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Messages - The Colonial

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Allen & Wheelock / Allen & Wheelock Police Providence
« on: August 02, 2015, 04:15:15 PM »
Providence Police Model

The Providence Police Model revolver was the last of the centre hammer percussion revolvers made by Mr Allen. None of these revolvers bears the Allen marks and current thinking suggests that as Mr Allen knew it would have a limited production life it wasn’t worth the cost.

This compact 5 shot 36 cal revolver was quite potent. If you put the cylinders of the Navy and the Providence side by side it appears that the Providence carried as much powder charge per cylinder as the Navy.

My revolver is numbered 781 with a standard 3 inch barrel a spur trigger and no rammer. These guns came in 3, 4 & 5 inch barrels and according to Flaydermans only about 1,000 were made.

While it has no Allen markings, it’s an Allen. The same cylinder pin latch, the cylinder locking device and the action are all covered by the Allen’s patents [see ‘Ethan Allen and Allen & Wheelock their guns and the legacy’ by Paul Henry. Also the grips have that typical Allen style.

But the biggest mystery about these guns is how they became known as the Providence Police model amongst collectors. There is no known record of these guns ever being used by Rhode Island Providence police.

Cheers, The Colonial

Left Side View

Right Side View

Close Up Of Cylinder Pin Latch

The Navy & Police Providence

Navy & Police Cylinders Front On

Navy & Police Cylinders Side By Side

Marston / Marston Pocket 4th Type
« on: August 01, 2015, 07:23:17 PM »
The New York arms maker, William W Marston, started making firearms in1837.
Marston made percussion revolvers from 1858 till about 1863 with around 15,000 pocket and 1,000 navy models. Flayderman’s lists 7 types of Pocket and 3 types of Navy revolvers.
This revolver sn 4170, is a ‘type 4’, 5 shot pocket with s 5 ¼ inch hexagonal barrel [measured from the cylinder face]. The barrel has a two line address ‘The Union / Arms Co.’ and the cylinder is semi fluted. The iron trigger guard is nice size being larger than the Colt pocket but not as large as the Cooper pocket.
I think Mr Marston was one of the first gun makers to use trade names. According to Sellers & Smith ‘American Percussion Revolvers’ barrel markings on these revolvers where:
Wm. W. Marston / Phenix Armory / New York City;
The Union / Arms Co.;
The Union Arms Co.;
Western Arms Co. New York; and
Western Arms Co. / Chicago. Ill.

All in all this is a very solid, well made and attractive pocket percussion revolver.

Left Hand View

Right Hand View

Sn 4170

The Union Arms Co. markings

Originals / 44 Cal Starr Mold
« on: July 22, 2015, 03:30:44 PM »
There are not many of these odd bullet molds around and when you look at it you'll see why.
The wood handle and its small and awkward to use sprue cutter have probably added to its rarity. I think that people would have preferred to buy cartridges.
It’s definitely not as practical as the Colt mold.
This one is the best I have ever come across.
Cheers, The Colonial

Rodgers & Spenser / 'US' Marked Rogers & Spencer
« on: July 22, 2015, 01:53:59 AM »
Well this is my Rogers & Spencer, in average used condition with all the standard military inspection marks. But it has two odd features.
First the barrel, sn 4687 is mismatched to the rest of the gun, sn 5032. Judging by the high serial number I’d say that it was in the last batch delivered to the US military.
The second feature is that it has two ‘US’ marks, one on the right hand side of the frame, in line with the cylinder stops and the second on the upper section of the right hand grip.
Does this mean that this gun was actually issued? I’d like some opinions.

The Colonial

Left Hand Side

Right Hand Side

Butt Plate

Mismatched Barrel

'US' Marks under a low light

'US' Marks photographed with a flash to highlight marks

Massachusetts Arms Company / Mass Arms Co., Dragoon
« on: July 12, 2015, 01:22:39 AM »
This is my Massachusetts Arms Co.’s Wesson & Leavitt dragoon or Army percussion revolver, sn 284. It’s a bit on the rough side but the story that came with this old gun was that it was recovered from a rubbish dump some 50 or more years ago.
Being only a 40 calibre six shot revolver with a six inch round barrel you would expect it to be a bit more compact and light than it is, but that is not the case. Using the wife’s kitchen scales it comes in about only 5 ounces lighter than my Colt 2nd model dragoon.
Its technical details are:
   40 caliber;
   6 inch round barrel with brass blade front sight;
   single action six shot side hammer;
   seven grooved rifling;
This gun has some other unusual features. The first being how the barrel is attached to the frame and the abor pin. Pictures tell a better story. The other is the cylinder, tapered at the rear and domed at the front.
The back of the cylinder also has six holes that accept a locking pin that engages upon firing. This hold the cylinder in place.
But this gun has one other feature that I have never seen on any Mass Arms Co. gun. It has a safety! In front of the trigger guard there is a small brass thumb screw that when turned sends another locking pin into the base of the cylinder, thus locking it up. The only way you can cock the gun is to disengage the pin by reversing the turn on the thumb screw. The photos are better at explaining this.
I have seen other Mass Arms Co., guns with a filler screw at the front of the trigger guard but never another one with this brass thumb screw.

Cheers from The Colonial.

Dragoon Right Side

Dragoon Left Side

Top Strap Address

Main Components

Cylinder Close Up

Rear of Cylinder

Cylinder Rotation Plate and Pins

Thumb Screw

Thumb Screw With Locking Pin Engaged

General / Re: Blueprints of percussion revolvers
« on: June 12, 2015, 04:14:20 PM »

The only thing I have seen that comes close to blueprints is the book 'Antique Firearms Assembly/Disassembly' by David R Chicoine. The book has a few chapters on Colt & Remington percussion revolvers and one on the Le Mat, these may be of help.

