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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How to load and shoot a Colt 1851 Navy Revolver

I've talked a lot on this blog about the Missouri bushwhackers and their use of the Colt Navy revolver. They often carried several of these and would close with the enemy as quickly as possible, absorbing the one volley of the Union troops single-shot rifles and then opening up a murderous fire at close range. This tactic worked time and again. In my Civil War novel, Union militia captain Richard Addison begs his general for pistols to fight back against the bushwhackers. When they aren't forthcoming, he decides to raise the money in other ways. . .

The revolvers weren't perfect, however. They were extremely slow to reload, as this annotated video shows. This is why the guerrillas carried more than one, and often had preloaded cylinders in the deep pockets of their guerrilla shirt. Also note how much smoke these things create. I've talked about the fog of war before. Now imagine fifty bushwhackers blazing away as quickly as they could. Things would get pretty hazy.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. I'm sure that would be a really withering volume of fire, at least from a Civil War era standpoint. Fifty men each firing a shot every 2-3 seconds means you'd pour 300 shots out in perhaps 15 seconds or so? Messy business. You'd tear the guts out of a close-ordered formation of infantry pretty quick - literally.


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