1860 Colt Army pistol

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Gibby2, Mar 24, 2003.

  1. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    What should I do, I have recently found what appears to be an 1860 Colt Army Pistol that looks to be in excellent condition. How should it be stored? Should I lightly oil the gun? WHat are the initials on the handle, Are they for the owner or Colt himself?


    Any insight or advise would be greatly appreciated.
    :cool:
  2. warpig

    warpig Guest

    need more info

    It could be a reproduction or it could be a real Colt.

    Can you tell us all the markings on the gun? Is the frame brass or steel?
  3. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Hi Gibby2.....welcome to TFF.

    First, let's determine if the gun is an original or reproduction.

    To do that, we'll need ALL of the writing on the gun.

    And...we'll need a better description of it's condition...% of bluing left, any dings or dents, condition of the bore, etc.

    If you can post some pictures, it would be helpful.

    In the meantime, you can clean the bore and cylinder chambers with a bore brush and a good bore cleaner....run some patches thru to dry it out, and oil lightly with a quality gun oil.

    Wipe off the outside of the gun with a clean, dry rag, and oil lightly and store in a dry place.
  4. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    Thanks for responding, here are some pics of the handgun.
  5. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    Where are the pictures?

    Also, can you give us all of the writing and markings on the gun?
  6. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    Xracer, Thanks for replying

    111215 is on the bottom of the barrel and the steel part of the trigger and the brass part has 52665 in front of the trigger, it has an H behind the trigger, 111215 stamped on the steel at bottom of the grip.

    Looks like Patent #: 1215 Pat Sept 10th 1855 on the chamber (name for part?)

    Along the top of the barrel, Address Col Sam l Colt New York US America. Not sure of the middle initial could be a small L or E.

    There are two G's on the safety screw side of the barrel same side just above the trigger it says Colts Patent.

    There are 3 initials on the wooden part of the handle, it looks as though they are WBR or WBK.

    How do I attach pictures? I tried yesterday and would really like to show you this handgun.

    Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it.
  7. Admin

    Admin Active Member Staff Member

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    If your pictures are stored in a file in your computer, then
    just click on the "Browse" button below the text box when
    you reply.

    If your pictures are stored at a picture host site or elsewhere,
    then just click on the "IMG" button above the text box area,
    and place the link to your pictures in it and press the "OK"
    button, then click on "Submit Reply" as usual.


    Tac
  8. warpig

    warpig Guest

  9. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    Pictures

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  10. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    OK, Gibby....this is starting to get interesting!

    The serial # and markings seem to check, but the trigger guard doesn't match the rest of the gun.

    Sounds like this just might be a genuine Model 1860 Army with a mis-matched trigger guard.

    Is there a roll engraving on the cylinder, or perchance, is the cylinder fluted?

    Can you post pictures showing the entire gun, from the right and left sides?

    Can you give us the general condition of the revolver....is there any finish on it. Any pits, dings, dents, rust, etc. To a large extent, value will depend on condition.

    Sorry to be playing 20 questions, but there are a bunch of reproductions & fakes out there.

    BTW...the WBK on the handle would be the military inspector's mark.....and...the "l" is not a middle initial, it's "Saml. Colt" short for Samuel Colt.
  11. astute observer

    astute observer New Member

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    1860 Army Colt

    It looks to be the genuine article, and I have one here to compare it with. Apparently the trigger guard was damaged at some point and was replaced, not a big deal....and only slightly detrimental to value. It would be nice to see an overall photo of this revolver
  12. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    More information

    From some of the other pictures I have seen they all have a brass triger gaurd?

    Sounds like this just might be a genuine Model 1860 Army with a mis-matched trigger guard.

    Is there a roll engraving on the cylinder, or perchance, is the cylinder fluted? *** Not sure what you mean?

    Can you post pictures showing the entire gun, from the right and left sides? *** Trying

    Can you give us the general condition of the revolver....is there any finish on it. Any pits, dings, dents, rust, etc. To a large extent, value will depend on condition. *** Some slight rust on the barrel minor pits, very small chip out of the front of the wooden part of the handle.

    Sorry to be playing 20 questions, but there are a bunch of reproductions & fakes out there. *** fun to learn, I appreciate the input

    BTW...the WBK on the handle would be the military inspector's mark.....and...the "l" is not a middle initial, it's "Saml. Colt" short for Samuel Colt. *** Thanks for the clarification.
  13. Xracer

    Xracer *TFF Admin Staff Mediator*

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    Minn-eeee-sota, ya, sure, you bet!
    This is getting to be fun, Gibby!

