This is a scarce example of a Colt First Model Dragoon Revolver that was manufactured in 1848, the first year of production. Colt 1st Model Dragoon production started at serial number 1341. The serial numbers for 1000 1st Model Dragoon revolvers purchased by the Ordnance Department in 1848 to arm the Regiment of Mounted Rifles start at 2000 which would indicate that this is a civilian production revolver. The revolver has the combination of oval cylinder stops and square back trigger guard which are distinctive to 1st Model Dragoons. The brass trigger guard and back strap have traces of the silver plated finish found on commercial production Dragoon revolvers. The top barrel flat is fitted with a dovetail mounted rear sight. The rear sight is contemporary to the revolver but not a Colt fitting. The cylinder is the early style with a single locking pin. The top barrel flat is marked "COLT NEW-YORK CITY-" reading towards the muzzle. The left side of the frame is stamped "COLTS/PATENT/U.S." near the middle of the frame. Later production Dragoon revolvers had the patent markings moved toward the forward edge of the frame (commercial Dragoon revolvers have "U.S." below "COLTS/PATENT"). The cylinder is roll-stamped with the Ranger and Indian fight scene and "MODEL U.S.M.R./COLT'S PATENT" above and below the serial number. The serial full number is stamped on the bottom of the barrel lug, frame, trigger guard, back strap and cylinder using the very small numbers found on early 1st Model Dragoon revolvers. The partial serial number "717" is stamped on the wedge and the cylinder arbor pin. The assembly number "142" is stamped on the loading lever and on the underside of the barrel. First Model Dragoon revolvers are scarce in any condition. Both the military and commercial production Dragoon revolvers were very popular on the frontier in the years before the Civil War. Dragoon revolvers are prominently displayed in early photographs of frontiersmen and California "Forty-Niners". As a result of hard frontier use, the survival rate of Colt 1st Model Dragoon revolvers is low, and most of the remaining examples show extensive service wear.
Good. This revolver is a solid example of a working gun that was used but well cared for. The metal surfaces have an attractive mottled gray-brown patina with minor dents and scratches but no significant pitting. The cylinder scene is worn and barely visible. The percussion nipples have moderate flash pitting. The single safety pin is solid. The brass trigger guard and back strap have an attractive aged patina with traces of silver plating in protected areas. The grip is good with moderate to heavy handling wear showing more edge wear on lower left panel. The serial numbers, barrel legend and patent markings are clear. The action functions well. This is a nice example of a hard to find very early commercial production Colt 1st Model Dragoon Revolver.
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