Hello all. I’m mostly a 1911 guy, having never really explored the percussion pistol world besides a CVA kit gun I had years ago. This Colt 1860 made in ‘61 came to me as a gift and I am a), never going to part with it and b), hinging that statement on whether or not it’s legit and original. Take a look and see what you think. I can take it all down for more internal pictures, as I did so this weekend to cover the guts in CLP. There was a good amount of rust built up in there and before you even ask: no HELL NO it wasn’t me that buggered up those screws. I have a nice set of proper gun flathead bits I use.
Here we go trying to attach pics from my phone...
“Invalid file”. Damn. I’ll have to do it the hard way.
Last edited by 45collector; 03-19-2019 at 05:19 AM.
I realized I didn't grab a photo of the top of the barrel but it has the "address... New York" markings. The action is smooth, and locks up fairly tight except the cylinder overtravels occasionally. The bore has some corrosion but in most areas the rifling is still visible and in decent shape. (No, I don't plan on ever attempting to shoot this.) I don't see any marking on the bottom of the backstrap. Should there part of the s/n stamped there? I didn't think to check to see if the barrel wedge is marked anywhere. The cartouche is still visible on the left grip. What else...
Last edited by 45collector; 03-19-2019 at 05:30 AM.
Looks legit and original to me. You don'r show the cylinder serial number, it should match the rest of them and the arbor should be numbered too.
I didn't take a close look at the arbor either, as I am still learning which parts should be numbered. I will probably take the gun apart again tonight to clean out whatever CLP/rust/crud is still lingering, take more photos of the internals, and then put it back together again with no intention of having to take it apart again anytime soon. I'm of the "leave it be" as much as possible train of thought when it comes to something this old. God forbid I break something if I keep messing with it.
Last edited by 45collector; 03-19-2019 at 05:52 AM.
Looks like cartouche(s) on the grips which would indicate that this is a military-issue; however, I don't see any of the other inspector's marks that a military 1860 would have. Here is a guide for you. I'd be interested in what you find.
ETA: Would the fact that it's a 4-screw not make it a martial gun? I haven't educated myself thoroughly enough on these guns yet (obviously) but I thought any of the guns that are 4-screws would make them military by default. No?
Last edited by 45collector; 03-19-2019 at 06:35 AM.
There should be part of the serial number on the butt of the frame beneath the large screw but it might be worn off. Everything else looks good to me. Quite a gift indeed. Great looking gun.
NICE!!! Its legit.
No need to apologize for buggered screw heads. When I see pristine screw heads on any old gun I wonder about authenticity. (Also i am one of the very few where slightly buggered up screw heads dont really bother me, even on modern guns, guess I better not work on anybody elses guns!!!)
There should be a serial inked in on the grips, once you get them off it should be on the back, under the backstrap. Odd that the cylinder serial is off by 5. Some say that is a 'battlefield mismatch". The story is that soldiers stripped and cleaned their guns at night sitting around the campfire and parts got mixed up while they were sitting in pans of hot water (the parts, not the soldiers!). That is the belief anyway on military guns with serials close but not exact. I am not sure i believe it. I was never in the military but if I was and was experiencing combat I CERTAINLY would make sure every part of the device that would keep me alive was correctly placed and functioning. Nonetheless your cylinder certainly matches the rest of the gun condition-wise and patina-wise so who knows.
Certainly not telling you what to do, but personally, I shoot all my original Colt percussions if safe. After checking out certain issues (no recoil shield issues, no groove worn into the cylinder from the recoil ring, nipples tight, etc) I usually do one chamber, then reload every other chamber, then a cylinder full at a target, which I keep with the gun. I use really light loads for this. Then a complete clean up and thats about all the shooting for it. So if I owned your 1860 (hint!) and it was safe, I would put 10 rounds through it. Again all this is at your own risk.
Seems to me you really like it which is good...welcome to the percussion world. It is addicting. If you are going to keep it you can enhance it by looking for original accoutrements such as a period correct bullet mold ($150?), old cap tins ($10-30), take down screw driver ($50?), all of which are reasonable. It is the flask and case where prices are crazy (a few to several hundred $) and thus faked. I make my own cases for mine and for the flasks buy old ones at gun shows that are not Colt marked. You can find somewhat old ones which still look good in a case for maybe 30-$50. I also pick up several old coins from the year it was made and throw those in the case. So a few 1861 Indian head cents and maybe a few seated liberty dimes and quarters.
Anyway keep us posted on the military marks.