Author Topic: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers  (Read 16649 times)

Offline drjldavis

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Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« on: July 25, 2010, 05:22:39 PM »
Manufacturers of the .31cal Replica Revolvers

It is interesting to note that the original Colt .31cal. revolvers had two different size frames and used Oval Cylinder Stops and Rectangular Cylinder Stops.  Also, on the early Baby Dragoons the frame is shorter than on the later models.  This is found in the replica revolvers as well but in reverse order.  Only four manufacturers made the Colt .31cal. replica revolvers.  They were Armi San Marco, Palmetto, Uberti, and Colt in both 2nd & 3rd Generation Series.  Both ASM and Pietta made the Remington 1863 Pocket Model.  Only Pietta made these in steel and nickel plated.

Armi San Marco was the first to produce the Baby Dragoons and Pocket Models.  They all have the Short Frame and Rectangular Cylinder Stops.  This is just the opposite from the original which had short frames but oval cylinder stops.  ASM produced both the Baby Dragoons and Pocket Models in addition to the Remington 1863 New Model Pocket.  The first observed ASM markings on .31cal. revolvers are in the mid to late 1960’s.

The only observed .31cal. Palmetto produced was an 1849 Pocket Model.  It was marked  “HARTFORT POCKET MODEL “ on top of the barrel.  Serial Number was on the Cylinder with the Palmetto logo of a Palm Tree.  It has a Long Frame with Rectangular Cylinder Stops.

The Uberti .31cal. Baby Drgoon revolvers have the Long Frame and Oval Cylinder Stops, again, just the opposite of the original Colt revolvers.  The Pocket Models have Long Frames and Rectangular Cylinder Stops.  From revolvers observed (over 100) it appears that Uberti did not start producing any .31cal. revolvers until the early 1980’s. They did, however, provide parts to Colt in the late 1970’s for its 2nd Generation “F” Series Baby Dragoon.  

Colt produced the 1848 Baby Dragoon in both the 2nd & 3rd Generation Series.  It offered a Cased Limited Edition of this model in a 1 of 500 edition, as well as, a regular issue in the 2nd Generation Series.  It offered only a regular issue in the 3rd Generation or Signature Series.  Since Colt used Uberti parts the Colt 2nd & 3rd Generation Baby Dragoons have this same configuration as Uberti of Long Frame with Oval Cylinder Stops.

The Replica .31cal. revolvers may have plain cylinders, the Ormsby’s Ranger & Indian Fight, or Ormsby’s Stagecoach Holdup engravings.  The size of the frame is measured from the face of the flash guard to the front of the frame where the barrel attaches to the frame.  The Short Frame measures 1 5/8” and the Long Frame is 1 ¾”.  They can be readily be identified by the difference in distance between the back of the barrel and the front of the cylinder.

An added note:

It is not really known when Colt stopped using the Oval Cylinder Stop and started using the Rectangular Cylinder Stop.  Even though the Oval Cylinder Stop is usually associated with the short frame this style could very easily have been used on the first Long Frame Baby Dragoons.  The cylinders are the same length.  It was the barrel that was modified to accommodate the longer frame.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2010, 12:51:43 AM by drjldavis »

Offline kBob

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2010, 11:17:17 AM »
Where thyose .31 Colts manufactured by Palmeto perchance the FIE distributed guns? Saw one marked Harford Pocket Model and seem to recall it was marked FIE somewhere SUre I saw that barrel marking  though, it struck me as neat. I thought they wanted way to much for it at the time and walked away.  It left before I was back that way again.

-kBob

Offline drjldavis

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2010, 11:43:36 AM »
FIE was a Florida distributor.  They were one of the dealers who looked for price rather than quality.  They sold mostly brass frame replicas with the exception of 1851 Army (.44cal 1851 Navy) and Remington New Model Army.  They are usually marked FIE on the butt with the unknown manufacturer "PR".  This is another Distributor that could be collected because of the many variations of models sold.


Offline Smokin_Gun

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2010, 11:42:06 PM »
That is some very interestin' info Drjldavis ...thanks for sharin'. I din't know about them oval type pockets...I'd a liked a Baby Dragoon like that to go with my Colt 1st model Signature Dragoon. would been a nice match.
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2011, 08:44:05 PM »
Interesting thread. Especially since my Baby has NO markings on it...ANYWHERE...including cartouche/proof markings!! The frame and barrel serial numbers also do not match the backstrap and trigger guard serial numbers. The only ID are on the butt side of the backstrap; EIG-Italy . Any ideas who made this, or why there would be no proof markings? I'll post a few pix of it....




