peashooter85: The Colt Ring Lever revolving rifle, Shortly…


The Colt Ring Lever revolving rifle,

Shortly after the success of the Colt Paterson, Samuel Colt decided to take his revolver design and and enter the rifle market.  The Colt Ring Lever rifle was an early revolving rifle produced in limited numbers by Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company out of Paterson, New Jersey.  An oddity of firearms designs, the Ring Lever was kinda sort of a lever action revolver.  Rotating the cylinder was done by pulling back on a ring located at the front of the trigger.  This also cocked an internal hammer for the next shot.  Using an eight shot cylinder, they were chambered in .34, .36, .38, and, .40, and.44 calibers.

The Colt Ring Lever rifle was produced in two models.  Being a cap and ball revolver, the Ring Lever was loaded by hand with black powder, a bullet, and a percussion cap.  In order to load the First Model, which utilized a top strap and lacked an indentation from which to place percussion caps, the barrel had to be completely removed.  The Second Model improved upon the design by using an open top design so that the cylinder could be removed if needed, featured an indentation so that nipples could be easily capped, and featured a loading lever (something common with all future Colt cap and ball designs).  Finally, the Second Model was available in .44 caliber only.

200 of the First Model were produced and 300 of the Second Model were produced between 1837 and 1841.  Colt sold 100 to the US Army at the whopping price of $125 per rifle.  Most were issued to soldiers in the Seminole Wars, were the design was found to be prone to malfunction and was too fragile.  Regardless most soldiers found having the rifle to be an advantage over single shot muzzleloaders.  Another 100 were sold to the Texas Navy, and another 300 sold to the government in order to arm settlers of the Florida Territory.