U. S. Revolving Rifle, M1855
This non-firing replica demonstrates the six-shot revolving cylinder system, complete with a full-length wood stock and working action. Overall length: 44.5''; Weight: 5.5 lbs.
The first repeating rifle adopted by the United State Government (Colt Model 1855 percussion repeating rifle) was a large version of the Colt revolver, but it never operated as well nor became as popular. It was initially produced in 1855 and came in calibres ranging from .40 to .64. It fired a conical bullet that came with a paper cartridge attached which had to be firmly seated into its cylinder by means of a lever-action ramrod. Cylinders came in five and six shot models and all rounds could be fired as quickly as the soldier could cock the hammer and pull the trigger. During the Civil War the War Dept purchased only 4,712 weapons -- a relatively small number. Though the rifle could be fired rapidly, it was much slower to load than other breech-loading weapons and it had the unfortunate tendency to fire all of its cylinders at one time, often removing fingers from the rifleman's forward hand. Although a few Southern units were equipped with this weapon at the beginning of the war, it is best remembered for its use by Union troops. The first weapon issued to Berdan's Sharpshooters were Colt Repeaters, but were soon replaced with Sharps rifles.