Colt 1860 Army Revolver

RedRaider94

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Apr 3, 2021
I was just given this pistol by my wife’s father. It is in basically new condition, like it just came out of the box, and appears to never have been fired from going through it in detail. The scene on the cylinder retains 100% of the detail and no rust anywhere on it. Based on my research, this serial 168204 was made in 1867. It has a “K” stamped in many places and has cartouche of BH on the grips so assume it was first provided to the military?

Colt’s archive request in PDF show up to serial numbers 140000 so it doesn’t look like I can order a letter on it but no idea why. Any other ideas on how to find any history on it or would anyone else have info?

I am assuming it is legitimate and not a fake but the immaculate condition gives me a second of pause given the pictures I have been seeing of 150 year old examples.

Thanks for any insight!

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RedRaider94

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Apr 3, 2021
I figured it was too good to be true. Any specific way to tell the difference between the original and this reproduction?
 

RedRaider94

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Apr 3, 2021
One other question I had that I can't wrap my head around. On the Colt 2nd Generation models, why would they repeat serial numbers of previously manufactured guns? For example, 168204 serial was produced by Colt in 1867. The 2nd and 3rd Gen guns did have different serial numbers to include "SA" in them. I am quite confident now this isn't a 2nd or 3rd Gen gun based on some research. Does anyone know any experts in the identification of these guns that I might be able to contact?
 
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bayonet

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Nov 7, 2012
One other question I had that I can't wrap my head around. On the Colt 2nd Generation models, why would they repeat serial numbers of previously manufactured guns? For example, 168204 serial was produced by Colt in 1867. The 2nd and 3rd Gen guns did have different serial numbers to include "SA" in them. I am quite confident now this isn't a 2nd or 3rd Gen gun based on some research. Does anyone know any experts in the identification of these guns that I might be able to contact?
Sorry Pal but an expert in the field told you it was a repro. I'm only half an expert and I knew it was a repro from the first photo. Guess its hard to swallow, you thought you had a $30,000 gun but it turned into a $300 gun. Don't feel bad, I inherited a Rev War musket from my Father along with the tale he told that went with it. Well doing my research on the markings come to find out it was made 30 years after the Rev War was over. It was a popular model the French used for almost over 40 years, M1777 started in 1777 and used even at Waterloo. I sold it and used the $ to buy my first Colt M1860 (I love the serial #51863). Welcome to collecting. This place is good for asking questions and finding out what you really have not what you thought you have, guys here know there stuff. I've been burned a few times in life but always recovered by selling or trading it away, or exchanging it back to the guy that sold it to me and keeping my mouth shut!
 

RedRaider94

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Apr 3, 2021
I am not troubled at all that it's not a legitimate 1867 produced pistol - just on a quest to figure out what it actually is. The comment that it is a 2nd Gen 1860 was super helpful and got me going down the path to confidently identifying the pistol. Now, I am just trying to figure out the discrepancy in serial numbers from those who know better than me. What I have found is the 2nd Gen made from 1956 to 1974 carried serial numbers in the range of 0001SA to 73,205SA. That doesn't match with the serial numbers here so doesn't appear to be a 2nd Gen. The 3rd Gen from 1976 to 1982 had serial numbers from SA80,000 to SA99,999. Again, no match. Is it possible this is not a Colt firearm at all and a complete fake/copy (which I am leaning more towards at this point)? If it is a reproduction firearm, I don't think it was done by Colt given the serial numbers so has anyone seen a similar repro to help nail down its origin?
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Coffeeville, TX
Colt has made second and third runs of cap'n'ball/blackpowder revolvers. This is not 150 years old, the blued finish is a modern one, but it is still a Colt, which counts for something.

I wouldn't feel bad, as they are pretty collectible to the Colt crowd, and are increasingly hard to find. If you had the box it'd be a real collectible, but without it, you have a wonderful toy that you can shoot without fear of reprisal from angry Colt collectors who cringe and go full on bladerunner at the cylinder turning and hammer spelling out C-o-l-t with the four clicks. Seriously, I can't stand that crowd.

I'd say you got a great gift.
 
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Upstate N.Y.
I am not troubled at all that it's not a legitimate 1867 produced pistol - just on a quest to figure out what it actually is. The comment that it is a 2nd Gen 1860 was super helpful and got me going down the path to confidently identifying the pistol. Now, I am just trying to figure out the discrepancy in serial numbers from those who know better than me. What I have found is the 2nd Gen made from 1956 to 1974 carried serial numbers in the range of 0001SA to 73,205SA. That doesn't match with the serial numbers here so doesn't appear to be a 2nd Gen. The 3rd Gen from 1976 to 1982 had serial numbers from SA80,000 to SA99,999. Again, no match. Is it possible this is not a Colt firearm at all and a complete fake/copy (which I am leaning more towards at this point)? If it is a reproduction firearm, I don't think it was done by Colt given the serial numbers so has anyone seen a similar repro to help nail down its origin?
Welcome, enjoy
 

James N.

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One other question I had that I can't wrap my head around. On the Colt 2nd Generation models, why would they repeat serial numbers of previously manufactured guns? For example, 168204 serial was produced by Colt in 1867. The 2nd and 3rd Gen guns did have different serial numbers to include "SA" in them. I am quite confident now this isn't a 2nd or 3rd Gen gun based on some research. Does anyone know any experts in the identification of these guns that I might be able to contact?
Once reproduction black powder firearms began to be popular in the 1960's - largely fueled by the appearance of the so-called Spaghetti Westerns as well as the birth of modern reenacting - Colt decided they should somehow capitalize on the unexpected windfall. Although they were no longer tooled up to produce these, they turned to the Italian gunmakers who were, and since they were "officially" being offered by Colt itself they saw no reason not to market them as "theirs" and merely continued with serial numbers resuming where they had left off. The then-new craze for these and other reproductions begun by Val Forgett of Navy Arms who first offered reproductions of Colt .36 "Navy" revolvers is told in the final chapter of Edwards' excellent book I reviewed here:

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/civil-war-guns-by-william-b-edwards.166605/

Welcome to the forums!
 
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James N.

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Sorry, I just skimmed through the pictures and didn't see the steel backstrap.Old Eyes , you know?
"Don't apologize - it's a sign of weakness." - John Wayne in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon

Brass frames on Civil War revolvers are supposedly also a sign of weakness and one reason some Confederate-made ones (Spiller and Burr if I remember right?) were considered inferior to Union ones like Colt, Remington, Starr and the others. Brass components like triggerguards and backstraps were considered okay though.
 

Rusk County Avengers

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Brass framed revolvers are referred to as "brassers" by avid black powder shooters. They are no doubt weaker but they are pleasing to the eye to some people.

That's just what diehard purchasers say about brass framed guns. The real reason they're popular is the price tag on new and especially used ones. Not they're looks, which I'll say in a heartbeat nothing can beat color case-hardened frames on Colt-style revolvers for eye appeal.

Kind of like guys I know who'll buy a farby/incorrect as can be repro "Hawkin" gun to reenact with. They'll make all kinds of excuses for how superior a gun it is, and how beautiful the craftsmanship is, (shows they've never seen even picture of a real one) and how they wouldn't want a proper musket for reenacting over it, when the real reason they have and use them is that they found it in a pawn shop $50 bucks.
 

Polloco

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Sep 15, 2018
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"Pleasing to the eye to some people" sounds like an opinion, MY opinion. Cost has nothing to do with what I find appealing. Just like you find color case hardening attractive.(and so do I, by the way) I find most firearms to be a attractive. Not all mind you, some are almost as ugly as sin itself.
 

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