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Hi guys. I have a chance to buy an Original Colt 1860 Army .44 cal percussion revolver. It was built in 1867 and is considered an antique in Canada. The seller is a reputable gun store I have dealt with before and they say it is in good useable condition. It wouldn't be my first choice but because it is an antique I could carry it for wilderness carry or any where I wanted for that matter, without the hassle of a restricted license or even a permit. If I could find one I would rather have an original Colt SAA or Schofield in 44 Russian but they are even harder to find and usually VERY pricey when they do become available. What are your thoughts on the gun and maybe it's use for legal wilderness carry.
 

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Definitely wouldn't be my first choice for woods carry either, but if it's something you won't get hassled over, then I say go for it! You can always sell it down the road if something better comes along!
 

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What do you want to use it for ? It would be good for plinking around camp, but forget it if you want to carry it for protective purposes.Colt Army models of 1860 are actually hard to find in really good shape. If they are mechanically sound and have at least perhaps 25% to 35% original finish remaining they fetch prices in my neck of the woods around $ 2000.00 Canadian. That's a lot of money to lose in a confiscation by a conservation officer or cop in an inspection in hunting camp. Moreover the conditions in which it would be used would possibly affect it's finish and hence it's value. Are you going to pack a powder flask, nipple pick, nipple wrench, percussion caps, grease to seal the loaded chambers and etc ? Best gun in camp is a beater 12 guage pump shotgun with a shortish barrel loaded with #2 buck. If the Colt is in good shape and you can get it for a reasonable price you can start a collection or swap it out for something you want later. I did that to get a Marlin (old) Model 1895 in .40-65 Winchester. I kept the other Colt for my collection.
 

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An original Colt 1860 Army? First things first, get a look at the grips, are there letters in a cartouch (Outlined)? They are military inspection stamps and make it worth a lot more money. Also, genuine percussion Colts are expensive, maybe too much so for carrying round the woods. Take care with condition, the wedge Arbour system for attaching the barrel can weaken with age. Grasp barrel and frame and feel for play. Ideally remove the wedge (Held with a screw) and check the rifling, look for any deep pitting. Check for matching numbers, all on the bottom, frame, barrel and cylinder from memory. Matching numbers make it worth more. Not important if you just want to shoot it but it will command and hold value better if matching.

Frankly an original Colt Perc Rev, whether a .44 Army or .31 pocket belongs in a collection on display, not in the field being shot. But its your money. A cheap Italian repro would make more sense, keep the original as an investment.
 

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I'm assuming that correct reproductions are banned? In the USA replicas, and even not so close replicas fall under antiques.

AC
 

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What do you want to use it for ? It would be good for plinking around camp, but forget it if you want to carry it for protective purposes.Colt Army models of 1860 are actually hard to find in really good shape. If they are mechanically sound and have at least perhaps 25% to 35% original finish remaining they fetch prices in my neck of the woods around $ 2000.00 Canadian. That's a lot of money to lose in a confiscation by a conservation officer or cop in an inspection in hunting camp. Moreover the conditions in which it would be used would possibly affect it's finish and hence it's value. Are you going to pack a powder flask, nipple pick, nipple wrench, percussion caps, grease to seal the loaded chambers and etc ? Best gun in camp is a beater 12 guage pump shotgun with a shortish barrel loaded with #2 buck. If the Colt is in good shape and you can get it for a reasonable price you can start a collection or swap it out for something you want later. I did that to get a Marlin (old) Model 1895 in .40-65 Winchester. I kept the other Colt for my collection.
Smithy knows the Canadian laws so I will talk about the pistol itself. I shot a lot of rounds through my 1860 Army Reproduction and even used on in BP competition. My favorite was a timed event where we shot 4 wood blocks off a plank. The ballistics of an 1860 are not tremendous. A 130 grain ball at about 900 fps with a fully loaded chamber. About like a 38 special. The Colt took a 454 ball as a rule. They were holster pistols and a favorite. These were the pistols that truly "won the West". But I somehow cringe at buying an original for the use you want it. They are not a very powerful pistol for their bulk. As stated you need to carry a flask, capper and ball separate as well as grease. BP needs a lot of maintenance. If you shoot it, you need to clean it. Mine works best with genuine BP. 3f. Swiss is the best. For your use, the 12 ga beater or some other option would be better. A lever 30-30 is about as handy as anything. I cannot improve on Smithys advice.

