The total production of the Model 1839 Shotgun is estimated to have be limited to less than 225 guns c. 1839-1841. These rare early Colt long guns were very well-made and versatile early repeaters. The shotguns were built in larger caliber and thus had larger cylinders and frames than the rifles. They were even examined for military use. Captain George J. Raines wrote glowingly of Colt's revolving shotgun and recommended it be re-branded as "Colt's Repeating Musket" since it had the advantages of a musket in being able to fire a single large round ball, buckshot, or the popular "buck and ball" combination. Despite their high quality, they did not catch on. Instead, Samuel Colt's Paterson venture collapsed after the shareholders took over and eventually shut down the Patent Arms Company. Nonetheless, these historic early Colt firearms laid the groundwork for Colt's later success when he again began manufacturing firearms in 1847, and he later reintroduced revolving shotguns. This shotgun has a .631 caliber barrel (18 gauge), massive six-shot cylinder with round shoulder, flared recoil shield, steel scroll trigger guard and crescent steel buttplate. The period shortened barrel has a steel pin front sight and dished rear sight. The right side of the barrel lug is roll-stamped: "-Patent Arms M'g. Co. Paterson, N.J. - Colt's Pt.-" with the snake and star" motif at either end. The serial number is visible on the wedge, rear face of the barrel lug, rear face of the cylinder, and the cylinder turning ring. The Damascus barrel was browned. The cylinder, recoil shield, and tang were blued, and the hammer, frame, trigger guard, and buttplate were casehardened. The stock is straight grain American walnut with a varnish finish and pewter caps at the junction with the frame. The latter were not standard and may have been added outside of the factory. They certainly look original to the period of use, and pewter forend caps were common on American muzzle-loaders in the period.
Very good with mixed gray and brown patina, patches of mild pitting, and moderate overall wear. The period refinished wood is also very good and has mild scratches and dings, some filler at the heel, and chipping at the toe. Mechanically fine. The Colt Model 1839 Shotgun is one of the rarest Colt longarms. Examples are seldom offered for sale.
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