Sold For: $1,300
Model: 1851 Navy
Serial Number: 174312
Year of Manufacture: 1863 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .36 Caliber Cap and Ball
Action Type: Single Action Percussion Revolver
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “- ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-”. The left of the frame is marked “COLTS / PATENT”. The left of the trigger guard is marked “S” and “36 CAL”. The bottom of the barrel assembly, frame, trigger guard and backstrap are each marked “174312”, the bottom of the arbor is marked “4312”, the bottom of the wedge is marked “74312”. The outside of the cylinder has remnants of a roll-engraved naval scene and “PATENT No 4312”. The backstrap has been engraved “1861” at the top and “John Wilkes Booth” on the back.
Barrel Length: 7 1/2″, Octagonal
Sights / Optics: There is a dovetail at the front of the barrel for a front sight which is not present. The rear sight is a “V” notch at the front of the hammer.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one-piece smooth walnut. The grip has some scattered nicks, dings, scuffs and scratches. There are no chips or cracks. The grip is generally shy to the metal. Overall, the grip is in about Very Good condition as refinished and Antique.
Type of Finish: Blued, Case Color & Brass
Finish Originality: The cylinder’s coloring may indicate cold bluing. The other components’ finish appears original
Bore Condition: The bore is gray, the rifling is sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There is light-moderate erosion and minor pitting scattered through the bore.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains about 10% of its metal finish. Apart from the grip frame, most of the metal surfaces have gone to a moderate patina with scattered solid erosion, and finish remaining mostly in protected areas. Strongest finish on the barrel is on the bottom and around the wedge assembly on the left. Strongest case color is on the top of the lever. The brass grip frame has a mustard patina with the crystalline appearance of old brass. There are patches of erosion on the outside of the cylinder with erosion on the front face and around the nipples. The metal is worn to white at most edges with scattered nicks, dings, scuffs, scratches, and tool marks around the wedge and several screws. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with useable slots. Most markings are clear, much of the cylinder’s naval scene has worn away. Overall, this revolver is in about Good condition as Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder lockup has little side-to-side play but moderate end-shake. The barrel assembly has light-moderate play to the frame. The trigger is crisp. The nipples are worn but intact with clear flash-holes. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: The Colt 1851 Navy revolver was produced by Colt up until 1873 when Colt cartridge revolvers were introduced. It got its name from the Navy battle scene on the cylinder that Colt added to commemorate the victory of the Second Texas Navy at the Battle of Campeche in 1843. Texas had previously ordered the Colt Paterson revolver, Colts first big success, and Colt wished to show gratitude. The 1851 Navy was carried as a belt gun by armies on both sides in the Civil War and was a favorite of General Robert E. Lee. This revolver is a Colt Model 1851 made in 1863 with matching numbered parts. The revolver has been engraved with the name John Wilkes Booth, though we are fairly certain this revolver was not owned by Lincoln’s assassin. For an 1851 that survived the last years of the Civil War and the 150 years since, it is in fairly good condition with some original finish and decent mechanics. It will make a nice display piece with other Civil War era small arms. Please see our photos and good luck!
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This Antique single action percussion revolver can be transferred/sold in California.