View Full Version : Identifying a ball and cap pistol

November 26, 2008, 03:03 PM
I recently picked up a ball and cap pistol, mainly just because the price was right and I think it'd be a nice addition to the collection.

But at any rate, I'm having a hard time Identifying it, Looks like a brass frame, .31 cal pocket pistol with a stage coach and cowboy engraving on the cylinder. Lastly there is a BZ imprinted on the frame.

Any help would be greatly appreciated just so I can put a name with it.

Jim Watson
November 26, 2008, 07:00 PM
If you were making a good product, wouldn't you put your name or a brand name on it?

It will take pictures to identify the model of gun it is a copy of for sure, but the stagecoach holdup scene is a Colt design.

Pretty new, BZ is the Italian date code for 2005.

November 26, 2008, 10:36 PM
Does it have a round trigger guard or squareback? It sounds like an 1849 Pocket (round trigger guard) or an 1848 Baby Dragoon (squareback trigger guard) both in .31 caliber, though the originals were not made in brass. I had one and I used O buckshot (.320). Great little gun but tough to load (small loading lever). A pic would be good.

December 31, 2008, 03:11 AM
Turns out to be a replica of a 1948 Wells Fargo pocket pistol, as identified by the old guys at a black powder club near here with the aid of a rather large reference guide book form a local gunsmith. Thanks for the help guys, and yea loading it isn't much fun due to that little packing lever... I may post pictures of it later if I get a chance.

December 31, 2008, 09:30 AM
If you were making a good product, wouldn't you put your name or a brand name on it?

Jim, I invite you consider the practice of 'defarbing', in which the owners of replica firearms intentionally remove the manufacturer's stamps in an attempt to make the gun 'more like the original'. Some reenactors require the guns used by their practitioners to be so modified before they are allowed on the parade ground. I am assured by those people that the practice is solely for the purpose of their own use, although I fail to understand how the practice enhances the play. It is not, they assure me, an attempt to pass the gun off as a true original for the purpose of falsely enhancing it's value.

This 'defarbing' practice is very widespread, I find. I'm surprised you haven't come across it.

December 31, 2008, 01:14 PM
Turns out to be a replica of a 1948 Wells Fargo pocket pistolI am learning something new every day here. I was only aware of the Wells Fargo being an 1849. The 1848 was a Colt Dragoon. They are similar and a .31 cal.

But from what was being described led me to believe we were looking at an 1849 Uberti Wells Fargo. It has the brass square trigger guard. However, it does not have a brass block. Not aware of one with a brass block. But there are a lot of things I do not know.

Continuing along, the reference to the Pocket Model doesn't sit well. The pocket model is a version of the Wells Fargo. But with Uberti it has a round trigger guard. And it comes with a loader. Something the 1849 Wells Fargo didn't have.

I can hardly wait to see a picture of this revolver. I am trying to learn new things every day. And this will be yet another one.

December 31, 2008, 01:37 PM
They always call this a 1849 "Baby Drogroon" It is a 31. Bought it in 1964.

Fingers McGee
December 31, 2008, 01:47 PM
From the description it is a brass framed replica of a New Model Pocket Pistol - commonly refered to as an 1849 Pocket Pistol. What is commonly called the Wells Fargo model is the Old Model Pocket Pistol or Model of 1848 Pocket pistol or Baby Dragoon. These pistols did not have loading levers. There were only a few (less than 10) Thousand of the 1848s made. Wells Fargo supposedly purchased a large number of them for their agents which is how the replicas have gotten that name today. The Improved Pocket Pistol or Model of 1849 Pocket Pistol had the loading levers. The other noticeable difference between the 48 & 49 models were the cylinder slots and trigger guards. The 48 had square back trigger guards and round or oval shaped slots like the Patterson, Walker and 1st Model Dragoons. The 49s had round trigger guards & and rectangular slots. There was also a model introduced in 1850 with a six shot cylinder in place of the five shot cylinder. That model is just lumped in with the 1849 models now days.

Current replica manufacturers mix and match features between models to suit their manufacturing and sales priorities; so, you can pretty much call it what you want.

December 31, 2008, 01:47 PM
Those without loading levers are frequently called the "Wells Fargo Model" though Wells Fargo records show no 31 caliber revolvers ever purchased by that company (Shumaker 1966.)


Jim Watson
December 31, 2008, 02:06 PM

I have not heard of "defarbing" a replica gun to fake it up for reenactments.
I did once see at a gun show a replica complete with cartridge conversion, aged, faked, marked, and tagged with fraud in mind, though. I knew what it was because I have one for CAS with all modern markings and finish intact. Somebody else might not know the differences from a real Richards Conversion. Like the very rough Remington replica I saw bought for real at an antique auction.

I will ask my local reenactors about it at the next opportunity. Sounds pretty hokey to me, though. And would he not have removed the Italian date code as well as the maker's name and foreign proof marks?

If anybody gets close enough to me to read the trademark on my sixshooter, he is TOO close.

December 31, 2008, 03:29 PM
On The Muzzleloading Forum in the Pistol subforum you will find a member who uses the name Poor Private. He is such a reenactor; he claims that the events he goes to inspect the guns for modern markings and will reject those that are not 'defarbed'. He assures me this is a very common practice, and is somewhat ardent in his defense of it. I made the political mistake of saying that defarbing was, in my opinion, outright fraud; he did not appreciate the characterization. He is a member I respect, save for this one issue, and he was joined by several other members of that forum in defending the practice, so I chose to disengage without changing my opinion.

I believe the unit he practices with is the 2nd Kentucky something, and they apparently go to events throughout the midwest and eastern US.

December 31, 2008, 04:55 PM
Sounds pretty hokey to me, though. And would he not have removed the Italian date code as well as the maker's name and foreign proof marks?

I have a Uberti 1849 pocket model, the only mark on the frame is the date code, stamped very light. Two small, lightly stamped proof marks on the barrel and cal 31 and black powder only under the barrel, stamped very light. To the casual observer it would appear unmarked.

I have two C&B that have been defarbed, no attempt was made by the seller to indicate that they are originals, just defarbed repro's. Some even go to the length of stamping the original marking on there re-enacting guns.

December 31, 2008, 10:09 PM
I defarbed my old Rigarmi 58 Remington and rusted it up a bit. Not to attempt to pass it off as original but for my own satisfaction.