Colt 2nd gen First Dragoon


January 27, 2011, 07:26 AM
I just bought this gun which was manufactured around 1981. I have a 2nd and 3rd dragoon also. I always detail clean a new gun when I receive it and on this gun, the wedge was tighter than usual and the arrel assemblt was extremely tight on the frame arbor. I attributed this to the gun not being cleaned for years and used the ramrod against the cylinder to "tap" it off with a piece of wood and light hammer. I cleanes the heck our of everything and upon re-assembly, found the arbor to be just as tight to the barrel assembly. I had to use the wood and hamme to tap the parts together and to place the wedge again. My other dragoons are not that tight. Is there a problem with the gun, or is this a "normal" variant for an old unfired gun? Any thoughts? Thanks

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January 27, 2011, 10:47 AM
The problem is as you stated. The parts fit together too tightly. You need to 'fit' them.

January 27, 2011, 11:15 AM
I don't think that's terribly unusual for an older gun that had not been fired/disassembled/cleaned for a long period. If you plan to shoot it, I'd put several rounds through it before I started filing/stoning. You may find that it doesn't need any metal removed.

January 27, 2011, 11:18 AM
The OP did not say if he intended to shoot this gun.

DoubleDeuce 1
January 27, 2011, 02:39 PM
I second what Mykeal has said. The revolver more than likely will work itself in some every time you clean and re-assemble it. I have a few Colt revolvers and all of them are or were tight when new. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Take your time on the re-assembly.:cool:

January 28, 2011, 07:12 AM
If you plan on shooting this Dragoon put a few dozen RB through it before you hone any parts for fitting. If it's not going to be a shooter leave it as is.

VT Deer Hunter
February 2, 2011, 06:58 PM
The Colt Dragoon 2nd model is a VERY RARE GUN!!!!!

February 3, 2011, 10:11 AM
Thanks for the replies. I will not be shooting this gun as I have cheaper Italian repros for that. The case hardening and serial number on the arbor are all intact and the barrel assembly also appears very clean. I guess I was just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience. I didn't realize the 2nd gen, 2nd model was that rare? I am thrilled to have all 3 models, with my 3rd model being part of a bicentennial set.

February 3, 2011, 10:47 AM
IIRC, the "2nd Generation" C&B revolvers Colt marketed were repros assembled from Uberti parts and finished by workers at Iver Johnson. Basically, Colt licensed the use of the name, original-style markings and picking up where the original models' serial numbers left off. They weren't manufactured by Colt, just sold under their name.

They were deliberately produced in relatively limited numbers, mostly to stimulate demand, IMHO. While the ones I've examined have indeed displayed levels of fit and finish markedly superior to the mass marketed repros from many Italian companies, referring to them as "genuine" Colts is disingenuous at best.

February 3, 2011, 11:52 AM
Thanks for your feedback, but the 2nd gen Colts are as authentic as you can get in the 20th century and were at least inspected in Hartford before being distributed. Colt will back this series with a letter of authenticity, unlike the 3rd gen black powder guns of the 90's. Here is a link with some background:

I agree with the subcontracting for parts and assembly, but just about all arms manufacturers do this today. In any case the 3rd Dragoon I have is a "C" series and the others are "F" series. Whether it is justifiable or not, they demand a higher price and they are at least 28 years old with the last 2nd gens being manufactured in 1982. Most of the guns I have seen are considered "collectible", but this could be said of the 3rd gen guns as well. Given the dramatic change in the Colt company today, I doubt we will be seeing anymore BP revolvers in the future. But, I never thought Motley Crue or the Eagles would ever get back together either, so who knows?

Fingers McGee
February 3, 2011, 12:27 PM
Production numbers for the 2nd Generation Dragoons were:

1st Model - 1980 thru 1982 = 3778
2nd Model - 1980 thru 1982 = 2551
3rd Model - C series - 1974 thru 1978 = 3899
3rd Model - F Series - 1980 thru 1982 = 2731
3rd Model - Bicentennial - 1976 = 1976

These numbers do not include the special editions that were made in quantities between 5 (3rd model Dragoon with high polish with ivory stocks) and 206 (Garribaldi Commemorative 3rd model Dragoon).

So, yeah, there were fewer 2nd Model Dragoon made than the others; but 'Rare'?

+1 to what CHM said, plus:

2nd Gen C series 1851s and 3rd Model Dragoons were made in Hartford, under the blue dome by Colt Employees between 1971 and 1978. F series were made by Iver Johnson under the watchful eye of Colt's between 1980 and 1982. Colt did the final inspection, marketing, selling and warranteeing of the 2nd Gens. 2nd Gens were made from Italian and American Made parts (as were the Sig series guns).

Colt only licensed the name for the Signature Series guns. They had nothing to do with the manufacturing, marketing, or warranteeing of the Sig Series guns.

February 11, 2011, 08:02 AM
So, yeah, there were fewer 2nd Model Dragoon made than the others; but 'Rare'?

I think he meant the original 19th Century 2nd model guns are rare, as they are.

February 11, 2011, 12:15 PM
I've always wondered how and when "authentic" seems to have become synonymous with "genuine", at least in some minds.

A thing may well be the most painstaking reproduction of a genuine article, but it never the less remains just that: a copy. All of the "correct" markings, numbers and cosmetic details in the world will never make it anything more. Rationalizations about how "outsourcing" has become commonplace and that many makers sell items manufactured by others under their names aside, I still feel that marking a turnip as a rose and selling it as such doesn't magically make it a "real" rose.

