Deluxe Colt 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker Part 1

Deluxe Colt 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker Part 1

All that glitters isn’t gold – just the cylinder, hammer and trigger!

By Dennis Adler

The newest 7-1/2 inch model from Umarex and Colt has the same bright nickel finish as the first nickel model plus gold plating on the cylinder, hammer and trigger like the custom hand engraved Nimschke models sold by Pyramyd Air. As true to the original Colt lines as an air pistol can be, the 7-1/2 model fits perfectly in this handcrafted copy of an 1870’s double drop loop rig. The cartridge belt is for .38 Colt but perfectly fits the rear-loading nickel plated pellet cartridges. (Holster and knife by Chisholm’s Trail)

As far back as the 1850s, the Colt’s Patent Fire-Arms Mfg. Co. began offering silver plating and gold washed cylinders, hammers and triggers as options on their percussion pistols and early cartridge conversions. Gold plating (or gold wash) was usually added to engraved guns, but silver plating was not uncommon. Over time, silver plating wore thin on the high edges and tarnished unless cared for, but with the advent of nickel plating in the 1860s, the average revolver could be given an almost impervious finish resistant to rust, corrosion from gun powder (if modestly maintained) as well as providing a smoother, more durable finish than a blued revolver. Nickel also has a warmer color tone than silver and is less susceptible to wear and damage. For handguns, nickel had the added advantage of being much easier to wipe down and clean.

Following the Wm. Mason design for the Colt Single Action Army, Colt’s and Umarex have stayed as close to the smokeless powder frame design (introduced in 1892 with a transverse cylinder latch) as possible. The patent drawing shows the original design, now referred to as the black powder frame, which used a screw passing through the front of the frame to secure the cylinder pin. The nickel and gold model is the latest addition to the Umarex Colt Peacemaker lineup.

On the Rockwell Hardness Scale, nickel plating is around 40 to 45 HRC; heavier electroless nickel plating (which came into popular use in the 1940s), is 50 HRC. The HRC ratings, however, are based on plating over steel, not alloy; the hardness on alloy actually falls into the HRB (aluminum) category. HRC and HRB ratings do overlap, and the hardness of nickel plating on alloy is not significantly lower.

The nickel plated .45 Colt model that goes with this period-style holster is copied from one worn by a U.S. Cavalry Indian Scout (at far left in photo). Scouts were issued nickel Peacemakers because of the added durability of the finish. Indian Scouts often decorated the wood grips of their pistols and the stocks of their rifles with brass tacks.

Build a Custom Airgun

It was the proven durability of nickel plating that prompted the U.S. Cavalry to specifically issue nickel plated Colt Peacemakers to its scouts. This was also the reason a lot of cowboys preferred nickel over blued guns; they were easier to maintain on the trail, the flashiness of a nickel gun wasn’t always the foremost reason. Many lawmen also chose nickel plated guns over blued. Bat Masterson owned a total of eight Colt Peacemakers, all of which were nickel plated. Engraving, on the other hand, was pretty much a personal preference (and often used for a presentation gun). Well cared for nickel plated Colts from the 1870s and 1880s (which are very collectible, especially with factory engraving) have survived in almost 100 percent condition for more than 120 years. Today, original engraved examples easily command $10,000 or more. Even plain nickel plated 19th century Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Remington models cost thousands of dollars in excellent original condition. Models with gold or gold washed cylinders, hammers, triggers, and ejectors are even more valuable.

George Armstrong Custer was often in the company of his scouts on hunting trips and during his historic Yellowstone Expedition in 1873. His closest scout was Bloody Knife, a Hunkpapa Sioux who died with Custer at the Little Big Horn in 1876. Bloody Knife is seen at the left of the photo holding his nickel plated Colt SAA. The other scout also has a nickel plated Colt. (George A. Custer Museum of the Monroe County, Michigan, Historical Museum)

A new 7-1/2 inch Colt Peacemaker sold for around $18. Nickel plating was an extra $2 to $2.50 and gold plating could add another $2 to $3. The charge for adding a gold plated cylinder, hammer and trigger to one of the deluxe hand engraved Umarex Colt Peacemakers sold by Pyramyd Air is around $50 more than a nickel model.

