Manufactured in 1848 within the reported 2001 to 3000 serial number range for the "Walker Replacement Dragoons" identified by researcher John J. Fluck in 1956. He estimated 300 were made to replace the Walker revolvers that had failed and indicated they were made for the U.S. military using original Walker parts and reworked parts. More recent research by Dick Salzer, David Basnet, G. Maxwell Longfield, and others has changed our understanding of this model and shown that they were not replacements for broken Walkers or made from recycled or repaired Walker components as Fluck had theorized but were instead actually the first Dragoon revolvers sold to the U.S. government. In "Debunking the Fluck Myth: Colt Legends Die Hard" by Salzer for the American Society of Arms Collectors in Bulletin #95 from Spring 2007 the author states, "The obvious conclusion is that Colt, for reasons of completeness perhaps, chose to number the guns made for the second government contract in a closed, out-of-sequence series, beginning with 2001 and continuing to 3000. That left him with a gap in his civilian production between 1340 and 2000 which he subsequently filled with later production guns." He also notes that the tiny serial number numerals were stamped with the same dies as the civilian Walker revolvers, the Whitneyville Dragoons, and on the early "pre-First Model Dragoons" until the dies are presumed to have worn out around serial number 2650. These are among the rarest of the roughly 19,000 Colt Dragoon revolvers. The revolver has the distinctive First Model style oval cylinder stops and brass square back trigger guard. The top of the barrel flat is marked "ADDRESS SAMl COLT, NEW-YORK CITY" reading from the breech to the muzzle. "COLT'S/PATENT/U.S." marked on the left center of the frame. The cylinder has the standard roll engraved Indian and Rangers battle scene and "MODEL U.S.M.R./COLT'S PATENT" (obliterated). There is a small "P" inspection mark stamped on top of the back strap, on the left front of the frame and on the left flat of the barrel. The matching serial number is marked on the barrel, frame, trigger guard (the last digit "3" was never stamped), cylinder, wedge, arbor pin and butt. The replacement loading lever is unnumbered. Blade front and hammer notch rear sights. The frame was casehardened, the grip frame silver plated, and the remaining metal surfaces were blue finished . Fitted with a smooth one-piece well made replacement walnut grip with a restamped partial oval script "WAT" (William A. Thornton) inspection cartouche stamped on the left panel and faint remnants of a cartouche on the right panel. Initials "SLH" inscribed ahead of an illegible inscription on the butt.
Good with scattered light to moderate pitting on the iron surfaces, gray and brown patina on the barrel, and strong dark blue casehardening visible on the frame and hammer. Brass displays bright as lightly cleaned, with period inscription on the butt as mentioned above. Grip is very good (see above) with some light handling marks and dents, a small chip in the corner touching the trigger guard of the left grip panel, a few small cracks on the bottom of each grip panel, and mostly defined edges. Mechanically fine.
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