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MFG'D 1856

This is a fascinating revolver and it takes a little thinking to get your head around it.  First, the overview.  This is a completely original Colt product, it does not have one single replacement part from the modern era.  It is sharp with a smooth patination and an excellent action.  The barrel, frame, trigger guard, back strap, grips, cylinder and barrel wedge all have matching numbers.  The barrel address is clear and strong.  The cylinder has a very light cylinder scene that is visible all the way around.  The loading lever is an original Third Model lever that is mismatched and the cylinder pin is unnumbered.  The grips are solid with numerous small dents and scratches.  This gun obviously left the factory and went out into the world.  It was used but well cared for.

This gun is in the 15,000 serial number range, but four screw cut for stock dragoons did not go into production until the 17,000 range .  It has a brass back strap which has a perfect milled slot at the heel of the butt, where as the standard four screw cut for stock has an iron back strap.  Ordinarily, I would dismiss it out of hand as something somebody has fiddled with.  However, that is not the case with this gun.  The frame on this gun has a small hammer screw which seems out of place for a cut for stock.  The frame does not have a Colt's Patent stamp on the left side and never did.  The case hardened surface, though tarnished, has not been touched and the frame machining is perfect.  Now let's look at the barrel.  It has a perfectly correct half-moon front sight, which is unique for Four Screw Cut For Stock Dragoons.  However, the rear sight is not the standard flip up leaf sight one normally expects to see.  It is in the correct place and is so perfectly installed that you have to admit it was probably put on at the factory.  Now, if you look at the bevel on the bottom of the barrel lug, it runs from the trigger guard, under the wedge and out to the end of the barrel lug.  This bevel does not wrap around the end of the barrel lug, it is cut straight out at a ninety degree angle to the end of the barrel lug.  On all 3rd Model Dragoons, this bevel wraps around the end of the lug.  If I saw that on some old junky gun, I would say it's a repro barrel.  Not so in this case.  Though the rear sight and the barrel lug bevel are anomalous the barrel address is absolutely perfect down to the chips in the dies.  Further, the cylinder pin is unnumbered but absolutely original.  The barrel wedge has the matching serial number clearly stamped on it but there is a second, subdued number from a much earlier gun.  Now what do we make of all this?  We have an anomalous back-strap and anomalous frame and an anomalous barrel, all of which were perfectly assembled at the factory using some earlier parts.  Further, there isn't a single factory sub-inspector mark on any component of this gun.  One can conclude that the gun was assembled prior to the beginning of four screw cut for stock Dragoon production.  It was assembled outside the normal assembly line production.  When it was assembled, they did it with parts that were on hand, some of which were rejected and lying in the bins.  In this vein, the barrel is of particular interest.  The lack of a proper bevel indicates it was never completely finished in the machinng process.  If you look at the right side of the barrel lug, above and ahead of  the barrel wedge, there is a significant forging occlusion.  This would surely have meant the barrel was rejected, especially in a military contract.  The gun is nice,  it is obviously assembled at the Colt Factory, so what is it?  It is a developmental gun.  It was their first attempt to standardize the configuration of the Four Screw Cut For Stock Dragoon.  I am convinced it is what might be termed a developmental prototype.  A few may have been made up and sent out to significant persons to view, use and comment on.  This was a common practice with Colt.  They always sent guns out, especially to military people, for comment.  If not that, it might have gotten out of the factory because somebody just sold it.  Sam Colt didn't waste anything.  In summary, this is a very interesting gun the likes of which I have never seen before.  I have owned thousands of Colt percussion pistols and have seen some very interesting things that Colt did do but this is a new one on me.  To me, it is a precious piece of Colt history that should be preserved.    SOLD!!