Attractive Early 1865 Production Colt Pocket Revolver
- Product Code: FHG-B239-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE condition example of a 4” barreled Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver with the one-line New York barrel address. The Model 1849 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 Model 1849 Pocket was an improved version of the Model 1848 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which had first been introduced in 1847 and remained in production through 1850, when the Model 1849 Pocket Revolver superseded it.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 run. 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 Model 1849 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 production 1848 revolvers 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 lead in groove that smoothed the action. This particular 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 iconic 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 simultaneously for some months and utilizing the same serial number range. This means that early production during 1850, which started around number 12,000, contained a mixture of “Baby” and “Pocket” revolvers with the numbers overlapping within the same series. The “Pocket” finally became 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 Model 1849 Pocket was produced in more variations than any other Colt revolver and it is generally estimated that a collection of about two hundred Model 1849s would be necessary to cover all of the primary variants. Due to the wide variety of features available, a “standard” Model 1849 is hard to define, but in general a typical 1849 Pocket 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, and usually had 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, hammer and loading lever. 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 very nice “used but not abused” condition example with a one-line New York address on a 4” barrel and a serial number indicating that it was produced in during early 1865, right before the conclusion of the American Civil War. Production in 1865 ran from roughly #270,000 to #280,000 and this revolver is #270953 so it was certainly made very early that year. It is probable that more Colt Pocket models went off to war with the average northern or southern solider during 1861 and 1862 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 the 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! By the end of 1864 the output of Colt Pocket Revolvers approached 270,000 guns.
The revolver is in about VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE overall condition and has a six chambered cylinder. The serial number 270935 is clearly stamped on the bottom of the barrel web, the frame, the triggerguard and on the butt of the revolver. The cylinder has only the last four numbers of the serial, 0935 as does the cylinder arbor. The wedge matches as well with the partial number 70935. The loading lever is unmarked, as is the grip, which fits perfectly and shows no indication of having been replaced. The revolver remains fairly crisp and sharp throughout. The barrel is marked with the one-line bracketed New York address which reads:
ADDRESS COL SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA
The cylinder has the usual COLTS PATENT panel box, over the box containing the serial number NO 0935. The revolver is crisply and clearly marked on the lower left side of the frame: COLTS / PATENT in two lines and there is a 31 CAL caliber mark on the rear left web of the triggerguard. A factory inspector T mark is present on the left front web as well. The gun is in lovely, untouched condition. It retains some strong traces of its original bright blued finish on the barrel around the web and as much as 20% to 30% still present on the barrel. The loss appears to be from wear, use and flaking. The barrel has a mostly brownish-gray patina showing moderate oxidation and some freckled aeras of darker discoloration and some minor areas of surface roughness in the areas where the finish has worn or flaked. The barrel is essentially free of any serious pitting, but there is some moderately oxidized freckling present on the face of the muzzle and there are some darker patches of surface roughens here and there on the barrel. The pistol shows some of the usual minor impact marks on the right side of the barrel web where the wedge has been knocked out of the pistol during its service life, but significantly fewer than on many Colt revolvers 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 loading lever retains some mottled traces of its original case coloring, mostly around the knuckle and web of the lever’s joint. The loading lever moves smoothly and operates correctly, locking tightly into place, as it should. The frame of the revolver retains about similar mottled traces of case coloring, with a mostly plum and brown patina with some traces of color in the protected areas and around the screw holes. The frame is smooth, with crisp edges and legible markings. The cylinder retains none of its finish and has a mostly mottled gray and brown patina with scattered surface oxidation, discoloration, and some small patches of surface corrosion. The cylinder also shows a number of scattered impact marks, an issue not uncommon with pocket revolvers as the cylinder was more likely to be dinged than any other part of the gun when carried in a coat pocket. The cylinder retains roughly of 65%+ of the roll engraved scene. The Stagecoach Holdup scene roll engraved on the cylinder rates VERY GOOD and is partly clear, with some moderate wear and some patches of scattered surface oxidation that obscures part of the scene. All the cones (nipples) in the cylinder are original and they are very good, but do show use, with some pitting and moderate surface oxidation visible in their recesses. There is also some moderate pinpricking on the face of the cylinder from firing and use. The revolver retains a couple of the safety pins on the rear face of the cylinder with the balance worn, battered and in a couple of cases, with only the shadows of their bases remaining on the rear face. The brass grip frame, grip strap and trigger guard retain only the most minor traces of their original silver-plating in the protected recesses. The silver that remains has a tarnished to a pewter patina. The action of the revolver is very good, and the gun functions correctly, timing, indexing, and locking up very tightly. The action of the pistol is still fairly crisp. All the screws are original, and most are fairly crisp as well, showing only some light to moderate slot-wear. All the screws retain at least some traces of their fire-blued finish, with a couple of the screws retaining more blue. The bore of the revolver is in VERY GOOD condition and is partly bright with crisp rifling along its entire length. There bore shows scattered pitting along the entire length as well, along with moderate amounts of oxidation and discoloration. The grip remains in NEAR FINE condition and fits the frame of the gun perfectly. The grip retains 65%+ 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 moderate wear from the rubbing action of carry and use. The grip is solid and complete, and is free of any breaks, cracks, chips, or repairs. The grip does, however, show some scattered bumps, dings and mars from handling and use, as would be expected.
Overall, this is an attractive example of an early Civil War production Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver with the desirable 4” barrel. The gun was manufactured in 1865, before the end of the American Civil War. This revolver would be a great 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 attractive Colt Pocket revolver which retains some nice original blue on the barrel.