Colt 1851 U.S. Navy-Navy Richards-Mason Conversion .38 LC Revolver, Antique

SOLD FOR: $2,884

LSB#: 240313LC010

Make: Colt

Model: 1851 Navy with Centerfire Richards-Mason Conversion

Serial Number: 59262

Year of Manufacture: 1856 (, Converted in the early 1870’s

Caliber: .38 Long Colt Centerfire

Action Type: 6-Shot, Single Action, Side-Gate Loaded Revolver

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “-ADDRESS SAML COLT NEW-YORK CITY-”. The underside of the barrel lug is marked “58822”. The frame, trigger guard, backstrap, underside of the cylinder arbor, rear of the loading gate and outside of the cylinder are marked with either “59262” or “9262”. The cylinder’s serial marking is directly below its original serial number “61671”. The left of the frame is marked “-PAT. JULY, 25, 1871- / -PAT. JULY, 2, 1872.-” and “U.S.”. The left of the trigger guard is marked “36 CAL”. The rear of the cylinder is marked “C”, found again in the hammer slot. The bottom of the barrel is marked “R.W.M.” and with an anchor. The butt is marked “U.S.N. / J.L.H.”.

Barrel Length: 7 1/2”, Octagonal

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a brass post fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” notch in the hammer, visible when cocked.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one piece smooth walnut. The grip has moderate wear with scattered dings and weathering. There are losses at the bottom corners. There are no cracks. Overall, the grip is in Good-plus condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color

Finish Originality: The finish appears to be Original to conversion. The barrel is not matching to the frame, but is a Navy conversion barrel. The ejector housing appears to have been intentionally polished bright.

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright. The rifling is sharp where not interrupted by erosion. There is scattered erosion and pitting in the bore, more notable at the muzzle-end. In this writer’s opinion, the bore rates 6 out of 10.

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 7% of its metal finish. There is a little bit of blue remaining on the back of the hammer and infrequent case color on the frame, mostly on the right flat. Most surfaces have worn to white or gone to a light patina. There is scattered light surface erosion. There are several nicks, scuffs and scratches including tool marks around some screw heads and the wedge. The wedge is tool marked and its spring is broken. The ejector housing appears to have been intentionally polished bright. The screw heads range from sharp to disfigured with useable slots. The markings range from clear to worn and incomplete. Overall, this revolver is in Good-Very Good condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with minor play on each chamber. The barrel has no play to the frame. 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: This revolver comes with a black leather cavalry-style flap-holster.

Our Assessment: This revolver started life as an 1851 Navy model in .36 Caliber Ball and was converted by Colt for the U.S. Navy sometime in the early 1870s to accept .38 Long Colt centerfire cartridges with the Richards-Mason patent. The right of the frame was milled and a loading gate was installed, along with an ejector and rod housing. The revolver was originally sold to the U.S. Navy as a percussion revolver, and has the proper features of one which was converted to fire center-fire cartridges for the U.S. Navy. The revolver must have seen some very interesting times having been available for military service during the Civil War in its percussion form and the American Indian Wars after conversion. With only about 1,000 of the 1851 Navy-Navy conversions performed, this will make a great addition to a collection, whether you’re focused on Colt revolvers, early cartridge guns, or U.S. Navy small arms. Please see our pictures and good luck.

Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud

Colt 1851 U.S. Navy-Navy Richards-Mason Conversion .38 LC Revolver, Antique
Colt 1851 U.S. Navy-Navy Richards-Mason Conversion .38 LC Revolver, Antique