Antebellum COLT Model 1851 NAVY .36 Caliber PERCUSSION Revolver Antique
1856 Production with Initials & Lots of Holster Wear
Here we present an antique Colt U.S. Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver, made in 1856 in Hartford, Connecticut. The 1851 Navy was one of Colt’s most famous and successful lines, reaching a production total of 257,348 from 1850 to 1873 (right up to the time of SAA production) from both Hartford and London factories. From Hartford alone, 185,000 were made by the end of the American Civil War. Many of these saw service during the conflict on both sides. There were some military purchases and lots of private purchases by soldiers going off to war. In addition, the Model 1851 was carried by Confederate General Robert E. Lee and was a favorite of “Doc” Holliday and “Wild Bill” Hickok, who carried two of these most famously in his red sash.
Truly, the Colt 1851 Navy revolver ushered in the era of the gunfighter. Among the many guns that were used on the western frontier, none was more popular in its day than the Colt percussion revolver designated the 1851 Navy. This single action revolver weighed in at roughly 42 ounces. Prior to the Navy’s introduction, hand gunners had to make do with the Colt Walker and Dragoon revolvers, both of which weighed over four pounds. These big guns were best suited for carry in pommel holsters on the saddle. The Colt Navy was the first popular single-action revolver that could be worn comfortably on the belt.
This revolver has been drawn and re-holstered probably thousands of times to get the kind of wear it shows on the muzzle. The crudely inscribed initials and the overall well-used condition of the gun makes one wonder about the original owner.
The overall condition is good. This example has “MR.” hand inscribed on the trigger guard frame with the butt inscribed “MHC”. The action is strong and tight all around. The bore is dim and shows decent rifling. The grip is solid. Some silver finish remains around the trigger guard and on the back strap, likely reapplied at some point. The barrel wedge is an unnumbered replacement, all other numbers match. If you want an old Colt that belonged to a gunfighter, this is it!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 7-1/2 inches.
Caliber: .36 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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