Basically, IMO, "Certificates of Authenticity" are a marketing fiction intended to provide an easily swallowed rationale to potential buyers for paying a (usually) hefty and (in most cases) entirely unwarranted premium for the vendor's wares.

Case in point: Those "commemorative" coins, etc. which, while having very little or no intrinsic value whatsoever, use the "Certificate of Authenticity" device prominently in their advertising to gull the credulous into thinking it constitutes some sort of Talisman of Value.

But then again, I'm one of those cynical and crusty old fossils who still think that precision of langauge actually matters.

February 13, 2011, 01:58 AM
First, let me say that I don't own any of the 2nd or 3rd generation Colts. I too think the reproductions are a better value. I have a Uberti Walker that cost me $225 and a 2nd Generation Colt Walker would have cost me 2 or 3 times as much at the time. When we talk about outsourcing, maybe we need to remember that the production of the Colt Walker in the 18th century was outsourced to the Eli Whitney armory because Colt did not have the means to manufacture the guns. This is the same reason Colt outsourced the production of their blackpowder revolvers in the 20th century. If the Colt Walker is a genuine Colt, which it is, are the 2nd or 3rd generation Colts any less so.

February 13, 2011, 06:59 AM
Colt did not outsource all the 2nd Gen revolvers. Many were made in Colts custom shop by Colt employees.

The 2nd and 3rd Gen Colts legally wear that dancing pony:D They may have some outsourced parts but they are still Colts.:neener:

February 13, 2011, 02:17 PM

February 13, 2011, 06:56 PM
I agree that all of them are still Colts but parts were outsourced from the beginning. First from Val Fogett then from Lou Imperato and,ultimately, Uberti.

This is copied from a Guns and Ammo Article

There have been countless tales how Colt's dusted off the old tooling from the 1851 and began manufacturing new guns at Hartford, which would have been very interesting had the tooling not been destroyed when a fire razed most of the factory on Feb. 4, 1864. As for the tooling used to make the later percussion models produced through 1873, it was simply discarded over the years, so Colt's could never have brought back the 1851 Navy, or any other percussion era model had it not been for Forgett, Uberti and, ultimately, Lou Imperato.

Imperato, who founded Colt Blackpowder Arms Co. in 1993 (which produced the 3rd Generation Colt Blackpowder line through 2002), recalls that Forgett sold Colt's the components (rough castings) to build the first 2nd Generation 1851 Navy revolvers, which were completed at the Hartford factory from 1971 through 1973. The first C Series 1851 Navy repros included the now collectible Grant and Lee Navy sets. However, late in 1973 Colt's decided to seek a new supplier of components and the following year Lou Imperato, its largest American distributor, took over.

The company's enthusiasm for the percussion revolvers was obvious in its decision to place the new Third Model Dragoon on the cover of its 1974 sales catalog. The Dragoon and Navy models were listed along with the Python, Detective Special, Cobra, Agent, Diamondback, Trooper MKIII, Official Police MKIII, Lawman MKIII, 1873 Peacemaker Single Action Army models, and semi-autos. Unfortunately, labor disputes delayed the Dragoon in 1974, causing Colt's to take the unprecedented step of re-announcing the Dragoon model in 1975, when deliveries actually began.

The relationship with Imperato continued until Colt's discontinued the first series of percussion revolvers in 1976. This, however, was not the end of the black-powder line.

In 1973 Lou Imperato had purchased the Iver Johnson Arms Company in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. A year after Colt's discontinued the black-powder line, Imperato moved the Iver Johnson works to Middlesex, New Jersey, and approached Colt's with the idea of producing an entire line of black-powder pistols, which the Italians had been doing successfully since the late 1950s. He came in with both barrels blazing, so to speak, reprimanding Colt's management. "[They're] your guns and everyone else is getting rich on them and you're not out there." He showed them a display of various black-powder models and they were once again intrigued--but as before, had no way of manufacturing. The timing could not have been better for Imperato. He signed a deal with Colt's and Iver Johnson to produce a new line of black-powder models.

It was in Middlesex that all F Series standard production models were manufactured as The Authentic Colt Blackpowder Series. These new F Series 2nd Generation models came in black cardboard boxes with dark gray foam rubber inserts and featured Sam Colt's portrait and signature on the lid and end label.

Unlike their first arrangement, Imperato was now responsible for the entire production of Colt black-powder models. "They were all hand-fitted. There was no way to do mass production," explains Imperato. "We had the barrels, cylinders and backstraps cast in Italy (as Forgett had done), but we finished them off in-house. We made the frames, the center pins, nipples, all of the screws, springs, and built every F Series gun at Iver Johnson Arms. We even used the old style color-case hardening method with the charcoal and bone meal, and Colt's exclusive Colt Blue Finish. They turned out pretty good. In fact, I think our finishes were actually better than Colt's single actions being done in Hartford.

Read more:

February 20, 2011, 05:01 PM
Odd how some folks chastize Colt 2nd generation cap and balls as "imports" and "copies" and "Spaghetti Colts."
Yet, they seem to ignore all those Winchesters and Brownings made entirely in Japan by Miroku.
The fact remains, while the 2nd generations had some parts cast in Italy, most of the parts and machining were done in America.
Checked out lately where the parts for your Ford, Chevy or Dodge pickup are made? :neener:

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