Colt Model 1860 Army
.44 Caliber Percussion
Date: November, 1863 SN:

The Colt Model 1860 Army was the Unions most purchased and issued revolver during the Civil War with over 127,156 acquired. Total production period ran from 1860 to 1873 for a total of 200,000 revolvers. It has a Rebated six shot cylinder roll engraved with the Naval Engagement scene. Three screw frame cut for shoulder-stock. Blued barrel, cylinder and back-strap. Casehardened frame, hammer and loading lever. Brass trigger-guard with one-piece oiled walnut grips. Post serial number 8,000 all frames have 3 screws like the example pictured below, there was a estimated 4000 four screw versions made in the total production. Another rare early variation to this revolver is the fluted cylinder which does not have the engraved battle scene and is also found in very early production. These revolvers utilized paper-wrapped cartridges, inserted into the cylinders and rammed with the attached loading lever which swung beneath the barrel and used percussion caps for ignition that were placed on each of the nipples behind the cartridges.

The date of contract for this revolver order was May 25th, 1863 with it being received by the Union Army during the month of November, 1863. Revolvers in this serial number range have been reportedly used by the 7th Michigan Calvary.

The gun is very tight and has great function but is well worn with some of the markings light, typical for a 142 year old military revolver. The barrel legend on this revolver reads "-ADDRESS COL. SAM COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-"(IMAGE 3),  on earlier models they have a Hartford, CT. address. The cylinder Serial Numbers last two digits are faint but still there. The Cylinder Serial Number line is not visible in the image below but should read two lines, the first line has "COLTS PATENT NO. ####"  followed by the last four of the serial number and the second line is a "PAT SEPT ## 1855"(IMAGE 6). Left front frame has two lines "COLTS/PATENT" (IMAGE - 17).  "D" stamp military sub-inspector marks that was applied during preliminary/component inspection is found on the barrel and cylinder (IMAGE 4/5). On the grip two marks are found, first a "H" is stamped on the bottom is a military sub-inspector mark that was applied during preliminary/component inspection and secondly a inspectors cartouche on the left side (IMAGE-7) indicating military acceptance.

The Serial Numbers are located on frame, trigger guard, barrel, cylinder, wedge, grip, butt strap and cylinder base pin. This revolver has had the trigger guard replaced but all other serial numbers match (IMAGE -10). Grip Serial Number is written in pencil (IMAGE-8). Click here for the serial numbers by year.

Mr. Charles Pate was kind enough to share the following information with me regarding the Colt markings:

The D on the right barrel and on the cylinder and the H on the bottom of the grip are military sub-inspector marks that were applied during preliminary/component inspection. The cartouches were applied on final inspection. The inspector marks include: left and right rear of barrel (probably one mark made after proofing and one after component inspection), two on the cylinder (probably one mark made after proofing and one after component inspection), one behind the bow of the trigger guard, one behind the hammer on the back strap, and one on the bottom of the grips. Some early guns have only a cartouche on the left but most have them on both sides of the grips.

Image 1- Left profile

Image 2- Right profile

Image 3- Colt Legend

Image 4- "D"
military sub-inspector marks

Image 5- "D"
military sub-inspector marks

Image 6- Cylinder S/N and Pat mark
*Too light to see in image

Image 7- Military Inspectors Cartouche

Image 8- One piece Grip
*"75" of S/N can be seen

Image 9- Grip "H" markings
S/N to right of screw. Military sub-inspector marks

Image 10- Serial numbers
*Trigger guard replaced

Image 11- Cylinder base pin
with S/N

Image 12- Wedge S/N

Image 13- Cylinder view

Image 14- Trigger guard
assemblers marks

Image 15- Hammer and sight notch

Image 16- Loading lever

Image 17- Frame patent mark

Image 18- Front sight

Image 19- Loading lever latch

Image 20- Frame and cylinder base pin
From the collection
of T. Moore

Technical Information

Length (overall/barrel) 14 inches/8 inches
Weight 2 pounds, 11 ounces
Sights (Front/Rear) Brass blade 7/16 inch/"V" notch hammer lip
Caliber 44 (.451")

The Civil War started on February 9th, 1861 - The Confederate States of America is formed with Jefferson Davis as president.
The Civil War Ended in
May, 1865 - Remaining Confederate forces surrender. The Nation is reunited as the Civil War ends. Over 620,000 Americans died in the war, with disease killing twice as many as those lost in battle. 50,000 survivors return home as amputees.

United States Military Small Arms, 1816-1865 - By Robert Riley
Civil War Arms Purchases and Deliveries - By S. Mowbray
Civil War Arms Makers and their contracts - By S. Mowbray
Civil War Guns - By W. Edwards
Civil War Pistols of the Union - By John D. McAulay
Civil War Small Arms of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. - By John D. McAulay
Special thanks to Bill Koszarek for his contributions to researching this revolver

I am doing research on the Civil War revolvers so expect this page to be updated soon. Found on this page are images of all markings found on this Colt Model 1860 Army revolver. Are you a Civil War firearms collector? Would like to hear from you so we can share research and compare specimens. Regards, Ty Moore

Click on images for larger image
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