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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've never owned or shot a percussion revolver but always wanted one. I found an 1860 in a local gun shop and fell in love with it. I know the owner well and he assures me that it is all correct. I'm planning to order the Colt letter when my finances recover. I've been doing a lot of reading online about the 1860's and this one seems to contradict some of the info I've read. Serial number is 85841 which should put it in early 1863. Numbers match on the frame, grip frame, trigger guard, barrel, wedge and cylinder. "H" inspector mark on frame, grip frame, trigger guard and barrel. No cartouche on grips. Hartford, CT barrel address. Four screw frame. From what I've read the four screw frame was discontinued around 50,000. I haven't seen anything that says at what serial number the NY barrel address started but I've seen many pictures on here with lower numbers that have the NY address. I'll try and post some photos tonight. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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When dealing with Colt percussion revolvers, one can find almost anything. No matter what you have read or heard about the M1860 Army, you have to remember that over 95% of these pistols went directly to the Union Army-especially those made in 1863.
At that time, the Colt factory waas so rushed, they were working at least 2 shifts a day. (in those days a shift was anywhere from 10 to 12 hours - the 8 hour work day was a 20th Century invention) therefore, apart from inspectors markings, one may or may not find an inspectors cartouche on the grips, etc.
I would strongly suggest that you get a copy of Wilson's "The Book of Colt Firearms". The information therein, expecially for Colt percussion pistols, is more accurate and complete that in either the Serven or the Haven and Belden books.
You can usually find one listed at a reasonable price on e-bay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info steg. I'll try and track down a copy of that book. I think I've got the picture posting figured out so I should be able to get some up soon.
 

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Very nice gun in beautiful condition. Congratulations on owning it. Now all you need to do is find an 1860 Army with a fluted cylinder to go with this one.
Then there are the Navies, Dragoons, and Pocket pistols. You will find that percussion Colts are somewhat addictive!
Welcome to the club!
 

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That is in amazing condition Mechanically, even the little Hammer Rest 'dots', lovely Bore, wonderful Rifeling...wow!

Finish wise, looks like someone went at it with 0000 Steel Wool at some time awhile back...where it somewhat tarnished a little from there.

Are you going to shoot it once in a while?
 

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Great 1860 survivor! I copied the bore shot as a great illustration of 'gain twist'.


edit - I have to retract this posting. It's not a gain twist barrel, most likely not a Colt barrel which raises doubt the gun is a Colt or something else. See post #18 for more definitive info.
 

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That revolver's not right. The serial numbers are restamped and the "COLTS PATENT" on the frame is restamped. Note how the letters in the patent stamp were individually applied vs. the single die used by Colt. It's my opinion that the revolver is a hodgepodge of parts. Perhaps all original parts, or some original and repro. The cleaning of the gun is also a warning sign, because such cleanings are often done to make all the parts "match" in color/patina.

Go to gunbroker or civilwardealers.com and look at serial numbers and patent stamps on other 1860s. You will see the difference.

John Gross
 
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That revolver's not right. The serial numbers are restamped and the "COLTS PATENT" on the frame is restamped. Note how the letters in the patent stamp were individually applied vs. the single die used by Colt. It's my opinion that the revolver is a hodgepodge of parts. Perhaps all original parts, or some original and repro. The cleaning of the gun is also a warning sign, because such cleanings are often done to make all the parts "match" in color/patina.

Go to gunbroker or civilwardealers.com and look at serial numbers and patent stamps on other 1860s. You will see the difference.

John Gross
The stampings I've personally examined are a lot clearer than those. Something is rotten in Denmark.
 

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How does that look different from conventional rifling? :confused:
Gain twist is seen on Colt perc revolvers in which the twist rate starts low at the cylinder and twists more as it proceeds to the muzzle. A dealer once sent me a Dragoon on a possible trade, me being suspicious looking for anything to find fault, sure enough it had ordinary rifling, not gain twist. I sent it back with my opinion it was Colt in the rear half but with a repro barrel on it. I was fortunate in two ways, that I had noticed it and that I had a real Dragoon to compare it with. Unhappy dealer.

Now that I've thunk of it I'm going to look down the barrel of a 1860 Colt to refresh my memory.

edit -- CROW EATING TIME, hoisted by my own petard. It's not gain twist. Looking now at one of my better 1860s. the twist pitch at BC entry is almost zero, straight. Each land is seen as a slight curve. At the muzzle the twist is definite, maybe 10 or more to the foot. Conclusion:: the gun is either a very rare Colt exception anomaly with ordinary rifling or it's a repro.

Another learning experience for me. Thank GOD, at 90 I still have that little voice that warns me. In my lifetime it has saved my bacon several times from more serious hazards than this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for all the info on the gun. The more I've looked at it the more I've become concerned about the originality. How can I confirm without a doubt that it is a fake? I know the dealer well that I got it from. He is convinced it is original and sold it to me as an original. I don't think there will be an issue with getting my money back if I can prove to him that it's not original. Is there somewhere I could send it to have an expert examine it and give me written documentation that it is or isn't original?
 
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