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THE PETTENGILL PERCUSSION ARMY REVOLVER
AND IT'S SIBLING
THE RODGERS AND SPENCER  PERCUSSION ARMY REVOLVER

A TWO PART RAMBLING OF
TWO REVOLVERS WITH THE SAME FRONT END!

 

A Pair Of Army Revolvers
TOP: THE RODGERS AND SPENCER .44 CALIBER SINGLE ACTION PERCUSSION ARMY
BOTTOM: THE PETTENGILL .44 CALIBER DOUBLE ACTION PERCUSSION ARMY REVOLVER (See Part 1)

 

PART 2

THE ROGERS & SPENCER SINGLE ACTION PERCUSSION ARMY REVOLVER

 

     In 1864, after producing the ill fated Pettengill Army and Navy size revolvers, Rogers and Spencer started to produce a much improved firearm bearing their name. They basically retained the forward part of the frame, barrel and loading lever assemblies of the Pettengill Percussion Army Revolver probably utilizing the same machinery to manufacture both. On November 29, 1864, Rogers, Spencer & Company received a War Department contract for 5,000 of their revolvers at a cost of $12.00 each. The contract called for 500 to be delivered in January of 1865 and 500 more per each month thereafter until all of the arms were delivered. They met the contract terms delivering the last 500 in September of 1865 approximately 4 months after the cessation of hostilities. The particular weapon pictured here, serial number 2879, was probably delivered in June of 1865.  Despite the Rodgers & Spencer being among the best of the percussion military revolvers ever produced none of them were issued for field service during or after the war. All 5,000 of them were kept in storage in New York until 1901. At that time the entire lot of them were sold at auction at a cost to the bidder of around $ .50 each. Due to this, today we find many of these revolvers in new or nearly new condition. However, some are also found that show hard usage indicating that some people found them useful after all. The total number of Rogers and Spencer arms produced, based on existing serial numbers, was approximately 5,800 indicating that some were likely sold on the commercial market.

 

RIGHT  SIDE VIEW OF THE ROGERS AND SPENCER .44 CALIBER SINGLE ACTION PERCUSSION ARMY REVOLVER

 

LEFT  SIDE VIEW OF THE ROGERS AND SPENCER .44 CALIBER SINGLE ACTION PERCUSSION ARMY REVOLVER

RIGHT  & LEFT  SIDE VIEWS OF THE ROGERS AND SPENCER .44 CALIBER SINGLE ACTION PERCUSSION ARMY REVOLVER

 



 
 

 

Pettingill Disassembled View
LEFT SIDE VIEW OF THE SPENCER & ROGERS ARMY REVOLVER WITH THE COMBINATION LOADING LEVER / CYLINDER ARBOR MECHANISM, LEFT AND RIGHT SET SCREWS  AND CYLINDER REMOVED

 

     This single action, six-shot arm is .44 caliber and weighs 3 pounds. Measured diagonally from the tip of the butt to the muzzle face it is 14-1/4" overall. The 7-1/2" barrel is rifled with 5 grooves. The barrel is marked on the top strap "ROGERS & SPENCER / UTICA N.Y" in two lines. A government inspectors mark of a "B" is stamped on both the left and right barrel flats near the frame housing. Centered on the bottom of the barrel is the serial number, "2879". An "0" is stamped to the rear of the loading lever catch located 1-1/2" on center from the muzzle. The inspector's "B" stampings are also on both the left and right sides of the upper forward frame, on the left frame below the hammer, and at the bottom of the frame to the rear of the trigger guard screw. It is also stamped on the left side of the hammer and the left side of the combination loading lever and cylinder arbor near the frame as well as towards the rear of the cylinder between two of the beveled, semi-circular nipple wells, and in front of the mis-stamped serial number on the cylinder. That stamping consists of an upside down "3" followed by "879". The correct serial number stamping of  "2879" is also on the left frame under the cylinder opening, on the bottom of the grip strap, on the top of the combination loading lever and cylinder arbor assembly (twice) and inside both grips. On the bottom of the frame in front of the trigger guard screw is the stamping of a small shield. The cartouche of the inspector's initials is stamped in the left grip of the two-piece, oil-finished walnut grips. Although quite faint they are "RPB" for Robert P. Barry, Captain U.S.A., 1860-1865.

