Military Review

Colt's cap revolvers in the Russian Empire

A separate and very important issue is the presence of capsule revolvers in the Russian army during the Crimean War and their production in Russia. It is known that even before the bankruptcy of the first weapons enterprise of Colt in 1842, a group of Russian naval officers visited its factory in Peterson, New Jersey. So the first official acquaintance of Russians with Colt products took place. In Russia, these new products were noticed immediately, and after a while they were launched in the Empire. In this area, the famous gunsmiths of the Goltyakov, Pastukhovs, Zizhin distinguished themselves. They were not just copying the American design in the forehead, but introduced a number of innovations into it, aimed at improving the usability of the revolver. Subsequently, the release of revolvers was adjusted not only in Tula and Izhevsk, but even in Helsingfors (modern Helsinki, while Finland was part of the Russian Empire). By 1854, small-scale production of “American rivolver pistols” (namely rivolvers pistols, in the mid-19th century transcription of documents) was set up in domestic factories: “saddle pistol” or №1, “belt gun” or №2, “pocket a pistol with a 6-inch barrel, five-shooter, or No. XXUMX. ("Dragoon", "Nevi", "Pocket" according to the American classification).

Colt's revolver №2 Tula production (1850)

The most popular was “rivolver №2”, it was these revolvers that were produced in Russia most of all from the whole line of “Russian Colts”. This revolver had a gauge in the 3,7 line (9,4 mm), it used a cylindrical-conical bullet with a diameter of 3,8 line (9,65 mm), a length of 6 lines (15,24 mm), weighing 1% spool (7,92 g) and rifle powder, the charge used was the full 30 lobes (1,33 g) and the reduced 22 lobes (0,98 g).

In 1854, "belt-guns-revolvers" No. 2 began to be introduced in the naval department, 400 (according to other sources 300) revolvers were made in Tula for the guards naval crew, it is also known that the same revolvers were taken for officers of the Infantry Regiment of the Imperial Family, but there is no exact data on their release. Officially, S. Colt's revolvers were also adopted by the escort teams (these units were intended to escort prisoners, suppress riots in places of detention and external guard of prisons). Officers of other military branches could buy the Colts themselves at their own expense.

Based on this data, we can say that at the beginning of the 1850-ies. Colt's revolvers were not just widely known and popular in Russia and not just produced in the Empire, but were far from being in unit quantities among the troops. Thus, during the Crimean War, they were used not only in the armies of our enemies, but also in the Russian.

Colt's cap revolvers in the Russian Empire

Elements of the Colt revolver Tula production

Colt's revolvers, manufactured at the same Koltovsky enterprises in the United States and England, in sources in the XIX century. directly referred to as "patented", and they were sold along with the imitations of other foreign factories and produced in Russia.

On October 30, 1854, Nicholas I met in the Winter Palace with S. Colt and his secretary E. Dickerson, their conversation lasted 1 h 15 min. Colt presented the emperor with three luxuriously finished serial models - dragoon, naval and pocket. The piquancy of the situation was given by the fact that Colt came to St. Petersburg from England, where there was one of his factories, and the British troops at that time were fighting against Russia. The Russian army was in dire need of weapons. And of course, the interests of the Empire and Colt intersected, and Colt could offer not only revolvers, but also revolving rifles. In addition to the indicated persons, the meeting was attended by the chief of the gendarmes A. F. Orlov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chancellor K. Nesselrode. What was discussed during this meeting remains a mystery to modern historians. Most likely, the issues of arms supplies to the Russian Empire were discussed there, bypassing the embargo that was in force during the war.

Describing the production of revolvers in Russia, the famous Russian weapons systems specialist A.P. Gorlov singled out a number of their differences from American prototypes. “The curvature of the tracks (meaning the organization of rifling) in our rivolvers of the system of Mr. Colt is made equal along the entire length of the barrel bore, whereas in rivolvers of the product of Mr. Colt (patented) this curvature increases gradually as the barrel approaches. The change is made in our rivolvers so that it is convenient to clean the tracks from rust with a lead scraper. The curvature of the rifling of our rivolvers №2 is 1 / 8 turnover along the length of the trunk. "

В1854, at the Tula Arms Plant and at the very beginning of 1855, at Sestrorets Arms Plant, revolvers manufactured in the Empire were tested. They showed satisfactory accuracy on the 120 and 150 steps, bullets in the last distance easily pierced the 1,5 and even the two-inch (38,1 mm and 50,8 mm) pine boards.

