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Another rare and interesting revolver! This is an antique Plant’s Mfg. Co. Revolver, made circa 1864 in New Haven, Connecticut. Makers of revolvers during the American Civil War had three choices:
1) they could take their chances violating the Smith & Wesson owned Rollin White Patent for the concept of a “bored through cylinder” to accept metallic cartridges. Those that did were invariably sued.
2) they could continue to make percussion guns with all of their disadvantages until the Smith and Wesson patent expired.
3) they could invent their own concept that was both an improvement over percussion guns and circumvented the Rollin White Patent. This is the option that Plant’s Mfg Co chose.
Plant’s Mfg. Co. was financed and represented by the famed firearms agents Merwin & Bray, hence their name on the top of the barrel which is extant but faint. Their revolver featured a “cup-primed” and front-loading concept, which was among the best attempts to get around S&W’s 12-1/2-year stronghold on cartridge revolvers. Although there was some advertising stating government purchase this is not confirmed but Soldiers were able to privately purchase any firearm for their own use during the Civil War.
This massive and rare pistol is the Werder pistol model 1869 in obsolete 11.5 mm calibre. This was an infantry and light cavalry falling block pistol, invented by Johann Ludwig Werder in Bavaria and based on his rifle design of 1868. It was one of the first centre fire pistols to be adopted for use by a European military force. This pistol was introduced during the transition from percussion pistols to self-contained metallic cartridges and in interesting on many levels.
Although it was originally known as the "Bavarian Lightning pistol" because of its rate of fire, the Werder pistol proved too heavy for practical use. The rate of fire was said to be 20 rounds a minute and it occurred to me that this was quite ambitious. For pure interest I considered that I was sheltering behind my horse and using either a revolver with a loading gate and this pistol and timed myself loading it. The conclusion that I reached was that if an enemy was advancing and you had a cool head, the Werder would outshoot the revolver every time in respect of speed of loading once you achieved proficiency with it.
With typical Teutonic efficiency the pistol is stamped with a plethora of matching serial numbers on every part easily or not so easily reached including screw heads and inside of the trigger guard.
There is some original colour but mostly mellowed to a plum platina, the cavalry cartouches are still evident on the butt and the screws are all clean and not messed with. The bore is clean and the mechanics are excellent.
To fire the pistol the hammer on the right of the frame is pulled back and the trigger pulled. The front trigger is then pressed with the trigger finger and the Martini style breech then opens with some violence to extract the spent cartridge ready for reloading. You can easily see that this form of pistol would later evolve into the modern slab sided automatic pistols such as the Bergmann and Mauser C96.
This is only the third Werder I have offered for sale in forty years.
A very interesting and rare martial firearm that really is anachronistic for its time.
This is a very good example of a very early square back trigger guard Colt Navy revolver manufactured in 36 calibre.
In Patrick Swayze's excellent Tome titled "51 Colt Navies published in 1967 he states
The design of the square back trigger guard was probably made with the question of appearance alone in mind, for it certainly does not does not seem to have any useful or practical value. In fact, it would seem that such a design would be highly impractical because of the chances of the pointed rear of the trigger guard proper becoming fouled in the holster, or pocket, from which it was being drawn. The square back design is attributed to Colonel Talcot of the Ordnance Department of the U.S. Army, who seemed to have a fondness of the symmetry and beauty of the design. Since Colonel Talcot had much to do with the purchase of handguns for U. S. Army - a potential purchase of some size - Sam Colt was certainly one to cater to the whims of those who could help him sell his handguns; so the square back trigger guard it was! The story is that when Colonel Talcot was convicted by a court(s) martial, Colt immediately discontinued his production of the square back design and changed to the small rounded trigger guard.
This particular revolver has an excellent bore, and is mechanically sound with all matching serial numbers on the arbour, rammer, butt, frame and cylinder. The wedge has a different number but is contemporary and with a number close to the revolver.
