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Colt Revolver Facts

by Carl Harper ; Updated October 25, 2017

The Colt revolver is one of the most recognized revolvers.

0859 - colt de collection (crosse en noyer) image by Michel Bazin from Fotolia.com

It was Samuel Colt's pistol (revolver) from the early 1800s that made him wealthy, famous, and a highly recognized inventor and businessman. The Colt revolver is one of the most used revolvers and has the standard 6 caliber with several barrel lengths. The physical appearance of the gun comes in multiple finishes.

The First Colt Revolver

Up until about the mid-1840s, pistols were single-shot muzzle-loaders that were fired by wheel lock, flintlock and percussion ignition systems. By 1835, Samuel Colt patented his own percussion revolver. The gun included a revolving cylinder drilled with multiple chambers (typically five or six), into which powder and ball were loaded from the front (combustible paper cartridges held the powder and ball). "In the rear of each chamber a percussion cap was placed over a hollow nipple that directed the jet of flame to the powder when the cap was struck by the hammer," according to Brittanica.com.

Finishes of the Revolver

The Colt revolver currently is made with two primary finishes on the outside of the gun. The two finishes include the blue finish and the nickel finish. According to Coltsmfg.com, "the blue finish is combined with a Color Case hardened frame," while the nickel finish "transforms the gun into a museum-quality example of American craftsmanship."

Barrels and Calibers

The original Cavalry standard Single Action Army model of the Colt revolver was created with a 7 1/2-inch barrel (which is still made). Other Colt revolvers are made with two other standard barrel lengths of 4 3/4 inches and 5 1/2 inches. In regards to the caliber sizes, the revolvers come in six standard calibers with the option of the classic .45 Long Colt or others such as the .357, .32/20, .38 Special, .44/40 and .38/40.

Other Revolvers

Since Colt's revolver was developed in the early 1800s, other revolvers have emerged including the Walker Colt (which became famous during the Mexican War), the 1873 Single Action Army revolver, and the modern classic Colt Python. However, according to Coltsmfg.com, "no Colt revolver has earned greater acclaim than the 1873 Single Action Army revolving cylinder firearm."

Fire Arms Manufacturing Company

Samuel Colt incorporated the Colt's Patent Fire Arms Company in 1855 in Connecticut, and within a year the company was manufacturing 150 weapons a day. According to Colt.com, his company "sold its product line through a small force of traveling salesman, known as agents, and between 15 and 20 jobbers who were actually wholesalers selling large quantities to individual retail outlets."

Photo Credits

  • 0859 - colt de collection (crosse en noyer) image by Michel Bazin from Fotolia.com