SOLD FOR: $3425
Model: 1855 Revolving Shotgun
Serial Number: 123
Year of Manufacture: ca. 1860 – 1863
Caliber: .60 Caliber
Action Type: Single Action, 5 Chambered Percussion Revolving Shotgun
Barrel Length: 27”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a silver metal bead fixed to the muzzle of the barrel.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are a two piece wood with a pewter nose cap, channel cut for a ramrod, two ramrod pipes, barrel wedge key, straight wrist, straight comb and metal butt plate. The butt plate shows patina and light erosion. The wood shows light scratches and compressions from handling and storage. The most notable markings are near the bottom tang; there is a repaired area with wood fill that does not move when pressed. Also, the stock has had two pins inserted into the wood in the grip area for strength. The top tang has had filler put around the metal to fit better into the stock, the filler is flush. The LOP measures 14” from the front of the trigger to the back of the butt plate. The stocks rate in about Very Good overall condition as repaired.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is dark. There is built up erosion in the bore and at the muzzle. In this writer’s opinion and for the age, this bore rates a 3 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases, the NRA standards disregard the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
Overall Condition: This rifle retains about 5% of its original metal finish. The metal has taken on a brown patina on the barrel, receiver, cylinder and bottom metal. The metal shows scratches, scrapes, scuffs, surface oxidation and erosion. The most prominent damage is varying degrees of erosion on receiver, cylinder and bottom metal. The screw heads vary from lightly used to marred. The cylinder turns for four of the chambers, and must be hand turned on the fifth. The markings are lightly fading, some are more faded. Overall, this rifle rates in about Fair – Good condition.
Mechanics: The cylinder turns for four of the chambers, and must be hand turned on the fifth, however, the action functions correctly. We did not fire this firearm. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: The Colt Model 1855 Revolving Rifle was a fascinating arm which was introduced only a few years before the American Civil War broke out. The gun had an action similar to the revolvers that made his company famous, but it was constructed in carbine, rifle and musket variants. In 1857 a small number of these guns were in service with the military (approximately 100), but when the Civil War broke out in 1861 orders for these unorthodox rifles started to roll in and many were commercially acquired by various formations (a common practice at the time). Thousands of these guns would ultimately see service, both sides used the gun but more were supplied to the Union. Afterall, Samuel Colt’s company was situated well above the Mason-Dixon Line, in Connecticut, and Colt was a commissioned officer in the Connecticut State Militia. The gun was used from the opening months of the conflict until the war ended in 1865, it was considered an effective arm by most of its users but the advent of breech-loaded firearms made it largely obsolete by the end of the conflict.
There were approximately 1100 Colt Model 1855 Revolving Shotguns that were made between 1860 – 1863 in .60 and .75 caliber. This particular specimen is a .60 caliber shotgun with a 27” barrel, a 5-round fluted cylinder and half-stock with metal buttplate. The gun shows its age, and there are some mechanical issues. Still, it is a neat example of a scarce Colt Revolving Shotgun and is one of the rarest models of Colt longarms. This is a great option for historical collectors. Good luck on your bid!