Model: 1849 Pocket
Serial Number: 128503
Year of Manufacture: 1856
Caliber: .31 Caliber Ball
Action Type: 5-Shot, Single Action Percussion Revolver
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “ADDRESS COL. SAML (small “L”) COLT / NEW YORK CITY”. The underside of the barrel, frame, trigger guard plate, toe of the grip frame on the butt, cylinder and barrel wedge are marked with matching serial number “128503”. The barrel will not come loose from the frame, we could not inspect the cylinder pin number. The left side of the frame is marked “COLT’S PATENT”, the left side of the barrel is marked “2”, the left of the trigger guard is marked “X”, the left of the trigger guard bow is marked “L”. The cylinder is marked “COLT’S PATENT / No.” (then the serial number), with a still crisply discernible Stage Coach Robbery scene roll marked, please see our pictures, this revolver has survived QUITE well. The back of the stock appears to have “2703” written, but the numbers are mostly illegible, please see our pictures.
Barrel Length: 6”, Octagonal, with beveled barrel lug.
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a small conical brass bead, screwed into the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” notch in the hammer.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are a one piece walnut stock with a varnish finish. There are areas of rub wear through the varnish, exposing nice natural texturing to the exposed wood, suggesting this is the original finish of this stock. Several deep marks occur through the finish, there are no visible cracks and the wood to metal fit is still very close, please see our pictures. The stock has scuff and compression marks but no major damages. The butt of the stock shows marks that tango with marks on the butt of the grip strap. The stock rates in about Very Good overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue, with Case Colored Hammer & Silver Plated Brass Frame
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright, the rifling is sharp and deep. The bore shows a spot of dark surface erosion, which may also be persistent fowling, we were able to clean some of this away and exposed areas of light erosion; that being said, this is one of the better bores for this model that have come through the shop.
Overall Condition: The frame’s case coloring still has spots of vivid tone, the frame’s nipple cut’s coloring almost looks like mother of pearl it is so brilliant, please see our pictures! The barrel wedge has thinning but retains lush bluing, also found on the barrel; the blue on the barrel is interrupted by spots of darker patina and scraping. The loading lever has handling rub wear but retains coloring on the rear plunger area. The grip frame straps have nice retention of silver plating, which has mostly turned to a natural dark patina. The overall surfaces show rub wear varying from persistent, to minor. The cylinder scene details are still highly preserved, with sharp detail. The horses show spectacular line work and the human characters’ faces are still discernible; the cylinder does have dings around the bolt stops and has lost most of its finish. The barrel, frame and cylinder have spots of pin prick erosion and old patina on exposed areas of metal. The pistol looks to have seen a bit of holster wear, giving it that much more character. We were unable to remove the barrel from the frame with the wedge completely removed. The construction does not have play with the wedge installed but removed, the barrel can be wiggled a very small amount. We believe a thorough cleaning and soaking in oil will help remedy this. The screw heads range from light to moderately tooled, but are still serviceable. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good to Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a strong mainspring, the cylinder produces light full lockup in all 5 chambers. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: From R.L. Wilson’s ‘The Book of Colt Firearms’, page 107 “This rather diminutive revolver, a smaller brother to the 36 caliber Model 1851 Navy, met with the largest sales unit volume in all of Colt’s percussion line. Indeed, no other percussion revolver made in America could match “The 1849” production record. Made from 1850 through 1873, the total manufactured was in excess of 325,000 in America, plus approximately 11,000 in London…Popular as a defense weapon, many thousands were sold in Western America to pioneer families. Soldiers appreciated the compact little pistols, and photographs of Civil War troops frequently show a sprinkling of the Model 1849 tucked into belts or in holsters.” This 1849 was made in 1856, with one of the most highly defined cylinder scenes of any ’49 that has come through the shop. Coming from a period in which our nation’s flag still only had 31 stars, we can only imagine what events must have unfolded during its service life. For its age, it has strong finish remaining. The action could probably edge out most modern single action revolvers and Colt’s craftsmanship is definitely apparent. All serialized parts match but for the back of the stock which we could not fully read. Looking to have seen long term holster use, it was most likely someone’s life saving sidearm. Please see our pictures and good luck.