The action is tight and although the finish is faded away there is some silver plating extant in protected areas. The revolver has a strong mainspring and cocks and locks perfectly, the latch spring on the rammer is particularly tight. There is evidence of the cylinder safety stops and they have not been totally worn away as is often seen. My view is this was a working gun that was well looked after by the state of the bore and I would say that it could have been issued to some official body.
There is an inspectors stamp "G" below the frame serial number stamp.
The 7.5" barrel is roll stamped with the early address
"-Address Saml Colt -New-York City-"
The I of the city is extant and this indicates an early revolver as this eventually wore out and examples stamped C TY are not unusual.
The brass square back trigger guard indicates it is one of less than 1000 manufactured and given survival rates is a difficult Colt to find for any collection.
Expect to pay at least 50% more for an example with any original finish left.
A desirable revolver.
The Remington Model 95 is a double-barrel pocket pistol commonly recognised as a derringer. The design was little changed during a production run of nearly 70 years through several financial reorganisations of the manufacturer causing repeating serial number sequences. Guns were offered with engraving or plain blued or nickel-plated finish with grips of metal, walnut, rosewood, hard rubber, ivory or pearl. The earliest production had no extractors and have E. REMINGTON & SONS, ILION, N.Y. stamped on the right side of the barrel and ELLIOT'S PATENT DEC. 12, 1865 stamped on the left side of the barrel. These inscriptions were swapped to opposite sides of the barrel when extractors were added in 1869. In 1880, the inscription was changed to E. REMINGTON & SONS, ILION, N.Y. ELLIOT'S PATENT DEC. 12th 1865,and placed atop the barrel rib. The barrel rib top inscription changed to REMINGTON ARMS CO. ILION N.Y. in 1888 and again to REMINGTON ARMS U.M.C. CO. ILION, N.Y.in 1910
This particular example is the pattern introduced in 1888 identified by the inscription on the top rib. This is a very good example and lacks some of the inherent faults often seen. The bore is clean which is good as the .41 rimfire cartridge used was notorious for creating corrosion in the barrels if not cleaned because of their high mercury content. I have seen many excellent looking pistols with awful bores. Another issue is cracked and repaired hinges which this example does not suffer from.
This is a nickel plated pistol with more than 90% of the finish extant as can be seen and with excellent grips. A very attractive and handsome looking example of an iconic gun reputed to be favoured by gamblers and “loose” women as they are very easily concealed.
Please see my notes on the Werndl rifle.
This is a good model 1878 Carbine with the later internal hammer, modified lock and breech.
Good stock and mechanically sound, an interesting Carbine that was still in use by secondary troops during WW1.
The Werndl rifle and its development.
The Werndl rifle was adapted as a consequence of the first war between two major continental powers in seven years.
The Prussian Army used von Dreyse's breech-loading needle gun, which could be rapidly loaded while the soldier was seeking cover on the ground, whereas the Austrian muzzle-loading Lorenz rifles could only be loaded slowly, and generally from a standing position.
The main campaign of the war occurred in Bohemia. Prussian Chief of General Staff Helmuth von Moltke had planned meticulously for the war.
He rapidly mobilized the Prussian army and advanced across the border into Saxony and Bohemia, where the Austrian army was concentrating for an invasion of Silesia. There, the Prussian armies, led nominally by King William I, converged, and the two sides met at the Battle of Königgrätz (Hradec Králové) on 3 July. The Prussian Elbe Army advanced on the Austrian left wing, and the First Army on the centre, prematurely; they risked being counter-flanked on their own left. Victory therefore depended on the timely arrival of the Second Army on the left wing. This was achieved through the brilliant work of its Chief of Staff, Leonhard Graf von Blumenthal. Superior Prussian organization and élan decided the battle against Austrian numerical superiority, and the victory was near total, with Austrian battle deaths nearly seven times the Prussian figure. Austria rapidly sought peace after this battle.
