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Shipping Date for 1st Colt 1871 .44 RFs

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by Hypnogator, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Hypnogator

    Hypnogator Participating Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    AZ, WA
    I am researching the Wickenburg Massacre, which occurred on 5 Nov 1871. The perpetrators attacking the stagecoach used Henry and Spencer repeating rifles. There were several revolvers among the coach passengers, which included three civilian members of a military expedition. I am assuming that the revolvers would have been 1860 or possibly 1851 Colts, but am wondering if any could have been 1871 Colt .44 RF conversions.

    Anyone know when the first of these would have been shipped?

  2. Jim K

    Jim K Elder

    Dec 31, 2002
    Well, both the Richards and Richards-Mason conversions were center-fire. The Model 1871 open top (not a conversion) was .44 rimfire, but the few I have seen had a July 1872 patent date (same dates as the early SAA) which means they could not have been made before that month. Wilson indicates the first 1000 guns did not have the patent dates, but if a July 2, 1872 patent date was added after 1000 guns, production would certainly not have started in 1871.

    In other words, I can't conceive of an 1871-72 open top .44 being in anyone's hands in November 1871. As for military use, I don't see any evidence that any of those guns were ever adopted by, or even sold to, the military; in fact, the military tested and rejected the open top idea, leading to the adoption of the SAA in 1872.


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