A Condensed History of the
Colt Walker 1847
The 1847 Colt Walker .44 caliber was the largest and most powerful Black powder repeating handgun ever produced. It was created in the mid-1840’s in a collaboration between Texas Ranger Captain Samuel Hamilton Walker(1817-1847) and American firearms inventor Samuel Colt(1814-1862).
The desired .44-.45 caliber revolver would be carried in a saddle holster and would be powerful enough to dispatch horses as well as enemy soldiers.
Only 1100 of these revolvers were initially made, which makes originals extremely rare and very expensive to acquire.
The Colt Walker was a single-action handgun with a revolving cylinder holding six charges of Black powder behind six lead, cone-shaped .44 caliber bullets.
In addition to its’ large size and weight, 4 ½ pounds, 9 inch barrel and 15 1/2 inches in total length, problems with the Walker included soldiers allowing powder to spill across the mouths of the bullet chambers. To prevent the sparks from a bullet being fired igniting all the chambers at once, lard was packed into the mouths of the chambers after the bullets were loaded.
The Colt Walker was quite powerful and is often regarded as the most powerful commercially manufactured repeating handgun from 1847 until the introduction of the .357 Magnum in 1935. The Colt Walker has long maintained a unique position and mystique among handgun users and its’ name is often used as a common expression for any overly large, generic handgun.
In the 1969 movie TRUE GRIT, 14 year old Mattie carries a cartridge-converted Colt Walker, erroneously called a Colt Dragoon by John Wayne. In the 2010 re-make of the movie by the Coen Brothers, she carries an actual Colt Dragoon, a smaller version of the 1847 model with a 7 ½ inch barrel and a shorter cylinder, as originally described in the 1968 book by the same name as the movies.
An expanded history of the Colt Walker can be accessed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki.colt_walker
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