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5-Inch Colt M1849 Pocket Revolver with Two-Line New York Address

5-Inch Colt M1849 Pocket Revolver with Two-Line New York Address

  • Product Code: FHG-JDE20
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $995.00


This is a very good condition example of a 5” barreled Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver with the two-line bracketed New York barrel address. The M1849 Colt Pocket was the most successful percussion handgun ever produced by Colt, with more than 325,000 being manufactured in the United States between 1850 and 1873, and another 11,000 or so being produced at Colt’s short-lived London manufactory. The 1849 Pocket was an improved version of the M1848 Pocket Revolver, better known to collectors as the “Baby Dragoon”, which had first been introduced in 1847 and remained in production through 1850, when the M1849 Pocket Revolver superseded it. The “Baby Dragoon” had found a ready market among those who were taking part in the rapid westward expansion of the United States and were prized possessions in the California gold fields of the 1849 Gold Rush. The relatively short barrel (typically 3” to 6”), the compact 5-shot cylinder and the small .31 caliber chambering all combined to make a relatively light weight (around 22 ounces or 1 pound 6 ounces with a 5” barrel) and compact revolver that could be carried covertly in a jacket or trouser pocket. The “Baby” did have some drawbacks, the most obvious being the lack of an attached loading lever on the majority of the production. The other issue was the square backed triggerguard, which could be caught on the edge of a pocket when the gun was pulled from hiding. The improved version, the M1849 Pocket included a loading lever on all but the shortest barreled versions and a rounded trigger guard. Other changes from the early production “Baby Dragoons” that were standard on the 1849 had appeared as improvements on later M1848s and included an improved action with a roller on the bottom of the hammer, grease grooves on the cylinder arbor pin, and rectangular cylinder stop slots with a rounded concave profile along their leading edge. This improvement, which had been patented by Colt in 1850, was incorporated in all of their future percussion revolver designs and is still a feature found on nearly every revolver in production today. The 1849 Pocket also incorporated the roll engraved “Stagecoach Hold Up” cylinder scene that had been introduced during the latter part of Baby Dragoon production. 

 

The Colt Pocket went into production in 1850, concurrently with the Baby Dragoon, and both models continued in production for some months utilizing the same serial number range. This means that early 1850 revolver production (which started around 12,000) contained a mixture of “Baby” and “Pocket” revolver numbers overlapping within the same series, with the “Pocket” finally becoming the only handgun in that serial number range towards the end of 1850 (somewhere in serial number range of 14,000-15,000). The Colt M1849 Pocket was produced in more variations than any other Colt revolver and it is generally estimated that a collection of about 200 M1849s would be necessary to cover all of the primary variants. Due to the wide variety of features available, a “standard” M1849 is hard to define, but in general a typical M1849 was a 5 or 6 shot .31 caliber single action percussion revolver with an octagonal barrel that was typically 3”, 4”, 5” or 6” in length, usually with an attached loading lever. During the latter part of production, particularly during the production of the “one-line New York address” guns, 4” appears to have been standard with 5” and 6” guns less common and 3” guns no longer offered. The backstrap, gripstrap and triggerguard were usually of silver plated brass, although this went away towards the end of production. The revolver was typically blued with a color case hardened frame and hammer. Standard grips were varnished one-piece walnut. The revolvers were, however, available with a dizzying array of finishes, barrel lengths, grip options, and engraving. A dovetailed blade front sight was even a factory available option.

 

The Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver offered here is a nice, solid example with an early, two-line bracketed New York address on a 5”  barrel and a serial number indicating that it was produced in early 1855, some six years before the outbreak of the American Civil War. It is probable that more Colt Pocket models went off to war with the average northern or southern solider in the spring of 1861 than any other handgun of the era. In fact, by January of 1861 Colt had produced some 184,000 pocket models (including about 15,000 of his earlier Baby Dragoon revolvers), and Colt Pocket serial numbers had probably reached somewhere between 188,000 and 189,000 when Fort Sumter was fired upon on April 12, 1861. That production figure for a single series of pocket handguns exceeds many of the 19th century American firearms manufactures total output during their entire time in business! 