DEP
 

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Using a valuable antique in such a role is a bad idea for too many reasons to go in to. Don't do it. You will not be well-protected, and you will not have the legal immunity you're thinking that you will have.
 

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I feel as others do............I view that pistol as a collectible investment, ............... NOT a useable Pistol, in today's world.

Will a modern black powder replica be viewed as an antique in Canada?..............If so, I'd opt for that............

Meanwhile, back here in Stuffy, Hi Tax Connecticut, I can't carry a single shot Black Powder Flintlock Pistol in the woods, when hunting...........:shot: :stupid:

That was a real surprise to me back in the 80's, and killed any excitement I had for primitive black powder hunting and fieldcraft in CT...........

Since then, I've lost all interest in any kind of hunting in the state of CT...............Too many rules and regs for me............


Tom
 

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I feel as others do............I view that pistol as a collectible investment, ............... NOT a useable Pistol, in today's world.

Will a modern black powder replica be viewed as an antique in Canada?..............If so, I'd opt for that............



Tom
Tom, believe it or not but in Canada a reproduction cap & ball revolver with exactly the same features as an antique built in the 19th century is required by law to be registered by the Police ( R.C.M.P.). Anything built prior to 1898 and isn't centre fire or converted to centre fire doesn't require registration !!! Go figure.
 

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When I was a kid growing up in the days before inexpensive Italian reproductions became available, the first handgun I was taught to use and allowed to carry in the woods on my own was an original Colt 1860 Army, as you describe. I religiously followed the instructions of Elmer Keith in his book Sixguns (1956), in particular the chapter Managing the Cap & Ball Sixgun.

I killed literal truckloads of small game with that gun. I used pure lead cast round balls, Curtis & Harvey's powder and smeared hog lard over the chambers. Most of the old guns shoot high, so you have to learn to hold low. I normally took a 6:00 hold on rabbits, groundhogs and such out to 20-25 yards.

If you clean and oil the gun well, and take good care of it, honest use will not hurt it. Your situation in Canada makes a serviceable original gun far more valuable than it would be as a "safe Queen" here in the US. I would treasure the gun, use it wisely and maintain it well to hand down to your children.
 

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I see nothing wrong in using it as a firearm.

Museums and collectors have enough of them already.
I had an original 1858 Remington that I carried and shot quite a bit when I was in my 20's, and I found it to be reliable, durable, and fairly accurate.
I would not care to be shot with one.
So in lieu of a non available arm, it's a winner.
 
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The thought of carrying an antique sidearm arose from a recent hunt. Since it is an antique there would be no reason to for a cop or conservation officer to confiscate it especially if it's in a shoulder rig and they don't see it. There is NOTHING unlawful about carrying one in hunting camp but wisdom tells me it would be a bad idea to visibly carry it walking down town in open view. Now here is the glitch with our hunting laws. If I have used my deer tag I can still legally assisting a friend in hunting but I can't have a rifle unless I have another tag for another species. Even if my friend has a backup rifle in the truck and I don't have a tag some CO's might give us a hard time about that or even try to give us a ticket. There are wolves, cougars, and black bears in the area we hunt and the chance of an encounter. It was a weird feeling walking the bush without a firearm. I have also looked at a few old antique Colt 41 LC revolvers but they are very pricey. I have lots of other firearms I could take in the woods but when hunting season is open I can't carry them unless I have a hunting license and an unused tag. That is my problem. I also do a lot of hiking in the wilderness. When I go out during hunting season even if I am not hunting the authorities can give me trouble if I am carrying a rifle or a shotgun. Even trappers here are restricted to only using a .22 rimfire during hunting season. A cap and ball revolver or a .41 LC wouldn't be my first choice for wilderness carry but it's better than nothing and I have seen how ineffective pepper spray can be. I don't trust pepper spray at all. I do carry it but only as as a last option.
What do you want to use it for ? It would be good for plinking around camp, but forget it if you want to carry it for protective purposes.Colt Army models of 1860 are actually hard to find in really good shape. If they are mechanically sound and have at least perhaps 25% to 35% original finish remaining they fetch prices in my neck of the woods around $ 2000.00 Canadian. That's a lot of money to lose in a confiscation by a conservation officer or cop in an inspection in hunting camp. Moreover the conditions in which it would be used would possibly affect it's finish and hence it's value. Are you going to pack a powder flask, nipple pick, nipple wrench, percussion caps, grease to seal the loaded chambers and etc ? Best gun in camp is a beater 12 guage pump shotgun with a shortish barrel loaded with #2 buck. If the Colt is in good shape and you can get it for a reasonable price you can start a collection or swap it out for something you want later. I did that to get a Marlin (old) Model 1895 in .40-65 Winchester. I kept the other Colt for my collection.
 

