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Antietam Cavalry Weapon

Colt Model 1860 Army Revolver

Colt Army Revolver


Manufacturer: Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company

Where made: Hartford, CT, USA

Model: 1860

Year(s) made: 1860-1873

1860 Colt Army Revolver

1860 Colt Army Revolver


This Colt Model 1860 Army revolver was manufactured from 1860 through 1873 with a total production of more than 200,000. It was a six-shot, .44 caliber revolver.

"The guns employed paper-wrapped cartridges, inserted into the cylinders and rammed with an attached loading lever which swung beneath the barrel. Percussion caps were placed on each of the nipples behind each cartridge. The revolver was valued in closer work and had a rapid rate of fire, usually used if necessary after the carbine ammunition was expended."

"The revolver [generally], until the advent of a metallic cartridge model, was not yet a refined weapon. The percussion caps could fly apart during firing, getting in between the cylinder and frame of the gun, jamming its action. Additionally, caps could simply fly or fall off, causing a cylinder to misfire. There was always the danger, too, that a single cap could cause a "chain fire," in which all six cylinders were ignited at once, possible exploding the weapon in the trooper's hand. Despite these limitations and possibilities, the trooper's sidearm was a treasured weapon and was particularly handy in close action where rapid fire is preferable and handling ability paramount."
(originally from the Buford's Boys site - now gone)

Employment at Sharpsburg

Most Federal cavalry units equipped their troopers with this sidearm, and many captured pistols were in use in Confederate units as well. This was often the sidearm of choice for Artillery and Infantry officers too.

Ammunition Used

Paper-wrapped .44 caliber cartridges, ball.


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