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Offline drjldavis

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2011, 12:30:57 AM »
Captainkirk, this is an unusual Baby Dragoon.  It is the short frame with rectangular cylinder stops.  EIG was an importer in Florida.  EIG was also the first importer to bring in the replica Schneider & Glassick.  They marketed this as a Reb Navy.  Your Dragoon also has cylinder engraving that I have never seen before.  It is not the usual Ormsby Stagecoach Scene.  What is it?  Can't tell exactly from photo.  I would bet that the manufacturer is definately Armi San Marco.  The only other would be Palmetto but the Baby Dragoons and Pocket Models they produced had the Long Frame.

All brass frame revolvers that I have seen marked EIG are from an unknown manufacturer using a "GB" logo on the butt.  EIG went out of business as a result of a legal action and their surplus stock was purchased by FIE, another Florida importer.  RPRCA has a Schneider & Glassick marked "GB" and FIE on the butt which was one of EIG's revolvers.  FIE used a manufacturer using a "PR" logo, also unknown.

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2011, 03:59:43 PM »
Thanks for the reply!
I will try to get some more photos for you this evening. The engraving on the cylinder (to the naked eye, as best I can determine) appears to be a soldier on horseback chasing...something....maybe an Indian? and some scrollwork with the word "Patent" in it. I am surprised that the detail in the photos shows more than I can actually see by eye.
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2011, 12:22:06 AM »
Here are some more photos of the Baby Dragoon (sorry...not the best quality)
Butt side (flash on)

Butt side (flash off)

Side view

Cylinder close-up

Cylinder scrollwork

Cylinder scrollwork

Cylinder close-up
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Offline drjldavis

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2011, 02:51:29 PM »
I would consider this Baby Dragoon a very collectable piece.  It is the first EIG marked Baby Dragoon that I have seen in over twenty years of study and collecting.  I have a EIG marked Pocket Model but no Baby Dragoons.  Also my Pocket Model has the standard Ormby's Stagecoach Scene engraving on the cylinder.

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2011, 03:11:42 PM »
Not planning on selling it any time soon, but would you happen to have a ballpark value figure? (Just curious) I got what I considered to be a decent price on the purchase. Also, the front sight has been replaced and the V-notch in the hammer deepened by the previous owner; would this detract from the value any? New hammers are available through Dixie but I have not found a replacement sight yet....
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 09:36:09 AM by Captainkirk »
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Offline drjldavis

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2011, 11:02:06 AM »
At this time it is difficult to put a definite value on any replica revolver because the collecting market is still in its infancy.  I do not consider Blue Book as a legitimate guide for replica percussion revolvers because they also have no basis for their pricing.  I do consider the Blue Book as a starting point for the special commemorative issues because they list the original list price and the number that were to be produced.  I am working on a way of establishing a collector value for the replica revolvers that is based on the number made(if available), what the revolvers seem to sell for on various auctions and classified ads, and the number of revolvers that have appeared on the market (this is based on the number that I have actually seen or informed about over the past 20yrs.).  I will put a "rarity" value based on these three categories of say 1-5 or 1-10.  It is very speculative just as all the other price guides.  I will seek input on some system from current and interested collectors.

If I had this revolver I would not consider selling it for less than $300+ at this time realizing that it will appreciate as the number of collectors increases.  I have noticed and received email from collectors who are specifically interested in the .31cal. replica revolvers which seems to be a definite category of its own.  I would not bother replacing any parts.

Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2011, 11:20:50 AM »
WOW! That's great news! So, since you say revolver collecting is in it's infancy, what (in your opinion) would you consider the most highly collectible revolvers an average Joe like myself should look at purchasing? In addition to the Dragoon, I have:
ASP 1858 Remington, cal .44, Stainless
ASP 1860 Army, cal .44, blue steel (from kit) I had this professionally hot blued by a gunsmith
EXCAM (maker unknown, possibly Pietta) 1851 Navy, cal .36 blue steel
Uberti 2nd Dragoon, cal .44, blue steel
I was considering a Rogers & Spencer or Pocket Remmy as my next choice. Your opinion?
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Offline lizardo

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2011, 08:49:39 PM »
It looks like an abbreviated version of the Commanche fight scene on the Walker and Dragoon.

Offline Hawg

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2011, 04:02:38 PM »
IMHO if it has no markings it was a kit gun.

Offline bearcat6

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Re: Manufacturers of the .31cal. Revolvers
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2012, 03:00:14 PM »
I have an EIG baby Dragoon just like Captaqin Kirk's.  It's marked EIG Italy on the butt. no proof marks, same cylinder scene. It is marked S. Marco under the loading lever, which I take to mean Armi San Marco.