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Colt 1860 Army


This 44-caliber (Note 1) revolver was a god send to the army that required a lighter yet powerful and hard hitting pistol. The Colt 1860 was a rugged, extremely well balanced and a very reliable sidearm and at 2lb 11oz was far lighter than the 1848 44-caliber Dragoon that weighed in at over 4 lbs . It also boasted a new 'creeping' loading lever giving increased leverage and easier loading. The Colt 1860 was introduced in 1860 and was used in quantity by the Union Army and other armies throughout the world. It was produced in various quantities through the Civil War and far beyond, until approximately 1873. The Union purchased 127,157 of the revolvers between 1861 and 1863 at a cost to the government of approximately $25.00 per unit, a pretty penny in those days. The Colt 1860 Army was far more expensive than those made by Remington which the government were purchasing for $15.00. In 1863 the Remington '1858' New Army came into circulation at a cheaper cost and with the backstrap was an even more robust and stronger framed revolver. The quick-release cylinder was also a very desirable feature on the New Army. But the Colt 1860 had made it's mark and goes down into history as one of the guns that helped win the war for the Union and tame the wild west and frontiers.

Reproductions in most makes and models come with steel or brass frames or in stainless. To be historically accurate these revolvers were only made with steel frames. I chose the steel blued only for the reason of a little more authenticity.

The model shown here, in which I own has the fluted cylinder and was the early serial # version, of which approximately 4000 were produced. After several reports to Colt of original fluted cylinder 1860s 'blowing up' all later 1860s had a belted cylinder with no flutes for added strength. I also have an engraved belted cylinder as a spare. I think the fluted cylinder looks a lot better than the belted cylinder.

Note 1 : Designated as .44-Caliber, it is actually .45-Caliber, using a .451" - .457" lead ball




Caliber: .44 (~.454" lead ball)
Barrel Length: 8"
No. of Grooves: 7
Twist: Left
Total Length: 13.75"
Weight: 2.650 lbs.
Cylinder: 6-shot
Grip: One-piece walnut
Finish: Frame - Case Hardened
Barrel - Blued
Trigger Guard - Brass



I bought this to compliment the Uberti Remington '1858' New Army my wife bought me as a Valentine's Day gift (gotta love that). Just like the New Army, this 1860 straight out of the box has an excellent finish and is a top rate working reproduction revolver. It is also quite accurate as far as groups go at 25 yds.

I was loading this gun with Hodgdon Pyrodex 45/30 Pistol Pellets, but this particular gun shoots way high at 25 yards. I am now loading this with 35 grains of Hodgdon Pyrodex P and using a point of aim about 9" below the bull. I chose for this gun, NOT to use a 45-caliber lubricated Wonder Wad but ensure a generous application of Crisco goes over the Hornady .454" lead ball. As I have read in forums is that the 1860 has a lighter hammer than the Remington New Army and this definitely seems to be the case. Because of this I use Remington #10 percussion caps (pinched slightly for a firmer fit on the nipple) as the CCIs tend to require a more solid hit to ignite and using the Remington caps I have not had any misfires to date. I do not use the Pietta loading jig on this gun but load using the loading lever on the gun using a Traditions loading stand. It is hinged so it fits in my range box better. It really helps having that third hand and it also can double as a display stand. It really is a pain without a jig when loading this gun. Of course for safety on both my blackpowder pistols I always cap off the top of each cylinder with muzzleloader lube or Crisco as a much cheaper alternative to help prevent chain fires and add some additional lubrication.

I have noticed when comparing the Colt to the Remington is the Colt feels to be a better balanced gun to hold and shoot. Also the Colt 1860, when compared to the 'Remmie' has a little more room to comfortably hold the gun for people with large hands. With that said I enjoy shooting the Remington better but that is only my personal preference and really both are a lot of fun to shoot and having fun is the name of the game for me.

Overall this gun represents a good 'bang for the buck' (no pun intended - well, really it was) at $250 and I am sure by treating it right and cleaning it thoroughly after each and every use will give years of shooting enjoyment.

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