This is one of only a few hundred Colt Model 1861 .36 Navy Revolvers ordered by the United States Government for the Army and Navy during the Civil War. The overall condition of this gun is well above avg that grades to NRA Antique Fine. It comes complete with a Colt Factory Archives letter stating it was shipped to a Major R.H.K. Whiteley of Governor's Island, NY on February 25, 1862. Governor's Island was a US military and Coast Guard base from 1776 during the Revolution up through 1996. During the Civil War, in addition to being a base where troops shipped out, it also served as a Confederate Prisoner of War camp. As you may note in the photos, almost every part of this gun has some type of Gov't inspector's initial including a nice cartouche on the left grip. The serial number is in the 7400 range with matching numbers on the frame, barrel, triggerguard, backstrap, and arbor pin. The wedge is not numbered but has been with this gun forever. The cylinder also does not share the same number as the gun....normally this would bother me but after talking with other collectors, the consensus seems to indicate that many, if not most US Gov't purchased Colt 1861's have non-matching cylinders. Furthermore, the cylinder is consistent in appearance and wear to the rest of the gun and has several Gov't inspector stampings indicating this was a Civil-War era occurrence....and apparently, a quite common one at that.
The frame, hammer, and loading lever have 50-60% original case colors that are fading. The barrel has 15-20% original blue mostly residing in the fluted lug areas and along the bottom sides around the loading lever. Nice sharp markings and good edges throughout. The cylinder has 90% of its original roll-engraved Naval Scene present with a good engagment date at the front near the chambers, "Engaged 16 May 1843". The cylinder has one broken nipple. Fine grips have nice tight wood to metal fit with no chips, cracks, or repairs. Nice mechanics and a good bore with a few scattered pits. A very strong example of a scarce US Model 1861 Colt.