Rare and early Civil War period, Colt Model 1860 Fluted Army percussion revolver s/n 5711 manufactured circa 1862 at the Hartford factory in Connecticut.
It has a four-screw type frame with the recoil shield cut for shoulder-stock attachment. The eight-inch round barrel has the ‘-ADDRESS COL. SAM’ COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-’ address and is fitted with the creeping style loading lever. The left side of the frame is stamped COLTS/PATENT and a letter “L” stamped on the left rear shoulder of the trigger-guard strap. The six-shot fully fluted cylinder has ‘PATENTED SEPT. 10th 1850’ stamped faintly, within one of the flutes.
The barrel, cylinder and back-strap were once blued and the frame, hammer and loading lever were once case-colored. The one-piece walnut grips are oil finished and the brass trigger-guard is left bear.
There are no military inspector cartouches visible on the grips, as usually found on US contract guns. This revolver may have been shipped to the North or the South after manufacture. The 1860 Army, in .44 caliber, was the most used and popular revolver in the American Civil War and this revolver is almost certainly seen military service. It has had a hard life, but remains in good condition with all matching numbers 5711, including the wedge number. The bore is very good 6/10 with no heavy pitting. It is in good working order and the action is tight. It is another Civil War period gun that I am sure can tell a good story.
A total of approximately 200,800 Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver were manufactured at the Hartford factory from circa 1860 through to circa 1873. They were serial numbered in their own range from 1 through to about 200800.
This model in .44 caliber superseded the much heavier Dragoon model and was the most used and popular revolver in the American Civil War.
On early models the barrel address was ‘-ADDRESS SAM’ COLT HARTFORD CT.-‘. This address changed later to ‘-ADDRESS COL. SAM’ COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-‘. The left side of the frame was stamped COLTS/PATENT and “44 cal” stamped on the left rear shoulder of the trigger-guard strap.
Most 1860 Armies are found with the six-shot rebated round cylinder with the roll scene that depicts the battle between the Texas Navy and the Mexico Navy. The four-screw type frame with the recoil shield cut for shoulder-stock attachment changed to a three screw frame cut for shoulder-stock attachment or not as the case may be somewhere in the 50000 serial range. All models were fitted with the creeping style loading lever. At first the round barrels were 7 ½ inches in length and later this was increased to eight inches to help accuracy.
The barrel, cylinder and back-strap were blued and the frame, hammer and loading lever were case-colored. The one-piece walnut grips were varnished with the trigger-guard silver-plated on civilian guns and the grips on military contract guns were oil finished and the brass trigger-guard left bear.
Military contract guns have inspector cartouches on the grips and stampings in the form of a single or double letter on some of the metal parts. The better finished civilian guns tend to have the three-screw frame without the recoil cut-out.
The main variation was the early full fluted cylinder Army which appears in a serial range from serial number 3 to about 8000. Approximately 4,000 Fluted Armies can be found with either barrel address and with 7 ½ inch or 8 inch barrel. A few of the very early models can be found with the Navy size grip and are considered rare.
The second and third style (most common) attachable shoulder stocks were made for the Colt 1860 Army, a rare variation being the stock having the canteen insert.
In the higher serial range above 158000 some Colt 1860 Armies were shipped to London from the Hartford factory. These are found with British proof-marks (not always) and with the New York address or the very rare and desirable address of ‘ADDRESS COL. COLT LONDON’. These usually have blued steel back-straps and blued steel trigger-guards.
Philip Boulton of Southampton, England has collated and recorded a survival rate of only 2.16% of the original production of 200,800 revolvers. For in-depth reference on Colt Model 1860 Army percussion revolvers see ‘The Book of Colt Firearms- 3rd Edition’ by R.L. Wilson. For values, check out ‘Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms… and their values’ by Norm Flayderman.