Some of th e distinguishing characteristics of the Civil War-era
percussion Colts are the loading lever, which hinges down to
pack the bullet and charge into t he firing chamber, and when
finished, can be snapped back into place with a spring under
The M1860 Army had a cam in the loading lever hinge that would
not allow the lever to fall all the way against the barrel, should it
happen to unclip itself and fall during recoil, a handy addition from
the older 1851.
More than 200,000 of the breech-loading percussion revolvers
were produced between 1860 and 1873.
While the Army percussion revolver was set in .44 caliber, the
Navy version was set in .36 caliber, and was produced in smaller
numbers than the Army model.
The M1861 Navy had a shorter cylinder, and less recoil than the
M1860 Army, but otherwise was nearly identical.
Unlike its forbear the M1851, the 1861 had the "creeping" cam
feature on the loading lever.
Some of the 1860-61 models had fluted cylinders and arrangements
for an optional shoulder stock, but most did not.
The 1860-61 Colt revolvers had round barrels, while the old 1851
models had octagonal barrels.
All of these Colt percussion revolvers from the M1851 through the
M1861 were used heavily in the Civil War.
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