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Now this is an interesting piece and is a copy of a Volcanic pistol manufactured for collectors in the past purely for display. The purpose of the pistol is to illustrate the toggle loading mechanism which works and was the mechanism that evolved into the famous Winchester underlever rifle. This is purely for display and is non- functioning. The loading lever moves the toggle mechanism as it should, and you can see how the tubular spring magazine works and eventually evolved into the Winchester tube magazine feed and of course that of other rifles and carbines.
This is a solid piece and heavy pistol that must have taken a huge amount of time to manufacture. The top strap is crudely stamped with the New Haven Arms Company and the patent date.
The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company was an American company formed in 1855 by partners Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson to develop Walter Hunt's Rocket Ball ammunition and lever action mechanism. Volcanic made an improved version of the Rocket Ball ammunition, and a carbine and pistol version of the lever action gun to fire it. While the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company was short-lived, its descendants, Smith & Wesson and Winchester Repeating Arms Company, became major firearms manufactures.
The Volcanic Repeating Arms Company began producing rifles and pistols in early 1856. These weapons used the “Rocket-ball” cartridge that consisted of a bullet with a hollow cavity in the base which contained the powder charge. A priming cap held the powder in place and provided ignition. The ammunition was made in either .31 or .41 calibre and was grossly under powered as muzzle energy was an unimpressive 56 foot pounds. Nevertheless this was an intimidating looking weapon and the precursor to many modern weapons and one of the first self-contained cartridge systems, the type of which is still being experimented with today.
The frame of the Volcanic rifle was made of gunmetal, which is an early form of bronze. Softer than iron, gunmetal was easier to work with and would not rust. Pistols in .31 calibre were made in either 4 or 6 inch barrels holding 6 or 10 rounds, respectively. This example has a 6” barrel. The .41 calibre pistol came with either a 6” or 8” barrel carrying 8 or 10 rounds. A Carbine was produced in 3 barrel lengths–16” holding 20 rounds, 20” holding 25 rounds and 24” holding 30 rounds. The ammunition was held in a tubular magazine beneath the barrel that was loaded from the muzzle end by pivoting the loading sleeve.
Two advantages the Volcanic had was a rapid rate of fire and its ammunition was waterproof. However the “Rocket-ball” ammunition was too underpowered to be considered a hunting weapon or a man stopper except at very close quarter. In addition, the Volcanic design suffered from problems such as gas leakage from around the breech, multiple charges going off at the same time, and misfires. Misfired rounds would have to be tapped out with a cleaning rod as the gun had no means of extraction as there was no case to extract.
Less than 2000 Volcanic pistols were made, and the low survival rate of this iconic weapon puts it into a price category that is beyond most people. This is an opportunity to acquire the next best thing, a copy, and a curiosity at a price 1/20th of what a real Volcanic would cost.
A SUPERB CASED 48-BORE JAMES WEBLEY PATENT 'LONGSPUR' (THIRD MODEL) FIVE-SHOT SINGLE-ACTION PERCUSSION REVOLVER RETAILED BY WEBLEY, SERIAL NO. 1374, CIRCA 1854
With blued octagonal sighted barrel muzzle and cut with three groove rifling, blued barrel wedge, case-hardened cylinder engraved with a band of foliage at the front edge and numbered from one to five, border and scroll engraved blued frame signed 'WEBLEY'S PATENT' within a ribbon on the large shaped inspection plate, case-hardened scroll engraved hammer and rammer, the former with chequered spur and the latter with blued retaining-clip, blued border engraved serial numbered grip-strap signed 'BY HER MAJESTY'S ROYAL LETTERS PATENT', blued border and scroll engraved trigger-guard and butt-cap, the latter with lanyard ring, and well figured chequered walnut grips, retaining most of its original finish throughout. Birmingham proof marks, in original fitted military oak case lined in green baize with accessories including a fine Dixon flask, a brass single-cavity 'WD' bullet mould, a combined loading rod and worm with attachable jag, Japanned percussion cap tin with Joyce label, and ivory handled turn-screw and nipple-wrench, original cloth bag of cast bullets and lubricating paste. the exterior with vacant shaped brass escutcheon and brass corner protectors.
