I was given a Virginian Dragoon .357 with a 7.5" barrel that is in the box and was never fired. It was purchased by a friends brother who passed away. I need a pistol to take packing with my mule and horses. I had a small .38 that was never needed, but it got lost in a winter horse wreck in deep snow. I think that a smaller pistol would be more appropriate. Any Ideas on the value of this thing. It has the "Don't Tread on Me" with a snake under the grip.
All I'm knew to single actions and just bought a used Virginian Dragoon 45 Colt. It's been shot quite a bit but seems to be and fine gun. Is there someone or some place I can fine out exactly when/where this gun was made? Serial # is B31463. After some limited research I believe this is one of the later models produced right here in VA. I appreciate any info help you might provide. Thx.
Howdy. Welcome to the forums and we hope you can stay.
I believe the B prefix of your serial number indicated "blued" as my VD is a Stainless Steel .44 Mag with 7.5'' barrel. It has an S prefix.
Your gun was manufactured in Midland, Virginia, about 20 miles south of Manassas (if I spelled that right). The actual headquarters for Interarms was Alexandria, Virginia. Mine was manufactured in 1981, with the first two numbers being S22XXX. Due to your gun having a higher number, I'd place year of manufacture from 1982 - 1984. It's probably late '83 to late '84.
The Virginian Dragoon is a beefed up version of Interarm's Virginian revolver. The VD is differing in the fact that it has adjustable sights and is built in the United States, rather than being imported from Switzerland like the original Virginian's. It also has a beefed up frame to accommodate the .44 magnum round.
A good source of information would be Lee Martin's article on the Virginian Dragoon, which is a Colt Clone. I'm pretty sure by now you know of the Swiss Safety feature that is built into the base pin?
Virginian Dragoon revolvers were manufactured in the united states from 1976 to 1984, if I remember correctly. Common "engraved" versions of these guns are the, "Don't tread on me," "Liberty Forever," "Yorktown 1781 ~ 1981," "We the People 1776 ~ 1976," and "Sic Semper Tyrannus" which means Thus Always to Tyrants, the state of Virginia's motto. Chamberings include .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .45 Colt. Barrel lengths ranged from 4 5/8'', 5 1/2'', 6'', 7 1/2'', 8 3/8'', 10 1/2'', and a 12 inch "Buntline" model with Pachmyer grips.
Will, I appreciate your response. I'm not familiar with the Swiss safety you speak about. I'll read Lee Martins article and see if I can't find an Dragoon's owners manual online which describes the safety. Hopefully someday I'll be able to contribute something to this forum but for now I afraid I'll be asking more questions. Many Thx. v/r Scott
Put the hammer on half cock (second notch used for loading and unloading). Press the base pin release and push the base pin in so it clicks into the second notch. The rear of the base pin will now protrude from the frame to prevent the hammer from falling on the firing pin. You could carry six this way if you wanted.
Push the base pin latch in and pull it out forward into the first notch and listen for the click to verify that it engaged. To fire, the gun MUST have the Swiss Safety off.
Me, when I carry six, I'll load it up, put the empty chamber indicators on center with the hammer fully cocked, lower it back down to half cock, and then put on the Swiss Safety. When bambi steps out, just push in the base pin latch, pull the pin back into the first notch, and go to town.
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. I have had no such luck in finding an owners manual online, but if you do manage to find one, gimme a holler! I'd like to have a copy.
Photos of Swissafe on original Hammerli Virginian, but it is the same as the Swiss-safe on the Dragoon (all Virginian Dragoons were made in Virginia by the way).
Swissafe base pin in normal forward "firing" position
Swissafe base pin in rearward "safety" position
Swissafe base pin in rearward "safety" position as seen in the hammer slot, blocking the hammer
The Swiss-safe is not really a very practical shooter's safety. It's primary use would be to keep little hands from playing with a useable gun. In this case, the safety is even simpler to disengage since it will not be loaded. Simply depress the base pin catch while cocking and lowering the hammer. The lowering hammer will push the base pin back to its normal forward "fire" position.
There are plenty of the fixed-sight versions of the Interarms Virgininan Dragoon out there as well. I have a few manuals. I'll scan one and post it for you.
There were no fixed sight Virginian Dragoons.
The Hammerli Virginians had fixed sights like the old Colt 1873, however.
Thank you for the photo's Peacemaker. That ought to help anyone inquiring about the Swiss Safe.
It was primarily there for importation reasons. However, since the guns were being made in the US, I see no reason why it was added onto the gun to begin with. It's not a bad idea, really. If I remember correctly, some Uberti still use the Swiss Safe.
Edit: Forgot to say, thank you for taking the time to scan and post the manual. That was very thoughtful of you and I appreciate it.
Here is the lineup of models when they were introduced in 1977.
The 1978 catalog lists only adjustable-sighted models.
The 1978 catalog also shows what they call a preview of things to come- a photo of the soon-to-be stainless model. The reason I mention this is because there is what appears to be a photo of a stainless fixed-sight Dragoon in Mr. Martin's article you linked. So, while the fixed sights were available in 1977 (the first year), but not in 1978, but then again (apparently) on a later stainless model, it seems fixed sights were available in some later years as well. (My catalogs only go to 1978, +1980)