Rare Early Production Iron Grip Frame Colt Model 1862 Police Revolver
- Product Code: FHG-3460-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
In 1861 Colt introduced two new pocket model revolvers in the more powerful .36 caliber chambering. Until that time, all of Colt’s “Pocket” guns had been .31 caliber, or in the case of some of the Root revolver production, .28 caliber. These new pocket revolvers can be considered “scaled up” 1849 Pocket Models or scaled down Belt Pistols (aka “Navy” models), as the guns had features of both their smaller and larger siblings. The two new models were known as the Model 1862 Police and the Model 1862 Pocket Revolver of Navy Caliber. The “Police” model resembled a scaled down, early production Colt Model 1861 New Model Belt (Navy) revolver, built on a Colt Model 1849 Pocket frame. The .36 caliber revolver had a five shot fluted cylinder and the grip frame and triggerguard were of Colt Pocket size and style. It had a round barrel, a creeping loading lever and was available in 3 ½”, 4 ½”, 5 ½” and 6 ½” barrel lengths. The Pocket Navy was essentially a scaled down Model 1851 Navy built on a Model 1849 Pocket frame, with a .36 caliber, 5 shot, rebated round cylinder that was roll engraved with the same Stagecoach Hold Up scene used on the Model 1849 Pocket. Like the Police model, it used a pocket-sized frame and triggerguard, but had an octagonal barrel and conventional swinging link loading lever like those used on the Model 1849 and Model 1851 revolvers. Like the Police, it was available in four barrel lengths ranging from 3 ½” to 6 ½”, in 1” increments. The standard finish for both revolvers was blued barrels and cylinders, color casehardened frames and silver-plated brass backstraps, gripstraps and triggerguards. A few of the early production Police revolvers were produced with iron grip frames and triggerguards, which were silver plated as well, but these are only found on very low number, early production revolvers. Early production revolvers will be found with the desirable Hartford barrel address, but the majority of the production carried the typical New York barrel address. Although both models are referred to with the model date of 1862, both went into production in 1861, and would remain in production until the end of the Colt percussion era in 1873. During that time some 47,000 of both models would be produced, manufactured concurrently, and utilizing the same serial number series, regardless of model. According to Colt researcher and author R.L Wilson, it is believed that about 60% of the total production of the two models was of the 1862 Police pattern, which would be approximately 28,200 guns, produced over about the 13-year production period. Compared to the Colt Pocket, with about 331,000 produced, this makes the 1862 Police a much less common gun, with only 1 being manufactured for about every 11 Model 1849 Pocket Models.
The Colt Model 1862 Police Revolver offered here is in about VERY GOOD condition. The revolver is one of the scarce, very early production guns with an iron gripstrap and triggerguard. The revolver is serial number 701 and was produced in 1861. The revolver has the very desirable 6 ½” round barrel and the typical fluted cylinder of the 1862 Police model. The top of the barrel is marked in a single line with the desirable Hartford address and reads:
− ADDRESS SAML COLT HARTFORD CT –
with dashes at each end of the barrel mark. The lower left side of the frame, forward of the cylinder is marked in two lines:
and one of the cylinder flutes is marked PAT. SEPT. 10TH 1850. The matching serial number 701 appears throughout the revolver and is present on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame, triggerguard, butt, arbor pin and in one of the cylinder flutes. The serial number on the wedge matches as well, as does the ink number in the backstrap cut out of the grip. The revolver retains no original finish to speak of but does have some strong traces of blue under the barrel where it has been protected by the loading lever and the frame shows some minute, muted traces of case coloring in protected areas. The gun has a moderately oxidized mottled dark gray and brown patina, with scattered patches of surface roughness and some scattered areas of light to moderate pitting here and there. There are also some scattered dings in the metal of the gun, not uncommon for a pocket revolver that saw long term carry and use. The gun has an untouched appearance and does not appear to have been cleaned in modern times. The bore of the revolver is in about GOOD to VERY GOOD condition. It is heavily oxidized and dark but retains strong rifling along its length, along with moderate amounts of scattered pitting. The original German silver blade front sight is in place on the top of the barrel, near the muzzle. This is an uncommon sight blade for an 1862 Police, but not unheard of. As with most of the Colt pocket guns, truncated brass cone sights are more commonly encountered. The creeping loading lever retains some traces of its case coloring on the web, with the balance of the lever having taken on a dark gray patina with some scattered areas of darker mottling. The loading lever functions smoothly and correctly and locks securely into place under the barrel when not in use. Like the barrel and frame, the cylinder shows some scattered pitting, most of which is around the recesses for the cones (nipples) and around the chamber mouths. All of the original cones remain in place and show moderate wear but remain fairly crisp and usable. The original safety pins on the rear face of the cylinder are mostly worn and battered with only traces of the pins remaining in most cases. The hammer retains some muted traces of its case coloring with much of the hammer having a richly oxidized brown patina. The rare iron grip frame and triggerguard retains no external evidence of having been silver plated, but some minute traces of silver are present on the edges of the grip frame under the grip. The exposed iron has a richly oxidized brown patina as well, with some scattered areas of darker surface oxidation. The revolver is in VERY GOOD condition mechanically and times and indexes as it should. The lock-up is a little weak and this appears to be due to wear to the bolt stop. The action remains relatively crisp and tight, and the revolver operates as it should. The one-piece walnut grip is in VERY GOOD+ condition and free of any breaks, cracks, or repairs. The grip retains about 70%+ of its original varnish, with most of the wear and loss around the sharp edges at the base of the grip. These areas show the most wear overall, with the flared edges having softened and rounded somewhat, indicative of a substantial amount of carry. The grip does show numerous small dings, rubs and mars, but nothing indicative of abuse, just lots of carry and use. The grip is serial numbered to the gun in period ink in the backstrap cut out.
Overall, this is solid and desirable example of a scarce iron grip frame Colt Model 1862 Police revolver, produced in 1861. Although the gun shows significant wear and moderate oxidation overall, it still remains fairly crisp, with very nice grips and is mechanically functional. The 1862 Police is literally 10 times less common than the 1849 Pocket, with the iron grip frame guns substantially less common than that. As a result, these guns do not appear on the market very often. This a nice example of an early production, iron backstrap .36 Colt Police that will be a good addition to your collection of Colt percussion revolvers or Civil War era handguns.