In creating its superb CO2 Peacemakers, Umarex and Colt’s did not wait long to introduce nickel plated models, and late last year added a nickel and gold plated 7-1/2 inch pellet cartridge model stocked with attractive aged faux ivory grips and Colt Peacemaker medallions. As non-engraved handguns go, this is one sharp looking revolver and only $20 more than the all nickel model.

Umarex and Colt have delivered an exceptional 7-1/2 inch rifled barrel pellet cartridge model with the nickel and gold version. The faux ivory grips with the Rampant Colt inset medallions are the final touch to this handsome looking CO2 model. Extra nickel plated pellet loading cartridges (shown at left) are sold in packages of six.  

Nickel and Gold and Colt

Colt offered a variety of extras for its standard models including several grades of factory engraving, high polished blued finishes, nickel plating and several combinations including blued with nickel plated cylinder, hammer and trigger, and blued or nickel with gold plated cylinder, hammer and trigger. Gold plating could also be added to the ejector housing and ejector rod if ordered. If you had the money, Colt’s had the options. These same options could also be added at the customer’s request by specialty retailers like Schuyler, Harley & Graham in New York City. Tiffany & Co. was also a major retailer of custom engraved and finished Colts, S&Ws, and other premium revolvers from the 1860s to the mid 20th century. The nickel and gold and deluxe engraved Colt CO2 models from Pyramyd Air are very much in keeping with that tradition.

Packing a 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker was fairly common in the late 1870s if one had the $18 it took to purchase one. The Umarex Colt model looks right a home in place of the nickel plated 7-1/2 Colt .45 that usually goes in this holster.

In Part 2 we will look at the details of this latest nickel and gold 7-1/2 inch version and how it holsters and handles.

7 thoughts on “Deluxe Colt 7-1/2 inch Peacemaker Part 1”

  1. Well here is your barbeque revolver if you like gold. One thing I would change on this Peacemaker , and all of the Colt 177 Peacemakers is the medallion. It is weirdly placed, unlike a true firearm. I would rather have nickel screws and a small medallion on the upper portion of the grip. Nickel medallions for a nickel revolver and gold for a blue revolver. The Peacemaker is one area of the airgun market that should be growing faster with more finish and barrel length options, but Umarex appears slow on the draw. Haven’ t seen much changing for this year, but will see what the SHOT SHOW reveals

    • Some custom grips are still in the works for the Peacemakers. The Rampant Colt airgun medallions are wrong, yes, but they look nice in a modern fashion. A silver cartouche was sometimes added to original grips on engraved gun with the owner’s initials. Personally I prefer the faux ivory grips on the airguns without the medallions, like the 19th century guns.

      • ditto plain grips , but other than plain woodor poly ivory. Fleur de lis patterns , pearl staglite are nicer options. Medallions like Texas Ranger or US Marshal at the base of the grip are more authentic .

  2. Another thing about the Umarex Peacemakers is that , short , medium or long , plain or fancy , they are the most accurate pellet revolvers around. That’s my story and I ‘m sticking to it . Every shooter should own at least one. You’re a daisy if you don’t.

  3. This Umarex 7.5 inch nickel and gold Peacemaker, is it really plated with gold, or is it golden brass?

    In all, between BB and pellet shooting models, I have about 4 or 5 Peacemaker revolvers. I just got this one last week. I really like how it looks. I’m hoping to have time to shoot it this weekend.

    Now all I need is a 7.5 inch leather holster for it. The Western Justice Hand-Tooled Leather Holster, 7.5″, that is currently listed at Pyramyd Air is not anticipated to be in stock until February 6. The description says these will fit both Schofield and 7.5″ Peacemaker.

    As I recall, you reviewed some other custom leather holsters last Summer and said Pyramyd Air would have them in stock by Autumn. I haven’t seen them show up at Pyramyd Air. Do you know if Pyramyd Air still plans to get them?

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