 

The revolver is in about VERY GOOD overall condition. The serial number 103396 is clearly stamped on the bottom of the barrel web, the frame, the triggerguard and on the butt of the revolver. The cylinder has all six digits of the serial number, something that would come to an end with the introduction of the Hartford barrel address, when five or four numbers became standard on the cylinder. The wedge has the last five numbers of the serial number, 03396. The cylinder arbor and grips are marked with the last four digits of the serial number, 3396

 

The revolver remains relatively crisp and sharp throughout. The barrel is marked with the two-line New York address that is surrounded by brackets, which reads:

 

{ADDRESS SAML COLT}

NEW YORK CITY

 

The cylinder has the usual COLTS PATENT panel box, over the box containing the serial number NO 103396. The additional Ormsby signature box that is usually found on the two-line New York revolver cylinders is there, but as is usual on the guns from the latter part of this production, the signature is not present, and part of the Stagecoach Robbery scene has crept into the box. The revolver is crisply and clearly marked on the lower left side of the frame: COLT’S / PATENT in two lines and there is no caliber mark on the rear left web of the triggerguard. There are some factory inspection marks present including a 2 on the left side of the barrel web, an L on the left front web of the triggerguard and a on the rear of the left side of the triggerguard plate. It retains none of the original bright blued finish on the barrel. It has a mottled grayish-brown patina with scattered surface oxidation, some scattered roughness and some small areas of scattered light pitting. The most serious pitting is present on the face of the muzzle. The pistol shows the some of the usual minor impact marks on the right side of the barrel web where the wedge had been knocked out of the pistol during its service life, but significantly fewer than on many Colt’s that I have seen over the years. There are just enough marks to let you know that the gun did see some real use. The frame, loading lever and hammer all have a mottled brownish gray patina that suggest the original case coloring, but none is present. These parts all show some scattered surface oxidation, small areas of minor roughness and some lightly scattered pinpricking and the occasional small patch of pitting. The cylinder alone retains some strong traces of its original blue finish. The blue has flaked and worn, and only evenly distributed flecks are present on the cylinder now. The remaining blue has blended with a smooth, plum brown patina that is very attractive. The cylinder is still very sharp and crisp and retains about  80%+ of the roll engraved scene. The Stagecoach Holdup scene roll engraved on the cylinder rates about FINE and is extremely clear, with only some light wear and some scattered surface oxidation that obscures part of the scene. All of the cones (nipples) in the cylinder are original and they are very crisp, but do show use, with some pitting and surface oxidation visible in their recesses. There is also some light pitting on the face of the cylinder from firing and use. All of the safety pins on the rear face of the cylinder are severely damaged or missing, although at least the shadows of their bases remain on the rear face of the cylinder. The brass grip frame, grip strap and trigger guard retain strong traces to as much as 10% of their thinning original silver-plating and are in very nice condition. The silver that remains has a slightly dull pewter patina, with the plating loss the expected result of handling and use. The action of the revolver is excellent, and the gun functions correctly, timing, indexing and locking up very tightly. The action of the pistol is extremely crisp. All of the screws appear to be original, and most are very good condition, although several show some light to moderate slot-wear. The bore of the revolver is in about VERY GOOD condition and is partly bright with crisp rifling its entire length. There appears to be lightly scattered pitting along the entire length of the bore, with some patches of light oxidation and discoloration. The original factory brass cone front  is in place on the top of the barrel, near the muzzle. The civilian style, one-piece varnished walnut grip is in about FINE condition. As noted, it is numbered to the revolver with the last four digits written in ink in the backstrap cut out, although the marking is weak. The grip fits the frame of the gun perfectly. The grip retains 60%+ of its original varnish and is really attractive. The majority of the varnish loss on the bottom portion of the grip edges, where it has worn from carry and use. Both the lower side edges show some minor wear from the rubbing action of carry and use. The grip is solid and complete, and is free of any breaks, cracks or repairs. The grip remains fairly crisp but does show some scattered bumps and dings from handling and use, as would be expected.

 

Overall this is a very solid example of pre-Civil War Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver with a 5” barrel on a two-line New York barrel address. The gun was manufactured in early 1855. It would be nice and reasonably priced addition to any collection of Colt revolvers or Civil War era pistols, and I am quite sure that you will be very pleased with this very attractive, 5” Colt Pocket revolver.


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Tags: 5, Inch, Colt, M1849, Pocket, Revolver, with, Two, Line, New, York, Address