September 1999

Blackpowder Quest: Looking For A Good, Modern 1851 Navy

We recently tested four octagon-barreled .36 percussion revolvers priced under $400. Result: We’re glad we don’t have to face down the James brothers with these guns.

[IMGCAP(1)] Wild Bill had a pair. Sam Bass used one, and so did Frank James and Cole Younger. Elmer Keith liked his very much. In fact, Elmer’s 1851 Navy Colt was one of his first handguns, and it undoubtedly influenced the grand old master all his life. We, too, like the Colt Navy, and so do many Cowboy Action shooters. With all this popularity we thought it would be a good idea to inform our readers where to go to get today’s best copy of the breed. Unfortunately, we can’t tell you that, because although we found an affordable fun gun, we haven’t found one yet that is thoroughly satisfactory.

It ought not to be all that hard to produce a decent copy of the Colt 1851 Navy, the popular oc...

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