Antique Hopkins & Allen XL Spur Trigger Derringer chambered in .41 Caliber Rimfire, made in Norwich, Connecticut circa 1875 with a production run between 1870 and 1879 with total production numbers being less than 2,000. The 2-1/2 inch barrel is marked on the top "XL Derringer” and “Pat. Apr 5. 1870”. This nifty little pistol utilizes a fixed blade front sight, spur trigger and nickel plating. To load, the hammer is brought back to half-cock, the barrel release button on the bottom of the frame is pressed and the barrel will then pivot exposing the breech for loading a single cartridge. Once loaded, the barrel is swung back into firing position, the hammer pulled to full-cock and the trigger pulled to fire.
Hopkins & Allen Manufacturing Company was a major manufacturer of rifles, shotguns, and inexpensive cartridge handguns between 1868 and 1915. After an initial investment of $2000, H & A began operations as a producer of firearms, machinery, tools, and hardware. After the expiration of the Rollin White Patent in 1869, they began converting percussion revolvers to accept cartridge ammunition. In addition, they started producing a line of spur-trigger cartridge revolvers in .22 and .32 calibers. From its humble beginnings, Hopkins and Allen had grown from a small shop with 30 employees to become a major producer of firearms and an employer of 600 workers. In a state known for firearm production, H & A ranked third only behind Colt and Winchester. Hopkins & Allen continued to manufacture a variety of revolvers and small arms until 1915.
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The Colt M1877 was a double action revolver manufactured by Colt from January 1877 to 1909 for a total of 166,849 revolvers. The Model 1877 was offered in three calibers, which lent them three unofficial names: the "Lightning", the "Thunderer", and the "Rainmaker". The principal difference between the models was the cartridge in which they were chambered: the "Lightning" being chambered in .38 Long Colt; the "Thunderer" in .41 Long Colt. Both models had a six-round ammunition capacity. An earlier model in .32 Long Colt known as the "Rainmaker" was offered in 1877.
The M1877 was designed by one of the inventors of the Colt single action army (M1873), William Mason, as Colt's first attempt at manufacturing a double-action revolver. It was the first successful US-made double-action cartridge revolver, and was offered from the factory in two basic finishes: nickel-plated or a blued with a case-coloured frame. The revolver was available in barrel lengths from 2.5 to 7.5 in (64 to 191 mm) and was available with or without the ejector rod and housing. The shorter barrel versions without the ejector rod were marketed as "shopkeeper's specials" for use as a concealable pocket pistol.
Neither "Lightning" nor "Thunderer" were Colt designations, nor used by the factory in any reference materials. Both terms were coined by Benjamin Kittredge, one of Colt's major distributors. Kittredge was responsible for the terms "Peacemaker" for the Single Action Army, "Omnipotent" for the Colt Model 1878 double-action (often known as the "Frontier" model), and nicknames for the various chambering's of the New Line models.
The M1877's early double-action mechanism proved to be both intricate and delicate, thus it was vulnerable to failure of self cocking. The design had a reputation for failure and earned the nickname "the gunsmith's favourite". Because of the intricate design and difficulty of repair, gunsmiths to this day dislike working on them. it has been referred to it as "the worst double-action trigger mechanism ever made". Typically, the trigger spring would fail and this would reduce the revolver to single-action fire only. Outwardly, the Model 1877 shows a striking resemblance to the Colt Single Action Army revolver, however, it is scaled down slightly and much thinner in dimension. The bird's head grips were of checkered rosewood on the early guns and hard rubber on the majority of later-production guns.
The "Lightning" was the favoured personal weapon of famous Manchester (UK) Victorian detective, and then head of CID, Jerome Caminada. Old West outlaw John Wesley Harden frequently used both "Lightning" and "Thunderer" versions, and the "Thunderer" was the preferred weapon of Billy the Kid, even carried by him when he was killed by Pat Garrett in 1881. Doc Holliday was also known to carry a nickel-plated "Thunderer" in his waistband as an accompanying gun to his nickel-plated Colt 1873. Both had ivory or pearl grips.
