Background: This single action .44 caliber cap & baller uses the same size frame as the .36 Colt caliber 1851 and 1861 Navy belt revolver. To fit a rebated cylinder chambered in .44 cal. the frame of the 1860 has to be "stepped". In addition the Army's shorter forcing cone allows the cylinder to be longer than that of the Navies.
Two Basic Colt 1860 Army Variants: The six shot cylinder will be of one of two kinds:
All 1860s share the round barrel design. Creeping loading levers with catch, brass triggerguards and steel backstraps were standard.
Most of the factory issued models sport of 8" barrels but a few early pistols were fitted with 7,5" ones. Many are equipped with notched recoil shields and backstraps for the attachment of a shoulder stock.
Close-up of 4-screw frame miniature of Colt 1860 Army #323: Note protruding 4th screws between hammer and trigger screw, naval engagement scene on cylinder with legend ENGAGED 16 MAY 1843, 2-line COLT'S PATENT mark on frame, 44 CAL mark on shoulder of triggerguard, notch in recoil shield
Close-up of 3-screw frame miniature Colt 1860 Army #PM11: Note cylinder legend between the naval engagement scene's ends with serial number and patent date, 2-line COLT'S PATENT mark on frame, 44 CAL mark on shoulder of triggerguard, notch in recoil shield
The Colt 1860 Armies' major visible difference is in the frame. The frames are either of the three (3) or four (4) screws kind.
The 4th pair of screws of the latter are lugs on the side of the frame to mount a detachable shoulder stock usually with serial numbers matching the pistol.
More than 200,000 specimens of the Colt 1860 Army revolvers were produced between 1860 and 1873. Colt's biggest customer was the U.S. Government with not less than 129,730 units being purchased and issued to the troops. It was used as a sidearm by cavalry, infantry, artillery troops, and naval forces. The pistol was an official military service revolver between 1860 and 1873 when the Colt 1873 Single Action Army was adopted.1)
Arms historian John D. McAulay notes that "eighty four percent of all the (Union) revolvers on hand (at Gettysburg) were Colt 1860 Army."
These Colt 1860 Armies were used not only during the American Civil War on both sides. Many saw action in the Indian Wars, too.
2. Wikipedia: COLT ARMY MODEL 1860, https://wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_Army_Model_1860
3. Western Movie: QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER, 1990
December 19, 2018/WDN
QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER is a famous western starring Tom Selleck in the lead role as Matthew Quigley, an American frontiersman and sharpshooter who travels down to Australia of the 1870s to accept a job from wealthy rancher Elliot Marston (Alan Rickman) to use his skills in the outback. When he is told the truth about the nature of his job, Quigley clashes with the rancher and finds himself in the desert.
In the final show-down Colt 1860 Armies (replicas) are used by Quigley and Marston, while his two ranch hands were armed with a mix of other percussion revolvers. Here are the two memorable Quigley quotes:
Just before the final shoot-out: "This ain't Dodge City and you ain't Bill Hickok."
Quigley shoots ranch hands Dobkin, O'Flynn and Marston before they can even clear leather, then walks up to the dying Marston: "I said I never had much use for one (revolver). Never said I didn't know how to use it." 2)