This is an early Four-Screw Colt Model 1860 Army .44 Caliber Percussion Revolver that has a low serial number in the 17,600 range. This is one of the guns that we found in South Carolina that was passed down through three generations of the same family whose ancestor was a country doctor. Our guess is the doctor was probably paid for his services from time to time with old guns, etc. in lieu of money. These early '60 Armies really got chewed up as most saw all or most of four years worth of combat during the Civil War. We come across so few 1860's made below the 20,000 range that one can't help but surmise their survival rates were low. Here is what we can tell you about it: it was manufactured just after the outbreak of the Civil War sometime around the mid-summer to autumn of 1861. On a side note, these were the last months of Samuel Colt's life as he worked night and day until succumbing to illness in early 1862. From there it was most likely issued to a Union cavalry regiment. In fact, the serial number of this gun is just one digit away from a Colt 1860 Army listed in Springfield Research that was issued to the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. It has a standard 8" round barrel with six shot rebated cylinder in .44 caliber. The frame has the early style four screw frame...the extra screws found on these early 1860's protrude slightly off the sides of the frame. Coupled with small cuts in the bottom of the recoil shield, the 4th screw aided in mounting a special detachable wooden shoulder stock mounting a detachable shoulder stock...made specifically for cavalry usage. The stocks proved unpopular with the cavalry resulting in few being made. The barrel address is faint in places but reads --ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA-- . Left side of the frame is stamped "COLTS PATENT".
Overall, NRA Antique Good- Condition. The metal has aged to a dark patina overall. It could be improved with careful cleaning but we preferred to leave the surfaces alone. Markings are partially legible. There is at least one gov't inspector initial visible...a pretty good one on the trigger guard. No cylinder scene. The serial numbers are matching on the barrel, frame, trigger guard, cylinder pin and backstrap (just partially visible). The serial number on the cylinder has worn away but it is consistent with the rest of the gun in terms of patina and wear. When we found this gun, it had been in storage for many years. We had our gunsmith go through the mechanics and get it back in good working order. There was no barrel wedge with the gun when we found it so he fitted a new one. Barrel is tight to the frame. Action works correctly with cylinder indexing properly, locking up, hammer at full-cock, half-cock positions, etc. The bore is Good+ overall with strong rifling and grooves some scattered pitting. The more I look at it...it may clean up a little better. The walnut grips are solid and in good condition and have never been sanded or refinished...with numerous light handling marks. There is a hint of the original gov't inspector's cartouche on the right side...with perhaps more under the patina. A well-used and historical early war production Colt Model 1860 Four Screw Army.