Made in Connecticut: Colt’s House Pistol

Colt Cloverleaf

Colt Cloverleaf

Also known as the Colt Cloverleaf, the Colt House Pistol was a small 4-shot single-action revolver chambered for .41 short/long rimfire.

Available with 1.5″ and 3″ barrels, this gun was designed to fill the same role as a derringer: small personal protection, but with greater ammunition capacity.  The frame looks like bronze; there were nickel-plated versions available.  The blued versions, and the models with the short barrel, carry a high premium.

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The 4-shot cylinder had a unique shape which led to the “Cloverleaf” nickname.

Cloverleaf Cylinder

Cloverleaf Cylinder

Chambered in the same .41 short rimfire cartridge that Remington derringers used, it was not a very powerful round.

Caliber

Caliber

The 130gr projectile only had 13gr of black powder to make it go.  Translation: approximately 425 fps velocity and 52ft/lb of energy.  From the Wikipedia entry: “Cartridges of the World states that when fired at a hard object, such as a tree, from a distance of 15 yards (14 m) or more, the bullet often bounces off.  Reportedly, when shot at a target more than 20 yards away, the shooter hears two distinct reports: first the gun being fired; and second, the lead bullet striking the target.”  There was also a .41 rimfire long cartridge, which was only marginally more powerful.

.41 Rimfire Short

.41 Rimfire Short

Colt made about 7500 of the standard Cloverleaf between 1871 and 1876.  But they also made another version, with a 5-shot unfluted cylinder.

5-shot Cylinder

5-shot Cylinder

This version was only made with a 2-5/8″ barrel, and only 2,500 were made.  Yet the more common 4-shot version is more valuable.

Colt's House Pistol

Colt's House Pistol

There is a ding in the front sight of this 5-shot example, and it is bent over to the right.

Front Sight

Front Sight

I don’t know if that is accidental damage, or an intentional modification to adjust the point of aim.  The rear sight is a channel cut into the topstrap.

Sight Picture

Sight Picture

As a single-action revolver with a spur trigger (and no trigger guard), the action is pretty stiff.

Markings

Markings

I recall that a company made some .41 rimfire ammo a few years back.  It was expensive when it was sold new, and even more expensive now that there are a limited # of rounds left.  I don’t have any, so I cannot provide any shooting impressions.  I will keep my eye open at gun shows, maybe I can find a few.

It’s a neat little piece, and a part of Colt’s history here in Connecticut.

 

 

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