Frontier “Forty Four”

Tiburcio Vasquez, John Wesley Hardin and the Mormon Destroying Angel relied on this Colt model.


Colt’s handsome Model of 1860 was a favorite on the frontier and saw use by notable Westerners such as Frank and Jesse James, John Wesley Hardin, Wild Bill Hickok, the Mormon “Destroying Angel” Porter Rockwell, the Texas Rangers, El Paso lawman Dallas Stoudenmire and California outlaw Tiburcio Vasquez, to name a few of its admirers. These men relied on the power and smooth handling characteristics of what has come to be considered as the ne plus ultra of cap and ball revolvers.

This epitome of the percussion revolver was a refined and extremely successful improvement of the heavy Dragoon Colts of the 1850s. The .44 caliber “New Model Army Pistol” combined much of the power of the earlier dragoons with its own streamlined styling, better balance, lighter two-pound and  11-ounce weight  (Colt’s Dragoons weighed four pounds, two ounces) and improved ballistics. With its rounded contours and barrel, the 1860 model represented a distinct departure from the squared-edge profiles of Colt’s earlier revolvers with their full octagon or half-round, half-octagon barrels. Too, the hinged loading lever of the older models was replaced with the improved, so-called “creeping” (rack and pinion-style) lever.


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