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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently inherited what I believe to be a 1861 colt navy pistol. But my question is, is it real or a replica? And what is it worth? Looks like it’s in too good of condition to be real. But all the research I’ve been able to do seems to line up with the real ones. But I was hoping an expert could give me their opinion.
 

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Replica. I suspect it's one of the 2nd generation of Colt C&B revolvers they put out....has it been 30 years ago? However, I am ALWAYS subject to correction.
 

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There are three deliniations of Colt Black Powder, Colt SAA and other Colt handguns, first, second and third generation.
First Gen refers to antique original and vintage serial numbered guns, 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen refers to all the rest, reproductions.
By the way your gun is def a 2nd Gen as Colt with an etched signature on the backstrap.

Thanks, how to you tell what generation it is?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are three deliniations of Colt Black Powder, Colt SAA and other Colt handguns, first, second and third generation.
First Gen refers to antique original and vintage serial numbered guns, 2nd Gen and 3rd Gen refers all the rest, reproductions.
By the way your gun is def a 2nd Gen as Colt with an etched signature on the backstrap.
Thank you.
 

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That sir, is what you call a gateway drug...into reloading and shooting black powder pistols. Sell it as fast as you can! :) I'm telling you from experience!

20140608_141346.jpg
 

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This intrigued me, so I've been researching for the past little while.

Not an original - the FIRST GENERATION gun. They only made 38843 of them.

Best I can see of the SECOND GENERATION guns, they all had a C-prefix serial number. C12345. That one doesn't.

I can't find what the serial numbers for the THIRD GENERATION guns were. But I suspect, from the descriptions I've found of the 3rd Generation guns, that that's what it is.

Although I could certainly be wrong.
 

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I believe the Black powder arms ( percussion type ) can only be classed into two groups, First generation and second which were made in the 1970's . Colt single actions were classed into 3 generations , the second and third had either a letter prefix or suffix. My under standing was that parts were imported form Italy and assembly here in the states and branded as Colts.
 

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Ok here we go. First this is not a 36 Navy It is an 1860 Colt Army 44 Caliber. Note the rebated cylinder and shoulder stock 4 screw frame. It is a Third Series Known as the Signature Series. The serial numbers picked up where the original 1860s guns left off.

Colt´s Manufacturing Company, Inc. is the previous manufacturer of 2nd Generation Colt percussion revolvers located in Hartford, CT. Colt used subcontractors to supply rough castings for the manufacture of these black powder pistols. Throughout the production years 1971-1982, these rough castings were produced in Italy and the reproductions were completed in the United States. Initially, Val Forgett and Navy Arms provided these parts/components during 1971-73. Lou Imperato supplied these parts from 1974 to 1976. In both instances, these revolvers were assembled and finished in Colt´s facilities in Connecticut. Finally, from 1978 to 1982, Colt subcontracted both parts procurement and final production to Lou Imperato and Iver Johnson Arms in Middlesex, NJ. Colt percussion revolvers produced by Iver Johnson had frames, center pins, nipples, and screws manufactured in the United States. In all instances, these revolvers were manufactured in accordance with Colt´s strict specifications and quality control. Additionally, Colt´s performed final inspection for all models. All percussion models manufactured from 1971 through 1982, either by Colt or its subcontractor, are regarded as authentic Colt pistols and not Italian replicas.
The Colt Custom Shop also produced a limited number of special editions through the early 1990s from 2nd Generation production inventory.

The "C" Series 2nd gen.s

COLT´S MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC. : "C" SERIES These Colt percussion revolvers were reintroduced in 1971 (1851 Navy) and 1974 (3rd Model Dragoon). Both models were discontinued in late 1976 (no reference is made to them in either the 1977 Colt Catalog or Colt Price List). The 1851 Navy and Third Model Dragoon were the only models to be produced in both the "C" Series and "F" Series configurations. While the fit and finish of both series is of the highest quality, the difference is unmistakable. The "C" Series has a beautiful bright "Royal Blue" finish while the "F" Series has a more durable dark "Colt Blue" finish. Another distinguishing feature is the serial number range (4201 to 25099 for the "C" Series 1851 Navy and 20901 to 25099 for the "C" Series Third Model Dragoon).

The "F" Series

COLT´S MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC. : "F" SERIES Production of these revolvers began in November 1978 with the 1860 Army and continued with the release of the various models described below until all production ceased in November 1982. Special Edition and Limited Edition models continued to be issued from the Colt Custom Shop inventory through the mid-1990s. Rumors persist, even at this late date, that a few in-the-white specimens are still hidden away at Colt´s. "F" Series revolvers were produced with a durable dark "Colt Blue" finish while the "C" Series finish is a more lustrous "Royal Blue."


COLT BLACKPOWDER ARMS CO. Previous manufacturer and retailer of 3rd Generation Colt Black Powder pistols and muskets located in Brooklyn, NY 1994-2002.
All 3rd Generation Colt black powder models are also referred to as Signature Series Models.
A reprise of the original Colt Black powder line, along with historic models not offered in the 2nd Generation, and a new series of Commemoratives, each model (with the exception of the Heirloom Tiffany 1860 Army and 1842 Texas Paterson) bears the Sam Colt signature on the back strap. These 3rd Generation models were manufactured under an authorized licensing agreement with Colt Firearms by Colt Black powder Arms Company – the same company (and many of the same craftsmen) responsible for the 2nd Generation Colt revolvers. Although parts for the Signature Series were cast in Italy, they were fully assembled and hand finished in the United States using the proprietary Colt formulas for bluing and color case hardening.
Colt Black powder Arms Company Signature Series revolvers are regarded as authentic Colt pistols. The 3rd Generation models have original Colt markings, including the barrel address and serial number stampings. There are no foreign proof marks on these authentic Colt models.
 