After testing in 1850-s. Colt's revolvers were recognized as particularly useful "in the land service for people who have to act separately, or in small units against an unexpected attack, for example, in small and partisan wars, when serving on outposts, when escorting transports, during reconnaissance and, finally, in the war against the wild tribes. " In the fleet, such revolvers were considered useful in boarding and hand-to-hand fighting on the decks of ships, where there are many tackles and other objects that impede the use of cold weapons. The release of revolvers in Russia, of course, was not particularly large, but orders received from the state could be executed not only by state-owned factories, but also by private arms enterprises. They supplied these models to the commercial market. And their cost was significantly lower than the American one. Despite the ongoing war, the "Colts" in the Empire were produced and entered into service. And, judging by the peculiarities of the relationship with S. Colt, he was interested in Russia only from the point of view that he could supply the necessary arms to the army bypassing the embargo.
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  1. makarov
    makarov 2 November 2013 09: 07 New
    The material is certainly interesting. One can add one thing, that the history of weapons in the Crimean War is an "unplowed field". To this day, little-studied and without substantiated calculations.
  2. sandrmur76
    sandrmur76 2 November 2013 11: 44 New
    I found the trunk as in the lower photo in the middle in the cellar of my grandmother in the Arkhangelsk region. I wondered from what. There were thoughts that Colt, but something Russian would not expect. fellow
    1. 225chay
      225chay 2 November 2013 13: 16 New
      This is obviously the beginning of the production of multi-shot weapons in Russia
      1. alex-cn
        alex-cn 2 November 2013 14: 27 New
        revolvers, even silicon ones, did in Russia in the 18th century; it’s another matter that they did not receive wide distribution.
        1. anomalocaris
          anomalocaris 3 November 2013 13: 35 New
          The revolver was invented much earlier. Samples are known from at least the mid-16th century. Another conversation is that before the invention of the capsule, such weapons did not have special advantages over muzzle-loading, but the costs are very expensive.
  3. alex-cn
    alex-cn 2 November 2013 14: 25 New
    I thought that multiple-charge weapons in the Russian army appeared later, in the late 60s, and began with Smith - Wesson. Thank you for the article.
  4. Yemelya
    Yemelya 2 November 2013 14: 49 New
    Colt looks elegant.
  5. Sour
    Sour 2 November 2013 17: 22 New
    Capsule revolvers, of course, were known in Russia in the mid-19th century, but there is no evidence that they were mass-produced. Gunsmiths like Goltyakov and Pastukhov custom-made revolvers, including their own designs, but there was no mass production of capsule revolvers in Russia. Just because there was neither equipment nor trained personnel for this. Foreign-made revolvers, as well as Russian piece revolvers, fell into the troops. Mass production of revolvers in Russia began only with the use of unitary cartridges, with the development of the arms industry.
  6. uzer 13
    uzer 13 2 November 2013 18: 12 New
    This revolver is still little known in Russia because of the small number of weapons produced. In America, on the contrary, it was very popular. It was also accompanied by a 2-tin bullet bullet (similar to pliers). What else is the poor peasant (there they are called cowboys or farmers) is it necessary for complete happiness? There were plenty of tin dishes in the kitchen. Only stockpile of powder and capsules. Pay attention to the lever under the barrel, with it, the bullet was pressed into the drum. It seems that with this colt the era of widespread revolver spread around the world began , since it has all the signs of modern weapons. The next stage was the appearance of a unitary cartridge and related weapons. Colt closed-frame revolvers (Pismaker and similar) and the Henry-Winchester rifle were widely used in America. weapons revolver Smith & Wesson is a Russian model, the first release. The first batches were produced in America, and he was called Russian, because they There were small design differences from the American model. Over time, they began to produce it in Russia. From Colt, this revolver was distinguished by the fact that its frame opened like a hunting rifle.
    1. Sour
      Sour 2 November 2013 18: 30 New
      Quote: uzer 13
      This revolver differed from colt in that its frame opened like a hunting rifle.

