This is an early Colt 1860 Army Revolver with early full fluted cylinder, scarce 7-1/2" barrel, and four screw frame. There were only a few thousand of these Full-Fluted Model 1860's in 1860-61 before Colt adopted the full round version of the .44 cal. rebated cylinder. This one is in the 3,500 serial range which is "right there" in production when the American Civil War begins. Over 2,000 units are known to have shipped to southern states for Confederate use right up to mid-April 1861. A slightly larger number were shipped to northern states including several hundred ordered by the governor of Ohio, commercial dealers, as well as the US Navy. The 3,000-4,000 range is really a mixed bag in terms of what went where. A few years ago we found an 1860 in the 3,300 range that lettered as being part of a 700 gun shipment to Kittredge & Folsom of New Orleans. Since then, we've found two Fluted Armies in the 3,600 range that were part of a ten gun shipment to Kittredge in Cincinnati, OH in April, 1861. So where did this one go? North or South? Well, I ordered the letter from Colt and the researcher told me that this one shipped to dealer J.C. Grubb, of Philadelphia in August, 1861. Of course, being from the South, I had my fingers crossed that it would have been part of one of the shipments to Richmond, Charleston, Natchez, Georgia, or New Orleans but I was happy that it had a record and best of all, that the record confirmed this 1860 shipped with the scarce 7.5" barrel.
For a Fluted Army, the condition of this 1860 is pretty good. After all, most of these saw four years of continuous use in the Civil War and suffered all kinds of abuse. This one grades to NRA Antique Very Good. The metal has turned to a mostly smooth gray patina with some scattered nicks and dings but quite sharp overall. There are traces of original silver plated in protected areas of the trigger guard, a nice New York barrel address and patent markings on the cylinder and frame. The top of the backstrap even has some original blue remaining. The original walnut grips are numbered to the gun, have never been cleaned or sanded, and still retain 60% of their original varnish. Action is in nice working order. Good bore. A very respectable example of a Fluted Army with scarce 7-1/2" barrel. Comes with Colt factory letter.