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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Jul 1, 2008
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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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Upvote 54

JohnnyMac

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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.
Wow. Congrats
 

BAW

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Jul 19, 2020
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As ToddsPoint points out, the cylinder pin made integral with the frame, as well as the capping groove on the right side of the recoil shield and the attachment point for the barrel group make it impossible that this is anything other than a percussion revolver frame, almost certainly made by Colt. During the Civil War era Metropolitan and Manhattan made revolvers that were essentially copies of the Colt, so this could possibly be one of them, but it is unlikely. Colts were much more common. As for which model - frames differed in dimensions from model to model. The frame of the Model 1849 measures 3/4" wide measured just in front of the standing breech, and the butt strap is 1 3/4" long and 3/8" wide. I think it is likely that the measurements of yours will match these figures.
 

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BennyV

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Feb 22, 2021
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Awesome find.

Imagine if that thing could talk lol. If I was around back then I’d probably want to carry one or two of those into battle. No way I’d stand around waiting to load a rifle.
 

Midden-marauder

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Dec 10, 2023
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This reminds me of a childhood metal detecting experience I had, they bought me a beep stick when I was about 14 and I never took the thing out. When my mom urged me to try it out my stepdad took me down to the vacant lot at the end of the street to try it. I remember him looking nervously around as we walked up, we weren't there more than 5 minutes and 1 nail into the hunt when we got another beep. I went to dig and fished a damn revolver outta the ground. He instructed me to rebury it and we walked home. The metal detector disappeared after that...
 

ArfieBoy

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Never heard of a Bisby hammer. Educate me.
Look at post #6 with the chart. SA Bisby pistol is in the middle column, second pistol down with the white (or ivory) grips.
 

ArfieBoy

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You are right. That is what it says. The revolver has a Bisley grip frame and hammer. I've never heard of Bisby though.
Okay, maybe I misread it!
 

ToddsPoint

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Bisley is a place in England where they have an annual target shoot. Colt made a target version of the Single Action Army that had a funny angled grip, a wider target hammer and wider target trigger. Made from 1894-1912 only. They named it “Bisley” after the shoot they hold in UK. The OPs gun is not a Bisley or even a SAA. It’s an older style black powder gun.
 

billb

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Congratulations on your success
Voting Banner
 

Digger RJ

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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.
Very Cool!!! Congrats!!!
 

devldog

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Great CW artifact of the revolver. I was sort of thinking it resembled a Dragoon model too. You will have this I'D 'd soon. This piece will look great displayed. Congrat's
 

OP
OP
Mike N Tn.

Mike N Tn.

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Jul 1, 2008
121
785
Middle Tennessee
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and Fisher F75
Update:

I went back to where I dug the Colt revolver to find the barrel or cylinder and immediately dug a 3-inch US parrot shell two feet from where the revolver was recovered. I gave up on finding the barrel or cylinder and detected other parts of the site without success.

At the end of the evening, I said to myself that I might as well spend thirty more minutes on trying to find the barrel or cylinder. I got a good iron signal, four feet from where the revolver was found, and I dug down to remove five nails from the hole. I put the pinpointer back in the hole and hit another target at four inches deep. I pulled at the dirt and saw the hooks to a C.S.A. Confederate belt buckle. The shell, Colt revolver, and the C.S.A. plate were all no further than four feet from each other and I believe the revolver and C.S.A buckle were on the same belt when the soldier was hit by the shell. This was a detecting day I will never forget.
 

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Hbot37

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Jul 7, 2022
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Update:

I went back to where I dug the Colt revolver to find the barrel or cylinder and immediately dug a 3-inch US parrot shell two feet from where the revolver was recovered. I gave up on finding the barrel or cylinder and detected other parts of the site without success.

At the end of the evening, I said to myself that I might as well spend thirty more minutes on trying to find the barrel or cylinder. I got a good iron signal, four feet from where the revolver was found, and I dug down to remove five nails from the hole. I put the pinpointer back in the hole and hit another target at four inches deep. I pulled at the dirt and saw the hooks to a C.S.A. Confederate belt buckle. The shell, Colt revolver, and the C.S.A. plate were all no further than four feet from each other and I believe the revolver and C.S.A buckle were on the same belt when the soldier was hit by the shell. This was a detecting day I will never forget.
Everything combined paints a pretty incredible picture. I vote banner on this one. Great work!
 

sibbley

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I think it's a Colt Navy .36 like the bottom pistol in the pic. Upper is a Remington Army .44.

2009-06-27 18-21-00 - AC270010.JPG
 

sibbley

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