      This was typical of all early Smith & Wesson revolvers chambered for the unitary cartridge. Such a scheme for extracting sleeves was called the "S.-V. system". Even hunting fittings with a drum magazine and a similar scheme for extracting the sleeves were produced.
      But self-cocking with revolvers in the States was not at first popular. As far as I know, the first mass-produced American self-cocking revolver "Colt Lightning" appeared in the late 70s of the 19th century. In Europe, self-cocking was already used in full force, for example, in France and Austria-Hungary.
    2. zub46
      zub46 2 November 2013 20: 53 New
      About Smith-Wesson. Issued under license in Russia. Interestingly, the sleeve of this revolver was in size a copy of the bottom of the sleeve of our three-line rifle. This facilitated the manufacture of ammunition for a revolver in artisanal conditions. The rifle sleeve was cut to the desired length, the used capsule was replaced by a hunting central battle (the nest required a small adjustment in diameter), the bullets were cast from lead. Gunpowder - which God sent - is at least smoky, at least smokeless. He beat such a revolver with terrible force.
    3. Ols76
      Ols76 3 November 2013 05: 41 New
      Smith and Wesson, the Russian model of the first release and subsequent releases had only a difference in caliber from the American model. Caliber .44 was called the Russian model. The most prevalent in Russia was the 3 release model.
  7. bootlegger
    bootlegger 2 November 2013 19: 07 New
    They showed satisfactory accuracy at 120 and 150 steps, bullets at the last distance easily pierced 1,5 and even two-inch (38,1 mm and 50,8 mm) pine boards.

    The step is approximately 70-80 cm.
    It turns out 120 and 150 steps is 90 and 115 meters.
    This is even beyond the reach of modern pistols. And what accuracy can one speak of at these distances at these retro pistols?
    Is there an error here?
    1. Sour
      Sour 2 November 2013 19: 21 New
      A mistake in the sense that the penetrating ability of a bullet is not directly related to the accuracy of the fire. This would be said about the dispersion indicators when shooting at a target of a certain size from a certain distance, then it would be possible to judge the accuracy. And here we can only say about the initial velocity of the bullet, nothing more.
      1. bootlegger
        bootlegger 2 November 2013 19: 31 New
        Well I do not know.
        It is written - satisfactory accuracy.
        So, at least, we are talking about the serious probability of hitting a target commensurate with a person.
        They didn’t shoot them according to elephants?
        1. Sour
          Sour 2 November 2013 19: 49 New
          You never know what is written.
          Once again - the ability to punch a board is not an indicator of accuracy.
          A simple example - from 100 meters to get into the board from a TOZ-17 rifle is easier than from a 12-gauge smoothbore gun. But punching the same board is more difficult.
          The author of the article simply unsuccessfully put it.
          And to compare, say, PM with these revolvers is not entirely correct. Different barrel lengths, different weight of gunpowder. And the first is more important than the second. If anything, the "Mauser" sighting range is higher than that of the TT, although the cartridge is the same. At a distance of 100m, when firing from a Mauser, the radius of P100 (that is, the circle where 100% of all hits fell) did not exceed 15cm, with a series of 10 shots. Generally speaking about the accuracy of shooting it is necessary to operate precisely with such indicators, and not with what thickness the board was pierced.
          1. bootlegger
            bootlegger 2 November 2013 20: 11 New
            Yes, I didn’t say a word about broken boards. There really is little dependence on one another.
            But if you compare this ancient design with a Stechkin gun for example, then there:
            Dispersion of bullets when firing single with the use of a holster-butt from a pistol brought to a normal battle:
            Gave. firing, m Middle stripes in height, cm Middle stripes in width, cm
            25 ---------------------------- 9 -------------------- ---------- 6
            50 ----------------------------- 15 ------------------- ----------12
            100 ---------------------------- 27 -------------------- --------- 27
            200 ---------------------------- 66 -------------------- --------- 63

