Colt Pocket Revolver with nickel plating found at a Civil War site near Shelbyville TN – Update: C.S.A. buckle recovered! - same belt!

Mike N Tn.

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I found this .31 caliber pocket revolver with silver plating at a Civil War site near Shelbyville TN. It is the only Civil War era pistol I have found in 23 years of detecting. Please let me know the maker and model if anyone can ID it. The serial number is 23987. I've attached a list of some of the revolvers using the colt serial number lookup. So far I think it looks like a model 1849 Colt .31 pocket revolver with silvered backstrap. Initially I thought it was a .36 1862 police pocket revolver but after research I think it's model 1849.
 

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Last edited:
Upvote 54

pepperj

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Well the frame and grip look like the Colt Bisby, but the hammer is shaped more like the Colt Rainmaker, but maybe it got bent upward.
I'm probably the least knowledgeable about this, I was leaning toward the Bisby, then the trigger guard lined up with the Colt Dragoon
 

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Mike N Tn.

Mike N Tn.

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How did you know it was 36 and not 44? It could be a Colt, looking at the design.
Honestly, I don’t know for sure. I’ve held a Colt Navy.36 and this one felt smaller in the trigger area. What about a Colt M-1862 Police Pocket Revolver? Could that be a match? You’re right on it being a Colt. I’ve posted a picture with a coin beside the trigger for size comparison.
 

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Hbot37

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I think the trigger guard and backstrap are brass with a nickel plating.
Everything about it says colt single action, there should be a serial number on the underside in front of the trigger guard. After about 1920 i think they started to put another serial number on the frame under the grips. If you can get a serial number i think you can look it up on colts website.
 

ToddsPoint

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Everything about it says colt single action, there should be a serial number on the underside in front of the trigger guard. After about 1920 i think they started to put another serial number on the frame under the grips. If you can get a serial number i think you can look it up on colts website.
That’s not a Colt single action army. That is definitely a black powder gun. Cylinder pin permanently attached to frame. No top strap on frame like SAA has. Several different sizes, pocket pistol up to Dragoon. All basically similar looking design. Grip frame could have also been silver plated instead of nickel.
 

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Mike N Tn.

Mike N Tn.

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Jul 1, 2008
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Everything about it says colt single action, there should be a serial number on the underside in front of the trigger guard. After about 1920 i think they started to put another serial number on the frame under the grips. If you can get a serial number i think you can look it up on colts website.
The serial number is 23981 or the 1 might be a backwards P.
 

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oldmxrat

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Very cool find, congrats!
Def an old open-top Colt percussion revolver.


Well the frame and grip look like the Colt Bisby, but the hammer is shaped more like the Colt Rainmaker, but maybe it got bent upward.

I'm probably the least knowledgeable about this, I was leaning toward the Bisby, then the trigger guard lined up with the Colt Dragoon
That goofy diagram has the Colt BISLY misspelled.
 

pepperj

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The serial number is 23981 or the 1 might be a backwards P.
Colt used the serial # 23981 on different models 37 times


Colt used the serial # 2398P once

Screen Shot 2024-03-02 at 1.15.45 PM.png
 

Davers

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I found this .31 caliber pocket revolver with silver plating at a Civil War site near Shelbyville TN. It is the only Civil War era pistol I have found in 23 years of detecting. Please let me know the maker and model if anyone can ID it. The serial number is 23987. I've attached a list of some of the revolvers using the colt serial number lookup. So far I think it looks like a model 1849 Colt .31 pocket revolver with silvered backstrap. Initially I thought it was a .36 1862 police pocket revolver but after research I think it's model 1849.
Nice !!

I think that I've dug a 5 shot cylinder (4 still loaded ) that I was told was off a .31 Colt Pocket Revolver .

Found in N Atlanta just W of the Chattahoochee River .
 

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