Traditionally the Austrian tactics were to present a long skirmish line, which attacked with the bayonet. In contrast the Prussians latest strategy presented smaller units who held their ground with volley fire. During the earlier Franco Prussian War it was believed by the French that the Dreyse fired high, so a charge had a potential successful outcome, but this intelligence was vastly overrated by the Hapsburg Army.
During the first twenty minutes of the Battle of Konninggratz the Hapsburg Army lost 10,000 men. This was because Dreyse’s needlefire rifle was capable of being fired at a rate of 12 shots a minute compared to the average rate of fire of 3 rounds a minute for the Lorenz muzzle loader which also required the rifle to be reloaded standing up presenting a large target to the Prussians.
By the end of the War it was apparent to the Hapsburg Army that it was significantly outgunned by the use of breach loading rifles and an urgent trial was accelerated in which 33 different breach loading rifles were being evaluated.
Initially the front runner for adoption was the Remington Rolling Block Rifle which was robust and relatively easy to manufacture. There is no doubt that Austrian pride and political machinations and intrigue behind the scenes about the USA resulted in the adoption of an Austrian design which was the Werndl.
The Landwehr had up until this time used the muzzle loading Lorenz rifle and latterly a number of breech converted Lorenz rifles converted with the Wanzl system whose large bore rimfire cartridge proved unpopular also arriving too late to be of influence in the Austrian Prussian War.
The rifle was designed and patented by Josef Werndl (1831–1889) and Karel Holub (1830–1903) later bought out all the rights, but was involved in name only.
It was the first successful small bore breech loading rifle of the Austrian Army
The new rifle designated the Model 66/67 was rated during trials at 14 aimed shots a minute or 20 un-aimed shots and was determined to be capable of hitting a man sized target at 200 paces and a horse at 200 paces.
The original cartridge case was 11.15mm x 42 mm rimmed and fired a 308 grain bullet at a velocity of 1430 feet a second. Unusually the carbine version was issued with a different case which was only 36 mm long. In contrast other manufacturers such as Remington used the same cartridge as their rifles with a reduced charge. Interestingly the carbine cartridge was also used in the huge Montenegro Gasser revolver.
The rifle has a robust mechanism with an extractor on the left hand side. The “tang” is actually a flat spring which serves to lock the breech with a secondary locking mechanism of the hammer. The firing pin is canted through the breech block and is centrefire.
A disadvantage is the inordinate trigger pull which usually measures at over 10 pounds. The rifle has a half cock safety feature.
The rifling has 6 grooves with one turn in 29”and the barrel is fitted with a bayonet lug to take a sabre style bayonet.
In 1878 the rifle was modified to take a 58 mm long cartridge which fired a patched bullet increased in size from 308 to 370 grains which was more in parity with the competing Rolling Block rifles. The old stock of rifles was rechambered for the new round and the sights changed.
Josef Werndl’s father founded the Steyr factory and an initial order for 600,000 units placed by Josef Werndl basically formed the foundations of the Steyr factory that is still extant today.
In 1869 a journalist from the British Times Newspaper visited the Steyr factory and it is reported that Wendl test fired a rifle to illustrate its accuracy and then threw it out of the top office of the factory into the cobbled courtyard and fired it again without loss of accuracy and this was repeated three times. The journalist reported that there was only cosmetic damage to the rifle stock, but the mechanism was undamaged, and it held its accuracy.
The rifle remained in service until the Mannlicher straight pull bolt action rifle was introduced as its replacement in 1886 but was still in use with secondary units as late as 1918. It is reported that a large consignment was acquired by the USA Bannerman company who supplied several USA militia units with the rifle.
This particular rifle is in very good condition and mechanically sound and is unit market. There is no doubt the rifle has seen field use and has the bumps and dents in the walnut stock to show this but fortunately nothing major to report and this isn’t one that was thrown out of a top office window!
An interesting rifle developed and introduced as a result of an overwhelming defeat.
See also my example of a later Werndl Carbine.
