Forgotten Weapons: The 1847 Walker Revolver

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Apparently YouTuber Forgotten Weapons managed to get his hands on quite a few historically interesting firearms through the Rock Island Auction, resulting in his doing daily posts. He says the daily phenomenon is only temporary and that things will go back to normal in the next couple weeks, but in the meantime those of us who are fascinated by unique firearms are getting a daily dose of awesome. And so, without further ado, I give you a quick intro of this post’s pick: the 1847 Walker Revolver.

The Colt Walker was, as the title suggests, made in 1847. It isn’t just a big gun, it’s the biggest black powder repeating revolver that’s ever been made. Even its creation is cool; the Colt Walker was designed in a team effort between a Texas Ranger Captain named Samuel Hamilton Walker – hence the “Walker” – and none other than Samuel Colt – hence the “Colt”. There were only 1,100 of these revolvers made in the original run, so saying they’re hard to find is a bit of an understatement. Of those 1,100, one thousand went for military use with just one hundred being allotted for civilian sales. It was a big, bad revolver, one that outdoes even the classic Dirty Harry Smith and Wesson Model 29 for coolness.

Take a look at Forgotten Weapons’ video for a closer look at the 1847 Colt Walker revolver. If you come across one of these bad boys, let me know, because I’d sell my soul for a chance to own one. Of course, I imagine most of you would as well…there is the minor detail of many of the guns exploding now and then, but it’s still cool, right?



katie.ainsworth

Katie is an avid shooter, hunter, military journalist, and Southern girl. Firearms are her passion whether at the range or on a spot-and-stalk after a big buck. She’s a staff writer at The Firearm Blog and writes about guns, hunting, and the military for various publications both online and in print such as Outdoor Life, Handguns, and Shooting Illustrated. Shoot her a message at ainsworth.kat@usa.com


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  • Nicks87

    “BAM! That Walker Colt blew up in his hand, which was a failing common to that model. You see, if old Corky had had two guns instead of just a big ****, he would have been there right to the end to defend himself.”
    -“Little” Bill Daggett

  • RantGirlRants

    I can’t speak for everyone, but I do love getting a daily dose of Forgotten Weapons. If I were to ever win the lottery, I do know where some of my money would go… 😉

    • You can buy the Walker in kit form from Dixie Gun Works in Union City, Tn. They aren’t to hard to put together. I have three of them; two plain, and one with engraving. The Walker was the Magnum of it’s day.

  • RocketScientist

    The Colt Walker was the most powerful commercially produced handgun in the world until the debut of the .357 Magnum almost 100 years later. A full-house load in a Walker has pretty much the same muzzle energy as a standard .357 out of a 4″ barrel. Really impressive stuff. I have an 1860 Colt I shoot every now and then, and it’s a blast. Always wanted to pick up a Walker replica.

    • Fred Johnson

      I too have an 1860 replica and wished I had a Walker replica to “smoke out” a shooting lane on a range trip. The 30 grain capacity 1860 does its best to draw attention when you let loose with a cylinder full. I can only imagine what the Walker does.

      • RocketScientist

        Well, just to be clear, my 1860 Army is no replica, its an original Colt. Nothing wrong with the replicas, some of them are pretty damn nice, and I’ve even got one of the Colt-manufactured replicas (they used some original tooling and traditional techniques for case hardening and such, very authentic, even resumed the serial numbers where the originals left off).

      • Joe

        I bought my dad one in 2005. He’s been very keen on that idea ever since.

        Problem is he’s thinking indoor range…

  • A.WChuck

    Not a forgotten weapon amongst Black Powder shooters. There are replicas produced in Italy that are safer than the original due to improved metalurgy.

  • Xanderbach

    Also, they were carried by the Saint of Killers, and forged from Gabriel’s sword. A pretty badass revolver.

    • Edeco

      Also the horse-pistols in Blood Meridian were prolly Walkers, which to me is about the meanest literary ambiance possible for a gun.

  • Vitsaus

    If you’ve seen “The Outlaw Josey Wales” this is not a forgotten weapon.

