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Old August 14, 2013, 11:01 AM   #1
Jurassic Biker
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Hickok's 1851 Navy

Is there any record of the bbl length of J.B. Hickok's Colt Navy? How about any modifications he may have made to it? I would like an accurate copy. Thanks!
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Old August 14, 2013, 11:41 AM   #2
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Old August 14, 2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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I have seen nothing on any modifications and assume there were none. Most folks who carried a Navy Colt liked the balance with the original barrel length, and also shortening the barrel makes the rammer harder to use. In that era, barrel length was not a big concern in a holster gun. (The Army was using a 7" Colt .45.) Only later, partly due to the improvement in powder, did shorter barrels come into vogue.

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Old August 14, 2013, 03:10 PM   #4
Lt. Skrumpledonk Ret
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Google Image: Wild Bill's Colt


It was heavily engraved with ivory grips which were also engraved.
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Old August 14, 2013, 04:44 PM   #5
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From the photos I've seen they look like regular 1851's.
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Old August 14, 2013, 07:33 PM   #6
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There was one displayed at the Cody Museum IIRC. I don't know where it is now and the other one was reputed to be missing. They were fully engraved and had Ivory grips with a Liberty Eagle on the inside grip.
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Old August 14, 2013, 10:16 PM   #7
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Hawg:

Could of sworn that pistol was exhibited at the dazzling pistols show in Indianapolis last year. I was so captivated by some of the other pieces I don't rightly recall

One of which was President Reagan's gold inlaid 7 & 1/2" colt SAA
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Old August 15, 2013, 04:24 AM   #8
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It may have been. I believe it was on temporary loan when Cody had it.
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Old August 15, 2013, 06:43 AM   #9
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/toby_d1...center|toby_d1
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Old August 15, 2013, 07:30 AM   #10
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Later in his life Hickock had his two Colt 1851's converted to fire cartridges, which was a popular modification at the time as cartridges had become widely available and used. Supposedly, as his eyesight was failing he had a more difficult time reloading the black powder.
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Old August 15, 2013, 08:40 AM   #11
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I was thinking they had one displayed in Deadwood,SD, at the saloon where he was shot. I know they still have the chair. My old memory lets me down from time to time, so they may have been a replica.
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Old August 15, 2013, 10:25 AM   #12
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Gotta' think there are lots of "Genuine" Hickok guns out there.
Like Jesse James, Earp and Masterson.
Was it Masterson who had a cottage industry of buying old guns and selling them as his Wild West days relics?
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Old August 15, 2013, 10:37 AM   #13
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Wild Bill's

In Rattenbury's book, "Packing Iron", there is a photo of a revolver and holster that are indicated as having been Will Bill's. The article states that they are in the Autry Museum.
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Old August 15, 2013, 10:39 AM   #14
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Were there ever any Hickok rifles?
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Old August 15, 2013, 02:12 PM   #15
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When Hickok died I think he owned about 132 guns at that time, sort of a gun crank. I think the Navies just handled right for him. I didn't mention it before but somewhere in the back of my mind is the bead taken off and a blade type dovetailed in BUT I might be confused on that- maybe someone else knows.
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Old August 16, 2013, 03:09 PM   #16
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I took these pics last summer at the Buffalo Bill center in Cody, WY.


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Old August 16, 2013, 05:22 PM   #17
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pohill . . . great photos! What about the Spencer shown behind them? Do you by any chance remember what that one was? Was it Hickock/s?
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Old August 16, 2013, 06:31 PM   #18
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It's funny that you mentioned that - I was wondering about that rifle, too. I don't think it was tied to Hickok.
few more pics:



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Old August 18, 2013, 07:46 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurassic Biker

Is there any record of the bbl length of J.B. Hickok's Colt Navy?
How about any modifications he may have made to it?
I would like an accurate copy.


AFAIK, Hickock's first Navies were standard 7-1/2" blued models, which were later plated after the bluing wore off.

The backstraps were additionally engraved "J.B.Hickock 1869".

Jim Barnard, of Trailrider Products, made a limited edition (500) of faithful, nickel-plated copies for the American Historical Foundation.



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Old August 18, 2013, 08:55 AM   #20
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They were presentation models gifted to him in 1869.
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Old August 18, 2013, 06:59 PM   #21
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Interesting, one has the standard front sight and the other a dovetailed blade sight.
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Old August 18, 2013, 09:11 PM   #22
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Quote:
one has the standard front sight and the other a dovetailed blade sight.
Maybe he had right and left handed guns, and liked a particular sight for each hand.
The serial numbers of those revolvers in the pics are 13 numbers off. I'm pretty sure that the letter E at the end of a serial number means it was factory engraved. Even though the lower numbered revolver doesn't have an E in the description, I wonder if there's one on the revolver's serial number.
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Old August 19, 2013, 11:31 PM   #23
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I believe that he had several guns given to him, and there may in be more than one pair of engraved Navies he owned. He was in fact a gun crank and was known to have owned and used several different guns. He used the Smith & Wesson 44 cartridge guns before he used the Navies in later years.

I haven't heard any reports of him having the Navies converted to cartridge, and none of the original engraved Navies attributed to him were converted.

I always assumed that the one gun had the dovetail front sight because it didnt shoot exactly the same as the other one. It's a simple fix for a decent gunsmith. I've seen other percussion Colts with similar sights. Some had different rear sights as well, somewhat like the 3rd Dragoon rear barrel sight, but without the leafs for different ranges.



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Old August 20, 2013, 04:49 PM   #24
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Not to be a total downer but...

..."Said to be" and "believed to have been" are not reassuring phrases in the quest for authenticity. Authentic Colts? Perhaps. Actually owned? Maybe. Routinely carried? Hmmmm. Best of luck in your search.
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Old August 20, 2013, 06:09 PM   #25
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Unfortunately, that's about as good as it gets in many cases. Records are in short supply, especially when someone else possibly ordered them and gave them as gifts. I believe some of Colts records were lost in a fire.

A friend collects Buffalo Sharps. Often as good as the records get are being shipped from the factory to a dealer in buffalo country (such as Ft Griffin Texas) at the general right time.
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