Handguns > Historical

Colt Fourth Model Deringer

Colt Deringers can bring a premium price if they’ve never been shot.


Although the Colt name is synonymous with revolvers, during the latter part of the 19th century the company produced a trio of .41 rimfire single-shots that set the stage for a popular .22 version years later. The First, Second and Third Model Deringers were Colt’s first cartridge handguns, (notwithstanding cap-and-ball conversions). Production started in 1870 for all three guns and ended in 1912 for the Alexander Thuer-designed Third Model.

With the advent of double-actions and semi-automatics, one would assume Colt was finished with single-shot Deringers. But the popularity of television westerns during the 1950s and ’60s inspired Colt to reissue the Thuer Deringer as the Fourth Model (made for Colt by Butler of New Haven, Conn., which later sold the guns under its own name) in .22 Short. Like the Third Model, it was loaded by placing the hammer on half-cock and pivoting the barrel to the right, which also ejected the cartridge case.

From 1959 until 1963, First Series Fourth Models had an “N” serial number suffix, with 112,000 guns made. A Second Series, with a “D” suffix, was made from 1970 to 1973, with 25,000 produced. Unlike the silver-plated bronze frames of the Third Model, the Fourth Model featured nickel- or gold-plated Zamak (zinc alloy) cast frames with barrels plated to match. Some barrels were given a black oxide “Du-Lite” finish that was occasionally subject to flaking. Stocks were walnut or “plasticized” pearl or ivory.

Single guns were $22.50, or $39.50 per pair, and came with a brochure and warranty card in a cardboard box stamped “Box Made In Sweden Expressly for Colt’s Small Arms Division.” Two and four gun consecutively numbered sets were also offered, often in jewelry–style cases, and included Lord and Lady Deringer combinations. The Colt-stamped Fourth Model leather holster is a rarely-seen accessory.

Mint condition Fourth Models typically fetch $100 to $125, and substantially less if they’ve been shot. A mint Lord Deringer two-gun cased set recently sold on www.gunsamerica.com for $475. The consecutively numbered Deringer set pictured, packaged in a desirable Colt “Limited Edition 1836-1960” book case, would normally bring $450 to $500. However, both guns having been shot, they are now worth $300 to $350. One hopes the owner got at least $150 worth of enjoyment from shooting what Colt’s 1960 ad called, “… an addition to your collection and a handgun that means business.”

Gun: Colt Fourth Model Deringer
Caliber: .22 Short
Serial Numbers: N8312, N8313
Condition: 98 Percent—NRA Excellent
(Modern Gun Condition Standards)
Manufactured: 1961
Value: $300 to $350

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10 Responses to Colt Fourth Model Deringer

Chuck wrote:
November 07, 2014

I worked at Colts in Hartford Ct back in 1972-73 and colts had an employee sale where we could purchase a set for $15. What did not sell was chopped in half. From what I can remember hundreds if not thousands were chopped.

marie wrote:
April 15, 2014

I have a Colt 22 Derringer # 80578D Black barrel in a wooden box with red lining. Can you give any information?

Nancy Laughlin wrote:
June 06, 2013

I have a his & hers set in an original wooden case with red velvet lining. I do not believe they have ever been shot. I received them as a gift in 1993. As you stated in your article one appears to have a gold plated barrel and the other is the black & gold. consecutive numbers, 49319DER & 49320DER. Absolute mint condition. Can you tell me the age and approximate value. I would like to sell them now. Thank you

Al wrote:
January 12, 2013

I have one that I found years ago. The frame has been damaged badly. Trigger bent so bad the frame is cracked. The barrel has no plating, if it ever had. Any ideas on parts availability?

Sheila Martin wrote:
November 02, 2012

I have both sets...the Lords and the Ladys ..the lords are black w gold looking hammers and they are in display cases..beautiful guns. I paid $400 a set... I recently went to a gun show and they were $575 and we went to a gun dealer in west va and he had two sets of the lords on sale for $1,000 a set. Mine were mothers day gifts from my husband.

tony wrote:
August 15, 2012

I got a set of colt .22 short derringers #16012D & #16013D any one know what they are wroth and how old they are.thank you

ray wrote:
December 19, 2011

My dad has a colt derringer, serial # 82638D. Can you give me any information about it?thank you.

G Levingston wrote:
November 26, 2011

My Father in Law has one in 22cal that has ser #2591N but he bought it in 1949 so I dont see how it could have the N

wm. gano wrote:
November 24, 2011

I have both the lord and lady sets, but neither have a suffix letter in the ser. no. The lords are no. 10461&10462. The ladys are ser.no. 22247&22248. Both sets are in the orignal jewel cases and cardboard boxes with the instruction sheets. I wonder why mine don't have the suffex letter.

Bob Wagner wrote:
November 22, 2011

I have a pair of gold and blue deringers with a D prefix that were mfg in 1960 and so engraved on the red leather case.