Colt M1849 Pocket Revolver with 6" Barrel and Hartford Address
- Product Code: FHG-2143
- Availability: In Stock
This is a fine condition example of the scarce 6” barreled Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver with the desirable “Hartford” 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which had first been introduced in 1847 and remained in production through 1850, when the M1849 Pocket Revolver superseded it.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 “Stage Coach 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 between 3” and 6” in length, usually with an attached loading lever. The backstrap, gripstrap and triggerguard were usually of silver plated brass, and the revolver was 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.
The Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver offered here is a very desirable, high condition example with a Hartford address on its 6” barrel and a serial number indicating that it was produced in mid-to-late 1860; right 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 19thcentury American firearms manufactures total output during their entire time in business!
The revolver is in about FINE overall condition. The serial number 178093 is clearly stamped on the bottom of the barrel web, the frame, the triggerguard, on the butt of the revolver, and even on the cylinder (which often has only the last 4 or 5 digits of the serial number). All of the serial numbers are matching throughout. The wedge is numbered with the last 5 digits of the serial number, 73093. The upper flat of the loading lever and the cylinder arbor both bear the last 4-digits of the serial number, 3093. The grip is numbered 093 as well, in the backstrap groove, in a clear period hand, in period ink. The revolver is 100% complete, correct and original in all respects and remains very crisp and sharp throughout. The barrel is marked with very desirable Hartford address, reading:
ADDRESS SAML COLT
The two line address is flanked by a pair of dash lines. Hartford addressed Colts are particularly desirable as the marking was used for only a short period of time, primarily during 1860 and 1861. Many Hartford marked Colts were purchased and sent south during the period between election of Abraham Lincoln in November of 1860 and the outbreak of the Civil War in April of 1861. The cylinder has the usual COLTS PATENT panel box, over the box containing the serial number NO173093. The revolver is crisply and clearly marked on the lower left side of the frame: COLT’S / PATENTin two lines and there is no caliber mark on the rear left web of the triggerguard. The gun is in really lovely condition. It retains about 40%+ of its original bright blued finish on the barrel. The majority of the loss is due to wear and flaking, with the sharp edges showing the most obvious wear and the bottom flat of the barrel retaining the largest amount of bright blue, where it has been protected by the loading lever. As would be expected, the blue shows some thinning from holster or carry wear, mixed with patches of bright blue. The barrel is free of any pitting, but there is some lightly oxidized freckling present on the face of the muzzle and scattered here and there on the barrel. The areas where the bluing on the barrel has thinned or worn have developed a pleasing gray-brown patina with plum undertones, which has blended with the remaining finish. Under strong light, some very minor oxidized age freckling can be seen mixed with the finish. 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 not as severe as 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 loading lever retains some traces of its original case coloring, most of which is at the rear half of the lever and on the protected side that rests against the barrel. The balance of the lever is a smooth pewter patina with plum brown tones that matches the frame well. The loading lever moves smoothly and operates correctly, locking tightly into place, as it should. The frame of the revolver retains about 20%+ of its original case coloring, which has faded and dulled leaving the traces of vivid color in the protected areas, and a blueish gray patina with hints of streaky color on most of the frame. The frame is smooth, with crisp edges and very clear markings. The cylinder retains some minute traces of its original blue finish and now had a mostly smooth pewter gray patina with scattered light surface oxidation and some discoloration. The cylinder is extremely sharp and crisp and retains at least 85%+ of the roll engraved scene. The Stagecoach Holdup scene roll engraved on the cylinder rates about VERY FINE to NEAR EXCELLENT 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 pinpricking and light surface oxidation visible in their recesses. There is also some light pinpricking on the face of the cylinder from firing and use. The safety pins on the rear face of the cylinder are all missing, with only the shadows of their bases remaining on the rear face of the cylinder. The brass grip frame, grip strap and trigger guard retain about 25%+ of their original silver-plating and are in very nice condition. The silver remains bright over the more protected surfaces, with the plating loss most apparent on points of contact; the butt, front of the triggerguard, and the lower portion of the gripstrap and backstrap. 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 are original, and most are extremely crisp, with only a couple showing any noticeable slot-wear. All of the screws retain some traces of their fire-blued finish, with most showing moderate fading and dulling from age. The bore of the revolver is in about NEAR FINE condition and is mostly 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. It is not clear how much of this is really corrosion and how much might be accumulated debris, and a good brushing might remove the majority of the ring. Otherwise, the bore is really in very nice condition. The original brass post front sight 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 and 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 flattening from the rubbing action of long term carry. 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. There are also a number of small impact marks on the bottoms of the grip and grip frame, which is not uncommon on percussion revolvers as they were apparently often used as ersatz hammers during the period of use.
Over all this is a really wonderful example of a fairly high condition Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver with the scarce 6” barrel and the desirable Hartford barrel address. The gun was manufactured in latter part of 1860, in the days leading up to the outbreak of the American Civil War. While there is certainly no way to know if this revolver was carried off to battle by any of the “Boys of 1861”, the pistol would be absolutely appropriate for a display of early war soldier’s items or to enhance a display of a company grade officer’s items. It would of course be a wonderful 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, long-barreled Colt Pocket revolver.