            These are probably satisfactory shooting parameters. And note using the butt holster!
            So it surprises me, did these rough constructions give similar parameters?
            1. Sour
              Sour 2 November 2013 20: 19 New
              But the FIG knows him.
              Here about broken boards. And what dispersion indicators of these revolvers are not said.
              But I think that the capsule "Colt" hit quite accurately. A decent barrel length. Quite a large mass, which is also a plus for shooting accuracy, because less barrel drift when fired. Long sighting line. I believe that from 50 meters it was easier to hit the growth target from him than from the PM, for example.
    2. V. Salama
      V. Salama 3 November 2013 11: 51 New
      Quote: bootlegger
      This is even for modern pistols beyond the limits.
      ... Is there an error here?
      There is no error here. It's just that few people shoot from modern pistols at such distances - there is no need. And so it all depends on accuracy, skill, to a certain extent on the length of the sighting line, but this is already secondary. Penetration is influenced not only by the speed of the bullet, but also by the ratio of its mass to diameter ("lateral pressure").
      I saw a video on YouTube (it seems Bob Munden) - from a short-barreled (pocket) revolver it gets into a balloon with a diameter of 30 centimeters from a distance of 160 m.
      1. poquello
        poquello 3 November 2013 21: 32 New
        Quote: V. Salama

        I saw a video on YouTube (it seems Bob Munden) - from a short-barreled (pocket) revolver it gets into a balloon with a diameter of 30 centimeters from a distance of 160 m.

        What take was it taken from? Maybe there Vakutagin was sitting next to him in a trench?
        1. V. Salama
          V. Salama 4 November 2013 00: 38 New
          Quote: poquello
          Maybe there Vakutagin was sitting next to him in a trench?

          Anything is possible, but I think this is not the case. The ball was placed against the background of a slightly larger square shield - a clear bullet hole in the center, the area was open - if it was sitting, then with a sniper rifle in the back. In addition, I experimented myself for a while - this result does not surprise me, although I limited myself to 100 meters. In general, there are many miracles in short-barrel shooting. In particular, Bob Munden - it makes no sense for him to cheat, a well-known personality, even the military checked on special equipment - in 0,2 seconds, two shots at two targets from a non-self-cocking revolver from the initial position "weapon in a holster, trigger released". If you have time, type in the search engine "Bob Moonden", there are about a dozen videos, evaluate the reliability yourself.
          1. poquello
            poquello 4 November 2013 01: 55 New
            Googled Bob Munden that there is no speed doubt, it seems like he is in Guinness, and there is a commission. And with the distance there is still doubt, well, 160 is not 25-50 for the short barrel.
            1. V. Salama
              V. Salama 5 November 2013 14: 57 New
              Quote: poquello
              And with distance, anyway, doubt ...
              Obviously, I hoped that if you want, you can easily find the videos of his high-speed shooting, and after that it will become easier to believe, since speed qualities are much more difficult to train and, in my opinion (and past experience), the result of a long-range shot from a revolver is less surprising. than "speed". We simply do not have opportunities like them for such training. I didn't hope, but I could find the same video (there, on the old, the shooting range was different), type its name: Bob Munden - "Impossible" 200 Yard Shot
              Here, perhaps, I’m flogging a little - 200 yards is not 160, but a little more than 180 meters will be, but this, I think, is no longer important.
        2. anomalocaris
          anomalocaris 4 November 2013 06: 16 New
          Bob Munden is unique, like Paganini. Yes, and Vakutagin is the same ...
          I knew one man, so that one from a carbine! at 500m almost put a pool in a bullet. What kind of Makar he did it he did not understand.
  8. crambol
    crambol 2 November 2013 22: 41 New
    Quote: Sour
    different weight of gunpowder.

    Please note that gunpowder was black in the days of Ona!
  9. aszzz888
    aszzz888 3 November 2013 00: 15 New
    The film "Turkish Gambit" was linked to history. The artists "used" such colts, which is gratifying for our directors.
    1. Sour
      Sour 3 November 2013 16: 29 New
      Did not watch this movie.
      But I read the book and I know that the events of the war of 1877-1878 were described there. At that time, revolvers chambered for a unitary cartridge were already in full use, including by the Colt firm. The use of capsule "Colts" in the war in those years is about the use of T-34 tanks or Pe-2 bombers in a film about the Afghan war.
      If anything, in the war of 1877-1878, Henry-Winchester magazine rifles, as well as (regular troops on both sides) Krnck, Berdan and Peabody-Martini single-shot infantry rifles under a unitary cartridge with an all-metal cartridge, were already used (by Turkish bash-bazookas). Capsule revolvers then were far from the last cry of fashion. Weapon technology in the 2nd half of the 19th century developed rapidly as never before. Around how computer technology is now.
  10. Ols76
    Ols76 3 November 2013 05: 45 New
    As a true businessman, Colt sought to provide with his revolvers the largest possible part of the market, creating unique models for each group of customers. As a result, revolvers were created for employees of the company “Wales Fargo”, which provided the majority of cargo transportation in the USA - a smaller revolver “Baby Dragoons” with a barrel only 3 inches long. For gold miners, a six-gauge 31-gauge pocket model was developed. For sailors - a six-shot naval model of 1851 called “Old Model Navy Pistol”, etc.
  11. Versed
    Versed 4 November 2013 09: 06 New
    Russia still cannot create its own pistol, only copies of its Western counterparts lol
    1. anomalocaris
      anomalocaris 4 November 2013 09: 17 New
      Well this is a colossal fallacy. We created, are creating and will continue to create.
      By the way, the facts of copying to the studio!
      1. Sour
        Sour 4 November 2013 11: 29 New
        Quote: anomalocaris
        By the way, the facts of copying to the studio!

