This is a standard Colt Model 1861 Percussion Revolver in .36 caliber with 7-1/2" barrel and six shot cylinder. This one is right out of a South Carolina family that passed it down through three generations. The serial number is in the 31,000 range which dates it to the post Civil War reconstruction era and was made in 1868.
Following the Civil War, the federal government established martial law in parts of South Carolina through the late 1870's due to civil unrest. I can remember some years ago seeing a grouping of a soldier who had joined the US 7th Cavalry in 1871 and was stationed in South Carolina before being sent out west. As most of you probably know, the 7th Cavalry was eventually wiped out under Custer's command at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 but I doubt many of you knew that elements of the 7th were based in the south at one time.. Fortunately, the man had joined in mid-1871 for a five year commitment to the US Army and he had mustered out of the army just two weeks prior to that fateful battle.
Getting back on track, this Colt would have seen the turbulent days in the post war South Carolina. As you can tell from the dark patina, it has most likely spent its entire life here in the southeast. The metal is in good condition; no pitting overall. It has decent markings, decent edges, but does show numerous small nicks and dings from abuse. The grips still retain approximately 40-50% original varnish with numerous small dings and handling marks. All serial numbers are matching except for the small rectangular wedge which holds the barrel to the frame was missing when it was discovered. It now has a correct replacement. The mechanics were full of 100+ years of dirt and dried grease...we carefully went through it and it's now in good working order. Bore exhibits good lands and grooves. Typical of most black powder era guns, the bore is lightly pitted...but may improve somewhat with a good cleaning. I'd give it a Fair+. The barrel markings are good and clearly read:
--ADDRESS COL. SAML COLT NEW-YORK U.S. AMERICA--
The left side of the frame reads:
Left side of trigger guard:
The cylinder scene is worn but still shows lines of the original roll engraving...about 20% overall. The trigger guard shows approximately 15-20% of its original silver plating intact. A good solid untouched example of a Colt 1861 Percussion Navy Revolver.