The 1860

The US Army desired to stick with .44’s. The next Colt introduced in 1860 used the basic Navy frame but was enlarged to handle .44 caliber projectiles by a rebated cylinder. It was larger at the front but stepped down at the rear. The powder charge for it was about 30 grains with round balls which dropped velocity to about 850 fps. Also the Model 1860, as collectors named it, got a one 1/4" longer grip frame and a more graceful appearance. Prior to 1860 Colt revolvers had a square look, after that they became more rounded in form. Today we would say their edges were “melted.”

A follow-up to the .36 Navy was made that way and became the Model 1861. Also pocket models were remodeled into .36’s by making them 5-shooters. For some reason these were made both square-looking and rounded. Both were called Model 1862’s.

Although cartridge-firing handguns first appeared in the late 1850’s in Smith & Wesson’s tiny .22 revolvers, Colt had to soldier on with cap and ball handguns until S&W’s patents on the bored-through cylinder concept expired. The company’s Models 1851, 1860, 1861 and 1862 all stayed in production until 1873.