Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Winchester Wetmore/Wells Prototype SA Revolver

In the early 1870s it was announced that the U.S. government as well as the Russian government were in the market for a new side arm. Smith & Wesson as well as Colt competed for these contracts but what many people do not realize is so did Winchester. The contract was awarded to S&W.
Undaunted by its losses for government contracts, Winchester’s board of directors forged ahead with its plans to break into the revolver market. Planning so at the Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876. The company invested a great sum of resources and money to the Centennial Exhibition, and their Wetmore-Wells revolver samples were one of the revolver models Winchester introduced to the public.

Whitmore and Wells were former Smith & Wesson employees and were hired by Winchester to develop a revolver.
The basic revolver was designed by William Wetmore circa 1874 and the cartridge ejection system by Charles Wells in 1872. (Well’s patent 33,732 12/10/1872)

This example, which was likely on display at the Centennial Exhibition, is without visible markings and features the cartridge ejector system developed by Wells. 

The ejector system is mounted on the right side of the frame. Ejecting a casing requires the operator to push down the ejector bar, thus setting in motion a sliding ejector that rode under the rims of a chambered cartridge in line with the loading port. 

It has a solid frame, six shot cylinder, blade front sight and frame sighting groove. All nickel finish with checkered walnut grips. A lanyard ring is mounted on the butt. 

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