Sold For: $1,732.00
Model: Richards Conversion of Colt Model 1860 Army
Serial Number: 199713
Year of Manufacture: 1873
Caliber: .44 Colt (This cartridge used a heeled, outside lubricated 0.451” diameter bullet, firing a soft lead 225 grain bullet at about 640 fps. It was the predecessor to the .45 Colt cartridge.).
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Side Loading Gate
Markings: The underside of the barrel, frame and grip frame are marked “199713”. The bottom of the backstrap is marked “199 / 713”. The left side of the frame is marked “COLTS / PATENT”. The top of the barrel is marked “ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA”. The cylinder is marked “COLTS PATENT NO 9713”, “ENGAGED 16 MAY 1843” and with a naval battle scene. The rear face of the cylinder is marked “B” and “C”. The left front of the trigger guard is marked “C” and the rear with 44 CAL”.
Barrel Length: The round barrel is 8” in length.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a brass blade fixed to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” notch in a raised boss in the top of the breech plate fitted to the frame behind the cylinder.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is a one piece lacquered smooth walnut. Both sides and the bottoms of the grip shows areas of finish loss and the right side also shows abraded wood and a deep bruise in its top half. There are several dings in the bottom surface of the grips and numerous small dings and light handling marks in the sides. The wood to metal fit is Excellent. The grip rates in about Excellent overall condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel, cylinder and backstrap are blued, the frame, hammer and lever are case colored and the trigger guard is brass.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and mottled with dark patches. The rifling is sharp. There are spots of light and moderate erosion scattered throughout the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 18% of its metal finish. There are traces of bluing at the back of the barrel and on its underside below the ejector rod housing. There is also a trace of color below the cylinder on the sides of the frame. The barrel, cylinder, frame and backstrap show surface loss and are mottled with dark spots of light erosion. There are extremely light scratches from aggressive polishing in the barrel and the sides of the frame. There multiple dings along the bottom surface of the ejector rod housing and a few tiny dings in the bottom of the barrel lug. There is a divot below the front edge of the cylinder on the left side of the frame, a long ding on the bottom edge of the frame below the cylinder, a few small dings in the circumference of the cylinder near its front edge, and tool marks in the right side of the barrel wedge. There is a scratch across the underside front of the trigger guard, a few small dings on its right rear just in front of the grip and a few light marks scattered over the rest of its surfaces. The trigger guard also shows a few spots of dark tarnish. Most of the screw heads are distressed, with the barrel wedge screw, the front trigger guard screw and the screw head that secures the ejector rod to the barrel badly disfigured. The markings are clear except for the naval battle scene on the cylinder, which is faint. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The frame has 3 screws and a loading gate built into the right side of the breech plate. An ejector rod housing is built into the barrel where the loading lever would have been located. The action functions normally. The hammer has a half-cock position. The barrel is tight to the frame, the trigger pull is light and crisp and the cylinder lockup tiny amount of play. We did not fire this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: From Wikipedia: “The Colt Army Model 1860 was a muzzle-loaded cap & ball .44-caliber revolver used during the American Civil War. It was used as a side arm by cavalry, infantry, artillery troops, and naval forces, and was the most widely used revolver of the war. The Colt 1860 Army uses the same size frame as the .36 caliber 1851 Navy revolver, but with a relieved frame for the larger rebated cylinder and a shorter forcing cone on the barrel that allows for a longer cylinder.” After the Civil War, Colt had to wait until Smith & Wesson’s patent on bored-through cylinders expired to take advantage of metallic cartridges. One of their employees, Charles Richards, was awarded a patent in 1871 for converting Colt percussion models to breech loading cartridge revolvers. In order to take advantage of the barrels they already had chambered for .44 cap and ball (bore diameter 0.454”), Colt developed a new cartridge, the .44 Colt, which used a soft lead outside lubricated heeled bullet that would expand into the barrel grooves. The ballistic performance of the .44 Colt is comparable to the .44 Remington, and less powerful than modern .44 Russian loads. Cases for the modern “.44 Colt” chambered handguns are typically made using trimmed .44 Magnum, .44 Special, or .44 Russian brass and a historically inaccurate .429 lead bullet. Colt manufactured about 9000 of the Richards Converted revolvers between 1873 and 1878. This Richards Converted Model 1860 Army revolver has all matching numbers on its barrel, frame, trigger guard, backstrap and cylinder. It is in about Very Good condition with about 18% of its original finish remaining. The bore is bright, with sharp rifling, mottled with dark spots of light and moderate erosion. This revolver is an important part of American history and will make an excellent addition to anyone’s collection. A number of factors combine to make the Colt “conversions” popular with collectors: they were all produced during the colorful 1870s and have a good association with the Old West; relatively few were made compared to many other models and the variety of conversion techniques applied to a number of different models and configurations resulted in a field rich with variations to be collected and studied.