The Colt Breech-Loading Revolver

The Engineer, 16 July 1869


Comparative Trials

Colt Breech-Loading Revolver

Last Saturday afternoon a trail of the new Colt system of breech-loading revolvers took place at the Crystal Palace. The accompanying engraving will clearly show the nature of the new arm. Fig. 1 shows the whole pistol, Fig. 2 the breech disc, and Fig. 3 a section of the cartridge shell. In converting an ordinary muzzle loading Colt to a breech-loader, all that is necessary is to cut off the rear end of the chamber with the nipples and to substitute the disc shown in Fig. 2. This disc contains both the striker and the extractor. There is nothing remarable in the striker, which is merely an ordinary pin, but the extractor requires some explanation. The cartridges are inserted from the front as the old skin cartridges were, and when fired the cartridges are extracted as follows:- First of all, the disc itself is rotated a short distance by the projecting luc c until the head d of the extractor arrives under the hammer, where the striker was previously. If now the trigger be pulled the hammer will drive forward the head of the striker and the small bar hinged at e, and at the same time cause the extractor b to strike smartly the base of the shell, and so drive it forward out of the chamber. The spring f returns the extractor when the hammer is raised. We have not seen the new system thoroughly tried, and therefore we cannot express an opinion as to its success, but at present we are not inclined to think that it is the most simple contrivance that could have been suggested.


The Cartridges For
Colt's Breech-Loading Pistol

The Engineer, 20 August 1869


Cartridge loadingIn our number of July 16 we gave an illustration of the new system of breech-loading in connection with the Colt Fire-arms Company's pistols. We now engrave the apparatus employed in re-charging the old cartridge cases or filling new ones. We will assume that we have to re-cap and load an old case. The first thing we have to do is remove the cylinder from the pistol and screw the plug A into the end of the rammer. We then replace the barrel on the frame of the pistol, but omitting the cylinder, instead of which we insert the part B in such a manner that its base will be where the rear of the cylinder was.

Having removed the exploded cap from the shell with the small end of the pouch C (which should be done as soon as possible after the cartridge is fired, that corrosion may not cause it to stick), we fit the shell over the stud a, place over the top of the shell the cap guide a' and drop a new cap into the hole in the cap guide a'. Then the stud a is brought under the rammer and the cap pushed into its place with the plug A, worked by the rammer.

The plug A is next to be removed from the rammer. We then drop the capped shell into the tube b, fill it with powder, and place a lubricating wad over the powder. Then the ball-guide b' is placed on and the bullet inserted, after which b' is brought under the rammer and the bullet pushed into its place. Should the case stick in b or b' it may be loosened with the large end of the punch C.