Colt Third Model Dragoon Revolver
The Colt Third Model Dragoon Revolver is a .44 caliber revolver manufactured from 1851 to 1860.
Brief history & description
Designed by American inventor and firearms producer Samuel Colt, the Third Model Dragoon was one of several variations of the original Colt Model 1848 Percussion Army Revolver. Commonly referred as “Dragoons”, the revolvers were designed as a replacement for the unpredictable Colt Walker.
The Third Model Dragoon was extremely popular during the years surrounding the American Civil War and was issued for the U.S. Army’s Mounted Rifles. It also gained an enviable reputation among civilians and, for some, the Third Model Dragoon was hailed as the most powerful weapon of the time.
Guide to collectors
Colt Dragoon Revolvers are extremely collectible firearms and, whilst examples have not been sold through international auction houses, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, there are a number of establishments that sell these highly sought after items, such as James D. Julia Inc., in Maine, and Texas based Greg Martin Auctions and Heritage Auctions.
The Colt Third Model Dragoon was manufactured from 1851 to 1860 and it is estimated that over ten-thousand were produced. However, according to a report made by Philip Boulton of Southampton, England, only 7.82% of all Dragoon Revolvers have survived today1.
Compared to its earlier counterparts, there are more variations of the design of the Third Model, including folding leaf sights, horizontal loading lever latches and detachable shoulder stocks. Perhaps the rarest versions feature a larger eight-inch barrel, which typically fetch prices double the amount of the standard five-inch barrel.
There is an enthusiastic community of Colt Walker collectors and there is a large supply of information and sources available on the internet that can be used as a reference tool when searching for Colt Walker revolvers and related memorabilia. Examples include Colt-walker.com and Vintageweaponry.com.
For in-depth information regarding Colt Third Model Dragoon Revolvers, collectors should consult “The Book of Colt Firearms” by R. L Wilson.
In February 2007, at Greg Martin Auctions in Texas, a rare eight-inch barrel Colt Third Model Dragoon Revolver realised a price of $28,375.
In October 2006, a very rare cased engraved Colt Third Model Dragoon Revolver, which had previously belonged to former President Richard Nixon, realised a price of $74,750 through James D. Julia, Maine.
In March 2009, a Colt Third Model Dragoon Revolver was sold through Czerny’s International Auction House in Sarzana, Italy, for €8,000.
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