Chapter 1.6.1 – Currently Recognized Miniatures of Early Colt Percussion Revolvers

1.6.1.1 Colt 1836 Paterson No. 5 Model: These holster pistols are five-shot .36 caliber percussion revolvers with octagon shaped barrels either 7,5" or 9". Here is an observation aspiring Colt students should know: All Colt single action revolvers carry the genes of the Paterson design no matter if they are front stuffers or cartridge fed.

Colt – Miniatures of Early Percussion Revolvers

In this page we will take a closer look at two early Colt percussion revolvers, their replicas and miniatures. First the Colt M1836 Paterson which started it all and would revolutionize firearms forever, then the Colt M1848 Whitneyville Walker which brought Colt back into business. The Paterson and the Walker percussion revolvers share one common characteristic, they were not produced at the famous Hartford factory.

Why? Because the Hartford factory became into being in 1847/48 only.

Between 1836 and 1840 the Paterson guns were made at his Patent Arms Manufacturing Company in Paterson, New Jersey, whereas the Walkers had to be fabricated at facilities of Eli Whitney Jr.,in Whitneyville, Connecticut during a few months in 1847.

Uberti Colt percussion revolver miniatures of Mexican-American War fame displayed on the Mexican flag (top down): #PM2 Colt 1847 Walker with charcoal blued barrel/cylinder assembly and ivory grip, #PM6 Colt 1836 Paterson No. 5 Holster Model aka Texas Paterson

Considered the earliest known publication of Colt's Patersons, this illustration from the Saturday, July 7, 1836, edition of the Spirit of the Times periodical shows the various parts and disassembly of the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company's Five-Shooters, along with front and rear side views of the cylinder (courtesy Robert J. Bloeth Collection)

Several of these Texas 9"ers were later issued to Texas Rangers. In their hands the pistols gained a certain notoriety: On June 9, 1844 an outnumbered company of Rangers under Captain John Coffee "Jack" Hays shot up a band of Comanche Indians with their .36 caliber Paterson Five-Shooters in the Battle of Walker's Creek, giving birth to the saga of the Colt.1)

Comparative picture of three Italo Paterson No. 5 Holster Pistols proudly displayed on the Texas State flag (top down): MOFRA replica - 1st father – of 9" barreled Texas Paterson #198 year code XX7 (1971, courtesy Wolf D. Niederastroth Collection) vs. Uberti miniature - 7,5" barreled son - #PM6 vs. Uberti replica - 2nd father - #Z009 with 7,5" barrel without clear year code (possibly BA for 1991, Karl Nedbal Collection). Note different grip contours of MOFRA vs. Uberti Patersons

1.6.1.2 Colt 1847 Whitneyville Walker: This is perhaps the most famous and outstanding of all U.S. revolvers. It was the performance of these (Paterson) guns in the hands of the Texas Navy and the Texas Rangers which would bring Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker during his service as a Texas Ranger and Samuel Colt together in 1846, producing the Walker Colt.

Impressions of the Uberti made miniature #PM6 and replica #Z009 of the Colt 1836 Paterson No. 5 Holster Pistols displayed on the New Jersey State flag where the 19th century originals were made between 1837 and 1840

The outbreak of the war with Mexico in 1846 led a suddenly revolver-hungry U.S. military to scour gun shops for remaining Colt handguns. Captain Samuel H. Walker, then of the U.S. Mounted Rifles, and former Texas Ranger who had witnessed the power of the Paterson in the 1844 Comanche fight, traveled east to look up Samuel Colt and offer some ideas for an improved version of the Paterson.

Samuel H. Walker *Feb. 24, 1817 – † Oct. 9, 1847

References

1. Cutrer, T. W.: BATTLE OF WALKER'S CREEKhttps://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/btw02

2. Chicoine, D.R.: GUNSMITHING GUNS OF THE OLD WEST, 2001

3. Western TV Mini Series: LONESOME DOVE, 1989

4. Whittington, III, R.D.: THE COLT WHITNEYVILLE-WALKER PISTOL, 1984 ed.

5. Western Movie: THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, 1976

 

March 3, 2020/WDN

Cylinder Engravings of Patersons and Walkers: The famous Stagecoach Holdup scene created by Waterman L. Ormsby used to be roll-engraved on most original Texas Paterson No. 5s except for a few early production pistols that lack this feature. The Uberti "Texas" Paterson No. 5 miniature in the Hunzinger Collection does not share this later cylinder engraving.

But all of the Colt Walkers, their Uberti replicas and miniatures alike carry cylinders roll-engraved with Ormsby's Rangers and Indians fighting scene commemorating the so called Hays Big Fight on the Pedernales. In addition the Walker miniature's barrel lug is period correct stamped in two lines with US1847 just above the wedge screw like the originals.

Due to their shorter cylinders on the Dragoons in their Uberti replicas and miniatures the top part of the scene is incomplete.

In the assortment of Uberti's miniatures of Colt percussion revolvers the Texas Paterson is the only model recorded without a triggerguard. Like the replica it is sporting a folding trigger. This is historically correct, see above copies of the drawings.

The Texas Paterson's trigger will pop-out when the hammer is cocked. Hence, the miniature functions like the full size replicas do and the originals from yesteryear. 

