Civil War-used “U.S.” Marked Colt Third Model Dragoon Percussion Revolver. Made in 1859, serial number 18236, caliber .44 with a 7 ½″ part round/part octagonal barrel. All serial numbers on the metal parts are matching, with the exception of the wedge, which is 8320—the last four digits of the serial numbers are used on wedges and this is likely a ‘field’ mismatch. The metal parts have small single letter military inspector’s stamps, and the one-piece walnut grip has two military inspector’s cartouches that are in good to very good condition. This third model Dragoon is not cut for a shoulder stock and is the scarce variation with “U. S. Dragoons” as part of the roll engraved cylinder scene with the Texas Ranger and Indian fight. The cylinder retains four of the safety pins, and about 50% of the scene. All serial numbers, patent markings, and “U. S.” on the frame are in fine condition. The top of the barrel lug has a good condition marking “ADDRESS COLT NEW YORK CITY” with faint pitting, and the bore has strong rifling with some fine pitting. The mechanism needs adjustment, as the hammer will not engage at full cock. All of the steel surfaces have an attractive dark patina and are generally smooth with a patch of moderate pitting at the top front of the barrel lay. The wedge spring is missing and does not affect operation. The brass gripstraps have an attractive ocher patina and the grip retains almost all of its oil finish with one small ding and otherwise only light wear. Included is a plastic specimen tube with a partial original ‘skin’ cartridge. This is a very nice example of the sought-after ‘martially marked’ Colt Dragoon.
The Third Model single-action percussion revolver proved to be the most successful version of the Colt Dragoon series. Over 10,000 units of this main production version were completed between 1851 and 1860, drastically outweighing assembly of its Second Model predecessor, which were only built during 1850-51. Differentiated from its two earlier square-backed incarnations by the presence of a round trigger guard, this particular Third Model excludes a shoulder stock cut, and its shorter barrel is indicative of an earlier make. Designed as a solution to the problematic Walker Colt, this Third Model Dragoon is an exceptional example of the arm relied upon by civilians and soldiers alike throughout the 1850s and 1860s.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.