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One of many firearms developed for Remington by Joseph Rider was the Remington Rider Magazine Pistol– a manually operated 5-shot repeater chambered for the .32 extra-short rimfire cartridge (the same round used by the Chicago Palm Protector). It used a tube magazine under the barrel and a simple but clever vertically shifting breechblock to give an impressive amount of firepower in small (and particularly flat and narrow) package. About 15,000 of these were made between 1871 and 1888, and they represent one of the few American uses of a tube magazine in a handgun.
The low powered cartridge and the overall design of the pistol were certainly intended for up close and personal work at contact distances, or across a card table at most. These were certainly not intended to be target pistols. The Magazine Pistol was loaded by twisting the brass magazine follower tube cap 45-degrees, which released the spring loaded catch from the detent under the muzzle. The spring-loaded follower tube could then be withdrawn from the magazine. The bullets were loaded into the magazine tube, and then the magazine follower tube was replaced, and twisted back into its locked position. The tube functioned in much the same way as the Spencer magazine follower tube, by providing an enclosed follower mechanism that applied pressure to the cartridges in the actual magazine tube.
There appear to be two hammers on this pistol, but the forward one is in fact the cocking lever. Thumbing this lever works the ejection and loading mechanism and cocks the true hammer. The cocking lever then returns under spring action, and serves as the breech block. It is interesting to speculate whether with a more powerful cartridge this mechanism might auto-load, cycling the cocking lever with the force of the recoil. I imagine it could work, but probably the cocking lever pivot would not hold up for long. Unusually, but fortunately, most of the model pistols were engraved at the factory.
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Thomas Fowler of Dublin was listed as Gunmaker on Capel Street in Dublin from 1796 to 1825.
Original condition would have been, Cal. 36. Blue & color case hardened with 7-1/2″ oct bbl, brass pin front sight and 1-line address “ADDRESS. COL: COLT. LONDON.” with arrows, blued steel trigger guard & back strap contain a 1-pc walnut grip. Left side of grip is stamped, up side down, U_C / G/ 4/. Left side of bbl lug and cylinder have British proofs. The revolver has mismatched serial numbers and there are numerous possibilities for the mismatched parts the most logical is that they were switched during a cleaning session or at the Armoury. All parts fall within the generally accepted serial number range for these upper Canada Colts. In 1854, with the British Army heavily engaged in the Crimean War, the Canadian government was asked to take a more active part in the defense of Canada. Canada accepted and a commission was formed to arm & supply their militia forces. Canada was divided into two halves, Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Upper Canada was the western area that later became Ontario and Lower Canada was the Eastern area that later became Quebec. In 1855 the commission was sent to England to purchase arms for the militia and secured 800 Colt Model 1851 Navy revolvers along with rifles, carbines and swords. These revolvers were marked for their specific areas as found on this revolver. The “UC” stands for Upper Canada. The “G” stand for a small unit in a little community called Napanee on the shores of Lake Ontario not far from Kingston. The "4” is for the 4th Volunteer of that company. There is considerably more information available about the Upper & Lower Canada Colts through research by a gentleman by the name of Robert W. Band of Toronto, Ontario, Canada as mentioned on page 183 of 51 Navies, Swayze. As well as Defending the Dominion. These Colt Navy pistols are highly collectable especially in Canada.
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The Snider first saw action with the British/Indian Army at the battle of Magdolia (Aroghee) in Ethiopia on 10 April 1868; during the battle the Kings own regiment alone fired 10,200 rounds. The Snider–Enfield served throughout the British Empire, including Cape Colony, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, until its gradual phaseout by the Martini Henry, beginning in 1874. Volunteer and militia forces continued to use it until the late 1880s. It stayed in service with the Indian Army until the mid-1890s.
