Gun Specifics:

  • Range of serial numbers: 1 – 14,000
  • Date of manufacture: 1855 to 1870
  • Total production: Approx. 14,000
  • Length of barrel: 3½ to 4½ inches
  • Caliber: .31
  • Weight: 1 pound. Depending on barrel length.

More Info:

The Colt Model 1855 Root Side-hammer percussion Pocket Revolver was manufactured from 1855 through to 1870. 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 Root revolver was Colt’s only percussion handgun built on the solid frame principle and featured a side-hammer, mounted on the right side of the frame, a spur trigger, a cylinder pin entering from the rear and one-piece grips secured to the back-strap. The Root revolver does not have a trigger-guard. There are minor variations of the loading lever catch, rifling, frame etc. throughout the production.

Colt Model 1855 ‘Root’ Sidehammer Pocket Percussion Revolver in .31 Caliber. AKA: Colt New Model Pocket Revolver

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. Examples are known with a silver or gold –plated finish.

A total of approximately fourteen thousand were manufactured in .31 caliber from serial number 1 through to approximately 14,000. They were manufactured from circa 1860 through to 1870.

The basic .31 caliber models (which overlaps and follow on from the .28 model) are as follows:

Model 3A: .31 caliber in serial range #1 to #1350; Hartford barrel address with pointing hand motif through until 26000, octagon barrel 3 ½ inch long and fluted cylinder. Nipples integral with the cylinder.Model 4: .31 caliber in serial range #1351 to #2400; Hartford barrel address without pointing hand motif, octagon barrel 3 ½ inch long and fluted cylinder. Nipples integral with the cylinder.

Model 5: .31 caliber in serial range #2401 to #8000; COL. COLT NEW-YORK barrel address, round barrel 3 ½ inch long and fluted cylinder. Nipples integral with the cylinder.

Model 5A: .31 caliber in serial range #2401 to #8000; COL. COLT NEW-YORK barrel address, round barrel 4 ½ inch long and fluted cylinder. Nipples removable.

Model 6: .31 caliber in serial range #2401 to #8000; COL. COLT NEW-YORK barrel address, round barrel 3 ½ inch long and cylinder with stagecoach holdup scene. Nipples removable.

Model 6A: .31 caliber in serial range #8001 to #11074; COL. COLT NEW-YORK barrel address, round barrel 4 ½ inch long and cylinder with stagecoach holdup scene. Nipples removable.

Model 7: .31 caliber in serial range #11075 to #14000; COL. COLT NEW-YORK barrel address, round barrel 3 ½ inch long and screw-in cylinder (which retains the cylinder pin) with stagecoach holdup scene. A few British proofed revolvers have the rare ‘ADDRESS COL. COLT / LONDON’ address. Nipples removable.

Model 7A: .31 caliber in serial range #11075 to #14000; COL. COLT NEW-YORK barrel address, round barrel 4 ½ inch long and screw-in cylinder (which retains the cylinder pin) with stagecoach holdup scene. A few British proofed revolvers have the rare ‘ADDRESS COL. COLT / LONDON’ address. Nipples removable.

Philip Boulton of Southampton, England has collated and recorded a survival rate of at least 3.84% of the original production of Colt Model 1855 Root revolvers in .31 caliber. For in-depth reference on Colt Model 1855 Root revolvers see ‘The Book of Colt Firearms- 3rd Edition’ by R.L. Wilson or ‘51 Colt Navies’ by Nathan L. Swayze. For values, check out ‘Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms… and their values’ by Norm Flayderman.

More Colt New Model Army and Navy Percussion Revolvers

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 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.

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.