Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The Pocket Models 1848, 1849

Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon: Image Source: Click here.
Summary: It's 1848. The Colt Dragoon is getting traction in the market.  With Colt back at the helm, quality of the product improves, and he's eyeing ways to expand on his market. This is the year in which his most popular revolver concept is about to redefine his product lineup. Two revolvers introduced in two successive years, will prove to be his most popular revolvers to date: The 1848 Baby Dragoon, and the 1849 Pocket Model.

Samuel Colt's timing was perfect. The Gold Rush had just begun in California, and the need for personal protection skyrocketed. By scaling down the massive Dragoon, he had created the revolvers that would become his most popular. 325,000 of the 1848 and 1849 variants were made. This revolver made pocket pistol a practical reality.

Notice the absence of a rammer cutout. Photo Credit here.
The 1848 In Detail: Here we present an antique Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon revolver, made in 1849, in Hartford, Connecticut. It had both the distinctive squared trigger guard and round cylinder stop holes. This pistol was made in a small quantity from 1847-1850, with a total of about 15,500 produced with the serial numbering beginning at 1 and ending at 15,500 overlapping with the Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver.

Unlike the Patterson that preceded it, the Baby Dragoon cylinders were bored to accept five .31 caliber conical or round balls. It was the first pocket model to be made at Colt’s Hartford factory*. They came in barrel lengths of 3″, 4″, 5″, and 6″. It was initially offered without a barrel mounted loading lever. From about serial number 11670 on, a loading lever was attached to some revolvers through to serial number 15461. The 1848 Baby Dragoon barrel pictured here is without the loading lever and is  #8613, putting it within the proper serial number range.

Model 1848 Baby Dragoon, Left Side. Photo Source: Click here.
Late Production 1848 Baby Dragoon: This revolver has the added loading lever. The major identifiers, the rounded cylinder stop holes and the square trigger guard, are easily seen.
Model 1848 Baby Dragoon, Right Side Photo Source: Click here.
Notice the extremely small loading cutout in the barrel below the cylinder arbor. I imagine it would be difficult to load a conical ball with so little room, but this shows the limits of the original short 1848 cylinder frame. It is interesting how short the loading lever is. I doubt there is anybody, alive or dead, who could actually seat five round balls without some mechanical assistance.

Model 1849 Updates: The 1848 morphed into the 1849 Pocket Model with the addition of the loading lever and a slightly lengthened frame. The most easily seen identifiers were the change to square bolt stop holes in the cylinder, and the rounded trigger guard. Less obvious was the lengthened cylinder frame with an extended rear barrel stub.

Engraved Colt 1849 Pocket Revolver. Photo Source: Click here.
This engraved specimen clearly shows the enlarged loading area that made loading conical balls much easier. Customers could choose specific barrel lengths or whether they wanted a loading lever installed in the barrel. 
 1849 Pocket Revolver, 2.85" barrel, "Wells Fargo" variant. Photo Source: Click here.
The Wells Fargo Model: Colt was willing to provide the customer with a variety of barrel options. One variant of the 1849 omits the loading lever and has a shortened barrel. This variant is often referred to as the Well Fargo Model, 

Photo Source: Click here.
Six Shots Or Five? Later variants of the 1849 had six shot cylinders. If you look at the cylinder from the side, you can see the placement of the cylinder notches appears more symmetric. Compare this to the 1848 Baby Dragoon pictured at the top of this post.

Another Ruger Homage: I mentioned that Bill Ruger was certainly inspired by the Cold Dragoon revolvers when he designed the Super Blackhawk. I personally think that the Ruger Bearcat, the scaled down .22 LR six-shooter, was inspired in part by the size and feel of the 1848 and 1849 Colt Pocket Revolvers. However, its grip has more in common with the 1858 Remington, which utilized a one-piece receiver and grip frame. More on that revolver at a later date.

* The cylinders of the original Patterson were first offered with five .28" chambers. Dimensionally it might qualify as a "pocket pistol"

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Powder Valley Has #11 Percussion Caps!

Cost: I know that everybody is bitter about how everything in the shooting sports has skyrocketed in price. Powder, primers (when available), balls, bullets, and fire sticks are more expensive than when we were first starting out. Right now, caps seem to be in short supply.

Powder Valley has RWS caps in stock. I hope you're sitting down, because they are asking $36.99 for a tin of 250, which is about $0.15 per cap. Plus, there is sales tax AND THE HAZMAT FEE, which puts the cost at close to $0.20 a pop. OUCH!

So now you know that caps are out there. Be sure to check and see if the Hazmat fee is a flat fee. If so, get your friends to combine your purchases into one big order. I am not sure, but I think Powder Valley MAY pay the Hazmat if the order exceeds a certain amount. Do your research, and get the best possible price you can!

By The  Way: Midway had CCI caps for sale, briefly. I signed up for the "Notify Me" option and by golly, I got an email announcing caps were in stock. By the time I placed an order, they were all sold out. Request an availability notification!