The Snider–Enfield was produced in several variants. The most commonly encountered variants were the Rifled Musket or Long Rifle, the Short Rifle, and the Cavalry and Artillery Carbines. The Long Rifle has a 36.5 inches (93 cm) barrel and three barrel bands. Its total length (without bayonet) is 54.25 inches (137.8 cm) in length, longer than most rifles of the time. It was issued to line infantry and has three-groove rifling with one turn in 78 inches (200 cm). The Short Rifle has a 30.5 inches (77 cm) barrel and two barrel bands with iron furniture.
This variant was issued to sergeants on line infantry and rifle units. It has five-groove rifling with one turn in 48 inches (120 cm). The Cavalry Carbine is half stocked and has only one barrel band. It has a 19.5 inches (50 cm) barrel, with the same rifling as the Short Rifle. The Artillery Carbine has a 21.25 inches (54.0 cm) barrel with a full stock and two barrel bands, and the same rifling as the Short Rifle and Cavalry Carbine. There was also a shortened rifle for training purposes, aptly named the Cadet Carbine. It has a full size rear sight and not the small sight seen on Cavalry Carbines.
This example has a perfect bore, bright, shiny , with sharp, crisp, rifling.
The wood is also in excellent condition, solid with no major issues, except some ancient initials art work. Metal finish has turned a pleasing brown blue patina for the most part but there is still much original dark blue in areas, actually I have owned many of these rifles and this is the best carbine I have ever had. The butt stock is stamped 4 over 44, indicating the 4th Hussars and rack or weapon number 44. Complete with original 2 piece cleaning rod.
The serial number on this carbine is the same on both the breech block and the flip up rear sight, #2183, and unfortunately it is not on the limited list of Mountie carbines by Don Klancher "Arms and Accoutrements of the Mounted Police 1873-1973" at page 182, listing 125 of the 300 plus Snider carbines as acquired by the NWMP. This Snider does however come very close to a documented NWMP carbine, only 9 numbers below #2192 and as it is understood not all rifles were D.C. marked this being so close to a documented NWMP carbine it would not be a stretch (maybe a little stretch) to assume that this is in fact a NWMP carbine. Obviously, there is no way to verify this, this is only wishful thinking on my part but for now I will just enjoy the possibilities. Definitely, a nice, as found, historical, Canadian piece.
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This is the most amazing pin fire revolver I have ever come across, the workmanship is without question just spectacular. Just look at the hearts and the stylized L's, the gold wash, the complete 100% engraving even on the barrel. This must have been for a lady or maybe a valentine's day gift. Even with the minor flaws in the trigger guard and hammer, it is still in outstanding condition. Gold wash is very easy to rub off. The makers name is completely worn off the barrel panel but thanks to the pin fire forum, we were able to identify the maker as “Ch. T. Colard”, his design and construction is very easily identifiable.
The Swiss gun maker Samuel Joannes Pauly patented the first breech loading cartridge in 1812. This was for use in a shotgun with fixed barrels which was loaded by lifting a breech block on the top. French gun maker Henri Roux attempted to improve this cartridge in the 1820s but a constantly primed cartridge was felt by many to be too dangerous and many breech loading guns reverted to using an unprimed cartridge. This was fired by a separate percussion cap which was used on the still dominant muzzle-loading guns.
Casimir Lefaucheux of Paris decided in 1832 to patent a breechloader where the barrel hinged downwards to reveal the breech ends. These still used a separate percussion cap. Though used before this, (as seen in surviving pinfire shotshells that lists the names of early gun makers he signed contracts with in 1833 and 1834,) in 1835 he was granted an addition to the 1832 patent for a new type of cartridge in which the cartridge's priming compound is ignited by striking a small pin which protrudes radially from just above the base of the cartridge. These pins fitted into a small groove cut in the top of each barrel-end and made it easy to see if the gun was loaded. The cartridge used metal bases (often brass) with paper tubes which were usually loaded by the shooter or his staff but were not entirely gas-tight. This reduced the force of the charge and allowed powder residue and gas to escape.