        There are no such facts.
        There are certain constructive similarities with foreign models. But absolutely any pistol has such similarities. On this basis, any sample of weapons can be declared "copying", it would be desirable.
        The widespread myth that the PM is a copy of "Walter PP" was invented by people who saw "Walter PP" only in the picture, did not hold in their hands and, moreover, did not disassemble.
        1. anomalocaris
          anomalocaris 4 November 2013 12: 06 New
          And I have repeatedly said and proved this with examples. Just silver carp get out.
          1. Sour
            Sour 4 November 2013 14: 12 New
            Of these silver carp, 99% do not know how to disassemble any gun, even a toy one. I think that they will not be able to make out a fountain pen either. And even the sledgehammers are not very familiar with the device, due to its too much complexity for them. But the desire, in the tone of an expert, to talk about absolutely everything - this cannot be taken away from them.
            1. anomalocaris
              anomalocaris 5 November 2013 15: 56 New
              Dear, here's an example of a silver carp, you can try to explain to him from what end the sledgehammer is being planted.
      2. Versed
        Versed 5 November 2013 02: 21 New
        TT with Mauser cartridge from Colt, PM from Walter
        1. anomalocaris
          anomalocaris 5 November 2013 15: 37 New
          M-dya ... You, the child, still study and study, as the great Lenin bequeathed ...
          You carry such nonsense of a mad nymph that somehow you are not drawn to answer.
          Just take the blueprints (there are more than enough of them in the set now) and compare "Colt М1911А1" and "TT", "Walter" (by the way, which one?) With PM. And then try to prove something to me with this seal.
        2. Sour
          Sour 5 November 2013 19: 17 New
          Quote: Versed
          TT with Mauser cartridge from Colt, PM from Walter

          PM and "Walter PP" have a similar appearance, but different operation of the trigger (especially self-cocking), different fuse operation, fundamentally different magazine fixation, different design and location of the slide delay.
          "Colt 1911" and TT have the same principle of disengaging the barrel from the bolt. And nothing else to do... The design is noticeably different. In addition, the TT has no fuse as a separate part, while the Colt has it - a flag, non-automatic, locking bolt. And the TT has a safety cocking of the trigger. Fuses are available in Chinese-made TTs, but they appeared in the 60s.
          Again, the principle of uncoupling the shutter (lowering barrel) not a Colt design... Much earlier it was used by the German firms Dreise and Bergmann. By your logic, "Colt 1911" was ripped off by the Americans from the Germans.
          And the cartridge "Mauser" is not clear at all why. Almost all samples of army pistols are designed for previously known cartridges. About 4 dozen pistol models have been designed for the same Parabellum cartridge. Cases when a cartridge for it is developed together with a pistol are rare. Maybe a PM, but it's more like a police pistol, not an army one.
          Better show your knowledge in the field of small business on the forums of pop music lovers. And here there are people who are a little versed in weapons. You somewhere heard or read somewhere from someone, but nothing more.
          1. anomalocaris
            anomalocaris 6 November 2013 16: 08 New
            Dear, this was NOT your question. I know that you are aware of the difference between PM and PPC, and TT from Colt. Just the figures fooled by our modern education system, what the hell can you prove.
            1. Sour
              Sour 6 November 2013 20: 14 New
              Quote: anomalocaris
              it was NOT YOU a question.

              So the answer was NOT YOU.