Very rare, hard to find, Hartford manufactured, British proofed, Colt Model 1851 Navy percussion revolver s/n 34807, manufactured circa 1853 for a British military contract, at the start of the Crimean War. Colt’s London factory, could not manufacture 1851 Navies fast enough, to fulfill its British government contract. Samuel Colt was able to use the Hartford factory to top up its contract of firearms.
This early Third Model revolver, in .36 calibre, has a three-screw frame, not cut for shoulder-stock, six shot cylinder and 7½ inch octagonal barrel, with attached loading lever. The loading lever pivot screw enters from the right side of the gun, as seen on early Colt Navy revolvers. The gun bears the one-line “-ADDRESS SAML COLT NEW-YORK CITY-”. There is a lanyard ring fitted to the butt of the gun, as found on many British military firearms.
The barrel and cylinder are blued with a casehardened frame, hammer and loading lever. The brass back-strap and small rounded brass trigger-guard are silver-plated, as found on civilian models. This is a civilian revolver, with a very small ‘COLTS / PATENT’ stamped on the left side of the frame. The roll engraved cylinder scene depicts the battle between the Texas Navy and that of Mexico. There is only one British proof, Crown over V stamped on the right side of the barrel and also a similar one stamped on the cylinder.
This British military revolver has all matching numbers 34807, including the wedge which is numbered with the last four digits 4807. The abrasions on the left side of the grip suggest that British military markings have been removed.
Bright 9/10 bore, all six pins on the rear of the cylinder are mashed. All the screw heads are excellent. Overall in very good to fine condition, with much original finish and silver-plating. The action is good and everything is in good working order. This is one of the best British military contract Colt 1851 Navy revolver, that has passed through my hands, in more than forty-five years of dealing and collecting.