The pinfire cartridge was greatly improved by the 1846 patent (number 1963) by Benjamin Houllier of Paris which introduced a base wad and effectively made the cartridge gas-tight which greatly improved the performance. They were cheap and clean shooting. These improved pinfire guns grew in popularity in France and some were imported by British gun makers to overwhelming indifference on the part of the gun users there. They were prejudiced technically against a gun that 'broke' in the middle, despite the much vaunted benefits of breechloading. They owned muzzle-loaders of exquisite perfection, considered themselves the best engineers in the world (inventing the Industrial Revolution), and had a poor view of the French - the old enemy and an unreliable ally.
It was not until the Great Exhibition of 1851 was held in London that breech loading guns were taken more seriously by British and American gun makers in particular. The display of a Lefaucheux breech loading gun inspired English apprentice gunmaker Edwin Charles Hodges (1831-1925) to make an improved copy and persuade leading London gun maker Joseph Lang that this was the gun of the future. Lang was universally credited to be the first established British gunmaker to produce pinfires in any numbers. His first weapon of this new type was produced in 1853. Other British gun makers including Lancaster, Blanch and Reilly were similarly inspired by French originals and improved pinfire breechloaders became the new type of gun which by 1857/8 every fashionable British prince and titled gentleman wanted to have. EC Hodges continued to make a good living as a specialist independent maker of breechloading actions commissioned by leading gunmakers such as Boss, Lancaster, Egg, Grant, Atkin, Rigby, Dickson, Purdey, Woodward, Army and Navy, and many others.
After Casimir's death in 1852, his son Eugene continued to market the pinfire design with great success. It became increasingly popular in Europe and large numbers of shotguns and revolvers (often called Lefaucheux guns after their inventor whoever the maker was), were manufactured from the mid-1850s until the 1890s. They were quicker and easier to load than percussion weapons with loose black powder, percussion caps and a bullet; and they were also much more likely to fire reliably when wet. Pinfire cartridges were available in a large number of sizes for various types of weapon.
While pinfire shotguns declined from the early 1860s after the introduction of mass-produced centerfire shotgun cartridges, pinfire revolvers in particular became very successful and widespread, being adopted by the armies of France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and others. They were also used during the American Civil War, although sometimes despised because of their low power compared to Colt and other percussion revolvers. Some navies also adopted them, "sea service" examples often being made out of brass which is largely unaffected by the corrosion caused by salt.
Pinfire became obsolete once reliable rimfire and centerfire cartridges became available because without a pin which needed aligning in the slot in the chamber wall they were quicker to load. They were also safer because they had no protruding pin which could cause the ammunition to accidentally detonate during rough handling, particularly of loose ammunition.
As there is not enough information available on such a piece estimated value is too difficult to determine.
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A British East India Company New Land Pattern Flintlock Pistol 1802. The flat butt-plate and lanyard ring are unique to the East India Company pattern and this style of stock remained the basis of all subsequent pistols in Company service. During the Napoleonic Wars the British Government began to rely heavily upon the British privately owned gun trade and between 1804 and 1817 a total of 1,827,889 muskets, rifles, carbines, and pistols were manufactured for the Government alone. 3,037,644 barrels and 2,879,203 locks were made and delivered to London for assembly, and around 1,000,000 items were also delivered to the East India Company, who fought alongside the British forces. This type of pistol is known to have been carried by officers of the East India Company. The flat butt-plate and lanyard ring are unique to the East India Company pattern and this style of stock remained the basis of all subsequent pistols in Company service. This pistol is missing the East India Company rampant lion and instead has an oval stamp on the lock. I identified this once before but now cannot remember it's significance.
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A fine French Target/Duelling pistol with sighted, rifled barrel, sporting breech panels containing symmetrical designs of stylized foliage profusely engraved, the spur trigger functions perfectly with a crisp defined hammer to trigger relationship, there is a set trigger screw. The trigger guard is elegantly shaped as is the pommel, both are intricately engraved with beautiful foliage style engraving. The half stock wood appears to be ebony with fluted butt and carved fore end tip. The St. Etienne proof mark is visible on the left side of the barrel, circa 1850.
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