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I was looking at a Colt Pocket 1849 Model I picked up recently. The gun is a 4” and is matching, except for the loading lever. The cylinder and barrel are re-blued. The production date is 1867. That falls into what I call Colt’s “Lost Years.” The stretch between the end of the Civil War and the introduction of cartridge guns. During this period, percussion revolvers were still in demand and in use in the West. Bill Hickok’s guns are well known, but it is as if he was the exception. Many a time I have heard, “Too bad it’s not made before 1865.” To be sure, there were some cartridge guns, primarily iffy Smith and Wessons and the pin fire boys. The West could be a wild and bloody place at that time. If you were smart and carried a percussion revolver, it was a Colt.

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Nice old cap and ball revolver.

I think 2 major things influenced Colt post Civil War. The abundance or war surplus arms. And the S&W patent for bored through cylinders. In order to use a metallic cartridge without infringing on the patent, Colt devised a cylinder that had a taper bore that could be loaded from the front. The Thuer Conversions were made by Colt until the patent expired in 1869. There were lots of other cartridge conversions, as the inventers moved from muzzle loaders to self contained cartridges.
 
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