I've never seen anything like that for English percussion revolvers.

Cheers, The Colonial

I've got one of these Dragoons in my collection, I'll do a post on it later this week.


I still consider my self to be new at collecting but the photo on this post is of a very, very nice cased Maynard Primed Belt revolver, not a Dragoon.

Cheers, The Colonial

English Makes / Joseph Lang Revolvers
« on: June 01, 2015, 04:13:57 PM »
Joseph Lang [1821 – 1874] was a London gun maker who mainly produced high quality shotguns but also made handguns. At the Great Exhibition of 1851 he exhibited some four and six barrel revolvers, presumably pepperboxes.
Like many others he did not take long to start copying some of Colt’s designs and ideas.
A result of this was his transitional type revolvers. When encountered these rare revolvers are often mistaken for transitional revolvers. They are in fact quality handmade open-frame single action revolvers.
Features of the revolver in this post are:   
38 bore, [ 50 cal ]
         6 shot clustered cylinder
         7 inch sighted, front and rear octagonal barrel
         20 grove rifling
         offset hammer
         hinged butt cap
As well has having the barrel attached to the arbore pin by a wedge the barrel also has a spring on the barrel lug which seems to force the barrel onto the wedge.
As you can see from the photos the revolver is also very ornately engraved, including the hammer and the butt cap. Also each chamber is numbered as well.
The address on the barrel ‘J BEATTIE, 205, REGENT STREET, LONDON.’ Is one of several retailers who sold these revolvers.
Finally these revolvers are rare! You will be lucky to find one as they only come up for auction in the UK every few years.

C R Alsop / Re: Alsop Pocket Revolver
« on: May 29, 2015, 04:01:50 PM »
For an American revolver the Alsop has a very odd shaped hammer, very similar to the English maker Joseph Lang. I’ll try and do a post shortly to illustrate this.

Cheers, The Colonial

1851/61 Navy's / Re: New South Wales Police 51 Navy
« on: May 17, 2015, 04:33:17 PM »
G’day Jaxenro

It is odd that Colt would export during the Civil War. The original order for 500 Navies was placed with the Colt London Depot in July 1861. Because of war pressures only 300 were delivered to Sydney in November 1862. The other 200 seem to have been delivered sometime later, but there are no remaining records showing when.

I’d love to get some information from Colt but because my ears don’t work as well as they used to I avoid using the phone, if anyone has an email address I’d appreciate it.

1851/61 Navy's / New South Wales Police 51 Navy
« on: May 14, 2015, 04:58:04 AM »

There were a lot of 1851 Model Colt Navies made and a lot of posts on this site about them. But this 51 Navy is different, it’s got some Australian history.
The colony wide New South Wales Police force was formed in July 1861 and this revolver was in the first batch of 51 Navies bought for the NSW Police that arrived at the Sydney docks on November 10, 1862.
It has the New York barrel address but with British proofs on the cylinder and barrel and ‘NSW POLICE’ right hand barrel lug and ‘No 304’ on the left.
These NSW Police Colts were only issued to mounted police and so saw much hard service though out their working life. As a result most have mismatched numbers resultant from in field repairs. It is very rare to find an all number match NSW Police 51 Navy. Mine only has the barrel and frame numbers, 130386, as a match.
If you have access to the book ‘Col. Colt Downunder, by Hayden Hughes & Robin Rapley’ you will see this gun shown on page 59 as being part of the Bernie Mack collection. Mr Mack is now deceased and this gun has passed into my collection.
Recent research has uncovered a reference to this revolver ‘NSW Police 304’ in police armourer’s records from 1879 stating that this revolver came in for repair from the Western Districts, a good indication that it was out there in the field chasing various thieves, murderers and other such low life commonly called bushranger in Australian history, as Ben Hall and Mad Dan Morgan.
Cheers, The Colonial

Pettengill / Here Is The Hammer
« on: April 19, 2015, 12:29:39 AM »
The Pettengill Army was definitely an odd gun and not a commercial success either. The start of its problems was its weak frame, made of malleable steel, a steel that could be cold worked. Also being a scaled up version of the earlier pocket and navy Pettengill making it a very heavy, 3 pounds, awkward to hold and fire revolver.
Loading the Pettengill would also have been a problem. The standard Colt or Remington 44 cartridge would easily fit both revolvers having a 0.460 chamber opening, but the Pettengill is a very tight fit with a chamber opening of only 0.448. Also there is no channel cut into the frame for capping the nipples.
Given all these problems and its lack of accuracy [see Civil War Revolvers, Myth vs. Reality – by Peter Schiffers] its easy to see why by late 1863 most of these revolvers where withdrawn from service.
The attached photos are of my Pettengill and some of its components. I also noticed on one post that ‘Griswold’ asked ‘where’s the hammer?’ see photo 4.
Cheers from The Colonial

Remingtons / Re: Remington Rider Pocket Revolver with Accessories
« on: April 14, 2015, 04:41:20 AM »
Hi Jaxenro

No there is nothing else to add, the pictures tell the story, the Rider in its box with its accessories was a very good buy and a welcomed addition to my collection.

The Colonial

What Is It? / Re: An Unrecorded Bliss?
« on: April 14, 2015, 04:35:58 AM »

Thanks for the reply, a trial gun from parts seems like a good theory. There has not been much written about these small revolvers that I can find so any input is appreciated.

And I am pleased to have it in my collection.

Cheers, John L

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