Gun Specifics:

  • Range of serial numbers: 1 – 15,500
  • Date of manufacture: 1847 to 1850
  • Total production: Approx. 1,500
  • Length of barrel: 3 to 6 inches
  • Caliber: .31
  • Address: ‘ADDRESS, SAML COLT/ NEW.YORK CITY’
  • Later address: ‘{ADDRESS SAML COLT/ NEW-YORK CITY}’
    also ‘-ADDRESS. SAML COLT/ NEW.YORK CITY-‘
  • Weight: 22 ounces. Depending on barrel length.

Colt Model 1848 Pocket Percussion Revolver AKA: Baby Dragoon

The Colt Model 1848 Baby Dragoon Revolver was manufactured in Hartford from circa l847 through to 1850 with a total of about 15,000 produced. Serial numbers are found on all major parts and range from 1 through to about 15500 overlapping with the Colt Model 1849 Pocket.

The five-shot Baby Dragoon in .31 caliber was a scaled down version of the large dragoon revolvers but lacking a loading lever. It was the first pocket model to be made at Colt’s Hartford factory. It came in barrel lengths of 3″, 4″, 5″, and 6″ and is distinctive with its square-back trigger-guard. From about serial number 11670 a loading lever was attached to some revolvers through to serial number 15461. Baby Dragoon revolvers with attached loading levers are rare. Beware of fakes.

The two-line barrel left or right-handed address on early revolvers reads ‘ADDRESS, SAML COLT/NEW.YORK CITY’. Later addresses are ‘ADDRESS SAML COLT/NEW-YORK CITY’ with a dash at either end. There were several variations noted, some corresponding with the changes of the address dies. On the left side of the frame is stamped COLTS/PATENT. The five-shot cylinder scene on early revolvers is a part of the Texas Ranger and Indian fight roll as was standard on the 44 caliber Dragoons. At around the serial range of 11100 the familiar stagecoach holdup design was introduced.

The Baby Dragoon had a blued barrel and cylinder with casehardened frame, hammer and lever. The brass back-strap and square-back trigger-guard were silver-plated. The one-piece grips were made of varnished walnut. There are many variations of the Baby Dragoon within its serial range. Revolvers without a loading lever do not have loading cutouts on the right side of the barrel lug. The stops which index to align perfectly the cylinder to the barrel, range from being round, slightly oval, oval and rectangular on later pistols. Most cylinders have only one safety pin on the rear. From the serial range of about 11600 five safety pins between each chamber were introduced. There were also changes on the hammer face, cylinder ratchet, cut-out on the right side of the barrel, ‘Colt’s Patent’ stamping, trigger-guard bolsters, length of frame and recoil shield with or without capping groove. It is estimated that less than one thousand were engraved and less than one hundred were cased.

For in-depth reference on the Colt Baby Dragoon revolvers see ‘Colt’s Pocket ’49, it’s Evolution, including the Baby Dragoon & Wells Fargo’ by Robert M. Jordan & Darrow M. Watt.

More Colt New Model Army and Navy Percussion Revolvers

The production of the Colt Model 1849 Pocket revolver in America commenced in 1850 and continued through to 1873. This was the successor to the Baby Dragoon and a total of approximately 326,000 ’49 Pockets were manufactured at the Hartford factory.

The majority of revolvers were blued with casehardened hammer and loading lever. The grips were of one-piece varnished walnut or select burl walnut, ivory on engraved or special order guns. The most sought after grips came from the famous Charter Oak tree.

The Colt Model 1849 London Pocket revolver was manufactured at the London factory from circa 1853 through to 1857 with its own serial range from 1 through to approximately 11000. The quality of the London Pocket was thought to be better than its American counterpart.