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BillyHill, your logic for wanting to carry a cap & ball is completely logical and I agree, based upon your situation. If the leftist Democrats get their way we here in the lower 48 may soon be reduced to such measures.

A well managed cap & ball revolver will suit you well. Some suggestions based upon 50+ years experience:

Get new replacement AMPCO nipples to replace the originals, if possible. Remove the originals and store them in a well marked container to prevent loss.

Coat the nipple threads with anti-seize compound when installing them into the chambers.

If you plan to keep the gun loaded for longer than a few days, remove the nipples, clean the cylinder well with hot soapy water and let the hot water evaporate out of its own heat. Then, while the cylinder is still hot to the touch, use a cotton swab with Johnson's Paste wax or neutral shoe polish to swab the chambers. The wax will melt on contact, flowing into any pits or machining marks to protect the steel from rusting, caused by ontact with black powder, which may absorb moisture from the atmosphere if left over a very long time.

After the cylinder has cooled and the wax hardened, then install the nipples. When loading the gun, use a thin card wad cut from a cereal box or ice cream carton over the powder and on top of that a felt wad cut from an old felt hat, and lubricated with lard, bear grease or Crisco under the ball, after having compressed the powder with the rammer when seating the card wad. Smear lard, bear grease or Crisco over the seated ball.

Before capping the cylinder, melt a pea-sized dab of beeswax in a metal jar top. Lightly dip the open mouth-end of each cap into the beeswax and set onto waxed paper to dry. When you cap the revolver after the beeswax has hardened, it will form around the nipples to provide a water-tight seal.

So loaded, you can carry the revolver, wade across the river, and engage the enemy with confidence. This is how cap & ball revolvers were combat-loaded in the old days. My grandfather who taught me this method learned from his grandfather, who rode with J.E.B. Stuart's cavalry in Virginia. The first time I shot the original 1860 Army in our family, it had been loaded and left this way in a cash box in the house ever since Dad had returned from WW2. The gun had been left loaded for 15 years when I first shot it, and every chamber went BANG~!

Yours will too.
 

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ould you carry a 22 mag. They have a good zip to them. A 22LR is not a bad pistol to carry either but they may frown on them. I have a 22 mag lever I carry on the tractor all the time. It would not be all bad and while maybe not as powerful as a 44 Colt its not far off and more accurate. Also a heck of a lot less fuss.

DEP
 

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I have 2 Ruger old armys. every once and a while I carry one of em. one has the brass dragoon grip frame. Could you imagine if I stopped at a store and some moron tryed to rob it and I had to use it. yep that would be a first!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Well I checked with the store and talked with the salesman while he had it in his hands. He confirmed that the numbers match so that has to be worth something too even if it has some wear and tear. Here are the pics. What do you think ?
 

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Well looks a little rough to be honest. No finish, obviously and pitting everywhere. It would have to be a very good price or best left alone. Of course, we cant all afford the best quality antique guns, and sometimes buying a rough one is a way someone with limited funds can still own one. So, no harm no foul. Even so, if you want a shooter, as long as its tight and safe a rougher one might be better. Cant really say without handling it, especially checking the bore and chambers. Some pitting will be OK, but not if deep.

Does the action work and the cylinder index (When you cock the hammer the cylinder turns, lines up and the cylinder stop clicks in) and lock up? cant see any drag marks on the cylinder, is the barrel - frame tight? I have seen some really wobbly ones. If not, stay away.

I am going to take a stab in the dark on price. I cant imagine he wants less than $500.00 and no more than $1000.00. Maybe $650.00ish? I am out of date on values and not in the US, but wouldnt want to pay too much. Great thing with antiques is if you buy with care you should always be able to get your money back when selling it on.
 
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