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  • Colt Model 1855 Revolving Carbine Six-Shot Rifle

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

     Updated: 5/15/2015; Authored By Captain Jack; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    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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    Colt Model 1855 Revolving Carbine Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1855
    Type: Six-Shot Rifle
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Colt Armaments Manufacturing Company - USA

    Design (Internal, Dimensions and Weights)

    Firing Action: Percussion Cap; Hammer-Actuated; Six-Shot Repeating
    Available Caliber(s): .36; .44; .56
    Ammunition Count / Feed: 5- or 6-Shot Revolving Cylinder (model dependent)
    Overall Length: 800 mm (31.50 inches)
    Barrel Length: 609 mm (23.98 inches)


    Muzzle Velocity: 1,025 feet/sec (312 m/sec)
    Rate-of-Fire (RoF): 20 rounds-per-minute (rpm)
    Typical Range: 1,400 feet (427 meters; 467 yards)

    Global Operators / Customers

    United States

    Model 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.