The revolver is in fine mechanical order and a complete set of accessories is present. The lanyard ring and military style case would indicate a military purchase. At this time British Officers were required to purchase their own sidearms and this revolver was manufactured at the time of the Crimean War. The bluing is vibrant and contemporary. There is some loss of silver plating on the grip strap and one side plate as indicated and there are two burns on the lid of the case that my gunsmith says could be restored. The flask has some dents but not evident when present in the case. Overall a very attractive, rare and handsome looking set and an iconic revolver for a classic revolver collector.
The Longspur was short lived as the hammer although aesthetic was prone to damage which rendered the revolver inoperable as a single action mechanism.
This is an interesting and scarce Colt Dragoon with British Proofs that was assembled in Colt's London factory in 1853 and one of only 700 such examples. The story behind the London Dragoon is that Mr Dennet the manager or agent at Colt's Pall Mall office received an enquiry for .44 calibre revolvers and as they were not in production at that time in England, 700 partly made revolvers were quickly shipped in parts and finished and proofed in London. Only 500 were eventually sold and when Colt closed the factory ( after being discovered colluding with the Russians during the Crimean War!! ) the remaining 200 were sent back to the USA to be sold.
This is a 3rd model Dragoon and a decent example as can be seen from the photographs and has a good bore, distinct address and proof marks and is mechanically sound.
A scarce Dragoon!
This huge Adams patent self-cocking or “automatic” Dragoon revolver is in 38 bore (50 Calibre) and features an 8” barrel. These revolvers did not have a spur on the hammer and were fired double action.
The action on this revolver is exceptional and extremely fast, certainly as fast if not faster than a modern double action revolver!
The cased set features all of its accessories including the rare “tailed” mould. These early revolvers were made without a rammer and the bullets were simply pushed into the cylinder by hand and the hope was that the tail or spike behind the bullet would pierce the wad and hold it in place securely. This was not always the case and often the bullets would simply fall out of the cylinder leading to embarrassing or even fatal events. The revolver is in remarkably good condition with much original finish and is marked on the top strap with the makers name and address “Deane Adams & Deane, Makers to HRH Prince Albert. 30 King William Street, London Bridge”.
The revolver is mechanically sound and has good grips with a captive percussion cap container with a hinged lid. The accessories include a James Dixon powder flask, oil bottle, nipple key and turn screw, cleaning rod and oil bottle. There is a small bag of original cast bullets also contained within the box. There is no doubt that this is an original set as the good finish of the accessories matches the finish of the revolver. The English case has a vacant brass roundel in the lid and has its original key for the lock although the lock escutcheon is missing. It is very satisfying to find a complete cased set with the correct mould that has not been messed around with and without the later modification of a rammer addition.
For further and detailed information on this revolver read Taylerson’s seminal work on the subject “Adams revolvers”.
The Webley Bentley Wedge Frame percussion revolver is easily identified by its open frame with the barrel secured to the frame with a wedge key similar to Colt’s revolvers. Unlike Colt’s early revolvers however, Webley had already mastered, along with other British gunmakers such as Adams, the ability to interlink the trigger with the hammer and cylinder so you did not have to manually cock the hammer each time to rotate the cylinder. This double action or “automatic” method of firing gave the potential for extremely rapid fire and it would be some time before Colt caught up with this innovative and disruptive invention.
This particular revolver was made in England and exhibits English proof marks. It is a six shot 60 bore revolver with a good mechanical action. Everything works as it should. The grips are Walnut with decent chequering and the revolver has been profusely engraved with floriate engraving that includes the butt plate and trigger guard.
There is no retailers name on the revolver and the original finish has completely faded but nevertheless as the screws have not been messed with and there are no significant dents or dinks, it is a very pleasing revolver and would make a fine addition to any revolver collection.