 

"ROGERS & SPENCER / UTICA N.Y" STAMPING -TOP OF FRAME
"ROGERS & SPENCER / UTICA N.Y" STAMPING -TOP OF FRAME
(ALSO NOTE SIGHTING GROOVE)

 

"B" INSPECTOR'S MARKINGS

 

"B" INSPECTOR'S MARKINGS

 

"B" INSPECTOR'S MARKINGS

 

"B" INSPECTOR'S MARKINGS

 

"B" INSPECTOR'S MARKINGS LEFT AND RIGHT SIDE BARREL FLATS & FRAME, LEFT SIDE LOADING LEVER, HAMMER AND TRIGGER GUARD PLUS SHIELD STAMPING

 

"B" ON CYLINDER BETWEEN NIPPLE WELLS
"B" ON CYLINDER BETWEEN NIPPLE WELLS

 

SERIAL NUMBER "2879" STAMPING CYLINDER* AND LEFT FRAME
SERIAL NUMBER "2879" STAMPING CYLINDER* AND LEFT FRAME (* MIS-STAMPED)

 

NUMBER "0" AND SERIAL NUMBER "2879"ON BOTTOM BARREL FLAT
NUMBER "0" AND SERIAL NUMBER "2879"ON BOTTOM BARREL FLAT

 

CLOSE UP OF MIS-STAMPED SERIAL NUMBER
CLOSE UP OF MIS-STAMPED SERIAL NUMBER (UPSIDE DOWN "3" PLUS "879")

 

SERIAL NUMBER "2879" ON BUTT STRAP
SERIAL NUMBER "2879" ON BUTT STRAP

 

SERIAL NUMBER "2879" ON RAM ROD / CYLINDER ARBOR PIN
SERIAL NUMBER "2879" ON RAM ROD / CYLINDER ARBOR PIN

 

SERIAL NUMBER "2879"INSIDE GRIPS
SERIAL NUMBER "2879"INSIDE GRIPS

 

LEFT GRIP CARTOUCHE (FAINT)
LEFT GRIP CARTOUCHE (FAINT)
("RPB" for Robert P. Barry, Captain U.S.A., 1860-1865)

 


 

     There is a high German silver cone front sight set 3/8", on center, from the muzzle face. The rear sight is formed by a pinched "V" groove formed into the top strap. The blued, solid frame is marked as described above. At the front of the cylinder the frame drops vertically enclosing the barrel threads. There is a cone shaped loading groove at the lower right of the frame. A somewhat flat recoil shield behind the cylinder is cast integral to the frame. A semi-circular capping groove is present in the right side recoil shield. The hammer was originally case-hardened. The blued six chamber 2 inch long cylinder has rectangular shaped stop slots. The nipples are recessed in beveled, semi-circular wells. The one piece grip straps and trigger guard are blue finished as is the trigger. The two screws at the rear of the frame serve to properly position the grip straps. The case-hardened loading lever has a plunger type latch that is held by a catch mortised into the bottom of the barrel 1-1/2" from the muzzle. The loading lever/cylinder arbor assembly is held in place by set screws which enter the frame from each side just forward of the cylinder. These set screws must be removed to free the cylinder. The black walnut two piece grips flare out quite noticeably at the butt giving this arm a unique appearance.

 

     If I have one criticism of this arm, it is the set screws. It is always easier to load the cylinder when it is out of the gun. The user would need a screw driver to remove these set screws if he wished to take the cylinder out each time he loaded the weapon. A prospect fraught with problems when in the field.

 

FRONT CONE SIGHT
FRONT CONE SIGHT

 

SET SCREWS FOR RELEASING LOADING LEVER / CYLINDER ARBOR
SET SCREWS FOR RELEASING LOADING LEVER / CYLINDER ARBOR

 

LEFT SIDE VIEW - BARREL, LOADING LEVER  & FRONT OF FRAME RIGHT SIDE VIEW - BARREL, LOADING LEVER  & FRONT OF FRAME
LEFT & RIGHT SIDE VIEWS - BARREL, LOADING LEVER  & FRONT OF FRAME

 

FRONT CYLINDER VIEW
FRONT CYLINDER VIEW

 

REAR CYLINDER VIEW
REAR CYLINDER VIEW

 

RIGHT GRIP VIEW LEFT GRIP VIEW
RIGHT & LEFT GRIP VIEWS

 

TOP OVERALL VIEW

 

BOTTOM OVERALL VIEW

 

TOP & BOTTOM OVERALL VIEWS

 



 
 

 

     The next posting will feature a Civil War presentation grade sword by H. Sauerbier of Newark, N.J.. Sauerbier presentation swords are very interesting as he utilized various designs and inlays on his scabbards & hilts. No two of his presentation swords are identical. Each one is a separate work of the sword maker's art.

 

     Reference material for this posting came from "U.S. Military Small Arms 1816-1865" by Robert M. Reilly, "Civil War Small Arms", an American Rifleman Reprint - Articles "Civil War Revolvers Part 1 & 2 of 2" by C. Meade Patterson & Cuddy De Marco, Jr. and Norm Flayderman's "Flayderman's Guide To Antique American Firearms... And Their Values".

 

     The photographs are all originals of mine as are any assumptions or errors in this posting. The ace webmaster is Reed Radcliffe, my son, who puts this all together for your viewing.

 



 
 

 

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!

 

Dave Radcliffe