The Colt Revolving Rifle: Semi-automatic firepower, 1855
Samuel Colt is well known today as the father of the cartridge revolver but over the past 200
years, the company he founded has also made serious inroads into military rifle production, currently contracted to produce the M4 carbine for the Department of Defense. What you may not know is that Mr. Colt sought to sell the Army a carbine version of his famous revolvers long before the M4 was a glimmer in Eugene Stoner’s eye.
In the 1850s, the standard long arm of the time was the muzzle-loading musket. These guns took a well-trained expert shooter twenty breathless seconds to load and fire. Samuel Colt in 1836 patented his revolving-breech loading, folding trigger handgun named the Colt Paterson.
This revolver could deliver five shots in about as many seconds. After a series of sales to both the military and the discerning public, Colt began to explore the option of a rapid-fire rifle. Such a firearm could fire out to rifle range by using a longer barrel, but deliver the firepower of his proven revolver design.
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