Gun Specifics:

  • Range of serial numbers: 1 – 1,000
  • Date of manufacture: 1856 to 1859
  • Total production: Approx. 1,000
  • Length of barrel: 15 to 30 inches
  • Caliber: .36 and .40
  • Address: ‘COLTS PT. / 1856’ and ‘ADDRESS COL. COLT/HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.’
  • Weight: 10 pounds. Depending on barrel length.

Colt Model 1855 "First Model" Sporting Rifle & Carbine

This model was the first production longarm made at the Hartford factory. It was manufactured circa 1856 to 1859 with a total of approximately one thousand being made serial numbered from 1 to 1000. Most are in .36 caliber with a few manufactured in .40 caliber. It has a six shot cylinder and a round barrel which is semi-octagonal at the breech end. The standard carbine barrel length is 15 inches or 18 inches and the standard rifle barrel lengths are 21, 24, 27 and 30 inches.

The barrel address is ‘COLTS PT. / 1856 and ADDRESS COL. COLT/HARTFORD CT. U.S.A.’. The cylinder scene shows a hunter firing at five deer. The walnut stocks are varnished or oil finished with metal parts blued with case-colored hammer and lever.

This model is easily identified by the oiler device which is attached to the left side of the barrel lug, the absence of a forend, the unique cylinder roll scene and the spur- type trigger-guard.

On early low-numbered First Models the markings on the barrel are hand-engraved in old English and read ‘Address S. Colt Hartford Ct. U.S.A.’.

For in-depth reference on Colt Model 1855 Root Revolving rifles, carbines and shotguns see ‘The Book of Colt Firearms- 3rd Edition’ by R.L. Wilson or ‘Colt Rifles & Muskets from 1847 to 1870’ by Herbert G. Houze. For values, check out ‘Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms… and their values’ by Norm Flayderman.

More Colt Hartford Longarms

The Colt Model 1849 London Pocket revolver was manufactured at the London factory from circa 1853 through to 1857 with its own serial range from 1 through to approximately 11000. The quality of the London Pocket was thought to be better than its American counterpart.

The Colt Model 1855 Root Side-hammer percussion Pocket Revolver was manufactured from 1855 through to 1870 in both .28 and .31 caliber. It was designed by Samuel Colt even-though it was named after Elisha K. Root who was Colt’s factory foreman and general superintendent.

The Colt Model 1851 London revolver was manufactured in London at Samuel Colt’s only manufacturer outside the U.S. from 1853 through to 1857. The revolvers were numbered in their own serial range from serial number 1 through to 42,910.