GUSTAVE YOUNG ENGRAVED COLT’S DRAGOON 1860 .44 Revolver CIVIL WAR Antique
Rarely Seen with Factory Engraving
Here we present an antique Engraved Colt 3rd Model Dragoon, manufactured in 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut. This one was engraved by Gustave Young’s shop. Gustave Young was one of many German immigrants who came to the United States and worked in the firearms industry. However, Young’s talents were most assuredly in engraving and his style set him apart from his contemporaries. This influx of German engravers starting in about 1850 was perhaps the beginning of what R.L. Wilson has called the “golden age of arms engraving in America”. Other names such as Bodenstein, Helfricht, Nimschke, and several Ulrichs would also make their enormous contributions to the craft, imparting their Germanic influence and become legends as well. Wilson goes on to say that “Young is generally considered to have been the best arms engraver active in 19th Century America.” Young was “Colt’s chief engraving contractor from 1852-1869.”
This one features Gustave Young’s signature “No. 2” style engraving and coverage. This entails the wolf’s head on each side of the hammer, as well as effusive curling scrolls on the hammer, frame, grip frame, barrel and loading lever. Much of the background is punch-dotted. Each of the serial numbers is marked with a punchdot, which was the Colt factory’s own notation to indicate that the given piece would receive the special treatment. Also, of note are the hand-engraved “COLTS PATENT” marking on the left side of the frame, rather than the usual roll marking.
The Third Model Dragoon was first offered in 1851 and continued production through 1861, for a total of 10,500 produced. The revolver is in .44 caliber percussion, weighs 4 pounds and 2 ounces, and has a part round and part octagonal barrel. The main difference between a Second and Third Model Dragoon is the change from a square-back trigger-guard to a rounded version.
Colt’s Dragoons experienced some of the harshest conditions the mid-19th century had to offer, and it is amazing that any survived, in any condition. This pistol was designed for use by horse-mounted riflemen, and it is so much pistol that you will want a horse to carry it for you because of its significant weight. This one would have seen use during the American Civil War and is certainly showing lots of firing.
The overall condition is good. Mixed patina with some old refinish work to the round portion of the barrel and rammer. The engraving throughout still shows nicely and the Ormsby Indian Fight cylinder scene is faint but visible. The action is still functional and strong, indexing well and locking up the cylinder at each chamber. The bore is dark and dusty and showing little rifling remaining. The cylinder chambers are quite pitted. The grip is solid, a little shy around the grip frame. The numbers match on the grip frame, trigger guard, frame, barrel, loading lever, and cylinder (restamped). The barrel wedge Several of the screws have been replaced. This American work of art was no Safe Queen, but a work of art it remains just as much as it was a tool.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 8 inches.
Caliber: .44 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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