    • Anonymoose

      And True Grit. Mattie actually had a Walker instead of a Dragoon to make the gun look even larger in her hands.

    • Heretical Politik

      A lot of the guns Ian reviews aren’t exactly forgotten. Forgotten Weapons seems to have morphed into more of a gun history channel and Ian is really great at presenting that history, without getting way too bogged down in the weeds. Probably my favorite YouTube/Full30 gun channel.

      • Vitsaus

        I agree, I will admit that Ian’s videos are the only internet gun media that actually interests me anymore.

  • Rabies

    I think it is safe to say, that Ian is more than just a youtuber.

    • Tom

      I would agree especially since he contributes to this very blog.

    • wetcorps

      Yeah.
      Pay some respect to Gun Jesus!

  • Cymond

    Supposedly, the loading lever had a tendency to fall down, pushing the ram rod into the cylinder. People tied leather straps around them to prevent it.

    • RocketScientist

      This doesn’t just happen on the Walkers. Both my 1860 Armys (my original Colt and my modern reproduction, also by Colt) do this fairly frequently.

  • Just say’n

    Cabelas has replicas for under $500. Ships right to your door, no FFL required. Every firearms collector should have one 🙂
    Just don’t forget to clean it right after to take it shooting.

    • Miguel Raton

      And don’t forget to get some rawhide bootlaces to make loading lever retaining straps with, much like original users did: the force of recoil will drop that lever down & bind up your cylinder & keep it from revolving…

  • Fruitbat44

    I do recall a conversation where it was opined that the Walker Colt was the most powerful revolver until the advent of the .357 Magnum. I was rather sceptical until I checked the stats and – darned if it aint so!

  • Marcus D.

    The Colt Walker is most certainly not a forgotten weapon. An original in near mint condition owned by the family of the Ranger to whom it had been issued was sold at auction for $800,000 in 2008, 161 years after its original manufacture, the highest amount ever paid for a Colt firearm. Its standard load was 35 grains of FF black powder, but it was allegedly often loaded to 50 grains (all that the cylinder will hold, and compressed with a ball). It was designed with the thought that it is hard to hit a fleeing Indian, but much easier to hit his horse, so the gun was designed to down a horse. The power of the gun was not approached until the advent of the 1873 Colt in .45 (which had a 40 grain charge). By comparison, the 1860 Army had a standard load of 30 grains, and its maximum load was 35.

    Most importantly of all, it was the gun that made Colt. Sam Colt’s original model, the Paterson, was a commercial failure, and colt was bankrupt when Captain Walker commissioned him to do this particular firearm.

    • Miguel Raton

      “Fleeing?” Marcus, the Walker was designed to take out a horse because the Rangers needed to be able to stop *charging* Indians, not *fleeing* ones: they were confronting the best light cavalry in the world!

  • DL

    I was fortunate enough to find one of the Colt “Parts Guns”. I also have two Italians. I would never load or fire the Colt but the others have provided the sensations and images of our past. I’ve never had a comfortable grip on single actions. However in ’72, I held one that a deputy made custom grips for. Very, very nice. He was deadly fast and accurate with that .357. Those of us with autos began to doubt our real ability. Remember what Rooster advised and find a fence post to rest the Walker on. Don’t walk off with all six charged. The smoke screen offers a chance to move/reload. While your buddy shoots. youtube has good videos about these handguns. Wear gloves and eyes. Use a capper.

  • John, you can order these thru the mail; no paper work.

  • Tejanojack

    An original Walker Colt: The holy grail of gun collectors. I have a decent replica, but Oh, to have an original!

  • Core

    This was the first pistol I held in my hand. I was young and I remember it was well balanced and massive. My uncle had one and a nice holster. I didn’t shoot it for years, but I really enjoyed it when I finally had an opportunity to shoot it. The first few shots missed but I quickly got it figured out. I also learned how to point shoot that day. It seemed as though the gun became an extension of my hand and the bullet hit everything I wanted to.