Colt 1862 police conversion 38RF, 1871-1875

Maker: Colt

Caliber: .38 Rimfire

Date: 1873-1875 (serial number 8122)

Status: Original condition, in collection
With the growing popularity of the cartridge the demand for percussion revolvers decreased. Before Colt had a revolver designed for cartridges many were converted to rimfire or centerfire. A percussion Colt revolver could become a conversions on more than one way; could be converted by a gunsmith, a used revolver could be send to Colt for conversion, Colt converted many stocked guns and Colt produced newly assembled revolvers based on the many stored parts of percussion revolvers.

This revolver is one of those who left the Colt factory as converted rimfire revolver. The complete correct name is "
new Model Breech Loading Police Pistol" And it is equipped with the round cylinder. They also came with a half fluted cilinder. The frame is marked with "cal 36" as it should be for a .36 cap&ball 1862 Police revolver but the caliber is in fact .38RF.
Colt plugged the hole were the loading lever should go trough and re contoured the barrel. And ejector rod housing was mounted with the use of the hole normally used to mount the loading lever. The cylinder was altered to accept bullets from the rear and the right side of the frame was slotted to be able to load. Between the frame and cylinder a ring was placed to fill the gap. That ring could be including a loading gate but not all models had that as not all had a ejector rod.
As last the percussion hammer was equipped with a hard metal plate acting as firing pin. That was placed with two pins to the original hammer. The conversion was numbered 2555 and that was done in the loading gate, on the frame under the gripframe and the cilinderpin. Last I can not check since the cilinderpin of this revolver is not origional. (but is numbered to the gun)
The serial number of this revolver is 8122. These revolvers are made from 1873 to 1875 according to the Flayderman's guide in a total of 6.500. The Serial numbering of all .38 rimfire conversions on the small frame together ran from 1 to about 19.000 thus this one will probably made in 1873.The previous owners were not very gentle with it resulting in lot's of nicks and lot of loss of the nickle.
A comparison. Top a 1849 percussion and bottom a 1862 police conversion
Right the partly shortened cylinder.
The loading slot.
The converted hammer.
The plugged loading lever hole.