Civil War Photo Contest
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- Feb 23, 2013
- East Texas
If my old collecting mentor Robert Justice was correct that a collection of anything has to consist at the minimum of at least three examples, the corollary should probably be that three examples of any object also constitutes a collection. Assuming this admittedly twisted logic to be correct, then I suppose by extension that I have inadvertently become a collector of Colt M.1849 .31 Pocket Revolvers since I now own three of these little pistols! The M.1849 was the model produced in the greatest numbers of any Colt - over 300,000 were made between the years 1849-1872 before production ended, mainly due to the increasing popularity of cartridge revolvers. It was never a truly military weapon since it wasn't purchased under any government contract; however, they remained popular private-purchase sidearms for both officers and enlisted men. My three illustrate the principal variations in these, namely the capacity and barrel lengths.
From top-to-bottom: A five-shot version with a 6" barrel, a put-together I have featured before https://civilwartalk.com/threads/my-new-m-1849-colt-pocket-pistol.138468/ whose serial number 188382 shows it - or most of it at least; the barrel and loading lever have different lower numbers and the wedge and cylinder are now unmarked - was made in 1861. Next, my most recent purchase, a six-shooter with a 5" barrel, more pictures of which below. And at bottom, another six-shot but having a stubby 4" barrel featured here https://civilwartalk.com/threads/another-m-1849-colt-pocket-pistol.139189/ with a serial number 229720 dating it to 1863.
All of them look somewhat better in person, appearing "washed-out" in the early morning diffused light on my deck. When I got it, it was grimy overall with a little light surface rust in crevices, especially the chambers and around the nipples, making a light cleaning and oiling a must. Contrary to appearances, the brass bead front sight IS there, just cut off or more likely worn to a proverbial nub. The action is very smooth and works better than either of my other two.
The all-matching serial numbers 280787 indicate it was made postwar in 1866 - that is, unless you go by the "official" U. S. Government's date of The War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866! Barrel, frame, trigger guard, backstrap, wedge, and cylinder all match, though some are abbreviated, lacking the first or first and second digits like on the cylinder below - for some reason the loading lever appears to have never been marked.
The usual Stagecoach Holdup cylinder scene is worn but not as badly as on my other two; the screws are so un-boogered it makes me wonder if they have been replaced? Note also the usual tiny markings COLT"S PATENT and 31 CAL.
It's hard to tell here but the top of the 5" barrel has the usual Colt marking with the New York address; note the nub of the brass front sight.