Factory Cased 1862 Production Colt Pocket with Hartford Address
- Product Code: FHG-2141
- Availability: In Stock
This is a VERY FINE condition example of a Factory Cased Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver. 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which had first been manufactured in 1847 and remained in production through 1850, when the M1849 Pocket Revolver superseded it.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 or 6-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 an attached loading lever on all by 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 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 continued in the same serial number range. This means that early 1850 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 around serial numbers 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 two hundred 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 octagon 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. Cased sets, complete with all the necessary accouterments to load and operate the revolver were available as well; both directly from Colt and from Colt retailers.
The Colt M1849 Pocket Revolver offered here is a very desirable, high condition Hartford address factory cased example with a 4” barrel and a serial number indicating that it was produced in 1862; as the American Civil War was really intensifying. It is probable that more Colt Pocket models went off to war with the average northern or southern solider during the war 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 VERY FINE+ overall condition. The serial number 204346 is clearly stamped on the bottom of the barrel, 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 4 digits of the serial number, 4346, as are the loading lever and the cylinder arbor. The grip is numbered 4346 as well, written in a clear period hand in the backstrap groove in ink. The revolver is 100% complete, correct and original in all respects and remains very crisp and sharp throughout. The barrel is marked with the two-line Hartford address variation of this series, reading:
ADDRESS SAML COLT
The cylinder has the usual COLTS PATENT panel box, over the box containing the serial number No204346. The revolver is crisply and clearly marked on the lower left side of the frame: COLT’S / PATENT and there is no caliber mark on the rear left web of the triggerguard, only a small G factory inspection mark. The gun is in really in overall VERY FINE condition. It retains about 80%+ of its original bright blued finish on the barrel. The majority of the wear and loss is along the sharp edges of the octagon barrel and around the muzzle. The balance of the loss is simply from age and flaking. The blue shows some thinning along the five uppermost barrel flats, with the lower three flats retaining more of their finish with less obvious thinning. The barrel is free of any pitting, but there is some moderate pinpricking and surface erosion present on the face of the muzzle. The areas where the bluing on the barrel has thinned or worn has developed a pleasing plum brown patina, which has blended with the remaining finish. Under strong light, some oxidized age freckling can be seen mixed with the finish as well. The pistol shows the some of the usual impact marks on the right side of the barrel web where the wedge had been beaten 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 about 30% of its original vivid case coloring, most of which is at the rear half of the lever and on the protected side that rests against the barrel. The lever shows the most loss towards the end where it engages the lever catch and on the plunger itself. The balance of the lever has a smooth pewter patina. The loading lever moves smoothly and operates correctly, locking tightly into place, as it should. The frame of the revolver retains about 50%+ coverage of the case coloring, with much of the colors having faded and muted, giving it about a 25%+ vivid case coloring rating. The faded coloring is a smoky grayish-brown base color with traces of blues, purples and yellows. The left side of the frame shows the most fading and retains only traces of vivid coloring in the recesses where the frame and recoil shield meet. The right side of the frame retains most of its vivid coloration and there the class Colt purples, blues, browns and yellows are clearly visible and only slightly subdued from their original bright patterns. The frame is smooth, with crisp edges and clear markings. The cylinder retains about 10%+ of its original bright blue and appears to have faded, worn and flaked with age and light use. The balance of the cylinder has a smooth plum-brown patina that matches the left side of the frame well. The six-shot cylinder is extremely sharp and crisp and retains at least 90%+ of the roll engraved scene. The Stagecoach Holdup scene roll engraved on the cylinder rates EXCELLENT and is extremely clear, with little wear noted. All of the cones (nipples) in the cylinder are original and they are very crisp, but do show use, with pinpricking and moderate surface oxidation visible in their recesses and around the rear of the cylinder. 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 mostly battered and worn, with only one appearing to be in decent shape. The brass grip frame, grip strap and trigger guard retain about 90%+ of their original silver-plating and are in very nice condition. The silver remains partly bright with scattered tarnish over much of the surfaces, with the plating showing some minor thinning and loss at the points of contact and sharp edges. 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 at least some traces of their fire-blued finish, with most showing fading and dulling from age. The bore of the revolver is in VERY GOOD+ 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 a couple of small patches of more moderate pitting towards the middle of the barrel. 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 cone-shaped 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 VERY FINE condition as well. As noted, the grip is numbered to the revolver and fits the frame of the gun perfectly. The grip retains 80%+ of its original varnish and is really attractive. The majority of the varnish loss is due to some light thinning and wear along the sharp edges and contact points. 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.
The revolver is contained in an original Colt mahogany veneer casing with a soft-wood bottom. The compartmentalized case is lined in tan felt that appears to be original to the casing, although it shows moderate wear. The case is in about GOOD condition and could be improved with some careful restoration work. The case joints are starting to become loose and this is particularly apparent on the front, left-hand edge, where the joint has separated. The case has warped somewhat as well. The entire case really needs to be re-glued and clamped in an attempt to shore it up and a true the angles again. As noted, the interior lining shows wear and loss as well as some fading and staining. The case contains a number of Colt accessories that include an Eagle & Stars flask, a blued iron Colt mold, an L-shaped Colt combination tool, a tin of percussion caps and a small number of both round and conical .31 lead bullets. The flask is in FINE condition and retains most of the varnish with some scuffs and minor wear. The flask remains fully functional and shows only some light scattered marks. The mold is in VERY GOOD condition and retains some strong traces of blue with some scattered light pitting. The mold is clearly marked COLT’S / PATENT on the sprue cutter and 31PKT. The L-tool is an original Colt tool in about VERY GOOD condition. However, it is a larger tool for a Navy or Army revolver and not the correct tool for the pocket, although it displays nicely with the casing. The cap tin is an unopened container of 100 No. 10 Elm City Mfg. Co. caps with a nicely printed black on green label. The tin remains in FINE condition and is wrapped in plastic to protect it.
Over all this is a really nice example of a high condition, factory cased, Hartford address Colt M1849 Pocket Revolver produced in 1862. The gun is in wonderful condition and is all matching, with a nice set of original accessories. The casing needs only a little TLC to be quite nice as well. The set is very reasonably priced for such a nice Harford Colt pocket with an original factory case and accessories.