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Factory Cased 6-Inch Colt Pocket Revolver

Factory Cased 6-Inch Colt Pocket Revolver

  • Product Code: FHG-2254
  • Availability: In Stock
  • $4,995.00


This is a VERY FINE condition example of a Factory Cased Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver. 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 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which had first been manufactured in 1847 and remained in production through 1850, when the M1849 Pocket Revolver superseded it.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 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 “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 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, factory cased example with a 6” barrel and a serial number indicating that it was produced in 1857; as the sectional divisions that would explode as the American Civil War were starting to intensify. Research indicates that only about 25% of Colt Pocket production during this era was of 6” revolvers. 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 19th century American firearms manufactures total output during their entire time in business! 

 

The revolver is in VERY FINE overall condition. The serial number 137355 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 on later production revolvers. All of the serial numbers are matching throughout. The wedge is numbered with the last 5 digits of the serial number, 37355, and the loading lever and the cylinder arbor are numbered with the last four digits; 7355. The grip is numbered 7355 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 bracketed two-line New York address variation of this series, reading:

 

{ADDRESS SAML COLT}

NEW YORK CITY

 

The two-line New York address style was the earliest Colt Pocket barrel address type and was a holdover from the Baby Dragoon series. This address was phased out (with a couple of exceptions) around the 175,XXX range (circa 1861), when the Hartford address became the primary barrel marking for some time.

 

The cylinder has the usual COLTS PATENT panel box, over the box containing the serial number No 137355. The Ormsby signature box over the panel box is empty, typical of Colt Pockets produced during this period, as the Ormsby signature had worn off the roll die. The signature box started to disappear around this period as well and by the time the two-line New York barrel address was being phased out, the signature box was effectively gone as well. 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 FINEcondition. It retains about 85%+ 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 the result of thinning due to age, with some light wear and minor 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 have developed a pleasing plum brown patina, much of 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 nearly 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 80%+ of its original vivid case coloring. The lever shows some fading, dulling and loss due to age but retains a lot of mottle lovely coloration. The faded areas of the lever have a smoothly mottle pewter and darker gray 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 base color with traces of blues, purples and yellows. The left side of the frame shows the more fading  than the right and retains less vivid coloring, most of which is confined to the protected areas in the recesses where the frame and recoil shield meet. The right side of the frame retains more of its vivid coloration and there the classic Colt purples, blues, browns and yellows are more clearly visible with the balance dulling to grays with subdued colors that show traces of the mottled patterning. 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 revolver well and which makes the cylinder appear to retain more finish than it really does.  The fic-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, as well as at the forcing cone of the barrel. 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 in FINE condition and are not nearly as battered and worn as they usually are. The brass grip frame, grip strap and trigger guard retain about 80%+ of their original silver-plating and are in very nice condition. The silver remains partly bright with scattered light tarnish over much of the surfaces, with the plating showing some 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 some showing some bright fire blue, although most show at least some fading and dulling from age. The bore of the revolver is in FINE condition and is mostly bright with crisp rifling its entire length. There appears to be some lightly scattered pitting along the length of the bore, with a couple of tiny patches of more moderate pitting here and there. 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 dark green velvet that appears to be original to the casing, although it shows moderate wear. The case is in about VERY GOOD condition and could be improved with some careful restoration work. The case joints and lid junction show some old glue repairs to shore them up, which might be more neatly executed. The case has warped somewhat as well. There is a diagonal grain crack in the lid of the case that runs almost the entire length of the case. There are a couple of tight grain cracks in the bottom as well. Thankfully these cracks are very tight and quite stable. The exterior also show scattered bumps, dings, surface mars and scuffs. As noted, the interior lining shows wear and loss as well as some fading and staining. A couple of the dividers have been re-glued and there is some looseness in some of the dividers. The case contains a number of Colt accessories that include a Spread-Winged Eagle flask, a brass Colt mold, an L-shaped Colt combination tool, a paper container of percussion caps and a small number of both round and conical .31 lead bullets. The flask is in FINE condition and remains crisp with tight seams and a clear E PLURIBUS UNUM in the ribbon held by the eagle’s beak. The flask shows some light handling marks, with some scuffs and minor wear. The flask remains fully functional and even retains some nice fire blue on the plunger spring. The mold is in VERY GOOD+ condition and the brass has a nice mellow golden patina. The mold is clearly marked COLT’S / PATENT on the top and has no sprue cutter. The cavities are in bright, crisp condition. The L-tool is an original Colt Pocket tool in about FINE condition. The tool is crisp and retains much of the original bright fire-blued finish with some moderate loss due to flaking and thinning. The cap container is a paper one marked GOLDMARK’S and MANUFACTURED BY THEO. WEHLE; NEW YORK, with the reverse having a French label on it. The container remains in VERY GOOD condition and shows some light surface wear and loss to the paper labels due to handling and age.

 

Overall this is a really nice example of a high condition, factory cased,  6” barrel Colt M1849 Pocket Revolver produced in 1857. The gun is in wonderful condition and is all matching, with a nice set of original accessories. The set is a great looking example of a Colt Pocket with an original factory case and nice complement of accessories.

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Tags: Factory, Cased, 6, Inch, Colt, Pocket, Revolver