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MODEL 1860 COLT ARMY PISTOL – MANUFACTURED IN 1861 – US ARMY MARTIAL SPECIMEN FITTED FOR SHOULDER STOCK - LEGIBLE INSPECTOR’S STAMPS AND DISCERNABLE CARTOUCHE – VERY GOOD CONDITION- ONE SERIAL NUMBER DIGIT AWAY FROM A GROUP OF THESE PISTOLS ISSUED TO THE 1ST NEW JERSEY CAVALRY IN 1862:   Manufactured in the first year of the Civil War in 1861, this Model 1860 Colt Army Revolver was one of those produced under government contract to arm the federal forces.  Retaining all of the original parts with matching serial numbers, and retaining all of the inspector stamps, this veteran was gently used and well cared for through the years, nickel plated probably after the War, and it presents as a very good example of these iconic Colts.   

This Model 1860 Colt Army Revolver, serial number 14290, is one digit away from a Colt Army bearing serial number 14291 which is recorded within a group of these pistols which were issued to Company B of the 1ST New Jersey Cavalry in May of 1862.   While there is no guarantee that this Colt was issued in that same group, the close proximity of the serial number and that this Colt bears government inspector’s stamps certainly supports the premise that this Colt was “there”.   

The mechanics of this pistol are excellent and the hammer and trigger lock up tight at full cock.  The cylinder indexes properly, however there is some play in the cylinder at full cock due to wear to the protruding portion of the cylinder stop set in the bottom of the cylinder cradle.  This is not unusual and it could be improved should the new owner choose to do so, but as it presents the mechanics are much better than normally encountered.  The pistol components mate up properly with no wiggle between the barrel and frame.  

The bore is quite bright with distinct rifling and only some isolated spots of light pitting, but nothing beyond that expected in one of these early production pistols.    

This Colt Army is well inspected indicating this pistol was originally manufactured in the series of Colt Army’s produced for the U.S. Army.  The matching serial number stamps are legible and present on the frame, backstrap, cylinder, trigger guard, barrel and wedge.   Inspector’s initials are present on the trigger guard behind the bow, on the back strap immediately behind the hammer, on both sides of the barrel boss adjacent to the barrel wedge slot, on the bottom of the barrel just forward of the loading lever slot, the cylinder and the cylinder spindle - all consistent with known inspector stamp locations on US Army Model 1860 Colt Army’s.  All of the inspector marks, the barrel address, and frame stampings are clear and legible.   

The overall surfaces of the brass trigger guard are smooth with no obvious signs of heavy wear or abuse.  The surfaces of the iron components have no evidence of damage or abuse, and only minor traces of isolated pitting.  The cylinder retains much of the legible scene, the chambers are clear and all six cones are present and full form.  The screw heads all have sharp edged, distinct slots with no sign of abuse or wear.   

The grips are in very good condition with an overall smooth surface, a pleasant rich color, no significant wear at the toe, and only the normally encountered handling marks with no cracks or breaks.  The left side of the pistol’s grip is stamped with the inspector’s cartouche, light but still discernable.  The grip fits very well with strong corners, no shrinkage, and an excellent fit where it joins the metal edges.   

Commensurate with the period of use, this Colt was nickel plated.  The plating must have been done early in the life of the pistol as the metal surfaces are very smooth without any pronounced pitting, and yet all of the inspector stamps and the serial numbers are still very legible without any of the loss of detail normally associated with the heavy polishing required before plating a pistol which had been heavily used.     

Probably at the same time this pistol was plated, the barrel was trimmed at the muzzle, reducing the overall length to 7 3/8”.   Due to the original 8” length of the barrel, if these pistols were carried for any amount of time by a mounted soldier, the motion of the horse and the position of the holster on the soldier’s belt abraded the edges of the muzzle.  The muzzle often wore completely through the toe of the holster, and then would abrade directly against the saddle and other pieces of the soldier’s equipment.  This wear was seldom evenly distributed around the circumference of the barrel, leaving a lopsided muzzle which would have a significant negative affect the accuracy of the pistol.  This was probably the case with this pistol and when the owner had the pistol plated, the gunsmith trimmed and crowned the barrel.  This feature attests to the continued use of this revolver after the Civil War.   

So many of these US martial Model 1860 Colt Army Pistols were exposed to the extremes of service during the War, and later in the West either in the hands of Indian War soldiers or the civilian frontiersmen, and they exhibit every bit of that hard use.  This is a very attractive specimen that retains all of the original government inspectors’ stamps and has survived in very nice condition, was plated after the Civil War, and no doubt continued to be carried after the War.  This is an interesting early war production Colt Model 1860 Revolver to add to your collection.  (0209) $2750


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