- 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 1848 Baby Dragoon Revolver was manufactured in Hartford from circa l847 through to 1850 with a total of about 15,000 produced. Serial numbers are found on all major parts and range from 1 through to about 15500 overlapping with the Colt Model 1849 Pocket.
The Colt Model 1851 Navy Revolver was introduced in 1850 and manufactured through to 1873. As many as 215,348 of this model were produced at the Hartford factory in Connecticut with serial numbers beginning at serial number I through to 215348 which is the highest number known.
The majority of revolvers were blued with casehardened hammer and loading lever. The grips were of one-piece varnished walnut or select burl walnut, ivory on engraved or special order guns. The most sought after grips came from the famous Charter Oak tree.