It is unlikely that Uberti made more than a handful of these beautiful miniature pistols.

Prop masters of western movies are rarely issuing Colt Patersons but Barry Corbin carries one as the Deputy Rosco Brown in the 1989 cult TV mini series LONESOME DOVE.3)

THE OUTLAW JOSEY WALES is a 1976 American Western movie set during and after the American Civil War 1861-1865. It was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood (as the eponymous Josey Wales), with Chief Dan GeorgeSondra LockeSam Bottoms, and Geraldine Keams. The film tells the story of Josey Wales, a Missouri farmer whose family is murdered by Union militants during the Civil War. Driven to revenge, Wales joins a Confederate guerrilla band and fights in the Civil War. After the war, all the fighters in Wales' group except for Wales surrender to Union officers, but they end up being massacred. Wales becomes an outlaw and is pursued by bounty hunters and Union soldiers.

In the movie Josey Wales carries two Colt Walker 1847 revolvers in twin holsters as his primary sidearms, although he carries four pistols in total. 

One of the most a memorable Josey Wales quotes: "Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?"5)

The Patersons were the first revolvers used at the Texas frontier from the early 1840s. The so called Texas Paterson .36 cal. holster pistols and its successors the big 1847 .44 cal. Walker Colts were the preferred handguns of the U.S. Mounted Rifles during the Mexican War from April 1846 to February 1848.

Period drawing of Colt 1836 Paterson, snail-type capper and combination loading tool

Only 150 Paterson pistols of the No. 5 Model are recorded as sold to the U.S. government for the Navy. 100 of them were shipped for the Pacific Squadron in December 1841. A further 180 9"-barreled Patersons No. 5were purchased by the Republic of Texas and filled in April of 1839. These 9"ers, too, were for the naval service.

Close-up of barrel marking - Samuel Colt Texas Paterson - of the Uberti replica #Z009 (top) and miniature #PM6 (bottom)

Left and right side view of Colt Paterson No. 5 Holster Model aka Texas Paterson miniature #PM6 with charcoal blued barrel/cylinder assembly: Note folding trigger, no triggerguard, no loading lever

One additional thought if I may. Colt Peterson revolvers are pretty rare animals. As such originals are highly prized by collectors, making them extremely valuable. Hence, the only Patersons most of us will ever see let alone touch or handle will be replicas. 

But there are enough replicas out there in the market on both sides of the Big Pond to satisfy the desires of todays shooters yearning to see how it actually feels to load and fire a Paterson. At this point the important aspect of historical correctness or the high quality of replication rather of the replicas becomes an issue. Therefore, please be advised when you attempt to go through the loading process of these M1836 Paterson replicas it is like the original: to load you have to remove the wedge and pull the barrel first. Only then you can charge the cylinder using the Paterson powder five-spout flask and the special loading tool2).

Close-up of Walker cylinder scene

Its military as well as commercial success enabled Samuel Colt to return to the firearms business. The entire manufacturing run was accomplished during a few months in 1847 in facilities owned by Eli Whitney Jr. at Whitneyville, Connecticut. Hence the name 1847 Whitneyville Walker.

Comparative view of a pair of Italo Colt 1847 Whitneyville Walkers (top down): Armi san Marco replicated father #12287 traditionally finished year code AA (1975, courtesy Lutz Viertel Collection) vs. miniature son #PM2 with charcoal blued barrel/cylinder and ivory grip Close-up of Walker cylinder scene

The first pistols were shipped to Mexico, and of these a pair was presented to Captain Walker, then a captain in the United States Mounted Rifles. The pair was with this young U.S.M.R. captain at his death in Huamantla, Mexico, on October 9, 1847, just a few days after the pistols reached him.4)

Samuel H. Walker's pair of Colt Walkers is pictured in Chapter 0.1 – Endorsement

The Colt Walker was used in the Mexican-American War and on the Texas frontier thereafter a lot. It was the largest - correct - and until 1935 most powerful - not quite correct – repeating handgun fabricated.

Drawings of the Colt 1847 Whitneyville Walker

Only 1,100 of these guns were originally made. 1,000 as part of a military contract and an additional 100 for the civilian market.

Comparative view of a pair of Uberti Colt 1847 Whitneyville Walkers (from top): Replica father - #Z23 from the HEGE-Historicals ® series, charcoal blued barrel and backstrap, case colored loading lever, frame and hammer, cylinder "in the white", year code AI (1982, courtesy Ingo Standke Collection) vs. miniature son #440 in "Cowboy" grade quality 

Two Uberti Colt 1847 Whitneyville Walker miniatures (top down): Note hinged loading lever without catch; #PM2 with charcoal blued barrel/cylinder, one-piece ivory grips vs. #440 note US 1847 in two lines above wedge screw

At the Kassel Gun Show 2019: A visitor felt honored when he could touch the Uberti Colt Texas Paterson miniature #PM6 (picture courtesy Matthias Recktenwald, Bad-Ems)

John Coffee "Jack" Hays *Jan. 28, 1817 -† April 21, 1883

The Colt Walker story on display at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas (2017)

The result of the collaboration by the two Samuels was the massive four pound nine ounce, six-shot, .44 caliber Colt Walker Model. Replace this text with information about you and your business or add information that will be useful for your customers.