SOLD FOR: $4659.76
Model: 1848 2nd Model Dragoon
Serial Number: 10597
Year of Manufacture: 1851 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .44 Caliber Ball
Action Type: 6-Shot, Single Action, Cylinder Loaded Percussion Revolver
Barrel Length: 7 1/2”, Round
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a blade fixed to the barrel. There is a “V” notch rear sight in the hammer, visible when cocked.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is a one piece bone, smooth on the right and carved with a mermaid on the left. The grips have some light handling wear and discoloration. There are a few light scuffs and handling marks. Overall, the grip is in Very Good-Fine condition as not original to the gun.
Type of Finish: Silver, Gold & Brass
Finish Originality: Refinished. The wedge is not original to the gun and some other parts may have been replaced.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray. The rifling is well defined. There is scattered light-moderate erosion and pitting in the bore. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 4 or 5 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
Overall Condition: This revolver retains approximately 80% of its current metal finish. The plating has worn away in some areas, exposing a copper-colored backing. This is most notable on the cylinder and wedge with some other scattered spots. The finish is otherwise generally strong. There are some light nicks and scuffs. The action shows operational wear. One of the nipples shows heavy damage. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The remaining markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Good-plus condition as refinished Antique.
Mechanics: The hammer does not catch at half-cock. As noted above, one of the nipples has heavy damage. Otherwise, the action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with very little play on each chamber. The barrel has no play to the frame. The trigger is crisp. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: The Colt Walker was revolutionary in many ways, and not just the obvious pun about the cylinder rotating. Colt’s earlier design, the Paterson, had issues with reliability and did not find success in large military contracts. The Walker, a large and much more powerful pistol, found favor with the Texan volunteers under Samuel Hamilton Walker and placed an order for 1,000 pistols. This would be the catalyst for what would become the Colt firm we know to this very day.
Despite the popularity of the Walker with the Texan volunteers, it did have its problems, and the developments of the Dragoon model would address these in turn. First and foremost, a latch assembly was devised for the loading latch. Anyone who has shot a Walker is likely to be familiar with its proclivity for having the loading lever fall down under recoil, preventing the cylinder from advancing until it is moved out of the way. The Second Model Dragoon saw an improvement in the cylinder-stop notches as well as a roller-bearing installed on the hammer. The Third Model Dragoon introduced a rounded trigger guard rather than the square-back guard of the earlier models, a shape which tended to bite the hand under recoil.
This is a Second Model Dragoon made in 1851. The “MS” marking on its trigger guard indicates it was originally issued to the Massachusetts Militia, and it is in the same serial range as other known examples of the Massachusetts guns. Since then it has been given something of a makeover, with decorative engraving and carved bone grip. The result is quite striking, visually, and makes for an attractive display piece. The revolver’s combination of history an appearance will make it a nice addition to any collection. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud