Colt Paterson Model 1839 Percussion Carbine
The Colt Model 1839 Carbine was manufactured circa 1838 to 1841 in Paterson, New Jersey in .525 smoothbore caliber. It proved to be the most popular of all the Paterson longarms and highly regarded by Sam himself. A total of approximately 950 were manufactured and serial numbered in their own range from 1 through to 950. The serial numbers are found on various parts but the carbine should be disassembled to make a full check. Metal parts are blued with barrels being browned with varnished walnut stocks. The barrel address found on the left side (also sometimes on the right side) of the barrel reads: ‘Patent Arms M’g. Co. Paterson, N.J-Colt’s Pt.’ with a snake and star terminal at each end. The carbine does not have a ring lever cocking device but features an exposed hammer.
The early production which is rare were manufactured without an attached loading lever, with a square-backed six shot cylinder which was 2½ inches in length with a capping groove cut near the top of the right recoil shield. The cylinder roll scene features a three panel design with scrolls, Colt markings, and panels of a naval battle, a land battle, and a hunter and trophy lion motif.
The standard round barrel with bevels present at the breech were 24 inches in length with attached loading lever on the barrel lug and round backed cylinder. Other lengths of 28 inches and 32 inches are known in a similar configuration. The front sight is a pin with the rear notched and dovetailed on to the breech of the barrel.
As with most Colt firearms there are always exceptions to the rule and the 1839 carbine is no exception. It is estimated that about twenty five examples were made with a 3¼ inch cylinder with the frame made longer to accommodate the extra length. Only a few are thought to have survived as many burst on firing. Stocks are sometimes found with deluxe wood and also checkering has been encountered. Values depend on condition, rarity and provenance. Government contracts for this model were secured by Colt.
For in-depth reference on Paterson longarms see ‘The Paterson Colt Book featuring the Dennis A. Levett Collection’ by R.L. Wilson.
- Range of serial numbers: 1 – 950
- Date of manufacture: 1838 to 1841
- Total production: 950 approx.
- Length of barrel: 24 to 32 inches also special order lengths.
- Caliber: .525 smoothbore with six shot cylinder.
- Address: ‘Patent Arms M’g. Co. Paterson, N.J-Colt’s Pt.’ with a snake and star finial at each end.
- Weight: 7 pounds 11 ounces depending on barrel length.
More Paterson Percussion Longarms
The Colt First Model Ring Lever Rifle was manufactured circa 1837 to 1838 in Paterson, New Jersey. It was Colt’s first production firearm before he started manufacturing his pistols a few months later.