Colt Lord Derringer Set 22 Short Fourth Model Set of 2 Consecutive Serial Numbers
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 Derringers 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.