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Colt Model 1855 Revolving Carbine Six-Shot Rifle (1855)

Authored By Captain Jack | Last Updated: 5/15/2015

The United States government purchased over 4,400 Colt Model 1855 revolving carbine rifles during the American Civil War.

The Colt Revolving Rifle of 1855 - aptly named the "Model 1855" - was an attempt to provide the repeating action of a revolver within a shortened rifle form ("carbine"). Carbines were typically shortened-barrel forms of longer rifle counterparts and were suitable for use by mounted troops or second-line infantry (while also being a firearms category still in use today). The Model 1855 brought all of these qualities together in a handy, albeit less-than-perfect, design under the Colt product brand.

The Model 1855 arrived in three distinct caliber forms: .36, the .44 and .56. Additionally, the rifle could be purchased in four barrel lengths: 15-, 18-, 21- and 24-inches. If the selected caliber was the .36 or the .44, a six-shot cylinder was included while chambering for .56, restricted the gun to a five-shot cylinder. Regardless, combining the repeating action of a revolver, the accuracy of a rifle, and an ammunition supply greater than that of any musket of the day, the operator of a Model 1855 held a distinct advantage in a gunfight.

Externally, the Model 1855 was a departure from the rifle-muskets then in use and more of a glimpse into the world of long guns that made up the "Wild West". The carbine sported a rounded barrel set within a metal framework for durability. The cylinder was fluted and set within a closed-frame design. The firing action was of percussion and operated via a hammer fitted along the right side of the gun's body. The trigger was set under the rifle-style hand grip and protected within an elegant oval trigger ring. The wooden stock was curved at the butt to accept the shoulder when firing. In all, the Model 1855 was an elegant design combining metal and wood and offering clean lines typical of Colt products of the day.


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Specifications for the
Colt Model 1855 Revolving Carbine
Six-Shot Rifle


Country of Origin: United States
Manufacturer: Colt Armaments Manufacturing Company - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1855


Overall Length: 800 mm (31.50 in)
Barrel Length: 609.00 mm (23.98 in)
Weight (Empty): 0.00 lb (0.00 kg)


Caliber*: .36; .44; .56
Action: Percussion Cap; Hammer-Actuated; Six-Shot Repeating
Feed: 5- or 6-Shot Revolving Cylinder (model dependent)
Muzzle Velocity: 1,025 ft/sec (312 m/sec)
Rate-of-Fire: 20 rounds per minute
Range: 1,400 ft (427 m; 467 yds)
Sights: Rear and Front


* Listed caliber(s) for firearms may be model dependent if more than one model type/chambering was produced. Always consult official manufacturer's information or a licensed dealer.


Variants:
Model 1855 - Revolving cylinder; available in .36, .44 and .56 calibers; barrel lengths of 15-, 18-, 21- and 24-inches available; 5-round or 6-round cylinder depending on caliber.


Operators:
United States