There is a very similar revolver exhibited as plate 27 of Taylerson, Anderson and Frith’s excellent book “The Revolver 1815-1865”
The loading arm or rammer coupled with the flash shield on the top frame allow us to identify this revolver as being made around 1863.
This is a very good cased Colt Navy Revolver in 36 calibre manufactured in the London factory and stamped as such with British proofs and Colt’s London address. At this level the set would be difficult to better. The gun has a crisp action with a bright bore and much original finish. There is a very good cylinder scene with the silver plating extant on the trigger guard. The set is in the correct British case and contains the correct accessories including a Sykes stamped powder flask. The quality of the accessories is commensurate with the quality of the revolver and this is an exceptional set that has not been “improved” The finish of the revolver is original and rates at 90%. Were it not for some careless but typical marks and a light surface scratch around the wedge, this revolver would increase in value to the sort of money we see Texan millionaires paying in USA Auction Houses.
Colt believed that his London factory was the most important expansion of his business because of the potential sales throughout the British Empire and it is said that the examples made in the London factory were superior to those made in the USA factories. To research Colt London revolvers read Rosa’s seminal work “Colonel Colt of London”. Superior finish on Colt London revolvers included domed head screws, better cross hatching on the hammer and enhanced silver plating on the trigger guard.
It is little known or advertised that Colt’s British aspirations were destroyed when he was caught smuggling Colt Navy revolvers to Britain’s enemy - Russia at the height of the Crimean War and became persona non grata to the British Government. Colt closed his London factory never to manufacture in the United Kingdom again.
This is a very attractive cased London Navy and “ticks all the boxes” with great eye appeal and potential investment value.
This is an extraordinary , rare and exquisite cased percussion revolver manufactured by Joseph Fagard of St Remy Liege between 1857 and 1870.
The revolver features several superb features compared to the contemporary competitors of the time, notably Colt. Colt’s revolver is similarly an open frame revolver but to separate the barrel from the frame and cylinder a turn screw is required and something to knock out the wedge holding the two parts together. The whole process takes minutes, the frame was often damaged as a result, and the wedge and screw lost. Fargard’s ingenious method is a lever that operates a cam that solidly locks the barrel to the frame. A simple twist and the barrel and frame is separated in a second for easy cleaning or to allow a second charged barrel to be changed.
Other features include a spline spring on the arbor pin that holds the cylinder by friction, so it doesn’t fall out when the revolver is disassembled. The hammer features a positive safety pin, so the hammer does not need to be carried on a safety stop between cylinders.
Considering that Fagard patented this revolver in 1857 at the height of Colt’s popularity with Navy and Army single action revolvers , this revolver is double action and can be fired in both single and double action. The revolver has an integral rammer features a side hammer not unlike Kerr or Alan and Wheelock models introduced sometime later.
The revolver is nominally 54 bore ( .44) and is contained in its French style fitted case with a range of accessories. There is good rifling extant in the bore and the mechanics are solid and perfectly timed.
The revolver has excellent hardwood chequered grips that exhibit no wear and the frame and butt plate has profuse foliate engraving. The revolver is complimented with a German Silver foresight and rear sight and the makers name is clearly stamped on the top of the forcing cone.
The revolver may have been refinished in antiquity and I have an open view on this as the condition completely marches the accessories which include a powder flask, turned wooden cap box, mould and cleaning rod.
This is a very handsome looking gun of some rarity and I doubt I will see another.
An excellent revolver for the advanced collector looking for something different of quality.
This is an outstanding cased single-action, Kerr’s Patent single action percussion revolver made by the London Armoury Company of London. This company exported these sturdy, five-shot revolvers to the Confederacy in large numbers during the Civil War. Considered a secondary issue sidearm in the South, the cap and ball percussion revolver was also privately purchased by many Confederate officers for personal use. This revolver features the most popular 54 bore size (.44 calibre) with a five-shot cylinder matched to a 5½” octagonal barrel. Sidearm measures 11” long, weighs 30 oz. and has a one-piece English walnut chequered grip. The Butt strap is secured by two screws and has a lanyard swivel ring attached. An external side spring located on the left side of the frame behind the recoil shield allows for the cylinder to be removed. With the side spring held back, the matching long cylinder pin is removed, and the cylinder drops down and out. Loading lever is thick and flat with a rounded, knurled grip that secures to the bottom of the barrel.
