder is poured into a chamber. Next a lead ball is placed at the opening of the chamber and seated by firmly pressing it in with the pivoting loading lever which is attached beneath the barrel of the revolver. For sealing each chamber, an over-size 0.454-inch-diameter (11.5 mm) lead ball is trimmed slightly by the rim of the chamber as the rammer forces it inside. Cap and ball shooters also often place a lubricated wad between balls and powder, or, alternatively, pack lard or a commercially-sold bore lubricant at the mouth of each chamber in an attempt to prevent powder in an adjacent chamber from being ignited by when the gun is fired, which is known as a chainfire.

When the Colt Model 1860 was used by 19th century soldiers, they most often loaded the gun using paper cartridges. These cartridges consisted of a pre-measured load of black powder and a ball, wrapped in nitrated paper (paper that had been soaked in potassium nitrate and then dried, to make it more flammable). To load each chamber, one only had to slip the cartridge into the front of the chamber and seat the ball with the loading lever ram. Then a percussion cap was placed onto the raised aperture, called a nipple, at the back end of the chamber.

The Colt 1860 cost approximately $20 per revolver. This was rather expensive during the 1860s, both for the United States Army and private citizens. Colt had been criticized by this high price, and by 1865 the revolver was reduced to $14.50.

The Colt "Army" revolver is to be distinguished from the Colt "Navy" revolver of which there were two models, the octagonal barrel Model 1851 Navy, and the round-barreled Model 1861 Navy, both Navy models being in the smaller .36-caliber.


Year of Manufacture: 1862
Caliber: .44cal
Ammunition Type: Percussion Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 8 inches
Overall Length: 14 inches
Action: Single
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

NOTE: International orders of antique firearms MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services (courier). USPS Priority Mail international will not accept these.

  • This product is not available for shipping in US state(s)
    New Jersey

    This product is available for international shipping.
  • Not eligible for payment with Paypal or Amazon


Cash For Collectibles