Guns in History | Guns for Sale
The Colt Revolving Rifle
The Colt Model 1855 Revolving Carbine was designed in 1855, and was available in a rifle version. It was an early repeating rifle designed by Colt Manufacturing Company, and was based upon Colt’s existing mechanism of the Colt Dragoon revolver with a rotating cylinder. Due to design problems it was not used until 1857, and continued to have problems with ‘chain firing’ during the American Civil War. There appear to be very few Colt Revolving rifles left today. Those that do enter the market fetch nice sums among antique guns for sale.
Most commonly found are a Belgium version, the Brevete Colt Dragoon revolving rifle, manufactured with license from Colt from the 1850s through the 1860s. In 1873 an improved version was issued called the Colt Buntline repeating rifle. Today, the early models of repeaters are popular among collectors and interest is strong in these antique guns for sale.
The single action Model 1855 was available in .36, .44 and .56 cal. with four barrel lengths available in 15, 18, 21 and 24 inches. For guns chambered in .36 or .44 a six shot cylinder was used, while a five shot cylinder was utilized for the .56 caliber cartridge which had an impressive 360 grain round propelled with black powder. Some models featured sword style bayonets attached using the front sight lug. Ultimately the design flaw which caused injuries due to chain firing was the downfall of the firearm.
The 1855 Colt revolving rifles were used on the Pony Express by both North and Southern troops during the American Civil War through 1863. The guns in military hands were eventually sold as surplus for approximately 42 cents. Few survive today and when one turns up sells for about $11,000. If the gun can be proven to be tied to an individual soldier, officer, unit or the Pony Express the value can climb significantly. It’s easy to see the popularity of these antique guns for sale, especially those with a proven historical connection.
The Colt Dragoon
The Colt Dragoon that the 1855 Revolving Rifle was based upon was a .44 caliber revolver. Design for the U. S. Army’s Mounted Rifles that were also called “Dragoons”. It saw continued use during the American Civil War. There are three types of the Dragoon.
First Models: Approximately 7,000 first models were produced from 1848 to 1850. Serial numbers range from 1,341 to 8,000.
Second Models: About 2,700 Second Model Dragoons were produced between 1850 and 1851. Government records show an order for 8,390 Dragoons, remaining records show orders for a total amount produced for government and civilians in the range of 10,000. Serial numbers range from 8,001 to 10,700. Not to be confused with the Colts Second Contract Model.
The Third Models were produced between 1851 through 1861, with about 10,500 produced. Serial numbers range from 10,701 to 19,600.
In the West, until the development of the cartridge revolver the Dragoon was a popular side arm.
The Colt Dragoon is one of the most valuable of historical guns for sale today. Of note the Whitneyville-Dragoon was only produced for a few months in 1847 to 1848 in the limited quantity of 240. Only a small number were produced, and an even smaller number still exist, making them the most sought after of all the Dragoons by antique gun collectors. Both ends of seller and receiver tend to keep a keen eye out for these antique guns for sale. Their range of serial numbers is 1,101 to 1,340.
In modern times replicas of the Dragoon have been produced by various producers. It is one of the most commonly forged weapons due to its value. Though not all bring as much, in 2008 a .44 Colt 1848 Dragoon in pristine condition fetched $920 K from auction. It pays to have an antique firearm specialist inspect any potentially valuable firearms to ensure they are not reproductions or counterfeits before purchasing any antique guns for sale.
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