These revolvers were designed with a unique side action lock that could be detached from the revolver to allow easy working on the lock and internal mechanism. I have seen many Kerr’s with broken mainsprings over the years, so this was probably not a bad idea. It is said that a blacksmith could repair a Kerr and blacksmiths are easier to find than gunsmiths.
Kerr’s were first produced in 1859 by the London Armoury Company, founded on February 9, 1856 as a Joint Stock Company whose primary investors included well known makers Robert Adams, Frederick Edward, Blackett Beaumont, William Harding and James Kerr, with Adams becoming the Managing Director due in large part to holding the largest number of shares of stock. Adams had transferred his revolver patent rights and machinery from a previous business as gun maker in the firm “Deane, Adams and Deane.” Kerr was Adams’ cousin and had worked with Adams previously at Deane, Adams and Deane. Located at 54 King William Street, the London Armoury Company first began production of the Beaumont Adams revolvers, but that enterprise was short-lived due to a conflict between the partners on the focus of manufacture of Enfield pattern 1853 muskets for the British government, as well as for private arms sellers. This decision led to Adams selling his interest in the company and stepping down as Managing Director in 1859. The company directors replaced Adams with Frederick William Bond as the manager and James Kerr as the factory superintendent. Kerr had recently been awarded two patents for an improved version of the Adams patent revolver (Numbers 2896 and 242) (Figure 10). The first Kerr Patent revolver was produced approximately March of 1859 and was tested on April 25, 1859 at the Royal Arms Factory at Enfield.
Details include “L.A.C.” and “a crown over a ‘V’” and “crown over ‘GP’” proof marks and the Lower right side of frame exhibits the engraved “KERR’S PATENT No. 8082” and the same number appears engraved on the cylinder with proof marks. On lower left frame to rear is stamped “LONDON ARMORY”. London Armory company is engraved on the lock This number (8082) is sometimes confused and considered the patent number but it is actually the serial number and is different on every revolver. This serial number is within the range that was exported to the United States in the American Civil War.
The five-shot, unrebated cylinder has all five original nipples that protrude from the back of the cylinder as well as five proof marks clearly stamped on the surface at the rear between the chambers. All frame screws original and not damaged. Mechanics are crisp and tight.
The revolver is presented in its original oak case with a brass roundel ( vacant) on the lid and loading instructions still extant inside the lid. The accessories are all present and correct and include a belted mould for the bullets, a Sykes patent powder flask, tin of Joyce caps and cleaning rod. There is a cotton pouch of original bullets that are contemporary to the revolver and the rare Kerr nipple key. There is a huge amount of original finish extant and this is the best Kerr I have seen for many years.
This is an interesting item! A Stevens New Model Pocket Pistol or Bicycle Rifle in obsolete 32 rimfire calibre.
The "rifle" has a detachable butt which has matching serial numbers to the rifle and is in overall good order considering it was manufactured circa 1888.
Overall the rifle has much original finish and is pleasing. The rear sight is missing its ladder which often was lost.
The rifle is accompanied with a copy of Kenneth Copes excellent book on Stevens Rifles which in my experience is possibly a rarer item than the rifle!
This is an excellent Marlin Model 1892 sporting rifle with the scarce half octagonal half round barrel. The model 1892 was the solid frame cousin to the Marlin Model 1897 which went on to become the Model 39 which is still being manufactured today.
This rifle is in obsolete 32/40 calibre with a bright bore and tight mechanics. Good woodwork and a pleasing patina and much original finish. One small patch of light pitting externally on the barrel where it was probably leaning against a dado rail but you need to look for it. The rifle is fitted with a tang sight and covered foresight adjustable for windage.
One of the most attractive Marlins I’ve had for a while.
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