- Range of serial numbers: 1 – 30,000
- Date of manufacture: 1855 to 1861
- Total production: Approx. 30,000
- Length of barrel: 3 7/16 to 3½ inches
- Caliber: .28
- Weight: 1 pound. Depending on barrel length.
Colt Model 1855 ‘Root’ Sidehammer Pocket Percussion Revolver in .28 caliber. AKA: Colt New Model Pocket Revolver
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 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.
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 thirty thousand Root revolvers were manufactured in .28 caliber from serial number 1 through to approximately 30,000, circa 1855 through to 1861.
The basic .28 caliber models are as follows:
Models 1: .28 caliber in serial range #1 to #175 ; Hartford barrel address without pointing hand motif, cylinder with cabin and Indian scene, octagon barrel 3 7/16 long with full octagon loading lever, capping groove cutout on right recoil shield of Model 1 is 1/2″. Nipples integral with the cylinder.
Model IA: .28 caliber in serial range #176 to #384; Same characteristics as Model 1 with a longer capping groove cutout on right recoil shield of 5/8 inch. Nipples integral with the cylinder.
Model 2: .28 caliber in serial range #476 – #25000; Hartford barrel address with pointing hand motif, octagon barrel 3 ½ inch long, cylinder with Cabin and Indian scene. Nipples integral with the cylinder.
Model 3: .28 caliber in serial range #25001 to #30000; Hartford barrel address with pointing hand motif through until 26000, octagon barrel 3 ½ inch long and fluted cylinder. Nipples integral with the cylinder.
Philip Boulton of Southampton, England has collated and recorded a survival rate of at least 2.99% of the original production of Colt Model 1855 Root revolvers in .28 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 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 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 production of the Colt Model 1849 Pocket revolver in America commenced in 1850 and continued through to 1873. This was the successor to the Baby Dragoon and a total of approximately 326,000 ’49 Pockets were manufactured at the Hartford factory.