Common Guns in the Civil War
Colt Model 1849 Pocket Revolver
The first Colt revolver to be made in
large numbers was the Model 1849 in 31 caliber. Around 325,000 were
marked as made in New York or Hartford between 1850 and 1873, and
another 11,000 marked as made in London, England. More of this
model were made then any other Colt revolver in the 19th century. It had a
five or six shot cylinder with barrels in lengths of 3", 4", 5" and 6".
Some of these pocket models had cylinders engraved with a scene of a
Sometimes called the Baby Dragoon as a reduced version of the massive
Walker and Dragoon revolvers made before it. Its small size and
light weight suggested it might be carried in a pocket--a very big
pocket. Many were given as gifts to, or bought by, new recruits
going into the Federal Army who quickly found anything excess was
undesirable on long marches. According to
Hard Tack and Coffee, Virginia may have been littered with
these little pistols when the soldiers found themselves too hot, too
tired, too thirsty, too whatever, to bother with anything more then the barest
necessities demanded by their officers.
The .31 caliber revolvers can be lethal, but unless the first shot was
quickly fatal, these small guns were found to be too low powered for
serious military or defensive use. The mild recoil can make these
fun to shoot with a suitable backstop for the bullets.
It was loaded with loose
blackpowder and a bare bullet, referred to
as "cap and ball," or with paper cartridges.
Loading a cap and ball revolver is from the front of the cylinder.
It was fired with percussions caps. Misfires in cap and ball revolvers were more common than in the subsequent metallic cartridge guns.
It is available to legal buyers as a modern made reproduction
from Dixie Guns Works and others. For more information, consult "Flayderman's Guide To Antique American Firearms" by Norm Flayderman, or "Colt Conversions" by R. Bruce McDowell.
||11 inches, but depends
||1-1/2 pounds depending
||750 feet per seconds
||60 foot pounds
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