Rifleman Q&A: Colt Derringer

posted on August 12, 2022

Q. My great grandfather carried this Colt swing-open derringer for years. Under the handle, it is plated silver or something. It seems to be a rimfire with a .44-caliber rifled barrel. It is marked “COLT” on top of barrel. Is this a real Colt or a reproduction?

Colt derringer pistol single-shot gun small

A. From your photos and description, I believe you have a Colt 3rd Model Derringer, sometimes called the “Thuer Model” Derringer. These were made from 1870 to 1912, with about 48,000 produced. They were all chambered for the .41 Rimfire cartridge. I think yours is most likely an original Colt, as I don’t believe any other firms were producing anything exactly like this model during that time frame; especially not with the typical “COLT”-marked barrel you describe.

With a serial number of 3450, your Colt was probably manufactured fairly early, although the exact production dates by serial number are not known.

—Jim Supica, Contributing Editor

This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the November 2005 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John W. Treakle.

To subscribe to the magazine, visit the NRA membership page and select American Rifleman as your member magazine.


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