Soldiers in A and K Company of the 37th Illinois were issued this unusual weapon. It was designed and produced by the Colt Firearms Mfg. Company in 1855. It was submitted to the army for testing in 1857. Two models of the Colt were produced, a five-shot .56 caliber and a six-shot .44 caliber rifle. Designed after the highly-successful Colt revolvers it had the advantage of a high rate of fire from the cartridges held in the rotating cylinder. However, it was slow to reload and was prone to misfire. The proximity of the cylinder to the soldier's face made the explosion of the cartridge painfully loud. Lead shavings from bullets fired from an improperly aligned cylinder often spit back in the shooter's face. Finally, if all chambers in the cylinder misfired at once, the shooter risked mutilation as the bullets struck his hand holding the barrel in front of the cylinder. In spite of these shortcomings, 4,600 were purchased for use to issue to volunteer troops.
|U.S. Rifle Musket m/1855-1863||Colt Revolving Rifle (5-shot)||Belgian or French R.M. brass or bright mounted|
|Enfield Rifled Musket||U.S. Rifled Musket m/1816 altered to percussion||U.S. Rifled Musket m/1842|