Help with a Colt 1851 Navy

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by richd44, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. richd44

    richd44 New Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    I have this Cold 1851 Navy and need some expert opinions. The gun looks like it has been converted from BP to cartridge ammo. Now the cylinder has a lot of play in it. It can move at least a 1/6 of an inch back and fourth. The hammer has also been drilled to prevent the gun from being fired. I don't know if I should attempt to bring it back to it's BP roots or finish the conversion properly. Maybe just leave it as it is, sell it the way it is or break it up for parts and sell it that way. Can anyone give me any idea as to the value of this gun and any suggestions as to how you would handle such a situation. Also some of the parts need to be replaced in the gun. At this time it does not cock, the cylinder does not turn when the gun is cocked, when it was able to cock. I don't think these internal problems are very hard to fix, just thought I would mention them. Also it does say "Address SamL Colt Hartford Conn." on the barrel.

    Thanks for your help


    Attached Files:

  2. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

    May 16, 2006
    I am no expert on Colts, but I wonder if what you have is a hybrid of some sort. Even though the barrel says "Colt", I don't think the rest of it is Colt.
    Couple of clues.... The "double" stop notches in the cylinder are not Colt and where the lower part of the barrel meets the frame (below the wedge) doesn't look like it was originally made that way. Also, the cylinder doesn't have the usual "step" in it.
    Because it has obviously been "deactivated" I just wonder if it was assembled as some sort of a "prop" gun for the movies or stage play.

    It will be interesting what some of the the folks more familiar with Colts have to say.

  3. richd44

    richd44 New Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Come on guys, where are all the Colt 1851 guru's
  4. BETH

    BETH Well-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2009
    Hang in there they will help
  5. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    I think deadin called it.
    The barrel does not fit the frame.
    That's not a Colt cylinder, both because of the double notches and the lack of the rollmarked naval battle.
    The gun appears to have been chromed.
    There is some type of mark stamped on the front of the frame, in front of the trigger and below the cylinder, but you haven't told us what that says.

    I don't know what you have, but you don't have an 1851 Colt.
  6. mrkirker

    mrkirker New Member

    Jul 13, 2007
    I'd agree with the above responses. Loading arm has been removed, also. Looks like a 'prop' gun of some sort. I'd leave it alone, and use it as a paperweight or a 'wall hanger'.
  7. richd44

    richd44 New Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    The marking on the side of the gun under the cylinder says "Colt Patent US"

    I did do a little reading about this gun on my own. I found some that looks very much like this one. A small number were done in chrome. These guns were converted from BP to cartridge ammo around 1878. That is indicated by the stamp on the bottom of the grip "J. S. N". That's the stamp of the worker who worked on the gun. Also the cylinders were changed from the BP type to what I have now, that's why no engraving on the cylinder. The powder packing rods were also removes and the holes filled in as you can see in the pictures. I do think this is a 1851 Navy, it was just given a very half assed job of conversion. All the markings on the gun, the barrel, the side, and the butt of the grip, all match what I have seen in books that describe the Colt 1851 and those that have been converted.

    thanks to everyone who has responded to this post.
  8. OldPilgrim

    OldPilgrim New Member


    Here is my (admittedly repro) of an 1851 which looks like all other 1851's I've date anyway. Notice the way the frame curls under the front of the cylinder before it butts with the rear part of the frame, not like yours which stops at the front of the cylinder. Which is correct, I dunno, but I've seen others like mine and none like yours.

    Perhaps there was some variation over the years they were made?
  9. richd44

    richd44 New Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    if this attachment works, here is a picture of an original 1851 Colt. Check out the area you mentioned. It is more like mine than yours.

    Attached Files:

  10. richd44

    richd44 New Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Oldpilgrim, where do you live? I am in Carver, Ma.. We are probably very close to each other.
  11. OldPilgrim

    OldPilgrim New Member

    closer than you think. Live in Middleboro, work in Plymouth.

    I'll have to do some research on the 1851 to see why things are different.
  12. richd44

    richd44 New Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    here are a some web sites I found you may like to look at:

    What I am trying to do with this gun is to find out if it is worth converting back to BP or finishing the conversion to cartridge ammo so the gun is usable. Maybe the gun is only good for parts or as a conversation piece. At the moment I am in the process of getting my LTC. So at present I can't even bring the gun to gunsmiths to evaluate it.

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