Shooting old repro cap/ball Colts? Also question on Pocket Navy


October 18, 2006, 12:31 PM
I have several old reproductions, at least 30 years old (as well as a few originals, which of course I won't fire): A Paterson, a Walker, and a Third Model Dragoon. Also a flintlock "Tower" pistol. I know the Third Model has been fired in my lifetime, because my ears are still ringing from 20 years ago.:D Is there a standard place people can go to have old BP repros checked out for safety, fix timing, etc? Or do you think I should just not fire these at all? The Walker and Third model seem very sturdy to me... don't know about the Paterson, but they were sort of delicate and lovely to begin with.

Also on a similar subject... what's the basic difference between the 1849 Pocket Pistol and the 1862 Pocket Navy? Is is just that the Pocket Navy has a stepped cylinder?

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October 18, 2006, 01:12 PM
If they were safe to fire 30 years ago, why wouldn't they be safe to fire today. If they were made in Italy or Spain they should have proof marks. If they were well cared for and not rusted out they should be as good as when they left the factory.

I have one Colt 1860 replica that I obtained approx. 26 years ago and is in excellent condition, why wouldn't I fire it?

I have a S&W 1917 revolver from WW1 that I don't hesitate to fire.

The Pocket Navy is 36 cal while the Baby Dragoon is .31 cal.

October 18, 2006, 01:44 PM
I was asking about the the 1849 Pocket, not the 1848 Baby Dragoon... but you're right, the Pocket is .31 cal also. Thanks!:cool:

My concern is that the repros may not have been safe 30 years ago. I'm not sure how the metallurgy and engineering were on the early repros from spain and italy. For example, the damascus-barrelled shotguns were certainly considered safe a hundred years ago, but wouldn't be considered safe now. I know it's not the same thing but I just wanted to be sure. I'll try to get some pics and post proof marks for those interested.

So is there a well-known and well-reputed shop that can do an inspection/timing on these repros?

Oh, one more thing. Anyone know if someone does period-correct repairs for old Colts? One of my Pocket revolvers snapped the center screw on the left side of the frame (and now the hammer won't lock back). Is there a place I can get a replacement that won't harm the value? Or should I leave well enough alone?


October 18, 2006, 06:20 PM
Damascus barrels do not hold up for modern ammunition, they worked well for blackpowder ammo.
I'm pretty sure your repros are probably as good today as they were in 1976.
A good gunsmith should be able to tell you but you need to find one in your area. If there's no rust, and everything looks solid, my guess is they're good to go.

October 18, 2006, 06:51 PM
Thanks... I guess I'll ask around locally.

October 18, 2006, 09:40 PM
I recently traded an 1851 .36 that was dated 1966. I think it was a San Marco...anyways, I shot it quite a bit for about a year with no problems at all.

October 18, 2006, 10:08 PM
The baby dragoon came along just before the pocke model which is the same size, usually has a loading lever and has rectangular cylinder/lock notches. The pocket police was designed in 1862 with the same improvements as the 60 army and 62 navy. there is a ratcheted (creeping) loading lever, round barrel and a stepped cylinder to allow the 36 caliber c ylinder to fit on the 31 sized frame. There was a pocket navy that came out at the same time. It is on a 31 frame but has an unfluetted cylinder and the 51 Navy pattern barrel and loading lever.

October 18, 2006, 10:33 PM
Thanks. I have a Pocket Police as well... prettiest handgun ever made, IMO.

BTW, do you know why the 60 Army had a stepped cylinder? Since they made it first (before the 62 navy), you'd think they'd make the cylinder the right size for a .44, rather than "stepping up" a smaller cylinder. Or am I misunderstanding the reason for the step?

October 18, 2006, 11:03 PM
the army was built on a Navy frame since it was impossible to significantly reduce the size and weight of the standard Dragoon .44. they tried this but the dragoon frame descended from the old walker colt and was relatively huge. They finally decided to rebate the frame and cylinder so that a larger diameter would fit the 36 sized frame.. they counted on the consistent greater strength of silver spring steel that evolving technology could then mass produce. the early armies had fluetted cylinders but they quickly learned that they needed to return to unfluetted cylinders in the .44 caliber to prevent blow ups.
the dragoons were termed "holster" pistols because they were intended to be carried in holsters on either side of a saddle

the army was considered a "belt" pistol because it was of a size to be worn comfortably on the belt. ( some colt literature also called the army a " holster pistol.) the first introduced were supplied with detachable shoulder stocks so that mounted troups could convert the revolvers to carbines when dismounted and firing from cover.

Pocket Navy with rebated cylinder (above) caliber 31 pocket Model (below)

October 19, 2006, 11:48 AM
Thank you! Beautiful guns. I didn't consider that the Army might have been made on the Navy frame (1851, I presume?). That makes sense.

I have a couple of those shoulder stocks also. I really need to find a smith that can inspect/time my replicas. These pics are making me hungry to shoot them.:)

Low Key
October 19, 2006, 12:08 PM
I suggest big iron barrels in Rushville, OH.

Jule, the owner/operator knows his stuff but has been under the weather lately and is not accepting any custom work after the first of Nov. But yours sounds like a simple job that he could quickly finish. You should contact him for further details/pricing.

October 19, 2006, 03:42 PM
Thanks. I'll see what he says.:cool:

October 25, 2006, 09:49 PM
I have a Uberti 2nd Model Colt Dragoon and a Pietta Remington New Army that I bought new in 1982; the proof marks say they were built in 1981. I also have a Euroarms Rogers and Spencer revolver that dates to a 1979 manufacture. All are in excellent shape and have been shot within the last month. I see no problem with Italian or Spanish reproductions from that time period. If they have the proof and manufacturer's marks then they have the pedigree.

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