Author Topic: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy  (Read 3022 times)

Offline Bishop Creek

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Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« on: December 06, 2015, 04:30:19 PM »
Three or four years ago, my wife who works for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), brought this home for me to identify. A BLM archeologist found it afield not far from my home after a brush fire had gone through the area and he wasn't quite sure what type of pistol it was. Of course, it is clearly an 1851 Colt Navy, with what appeared to me to have a silver front sight dovetailed on to it. We had some Indian wars in this area back in the 1860s and this piece might have been lost by a militia member long ago. We are also not far from the ghost town of Bodie, the wildest of Wild West towns back in the day.

I photographed the Colt and my wife returned it the next day to the archeologist who placed it in their archives. Thought members here might be interested in seeing it. And yes, it was still loaded.


Offline ssb73q

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2015, 05:37:24 PM »
Hi Bishop Creek, that's a pretty neat find. Too bad they wouldn't let you pull one of the balls and inspect the ball and powder. Thanks for posting the photo.

Regards,
Richard
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Offline Bishop Creek

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2015, 05:50:00 PM »
It would be interesting to pull one of balls out of the chamber, they were pretty well rusted in though. No sign of caps on it, maybe they disintegrated over time. I wish I could have been able to keep it as a wall hanger.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2015, 05:52:16 PM by Bishop Creek »

Offline ehvhram

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2015, 06:10:07 PM »
That's a very cool find.

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2015, 07:57:11 PM »
Awesome find! Wonder why the brass didn't withstand the ravages of time? (I understand the wood, but brass?) I too, think it would have been fun to pull a ball and check the powder load.
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Offline Bishop Creek

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2015, 08:18:53 PM »
Good question Capt'. I wondered about the brass myself. But that is the way it was found, likely under some sagebrush for 150 years.

Offline StrawHat

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2015, 04:12:09 AM »
It is also missing the screws to hold the guard and strap to the frame.  Perhaps it was taken apart for some reason and the owner needed to leave in a hurry.

Kevin
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Offline Hawg

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2015, 04:37:15 AM »
The screws were probably broken off. It could have been run over by a tractor or something at some point. I dug up a 92 Winchester once. Way out in the woods with no sign of there ever being a house anywhere nearby. Never did find the butt plate. Weird thing about it is it was empty and I didn't find any cartridge cases anywhere either.

Offline ssb73q

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2015, 04:51:37 AM »
Hi, IMO the missing brass may be because of galvanic action over the years between the copper bearing alloy and iron. It would have been nice to have a soil sample adjacent to the revolver to test for copper salts? Even in the condition of the ferrous metal part it should still be able to find a serial number. If the serial number was stamped into the handgun, even if the surface rust has appeared to remove the serial numbers, careful sample preparation would allow etching back the serial numbers so they can be viewed.

Regards,
Richard
There’s nothing better in the morning than the smell of bacon and black powder smoke!

Offline Bishop Creek

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2015, 07:27:45 AM »
You could be right ssb73q, the environment is high desert, sandy top soil, lots of sagebrush and scrub plants.

Offline scooby

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2015, 05:02:57 AM »
I definitely found this thread interesting Bishop Creek. Many thanks for putting it up. There is a certain feeling that I cannot explain when a person gets to handle such relics. So many questions come to mind and one's curiosity is heightened. I have found a lot of relics out in the woods and at old abandoned homesteads and mines, but I never have found a firearm.

Last summer on my Wyoming trip, I visited a small museum in Cody that was plumb full of surface found and dug up fire arms. The owner started buying and collecting them many years ago. He had quite an assortment of percussion Colts as well as a few conversions. He told me that there was a large number of collectors of such firearms. One of the most sought after pieces are those that are still loaded followed by those with burst cylinders and barrels. He had several revolvers with blown out chambers as well as Winchester rifles with either blown or bulged barrels. This guy also knew his firearms so he was interesting to talk to. I actually enjoyed this smaller collection just as well as the one at the Buffalo Bill museum.


Offline Mad Dog Stafford

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2015, 08:29:37 AM »
This is a good thread!  L@.

Offline Bishop Creek

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2015, 03:16:52 PM »
I definitely found this thread interesting Bishop Creek. Many thanks for putting it up. There is a certain feeling that I cannot explain when a person gets to handle such relics. So many questions come to mind and one's curiosity is heightened. I have found a lot of relics out in the woods and at old abandoned homesteads and mines, but I never have found a firearm.

Last summer on my Wyoming trip, I visited a small museum in Cody that was plumb full of surface found and dug up fire arms. The owner started buying and collecting them many years ago. He had quite an assortment of percussion Colts as well as a few conversions. He told me that there was a large number of collectors of such firearms. One of the most sought after pieces are those that are still loaded followed by those with burst cylinders and barrels. He had several revolvers with blown out chambers as well as Winchester rifles with either blown or bulged barrels. This guy also knew his firearms so he was interesting to talk to. I actually enjoyed this smaller collection just as well as the one at the Buffalo Bill museum.



Thanks for the comments Scooby. Our small little local museum has a few rusty found relics, both cap and ball revolvers and Civil War era rifles. It is amazing how many folks in the 19th Century lost their guns in the boondocks.

Offline Electric Miner

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2015, 03:47:32 PM »
Interesting find.

Offline bigted

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Re: Very Rustic 1851 Colt Navy
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2015, 05:25:21 PM »
what I find amazing is that they are found at all. back when if you had difficulty with vermin of any kind you most likely were by your lonesome and an empty or broken firearm [tool] was just something to get in the way for running or climbing out of harms way. dropped weapons are a real clue that at one time something was way more important then keeping hold of the arm.

another thing that occurs is that another human antagonist would just leave a broken weapon rite where he found it as it would be no good to him either. an animal sure would not pick it up and an indian would leave it rite there as well if he had no ammo for it.

tis fun to wonder at these finds and ponder all the things that could have gone so terribly wrong as to allow a feller to leave something so expensive behind.

thankyou for showing the old Colt and for the very interesting and thought provoking thread.
BIGTED