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After weather-resistant percussion technology replaced the less-reliable flintlock mechanism in the early decades of the 1800s, gun makers transitioned to percussion revolvers during the middle years of the 19th century. Percussion-fired models were the firearms standard until metallic cartridge revolvers came into common use in the mid 1870s.
In their earliest period of development from 1836 to 1848, Patterson and Walker revolvers based on Colt patents made up the lion’s share of percussion revolvers. From 1849 to 1855, when the simple single-action mechanism came into its own, percussion revolvers were adopted for widespread global use. They enjoyed the height of their popularity from the late-1850s through the 1860s, when innovations like the double-action method began replacing them.
Percussion-based rotating cylinder weapons were introduced to service during the Civil War and maintained their popularity before being abandoned in favor of newer improvements. Despite being relatively short-lived iterations, original percussion revolvers and the modern-day replicas based on them remain popular among collectors, avid shooters, and firearms enthusiasts.
In a 2011 Auction Arms sale, a replica Richland Arms Remington 1859 New Model Army percussion revolver in its original box sold for $177.01
A California Gold Rush-era Colt .44 caliber six-shot percussion revolver sold at Skinner for $2,489
In 2007, the finest-known example of a .31-caliber Colt percussion revolver sold at Rock Island Auction for an incredible $414,000
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