Original Belgian Made Colt Brevete .36cal Revolving Percussion Pistol Carbine – Serial 446 – circa 1851
Original Item: Only One Available. These are extremely rare, and this is the first example of a Belgian-made “Colt Brevete” Revolving Pistol Carbine that we have ever had! This is also only the third revolving rifle of any type that we have seen! While hand held revolvers caught on in a HUGE way, the same could not be said for the revolving rifle. They remain an interesting footnote in firearms history.
Very much based on the Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver, the “Colt Brevete” models were officially licensed Colt system firearms made in Belgium. The early years of the various companies Samuel Colt founded were rife with patent infringement issues, which were unable to be addressed due to lack of funds. Once Colt received his first Government Contracts for the Dragoon model, he was able to have a more financially stable company, which enabled him to protect his domestic and foreign patents, as well as license his designs.
In Belgium, Colt decided on a new plan to allow the infringers to continue making Colt-like revolvers, but to impose a royalty of 10 francs for each gun that passed through the Liege Proof House. The infringing gun makers had no recourse other than to comply with Colt’s demands. If they refused Colt’s sole Belgian representative, Monsieur Devos-Sera, could legally confiscate the revolver. The important sticking point was
Devos-Sera was then tasked with communicating with Liege-based craftsmen making Colt revolver parts, and with gun makers assembling the parts into a finished revolver. These arms were then submitted to the Liege Proof House, where they were test fired. Devos-Sera would visit the Proof House on a regular basis, and those arms which were up to Colt standards were accepted and marked the top of the barrel with the COLT / BREVETE (Colt Patented) stamp, as per Samuel Colt’s directions. From the winter of 1851 through mid-April 1853, 17,550 francs were collected by Colt’s Belgian representatives. This means that approximately 1,700 Colt Brevete revolvers and revolving rifles were accepted and put on the market in Belgium.
We have here one of these revolving rifles, often called “revolving pistol carbines”, in the same .36 caliber as the Model 1851 Navy. It is correctly marked COLT BREVETE on the top of the barrel, and on the lower support for the butt stock. It is also marked with serial number 446 under the barrel, and there are no other markings that we are able to see. The frame and trigger guard bear some lovely foliate engraving, typical of Belgian produced arms from the mid 19th century. The cylinder looks to have been engraved post manufacture with a battle scene, with two soldiers on horseback with guns chasing two other men on horses, with some flying arrows in the air. The soldiers look to be European in dress, but could also be U.S. Soldiers chasing Native Americans. Definitely worth some further research.
The revolving carbine has a great waged look to it, with the engraving well preserved. The metalwork has a gray patina over most areas, with some powder burn near the cylinder. The butt stock is lovely, made from what looks to be figured walnut, and has a lovely checkered grip area. The gun cycles well, with good indexing and a solid cylinder lock up. We did not notice any of the usual finicky behavior from this example. The bore is clear, though it has quite worn, and looks nearly smooth at this point, showing almost no oxidation. It is possible that it was manufactured as a smooth bore.
A great chance to pick up a very rare revolver pistol carbine, made in Belgium and inspected by Colt. Ready to display!
Year of Manufacture: c.1851-1854
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 25 inches
Overall Length: 41 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
NOTE: International orders of antique firearms MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services (courier). USPS Priority Mail international will not accept these. International customers should always consult their country’s antique gun laws prior to ordering.