Model: 1851 Navy with Centerfire Richards-Mason Conversion
Serial Number: 59011
Year of Manufacture: 1856 (http://proofhouse.com/colt/1851navy.htm), Converted in the mid 1870’s. (http://proofhouse.com/colt/index.html)
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, frame, trigger guard plate, toe of the butt of the grip frame are marked with matching serial number “59011”, the underside of the cylinder pin is marked “0911”, the top is marked “143”. The left side of the frame is marked “COLT’S / PATENT / U.S. / PAT. JULY 25, 1871 / PAT. JULY 2, 1872”, the left of the trigger guard is marked “U”. The butt of the grip frame is marked “H.I.I.”, the loading gate is marked “724”, the rear of the cylinder is marked “H / 0 11”, the outside is marked “41”.
Barrel Length: 7 ½”, Octagonal
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a brass blade, dovetailed onto the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” notch in the hammer.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are a one piece smooth walnut stock. The item has chip losses and gouges on the lower areas at the butt, with some slight gaps in fit which look to be from age shrinking. The stock is free of cracks, with a few chip losses on the forward strap portions, please see our pictures. The grips rate in about Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue with Case Colored Hammer & Frame
Finish Originality: Factory Original
Bore Condition: The bore is mid gray and the rifling is worn but still defined. There is moderate erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 2% of its metal finish seen as bluing on the barrel wedge and barrel screw on the left of the barrel. The surfaces have shifted to mottled brown and gray patina with a dusting of pin prick erosion and general handling marks. There are bruises on the ejector rod housing and frame, with some dings in the cylinder. The case coloring has shifted to mottled dark gray with some faint traces found on the rear of the frame. The surfaces have a few spots of solid surface oxidation and the front sight is slightly bent to the left. The screw heads are moderately tooled, the grip frame screws do not sit flush with the metal. The markings are legible, the butt of the grip frame’s “H.I.I.” mark is faded. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fair to Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. There is about 1/16” back play and 1/16” side to side play in full lockup of all 6 chambers. The hammer has a strong mainspring. 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: This revolver started life as an 1851 Navy model in .36 Caliber Ball and was converted sometime in about 1872 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 is U.S. martially marked, with an “H.I.I.” mark on the butt of the grip frame. Some small amount of blue and case coloring remains, the action still fuctions correctly and the stock is free from cracks. The revolver must have seen some very interesting times having been marked for military service during the American Indian Wars. According to Proofhouse, only about 3,800 were converted in this manner, making it a collector’s find! Please see our pictures and good luck.