Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hopkins & Allen Army Revolver




Rather rare and one of Hopkins & Allen's finest products, the 44 rimfire XL 8 Army. 

Around 1877 Hopkins & Allen introduced their line of large frame, single action revolvers to compete with Colt and Smith & Wesson, the two major American handgun manufacturers of the period.
These guns constituted the “XL No 8” line of handguns, which included the XL Army (.44 caliber, both rimfire & WCF), XL Navy (.38 RF caliber) and XL Police (also .38 RF caliber). It is believed that a total of 2,700 of the large framed XL No 8 revolvers of all models were produced by Hopkins & Allen between 1877 and 1885. 
They were all six shot with heavy solid frames. They had a spring loaded ejector rod that was located under the barrel. When the catch on the left side of the frame was depressed, the rod could be withdrawn from the center of the cylinder arbor and then automatically moved into position to eject cartridges from the cylinder, through the loading gated on the right side of the frame.


Seems the cowboy on the right has a Hopkins & Allen


__________________________________

Not all my blog posts go on facebook! Don’t miss a post from this blog. 

Go to the upper right and enter an email address and you will be send an email each time I do a blog post. This is spam free! You will not receive any junk email! Try it, you can always cancel

___________

Not all my blog posts go on facebook! Don’t miss a post from this blog. 
Go to the upper right and enter an email address and you will be send an email each time I do a blog post. This is spam free! You will not receive any junk email! Try it, you can always cancel


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Schwarzlose 1898 Semi-Auto Pistol



During the late 1800s there were several companies developing semi-automatic pistols for the world market but only a handful would actually prove to be successful, consequently any of these early semi-automatic pre-1899 pistols are extremely rare. 

One of the most interesting pistols you will ever see is this one. It was designed by Andreas Schwarzlose of Prussia who was most noted for his early water cooled machine gun designs. 
Although the Schwarzlose 1898 pistol was not one of the most successful pistols, the uniqueness of the design was actually revolutionary and could almost be considered a prototype with very few ever manufactured.

The functioning of this model is based on what is termed a rotating bolt mechanism and is actually very similar in design to the current M16 series of rifles, only 110 years earlier.

I was going to attempt to describe the complicated workings of this unique pistol but as luck would have it I ran across this excellent Forgotten Weapons video that not only describes some of the pistol's history and the mechanics but also the pistol in action. Well worth watching.



              




_____________________

Not all my blog posts go on facebook! Don’t miss a post from any of my blogs. 
Go to the upper right and enter a email address and you will be send an email each time I do a blog post. This is spam free! You will not receive any junk email! Try it, you can always cancel.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Evans Model 1826 Navy Pistol


 



Surprisingly the US Government never really entered the business of producing handguns at the various National Armories until the 20th Century.
Harper’s Ferry did produce an estimated 2050 brace of M-1805 English Light Dragoon style pistols. Springfield Armory did a small production run of the M-1817 pistol, which were never actually issued. Springfield also manufactured 4021 of the unsuccessful US M-1855 pistol carbines.
With these minor exceptions, the US government relied almost exclusively on private firms to supply sidearms during the 19th Century.
The firm of Simeon North of Middleton, CT was the primary provider of handguns to the US military from 1799 to 1826. North’s M-1826 Flintlock Naval Pistol was the last pistol he produced and it became the pattern for other 
manufactures to follow.




The W.L. Evans Model 1826 Navy pistol is nearly identical to the pistols made by North. It is estimated that less than 1000 Evans pistols were produced making them rather rare as compared to M-1826 pistols by better known makers.  
I find the exact origin of these pistols a bit murky. 
John Rogers was a gun manufacturer and owner of the Valley Forge Armory. Sometime in the late 1800s he obtained a government contract for the pistols. Rogers was unable to fund the contract, so he went into business with William L. Evans of Evansburg, a practical gun maker.
Apparently about 1830, the Valley Forge Armory was leased by William L. Evans, who assumed the contract and manufactured pistols between the years 1830-1831, 

The pistols are marked "W. L. Evans V. Forge 1831 USN". 
It is a .54 caliber smoothbore flintlock with iron mountings including an iron backstrap from the tang to the buttcap with an iron belt hook.The barrel bands are secured by springs. It has a swivel type steel ramrod and a brass flash pan.



_____________________

Not all my blog posts go on facebook! Don’t miss a post from any of my blogs. 
Go to the upper right and enter a email address and you will be send an email each time I do a blog post. This is spam free! You will not receive any junk email! Try it, you can always cancel.


I have two other blogs which you may be interested in. 
Subscribe to each if you like what you see.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Allen & Wheelock Lipfire Revolvers




lipfire2.jpg

Like many other arms makers of the era, Ethan Allen saw that the "bored-through cylinder", which allowed for rear loading of self-contained metallic cartridges, as the wave of the future. Unfortunately, the patent holder Rollin White, had sold exclusive rights to this patented innovation to Smith and Wesson, preventing other companies from making firearms to this design.
This legal constraint proved no barrier to Ethan Allen, who made two different rimfire revolvers that hit the market possibly as early as 1857 - Simultaneous to the Smith and Wesson model 1.

As a holder of many patents, it is unlikely that Ethan Allen was ignorant of patent law - he simply chose to ignore it. Perhaps, he reckoned that he could outlast the upstart Smith and Wesson in legal maneuvering.

He soon invented the 'lipfire' cartridge, a modified rimfire that only held the priming compound in approximately 1/8th of the circumference of the base of the cartridge.

lipfire3.jpg

This made the cartridge base much stronger, as early rimfire cartridges had a tendency to split at the base, causing extraction malfunction. It was also more economical, as only 1/8th of the expensive fulminate was required.

lipfire5.jpg

Production of lipfire revolvers likely began around 1859. With the coming of the War Between the States, Allen likely smelled immense profits for his 'better mousetrap'. However, the conservative procurement agents of the US Government awarded only small contracts - likely not trusting the technology or the supply of cartridges. By 1863, Rollin White finally won his patent infringement lawsuit, and production of all Allen and Wheelock cartridge revolvers ceased.

Pictured below is the 1st Model Lipfire, (loading gate hinged at the top), this revolver was manufactured in the early 1860s with a total production of only about 250.  The lipfire is sometimes confused as a conversion from percussion but was actually manufactured before the percussion model. It has no manufacturing stamping other than assembly numbers.



Pictured below is the 2nd Model Lipfire, (loading gate hinged at the bottom), this revolver was manufactured in the early 1860s with a total production of only about 250. The left side barrel flat is marked "ALLEN & WHEELOCK, WORCESTER, MS. U.S./ALLEN'S PAT'S SEP. 7, NOV. 9, 1858" and the matching serial (batch) number is marked on the frame, loading gate, grips, and cylinder.





Pictured below is the Navy or "3rd Model". Only a total of around 500 total Center Hammer Lipfire revolvers were manufactured by Allen & Wheelock in the early 1860s. This example has the longest barrel length available: 8 inches. It is stamped "ALLEN & WHEELOCK. WORCHESTER. MS. U.S./ALLEN'S PAT'S. SEPT 7. NOV. 9. 1858." same as the 2nd Model.







_________________________

Not all my blog posts go on facebook! Don’t miss a post from any of my blogs. 
Go to the upper right and enter a email address and you will be send an email each time I do a blog post. This is spam free! You will not receive any junk email! Try it, you can always cancel.
I have two other blogs which you may be interested in. 
Once Upon A Time #2  and  "Once Upon A Time"  
Subscribe to each if you like what you see.