This is a very good Winchester model 1892 in 44/40 calibre.
The Winchester Model 1892 was a lever-action repeating rifle designed by John Browning as a smaller, lighter version of his large-frame Model 1886, and which replaced the Model 1873 as the company's lever-action for pistol-calibre rounds such as the .44-40
When asked by Winchester to design an improved lever action to compete with a recent Marlin offering, John Browning said he would have the prototype completed in under a month or it would be free. Within 2 weeks, Browning had a functioning prototype of the 92. for the rifle vary and some are custom-chambered. The original rounds were the .32-20, .38-40, and .44-40 Winchester centrefire rounds, followed in 1895 by the new .25-20
This particular rifle has a 26” barrel , good mechanics and excellent bore, ideal for the Cowboy shooter who would prefer a lighter rifle than a large frame Winchester.
This rifle was recently proofed but given the venerable age of the rifle I elected to black powder proof which will be fine for Cowboy loads. The serial number reveals that the rifle was manufactured in 1894.
The original finish has faded but to an even attractive tone and there is no pitting to the barrel either externally or internally. The walnut stock is very good with no notable defects.
A decent and historical rifle that covers practical shooting and an iconic investment.
This is a Section 1 firearm and will require a Firearms Certificate to purchase. I will store at no charge for variations to be applied for.
See this and other interesting rifles at the Northern Shooting Show Harrogate May 11th and 12th.
Husqvarna was founded in 1689 and has some history!
Amongst collectors and shooters they are well known as manufacturing the model 1867 ( Gever Modell 1867) rifle which was manufactured using the Remington Rolling Block patent.
The chosen calibre was 12.17 mm as they Swedes had 30,000 brand new model 1860 muzzle loading rifles stockpiled in this calibre. By far the majority of these muzzle loaders were converted to breech loading and the original rifles are seldom seen.
Some missed the modernisation process and I have seen them "sporterised" for hunting but seldom do you see an original untouched rifle and certainly not in this condition.
This is comparable in many ways to the Enfield Pattern 1853 and shoots as well.
This example dated 1862 has an excellent bore with good rifling and good woodwork. The rifle is mechanically perfect.
Overall it would be difficult to improve on this rifle and certainly not easy to find another..
This is a US Arms Co Model 38 pocket revolver in 38 rimfire calibre. US Arms were a prolific maker of small handguns of some quality. The makers name is stamped on the barrel as is the model on the top strap. The walnut grips are in good condition as can be seen.
The revolver is in good working order and profusely engraved.
The revolver is cased in a "book" that would have been no doubt hidden on a book shelf to give unwanted visitors an unpleasant surprise.
The leather bound book is contemporary to the revolver and contains some empty rimfire cases. The spine is a little distressed but could be glued if you wish.
Overall an interesting and curious vintage firearm manufactured in the mid 1880's.
This is a very decent and historic .75” East India Co. F Pattern percussion musket to the 7th Gwalior infantry who were in the thick of the Indian Mutiny. EIC ‘F’ pattern side lock with bun nut retained hammer struck with EI Co. Rampant lion mark. Walnut stock with regulation F pattern brass furniture including spurred trigger guard for improved grip when fighting with a bayonet and F pattern bayonet catch. The right side of the butt with a brass marker disc engraved 7.GWI.I for issue to the 7th Gwalior infantry regiment. Barrel struck with feint London Proof marks has standing read sight and front sight / bayonet stud fitted. Last of the smooth bore muzzle loading percussion muskets adopted by the East India Company the F pattern was their issue equivalent of the British Ordnance issue Pattern 1842 musket and was a very solid reliable weapon being widely used by the company’s armies in India for many years. In good used service condition with some small losses to the edges of the stock, good barrel with much finish turning to blue brown with a fair bore and very good mechanical condition. An interesting piece for the British or EIC collector issued to one of the most famous of the company’s regiments.
Accompanied with much research into the Regiment and its involvement in the Mutiny and weapons issued.
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