Author Topic: The Walker Colt; a primer  (Read 260 times)

Offline Captainkirk

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The Walker Colt; a primer
« on: May 30, 2017, 07:21:35 PM »
A few tidbits about the Colt Walker, some you might know and some you might not! Especially if you are new to the Walker.

The Colt Walker came about as a results of Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker, a Texas Ranger coming east in 1846 on a recruiting mission. While visiting, he stopped in to visit with Samuel Colt and expressed his admiration of the now-defunct Paterson Colt. Sam Colt was interested in getting endorsements for his revolver design, but Walker had other ideas and sat down with a list of improvements and modifications to the basic Paterson design, major among them being:
1) Caliber increased from .36 to .44
2) Do away with the folding trigger
3) Loading lever incorporated on the gun
4) Increased capacity from 5 to 6 shots
5) Increased powder charge capability (up to 60 grains)
6) The ability to shoot out past 75 yards with lethal force
Col. Colt not only convinced Walker that he could build such a revolver, he also gave him quotes for between 1-5000 units, which Walker swiftly turned into a real purchase order for 1000 units...despite the fact Col. Colt had no factory or machine tools, those having been liquidated with everything else in the failure of the Paterson and the bankruptcy of the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company which had produced them. Colt quickly obtained the services of Eli Whitney Jr. (son of the cotton gin inventor) and struck a deal for the production of 1,000 units for sale to the military, with an addition 100 units for the civilian market and to be given as gifts to persons of notoriety and influence.
The production numbers were as such:
Contract Arms were serialized in companies A through E as follows:
Company A-220 units
Company B-220 units
Company C-220 units
Company D-220 units
Company E-120 units
All were serialized from 1-1,000
The remaining 100 "civilian models" were serialized from 1,001 to around 1,100 and were sold on the open market or given as presentations.
The monstrous Walker Colt weighed 4 pounds, 9 ounces and stretched a massive 15.5 inches. It's chamber capacity held up to 60 grains of black powder, making it the most powerful revolver in the world, a record it held until the mid-20th century after the .357 magnum entered the game.
All the original Walker models came with the cylinder "in the white" for reasons unknown.
A number of these original Walkers fell prey to ruptured cylinders. The reason for this is still not clear although several theories present themselves;
*Inferior metallurgy of the cylinders
* The "picket bullet theory" in which (supposedly) Texas Rangers loaded the sharply pointed 'picket bullets' backwards to allow the use of more powder
*Corrosion of the 'white' cylinders due to extreme environmental hardship by the Rangers
*Inconsistency of powders available at the time
None of these, to my knowledge have been proved conclusively, if at all.
Captain Samuel Walker was presented with a pair of Walkers which had been gifted him by Col. Colt when he was killed at the battle of Juamantla in the Mexican War early in October, 1847. One of the revolvers, Serial # 1019, was returned by his request to Col. Colt and became part of his personal collection.
There you have it. One year of production (1847), 1,100 units (not counting the "transitional Walkers) and the creation of one of the true legends of firearms history.

For more on this iconic firearm, see the Wikipedia link below:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_Walker


References: COLT-An American Legend, R.L. Wilson, pp 23-28
« Last Edit: May 30, 2017, 07:25:39 PM by Captainkirk »
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