Antique CASED SET of Two COLTS 1860 ARMY & 1851 NAVY Percussion Revolvers
CIVIL WAR Revolvers Made in 1863 & 1862 w/ACCESSORIES
Here we present an antique Cased Set of Colt Revolvers, including a Model 1860 Army and a Model 1851 Navy, both made in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1863 and 1862, respectively.
The 1860 Army was the single most used pistol of the American Civil War. Over 200,000 were made from 1860 to 1873, and 156,000 of those were made by the end of the war in 1865. These were excellent sidearms for officers, cavalry, infantry, and artillery troops. The 1860 Army was Samuel Colt’s finest achievement to that point, having finally developed a large caliber revolver that weighed about 2 lbs. 10 oz. to the famous Dragoon’s 4 lbs. 4 oz., and was adopted en masse by the U.S. government with huge contracts. The revolver was well balanced in hand and had a long enough barrel to be effective when utilized as a carbine with the attachable shoulder stock. This revolver represented unprecedented firepower from a handgun in the field at the time and was especially suited to Cavalry. The Confederacy, lacking in manufacturing capabilities though they were, managed to produce limited numbers of copies, and battlefield pickups of the 1860 Army were highly coveted. The 1860 Army went on to serve the U.S. military even after the Civil War and into the Indian Wars, until production of Colt’s 1873 Single Action Army created new waves in the revolver market, and again achieved great success in the military and commercial markets.
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. The Colt Model 1851 Navy, first known as the “Ranger Model” and also known as the “Revolving Belt Pistol of Naval Caliber,” was designed between 1847 and 1850, manufactured from 1850 until 1873, and was the second most popular Colt percussion revolver after only the Model 1849 Pocket.
Though its name implies maritime use, most Navy revolvers primarily saw use on dry land, including in the Old West, which 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. Prior to the beginning of the Civil War, the state of Missouri was a hotbed of trouble that often broke out in shooting fights. Bill Anderson, Jesse and Frank James, and the Youngers all cut their teeth on this border trouble and were ready to go when leaders like William Quantrill enlisted them in his guerilla band during the war. The boys from Missouri became quite proficient with their six-guns and generally carried a brace of Dragoons on their saddle pommels and a brace of Navy revolvers on their hip.
The overall condition of the case is good. The Burgundy velvet lining is quite good for age. The Colt London Agency instructions are mostly intact and still legible. Included within the case are a good stock of both spherical and conical bullets from the original Colt .44 caliber mold. The original Colt powder flask has seen some soldering along the bottom seam. There is a screwdriver and a nipple wrench as well as two cap tins and oiler bottle. The Colt Navy is in very good condition. It has been refinished. The action is excellent. The bore is bright and sharply rifled. The walnut grip shows wear and remains solid. There is a bit of extra verdigris and a bit of rust on the screw at the front of the trigger guard. Good cylinder scene. The Colt Army is in fair to good condition. It has been refinished. The cylinder and wedge are replacements numbered to match. The action (hammer/trigger) works but is a bit clunky. The cylinder does not revolve when the hammer is cocked, as it should. The bore is a bit scaley, though it has good rifling. The walnut grip still shows a faint cartouche. Overall, a neat set that will look great on display.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrels: 1860 Army – 8 inches. 1851 Navy – 7-1/2 inches.
Calibers: 1860 Army – .44 Percussion. 1851 Navy – .36 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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