SOLD FOR: $4175
Model: 1860 Army
Serial Number: 3258
Year of Manufacture: 1861 (https://colt.com/serial-lookup)
Caliber: .44 Caliber Ball
Action Type: 6-Shot, Single Action, Cylinder Loaded Percussion Revolver
Barrel Length: 8”, Round
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a german silver blade, fixed to the barrel. There is a “V” notch rear sight in the hammer, visible when cocked.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one-piece antique ivory, carved with a steer’s head on the right side. The grip is well fit on the left but shy to the butt on the right. There are some grain-lines, but no notable wear or damage. Overall, the grip is in Fine condition as Antique.
Type of Finish: Blue & Silver-Plated Brass
Finish Originality: The silver plate appears original. The steel has been Refinished. The wedge is not original to the gun.
Bore Condition: The bore is dark. The rifling is deep and generally well defined. There is scattered moderate erosion and pitting in the bore. The barrel is bent slightly to the right. In this writer’s opinion, the bore appears about 5 out of 10. Due to the bend, it rates about 2.
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 5% of its current metal finish. Most remaining finish is in scattered silver on the brass trigger guard. There is infrequent finish remaining on the steel parts. Most exposed surfaces have gone to a mottled patina with oxidation and some minor erosion. There is infrequent more notable erosion, mostly on the loading lever. The steel parts show signs of polishing. There are some scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. The hammer spur appears to have been straightened to nearly vertical and there are cracks on the back of the spur. There are tool marks around the wedge and some screw heads. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with usable slots. The wedge screw is a modern replacement. It turns freely in the hole, but we were not able to remove it or to get it to catch threads and seat fully. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Good condition as refinished Antique.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with light 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 Model 1860 Army revolver was easily the most popular army revolver on both sides of the conflict during the American Civil War. Approximately 127,000 of these revolvers were purchased for use by Union forces and several of the Confederate states had obtained a few thousand before the start of the hostilities as well. The Model 1860 Army was the successor to the Third Model Dragoon and ranks third in total number produced of the various models of percussion Colt handguns.
This is a quite early example made in 1861. It has some interesting features, most notably its fluted cylinder. This cylinder style was only made in the early production of the Model 1860 with about 4,000 made in about the first 8,000 revolvers before it was discontinued. Very interestingly, while the frame, grip frame, barrel and cylinder have matching serial numbers, they have what appear to be martial inspection marks, and we have not found any reference to fluted cylinder 1860s being purchased by the Army. Just one more idiosyncracy is the small dot by the serial markings in the frame, grip frame and barrel, which would be typical of factory ivory grips on a Model 1849 Pocket, but we are not sure if they carry the same significance for the Model 1860.
Altogether, this is a very intriguing revolver that will be a fun addition to any collection. The barrel is slightly bent, but the mechanics are otherwise strong. Given the scarcity of the fluted cylinder 1860s, it will be a good display piece and will certainly be a conversation starter among collectors of early Colt revolvers. Please see our pictures and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud