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Messages - Frank Graves

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Percussion Era Originals / Re: Collier Flintlock Revolvers
« on: June 19, 2017, 12:55:28 PM »
There is a particularly in depth cover article about the Collier flintlock revolvers in the current issue of Arms Heritage Magazine (  The known serial numbers of all three types are revealed along with the progress of finding out who exactly made them as Elisha Collier was only the one holding the patent and was not the maker.  At this point, there are only 50+ examples worldwide with many of them being in museums.  It would appear that only a few more than 200 total were originally made.

What is to follow is a book or major article on these guns and their American patentee once any new information is added to what is known.

Percussion Era Originals / Collier Flintlock Revolvers
« on: February 24, 2017, 03:32:49 PM »

I know this is a Percussion Revolver site, but I think it interesting for us to look at a revolver, not a percussion one, but the one that was the immediate predecessor and of direct influence.  It is known that a young Samuel Colt saw a Collier Flintlock Revolver while he was on a sea voyage.  The Elisha H. Collier of Boston patented them in England in 1818 after he apparently decided it would be better for him to patent it and market it there.  He was a protégé of Artemus Wheeler of Boston, who had a prior patent for a revolving long arm that was actually tested by the U. S. Navy at that same time.

Colt refined the hand revolved system that he saw in the Collier revolver by devising and patenting the automatic revolution of the cylinder by the cocking of the hammer of the revolver as we know it today.  One of these is in the Colt Collection in Hartford.

Some later Collier revolvers were converted to and made as true percussion guns.  The company that actually made the Colliers is not yet known today as Collier was an inventor, not a maker.  Still a very important gun in the study of the Percussion Revolver.  Collier revolvers were made as pistols and long guns.

There are only 50+ Colliers of all configurations known, and less than 2 dozen exist today of the example pictured here. 

I hope that it will be alright for us to have a little departure from picturing percussion revolvers since this one was so important to their development.

Wanted to Buy / Re: Need original backstrap for Colt 1851 Navy
« on: April 12, 2016, 07:07:05 AM »
Apparently doesn't have one - two emails inquiring were not answered.  Thanks again for the suggestion.

Wanted to Buy / Re: Need original backstrap for Colt 1851 Navy
« on: March 30, 2016, 05:11:22 PM »
He considered one of their reproduction parts but wants to find an original part.  Anyway, the reproduction straps are slightly smaller than the original counter part.

Thanks for the help he says.

Wanted to Buy / Need original backstrap for Colt 1851 Navy
« on: March 23, 2016, 04:12:15 PM »
A young collector here has a bit of a wreck of a Colt  Model 1851 Navy.  It is missing the backstrap.  He is a young budding collector, the kind that we should encourage.

He would like to buy an original brass backstrap for his Navy.  A replica or reproduction won't work for him.  Obviously the number won't match but at least it will be original so he can put it back together.

Anyone got one in a junk box that they can sell?  Or know someone who might have one?

Thanks for looking.

Frank Graves

Not much new has been posted here lately, so I thought I'd try to break the ice here.

This is an unfired Starr Model 1863 Army Revolver that is cased and engraved that I thought might be of interest.  Note the Starr Army cartridge pack.  This one is the only known example in this caliber.  There are a few for the .36 Navy Starr.  The bullet mold has a handle of matching burl walnut.  Most cased deluxe Starrs will have the material of the handle matching the grip of the revolver.

Originals / Re: 44 Cal Starr Mold
« on: July 27, 2015, 02:31:01 PM »
They aren't real practical, but that is the way that Starr furnished molds for the 3 models of revolvers as well as the carbine.

This one in this set has a burl walnut handle.  Most deluxe Starr cased sets will have the handle of the mold matching the grips of the revolver accompanying it.


Here is a rare tin that holds the pill primers for this rifle.  It is about the diameter of a quarter.  I have shown a few of the pills that are in it.  I think it would have been pretty dangerous for a user of the day to have this tin full of explosives rattling around in his pocket.

It reads:  "WATERPROOF PILL/PERCUSSION PRIMING./Made by W. Billinghurst, Rochester, N.Y.” 

There is an English cased version of a single Colt Model 1851 Navy that is engraved with a stock but it is English and only one revolver.  It was in a Bonham's sale last year but its picture can be fairly easily found on Google images.  I am sure that way back then there were probably more than one set of double cased and stocked Navy revolvers produced, but apparently, this set is the only one that has survived to this day.

Introductions / Re: 100 Members
« on: December 01, 2014, 01:16:54 PM »
I for one am very pleased to see that our membership, and interest seems to be increasing.,

Frank Graves

Spiller & Burr / Re: Spiller & Burr History
« on: September 10, 2014, 07:43:15 AM »
Very interesting thread on this rare Confederate revolver. 

From what I have read in various places, the number of the first models actually made seem to vary a little but there is little argument that it wasn't very many. 

I also wonder if there has been any sort of survey made that would show this as they transitioned to the Second Model.  And I would like to know if there are any estimates of how many of both types survive today.

Percussion Revolvers of a Private Collection / Re: Springfield Arms Navy
« on: August 18, 2014, 12:56:12 PM »
In the latest edition of Arms Heritage Magazine ( ) there is the first part of a two part article on the Springfield Arms Company and James Warner.  There are several different types of pistols and rifles that were made by this company.  Very collectible and interesting.

Frank Graves

Cornell Publications at has recently derived a monograph on the Shawk & McLanahan from Arms Heritage Magazine that can be purchased for $6.98.  There are other monographs on other important topics as well that were taken from Arms Heritage.

It is interesting that of all the revolvers in this section, the Shawk & McLanahan with 8 known examples has received the vast majority of looks.

Colt Style Reproductions / Re: 1860 Uberti Fluted Cylinder
« on: March 08, 2014, 09:04:43 AM »
It is a fake as the serial number range is way lower than this one shown for the real fluted cylinder Army revolvers and the cylinder in this one at the NRA Museum is not correct having been apparently been altered from a round, rebated cylinder.  There were several cases of this being done, to enhance value, before the proper serial number range was identified as this variation does have more rarity. 

The Haven/Belden book was the first serious Colt book and was done in the 1940s.  In the late '50s and '60s was a similar, but with more and better information, written by James Serven.  Then in the '70s was the Sutherland/Wilson book that had even more information, but by now some of that has been corrected.  An accomplished writer, Charles Pate, is nearing completion of a book solely on the Colt Model 1860 Army and by all reports is very accurate and up to date.  He has had access to the factory records and this book should be really good.  I think it is supposed to be out next year.

Colt Style Reproductions / Re: 1860 Uberti Fluted Cylinder
« on: March 07, 2014, 10:12:30 AM »
He is probably talking about the Frank Haven and Charles Belden book A History of the Colt Revolver that is available on eBay, Amazon etc. 

The fluted cylinder version of the Model 1860 Army was on the earliest guns, not a special order feature.  Same for the Model 1861 Navy.  Both quickly went to the straight cylinder.  Only the Model 1862 Police had the fluted cylinders all of the way through production.

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