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Wow Old Guns...I did not know there was that many different iterations of the Colt percussion "2nd generation", (to lump them all together). Thanks for going to the effort to put all that out. I kinda blew the "30 years ago" huh. I didn't think it was that long ago Colt started back in the BP game....seems like only yesterday....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok here we go. First this is not a 36 Navy It is an 1860 Colt Army 44 Caliber. Note the rebated cylinder and shoulder stock 4 screw frame. It is a Third Series Known as the Signature Series. The serial numbers picked up where the original 1860s guns left off.

Colt´s Manufacturing Company, Inc. is the previous manufacturer of 2nd Generation Colt percussion revolvers located in Hartford, CT. Colt used subcontractors to supply rough castings for the manufacture of these black powder pistols. Throughout the production years 1971-1982, these rough castings were produced in Italy and the reproductions were completed in the United States. Initially, Val Forgett and Navy Arms provided these parts/components during 1971-73. Lou Imperato supplied these parts from 1974 to 1976. In both instances, these revolvers were assembled and finished in Colt´s facilities in Connecticut. Finally, from 1978 to 1982, Colt subcontracted both parts procurement and final production to Lou Imperato and Iver Johnson Arms in Middlesex, NJ. Colt percussion revolvers produced by Iver Johnson had frames, center pins, nipples, and screws manufactured in the United States. In all instances, these revolvers were manufactured in accordance with Colt´s strict specifications and quality control. Additionally, Colt´s performed final inspection for all models. All percussion models manufactured from 1971 through 1982, either by Colt or its subcontractor, are regarded as authentic Colt pistols and not Italian replicas.
The Colt Custom Shop also produced a limited number of special editions through the early 1990s from 2nd Generation production inventory.

The "C" Series 2nd gen.s

COLT´S MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC. : "C" SERIES These Colt percussion revolvers were reintroduced in 1971 (1851 Navy) and 1974 (3rd Model Dragoon). Both models were discontinued in late 1976 (no reference is made to them in either the 1977 Colt Catalog or Colt Price List). The 1851 Navy and Third Model Dragoon were the only models to be produced in both the "C" Series and "F" Series configurations. While the fit and finish of both series is of the highest quality, the difference is unmistakable. The "C" Series has a beautiful bright "Royal Blue" finish while the "F" Series has a more durable dark "Colt Blue" finish. Another distinguishing feature is the serial number range (4201 to 25099 for the "C" Series 1851 Navy and 20901 to 25099 for the "C" Series Third Model Dragoon).

The "F" Series

COLT´S MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC. : "F" SERIES Production of these revolvers began in November 1978 with the 1860 Army and continued with the release of the various models described below until all production ceased in November 1982. Special Edition and Limited Edition models continued to be issued from the Colt Custom Shop inventory through the mid-1990s. Rumors persist, even at this late date, that a few in-the-white specimens are still hidden away at Colt´s. "F" Series revolvers were produced with a durable dark "Colt Blue" finish while the "C" Series finish is a more lustrous "Royal Blue."


COLT BLACKPOWDER ARMS CO. Previous manufacturer and retailer of 3rd Generation Colt Black Powder pistols and muskets located in Brooklyn, NY 1994-2002.
All 3rd Generation Colt black powder models are also referred to as Signature Series Models.
A reprise of the original Colt Black powder line, along with historic models not offered in the 2nd Generation, and a new series of Commemoratives, each model (with the exception of the Heirloom Tiffany 1860 Army and 1842 Texas Paterson) bears the Sam Colt signature on the back strap. These 3rd Generation models were manufactured under an authorized licensing agreement with Colt Firearms by Colt Black powder Arms Company – the same company (and many of the same craftsmen) responsible for the 2nd Generation Colt revolvers. Although parts for the Signature Series were cast in Italy, they were fully assembled and hand finished in the United States using the proprietary Colt formulas for bluing and color case hardening.
Colt Black powder Arms Company Signature Series revolvers are regarded as authentic Colt pistols. The 3rd Generation models have original Colt markings, including the barrel address and serial number stampings. There are no foreign proof marks on these authentic Colt models.
Tons of information. Thank you so much.

The thing that still confuses my though is that this has the ships etched into it, which I couldn’t find on the 1860 army. Is it interchangeable? Could someone else if switched them out?
 

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Yes.
The 3rd GEN Italian made guns are essentially Uberti though some were assembled in the US as someone noted, others at the end of the series were assembled on Uberti machines. In any case they're very nice. I've had many such 1851/ 1861 NAVY revolvers and they're very nicely finished[ beautiful case color], well worth the asking price on the secodary market in my opinion.

Weren't the 3rd Gens actually made in Italy and branded by Colt?
 

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The thing that still confuses my though is that this has the ships etched into it, which I couldn’t find on the 1860 army. Is it interchangeable? Could someone else if switched them out?
1851 Navy, 1860 Army and 1861 Navy all used the same cylinder scene. Naval Engagement between Texas and Mexico that occurred May 16, 1843.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Oh ok. Maybe I saw that when I was still trying to figure out what gun it was. I’m new to this. Thank you all so much for your help.
 

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Third gens are not considered by collectors (or Colt) to be genuine Colt's. Colt Black Powder Arms Company copied the 2nd gen owners manual word for word including warranty information and Colt put out a disclaimer saying they were not Colt's, that Colt would not warranty them, would not work on them and would not letter them.
 

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Jeeze, by the time I got to the end with my pile of factual information Old Guns beat me to it and in a great deal more depth. Without the box and papers the value diminishes greatly I even sinned more by taking mine out and shot them (1860, 1851,1849 ).
 
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