Antique Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Cap & Ball Revolver. This first-year Colt “open-top” Model 1851 Navy (a.k.a. Colt Revolving Belt Pistol) has a 7 1/2” inch blued, octagon barrel and fired a .36 conical bullet, round ball or a combustible paper cartridge. The barrel is roll-stamped with the one-line Sam Colt address and is stamped, on the left side of the frame, with “Colt Patent”. Sighting consists of a tapered brass cone front sight pressed into the muzzle end of the top barrel flat with a notch in the top of the hammer, as with most Colt percussion revolvers. The blued cylinder of this revolver is engraved with a scene of the victory of the Second Texas Navy over Mexico at the Battle of Campeche on May 16, 1843. The frame, hammer and loading lever were case-hardened while the grip frame was all brass. The wood stocks are one-piece Walnut. Serial number 129912 is stamped on the barrel assembly and grip frame. The main frame is stamped 121112. Both serial numbers are registered and reflect the 1862 production date. Caliber/ Gauge: .36 Cal.; Serial Number: 121112 Working Order: Firearm has not been tested; Background Check: Not Required; Keywords: Firearms, Guns; Ref: BD1040
As the factory designation implied, the Navy revolver was suitably sized for carrying in a belt holster. It became very popular in North America at the time of Western expansion. Colt’s aggressive promotions distributed the Navy and his other revolvers across Europe, Asia, and Africa. The .36 caliber (0.375–0.380 inch) round lead ball weighs 80 grains and, at a velocity of 1,000 feet per second, is comparable to the modern .380 pistol cartridge in power. Loads consist of loose powder and ball or bullet, metallic foil cartridges (early), and combustible paper cartridges (Civil War era), all combinations being ignited by a fulminate percussion cap applied to the nipples at the rear of the chambers. A very small number of Navy revolvers were produced in .34 caliber, and are so marked. Another rarity in the 1851 Navy production is the .40 caliber model, only 5 were made in 1858 for testing by the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance.; #126
Original bluing is about 40% and much of the case hardening has turned to a silver-grey patina with the brass grip frame attaining a pleasant, muted gold appearance in color. The barrel bore has strong rifling and cylinder chambers rate as good. Portions of the roll-stamped cylinder are still visible. The action is strong and positive and the cylinder indexing is excellent. The wood stocks exhibit normal dings and dents associated with the age and usage of this firearm. There does not appear to be any visible replaced parts.