    "From some of the other pictures I have seen they all have a brass triger gaurd?"

    Yup, they all had a brass Trigger guard. The frame numbers and the number on the trigger guard should match....apparently your trigger guard was replaced at one time or another. No big deal. As AO says, lowers the value just a little.

    "Is there a roll engraving on the cylinder, or perchance, is the cylinder fluted? *** Not sure what you mean?"

    Most of the 1860's had a round cylinder with a roll engraving of a naval battle scene. Your engraving may have worn off.....that's pretty normal.

    A few....about 4,000 of the 200,500 made had fluted cylinders (and they're worth a bit more), but those were in the first 8,000 serial numbers, so yours wouldn't be in that Serial # range.

    Sounds like you've got a nice Civil War souvenir there.....sure love to see some pix of it.
  14. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    Pictures

    Last attempt.....................

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  15. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    more

    Still large but at least you can see more of the gun.......

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  16. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    another

    Another...........

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  17. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    Last one

    Thanks for being patient while I figured this out......

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  18. astute observer

    astute observer New Member

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    !860 Army Colt

    Pretty nice original 1860 Army Colt! The condition appears to be about average. A significant Civil War revolver, and among the nicest "feeling" handguns of all time (in my hand at least).
  19. CountryGunsmith

    CountryGunsmith New Member

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    Thanks for the pictures.

    A little more specific information on that particular pistol. The gun itself was manufactured c.1863. An enormous amount of Model 1860 revolvers (over 200,000) were produced in its 13-yr run, with 1862-63 being the two heaviest years by far - for obvious reasons.

    Although you would need to measure, it appears to be the standard 1860 Army with 8" barrel. If you look at the rear of the grip strap, you should see that it has a mortise for attaching a shoulder stock. Of course, it is .44 caliber with a 6-shot cylinder.

    You have already identified many of the markings, but if you look closely you will see some others:

    - ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S.AMERICA -

    on the top of the barrel, as you noted. The 'L' in SAML is smaller than the rest and is underscored, an abbreviation for 'Samuel.'

    COLTS
    PATENT
    U.S.

    should be on the left side of the frame, toward the muzzle

    44 CAL

    on the left side of the triggerguard strap. This may well be worn completely away.

    What you are seeing on the cylinder is the last four digits of the serial number within a cartouche, followed by PAT SEPT 10th 1850. The cylinder would have originally been roll-stamped with what is called the Naval Engagement scene. (Side note: the TEXAS Navy!) Pretty common for that to be worn away. You should also see the last few digits of the serial number on other major parts, although dont be too concerned if the numbers differ (more on that in a moment).

    The marking on the grips is actually WHR for William H. Roberts, a government inspector for the 1860 Army revolvers.

    Originally, the gun would have had the 'military' finish which was a somewhat dull blue, brass triggerguard, and case-hardened frame, hammer and loading lever. The walnut grips had an oil finish. It was originally sold with an accompanying bullet mould and combination screwdriver/nipple wrench. These accessories add considerably to the overall value, if present.

    A great many of the 1860 Army revolvers were arsenal-refurbished after the Civil War. Typically, there was no impetus to make sure that gripstraps, wedges, etc, matched after refurbishment hence the mismatched triggerguard on your revolver. I would agree that this has minimal (if any) impact on the value or desirability of this piece.

    It should be noted that the 1860 Army was such a successful revolver that it remained in service until supplanted by another Colt design - the 1873 Single Action Army.

    Initial retail price lists from Colt in 1861 list that revolver for $25, with the shoulder stock an $8 option. Realistic market value today for your revolver in that condition would be $1000-$1250. I would counsel insuring for $1750-$2000 to allow for inflation.

    Congratulations on your acquisition, and thanks for sharing this wonderful old Colt.
  20. Gibby2

    Gibby2 New Member

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    Information

    Thanks to all for the information! I really appreciate the clarifications, and details about the 1860 Army Revolver.

    The gun was found in my inlaws attic, we were cleaning it out and found it laying under some old papers. I belive that my wives grandfather owned the gun as past of his costumes, for he owned a costume store and has some old uniforms, bags of buttons, helmets etc. floating around the attic. The hard part for me is to try to find the right people to talk with to investigate real or reproduction, just as you fine gentleman have helped me with the revolver. Thanks again, I really appreciate the information.

    :)
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