Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver

Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver

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Usage conditions apply
The Model 1851 Navy was Colt’s most popular percussion revolver. Nearly a quarter million of the iconic.36 caliber six-shot model were produced between 1850 and 1873. The term "Navy" refers to the caliber of the revolver, not necessarily the branch of service. The.44 caliber revolvers are called "Army" and.36 caliber revolvers are called "Navy." The 1851 Navy was used by a number of famous soldiers and lawmen as well as infamous outlaws in American history.
Object Name
revolver, percussion
Other Terms
Revolver; Firearms; Navy; Percussion Fire;.36 In;.36 In; Rifled; Muzzle Load; 2B; Sa
date made
Colt, Samuel
Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company
place made
United States: Connecticut, Hartford
overall: 5 1/4 in x 13 in x 1 3/4 in; 13.335 cm x 33.02 cm x 4.445 cm
ID Number
accession number
serial number
catalog number
Credit Line
Charles Bremner Hogg Jackson
Civil War
See more items in
Political and Military History: Armed Forces History, Military
Civil War
Places of Invention
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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The Navy was ONLY EVER .36 caliber. It was never .44 and Pietta needs to learn that like Uberti did. The .44 was called an Army pistol and wasn’t able to be belt sized until 1860. That means for the preceding decade the Navy was the only option for belt carry. Even after the 1860 Army .44 came out, the Navy .36 pistols continued to be manufactured and sold since the power difference between the Navy and Army was slight. (Think the difference between .38 special and .44 special).
I have a .44 cal. Pietta Colt Navy (cylinder has engraved sailing ships battling with "Engaged 16 May 1845" stamped into it, along with the Colt patent number). Were these just up-caliber models made for those that like .44, or is it actually an Army Colt?
The Navy was never made by Colt in a .44 caliber but as you know some modern replica manufacturers make .44s and they're quite popular. Technically it is an up-caliber Navy and not an Army. The differences between the Colt Navy and the Army (which was produced 10 years after the Navy) are more than just the caliber and the cylinder engraving, the most obvious physical difference being the re-designed loading lever.
I have a round barrel stamped, Pietta 1851 Colt Navy in 44 cal. Was this technically supposed to be an Army model? A bit confusing to say the least. It was a kit gun and is about 1980...ish. It does however utilize 44 cal ball and works very well. Cheers.
Ken, When the 1851 Navy was introduced, .44 Colts were much larger, heavier, had round barrels, and were called Dragoon revolver. Dragoons were soldiers who rode horses into battle, but were expected to fight on foot like infantry soldiers. In 1860, Colt introduced a .44 caliber Army revolver that was almost the same size as an 1851 Navy, but had a round barrel. What you have is a .44 Pietta based on the Navy design. The 1861 Navy model also had a round barrel. David Miller

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