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The very first firearm ever manufactured by Samuel Colt was a rifle!

Although Colt is known the world over for its legendary handguns, it has an equally impressive history in long arms dating back to the 1830s, the Mexican-American War in the late 1840s and the Civil War. The repeating or Colt’s revolving cylinder rifle had its origins in Paterson, New Jersey, around 1835.

In the 1830s, the U.S. military was armed with single-shot flintlock and percussion-lock pistols, smoothbore and rifled muskets, and percussion-lock, double-barrel shotguns. Samuel Colt proposed to replace them all with multi-shot, revolving-cylinder weapons—from belt pistols to shotguns—all based on his original 1835 and 1836 patents for the revolving-cylinder pistol. While Colt’s investors had been anticipating a small pocket-model revolver to be introduced, young Sam dismayed his New York backers with a massive revolving rifle. The first gun put into production at Paterson was the No. 1 Ring Lever rifle. Both the No.1 and improved No. 2 models are fascinating designs.

First Options
The No. 1 Ring Lever was available in a wide variety of chamberings, including .34, .36, .38, .40 and .44 calibers, and with eight- or 10-shot cylinders. The No. 1 was generally offered with one barrel length, 32 inches, though shorter lengths were made, and some were later restocked as horse pistols carried in pommel holsters, with their barrels shortened to 10.44 inches. Within the first model series, it is estimated that no more than 200 were manufactured. Replaced by the No. 2 model, the Paterson was now available in eight- and 10-shot, .44-caliber versions and two standard barrel lengths, 28 and 32 inches. More popular than its predecessor, a total of approximately 500 were built between 1838 and 1841.

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