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Colt 1860 Army 44 Caliber Revolver


Colt 1860 Army Revolver. Overall Fair-Good, Not original cylinder.

Type: Revolver
Place of origin: United States
Service history: Wars American Civil War
Production history :Manufacturer Colt's Manufacturing Company
Produced: 1860 to 1873
Number built: Over 200,000

Weight: 43 oz (1219 g)
Length: 14 in (355.6 mm)
Barrel length: 8 in (203.2 mm)
Height: 5.25 in (133.35)
Cartridge: Paper-wrapped .44 caliber round ball (paper cartridge)
Caliber: .44
Action Percussion: Feed system: 6 round cylinder

The Colt Army Model 1860 was a muzzle-loaded cap & ball .44-caliber revolver used during the American Civil War. It was favored as a side arm by cavalry, infantry, and artillery troops.

The Colt 1860 Army uses the same size frame as the .36 caliber 1851 Navy revolver. The frame is relieved to allow the use of a rebated cylinder that enables the Army to be chambered in .44 caliber. Also, the barrel on the 1860 Army has a forcing cone that is visibly shorter than that of the 1851 Navy, allowing the Army revolver to have a longer cylinder.

More than 200,000 were manufactured from 1860 through 1873. Colt's biggest customer was the US Government with over 127,000 units being purchased and issued to the troops. The weapon was a single-action, six-shot weapon accurate up to 75 to 100 yards, where the fixed sights were typically set when manufactured. The rear sight was a notch in the hammer, clearly visible only when the revolver was cocked.

The Colt .44-caliber ďArmy" Model was one of the most widely used revolvers of the Civil War. It was the revolver of choice for officers, artillerymen, and cavalrymen. The Colt .44 had a six-shot, rotating cylinder. It fired a 0.454-inch diameter round lead ball, or a conical projectile, that was propelled by a 30 grain charge of black powder ignited by a brass percussion cap that was struck by the hammer. When fired, balls had a muzzle velocity of about 750 feet per second.

Loading is a somewhat lengthy process, with each of the six chambers drilled into the revolving cylinder being loaded from the front, or "muzzle" end. A measured amount of black powder is poured into a chamber. Next a lead ball is placed at the opening of the chamber and seated by firmly pressing it in with the pivoting loading lever which is attached beneath the barrel of the revolver. For sealing each chamber, an over-size 0.454-inch diameter lead ball would be trimmed slightly by the loading ram to enter the chamber. Today, most shooters place a lubricated wad between balls and powder, or, alternatively, pack lard or a commercially-sold bore lubricant at the mouth of each chamber to prevent powder in one chamber from being ignited when another is fired, which is known as a chainfire. At the time the Colt model 1860 was originally used, shooters most often used pre-made paper cartridges. These cartridges consisted of a pre-measured load of blackpowder and a ball wrapped in flammable paper. To load each chamber, one only had to slip the cartridge in the chamber, seat the ball with the loading lever ram, and break open the paper wrapper by poking a small stick or needle through the fire hole (nipple) at the rear of the chamber. Finally, a percussion cap is placed on the hole, called a nipple, at the end of the chamber. At the time that this gun was manufactured, it cost the army around $20 per gun, which was rather expensive for the time.

The Colt "Army" revolver is to be distinguished from the Colt "Navy" revolver of which there were two models, the octagonal barrel Model 1851 Navy, and the round-barreled Model 1861 Navy, both Navy models being in the smaller .36-caliber. Replica Navy revolvers sold today are often sold in the historically-incorrect .44-caliber; originally, all Navy revolvers were only manufactured in .36-caliber.

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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 19 December, 2007.

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