ArmsCollectors.com menu


ArmsCollectors.com
Main Page


Learn - Basics

Dates in Firearm History

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
(From the Cody Firearms Museum)

Links to Forums
At Other Sites

Evaluating History of a Gun
Article by Jim Supica


Learn - Advanced

Factory Letters
And Military Records


Museums With Arms Exhibits

Arms Collector Groups

Other Useful Links

Book Recommendations

Book Reviews


Specialties

U.S. Military Arms

Factory Letters
And Military Records


Krag Bolt Removal

Which U.S. Bayonet?

M1917 Enfield Parts Markings
(from M1903.com)

M1917 Enfield Sling Instructions

M1 Garand Disassembly and Parts
(from CivilianMarksmanship.com)


Cartridges and Ammunition
International Ammunition Association

CartridgedCollectors.org

European Cartridge Research Association
http://www.ecra-net.de/

Cartridge-Corner.com
(headstamp info)


Edged Weapons
Society of American Bayonet Collectors
BayonetCollectors.org

Sword Collector Homepage

Internet Sword Collectors


Recommended
Dealers

OldGuns.net


Manufacture Dates

Pre-1899 Antique
Serial Numbers

(From Empire Arms. Use at own risk.)

Marlin

Mauser Pistol C-96
(Broomhandle)

Remington

Ruger
(& Factory Letters)

U.S. Military

Winchester


Markings

Serial Numbers
(foreign language)

Gun Marks

House Brands

U.S. Inspectors

WWII German
Codes & Markings

Mosin Nagant Markings


Warnings

Spotting Fake Firearms
Antiques Roadshow Advice

Fakes
Article by Jim Supica

The Anti-Gun
Crowd Wants

YOUR COLLECTOR
GUNS TOO!

Article by David Kopel


Collection Care & Records
(Preservation tips, inventory software, insurance)


Arms / Gun Show Listings

NRA List

Man At Arms List

Shotgun News List

Crossroads List


Living History
(Info coming soon)

Mannequins for Uniform Display
Make them yourself!


Arms Collectors.com
Main Page

 
 

 

A VERY UNUSUAL "BRIT"  AND IT'S AMERICAN COUSIN

 

    This is the second of a two part posting. The first part was on the English made "Adam's patent "Deane Adams & Deane 5 shot .44/.450 caliber double action percussion revolver. This week's posting features the American made Adams/Massachusetts Arms Company 5 shot .36 caliber double action Navy percussion revolver. As stated in Part I, both of these arms, with a few exceptions, share the same design and makeup. A large number of Adams revolvers were used by both sides during the Civil War. These include the 500 or so bought by the government from The Massachusetts Arms Company during the period of 1857 to 1861 and 1,049 imported English made Adam revolvers purchased on the open market from 1861 - 1866. Additionally, at least 1,000 Adams are known to have ran the blockade into the South. Many were also privately purchased by officers on each side.

 

A VERY UNUSUAL "BRIT"  AND IT'S AMERICAN COUSIN

TOP:  DEANE ADAMS & DEANE 5 SHOT .44/.450 CALIBER DOUBLE ACTION PERCUSSION REVOLVER
BOTTOM: MASSACHUSETTS ARMS COMPANY ADAMS 5 SHOT .36 CALIBER DOUBLE ACTION NAVY PERCUSSION REVOLVER

 


 

PART II
THE MASSACHUSETTS ARMS COMPANY ADAMS 5 SHOT .36 CALIBER DOUBLE ACTION NAVY PERCUSSION REVOLVER

U.S. GOVERNMENT PURCHASE & ISSUE

 

MASSACHUSETTS ARMS COMPANY ADAMS 5 SHOT .36 CALIBER DOUBLE ACTION NAVY

 

     The American made, English designed Massachusetts Arms Company revolver, pictured above, is one of only four types of percussion revolvers to have been made for U. S. military use prior to the Civil War. The others were Colts, Remington Beals, early versions of the Savage and the Starr double action revolvers. It is also the only percussion revolver made for U. S. military use with checkered grips as a standard feature. Government inspector cartouches are stamped in the left and right sides of the one piece stock. On the left is "LCA" (Lucius C. Allen). On the right is "WAT" (William A. Thornton). Both are in script and both are quite worn, but visible, on the arm pictured. The serial number, "217" is stamped on the left front lower frame next to "ADAMS.PATLNT (PATENT)" over "MAY. 3D1858" (looks like 1863) and on the cylinder, towards the rear, just forward of inspector's initials "A" and "T". On the right lower frame, under the cylinder opening, is the stamping "PATENT" over "JUNE 3.185?(6)". The top of frame is stamped "MANUFACTURED BY / MASS. ARMS CO. / CHICOPEE FALLS." in three lines with the center stamping being the larger of the three. There is also an "A" stamped on the operating (loading) lever rearward to the stamping of "KERR'S.PATENT" over "APRIL 14, 1857". Additional inspector's initials and locations are a "T" on the left rear frame just forward of the left corner of the stock, an "A" on the left forward upper frame above the plunger groove and on the outside bottom of the trigger guard, and a "C" on the forward lower frame just above the spanner screw which can only be seen when the loading lever is drawn up and pushed rearward.

 

INSPECTOR STAMPING LEFT SIDE OF STOCK "LCA" (Lucius C. Allen)

INSPECTOR STAMPING LEFT SIDE OF STOCK "LCA" (Lucius C. Allen) 

 

INSPECTOR STAMPING RIGHT SIDE OF STOCK "WAT" (William A. Thornton)

 

SERIAL NUMBER "217" PLUS "ADAMS.PATLNT" (PATENT) MAY. 3D  1858" LEFT FRONT LOWER FRAME

SERIAL NUMBER "217" PLUS "ADAMS.PATLNT" (PATENT) MAY. 3D  1858" LEFT FRONT LOWER FRAME

 

SERIAL NUMBER "217" PLUS INSPECTOR MARKS "A" & "T" ON CYLINDER

SERIAL NUMBER "217" PLUS INSPECTOR MARKS "A" & "T" ON CYLINDER

 

"PATENT / JUNE 3, 185? (6)" RIGHT LOWER FRAME UNDER CYLINDER OPENING

"PATENT / JUNE 3, 185? (6)" RIGHT LOWER FRAME UNDER CYLINDER OPENING

 

"MANUFACTURED BY MASS. ARMS CO. CHICOPEE FALLS." TOP OF FRAME

"MANUFACTURED BY MASS. ARMS CO. CHICOPEE FALLS." TOP OF FRAME

 

KERR'S.PATENT APRIL 14, 1857" & "A" LOADING LEVER

KERR'S.PATENT APRIL 14, 1857" & "A" LOADING LEVER

 

"T" - LEFT REAR FRAME

 "T" - LEFT REAR FRAME

 

 
"A" - LEFT FORWARD UPPER FRAME

"A" - LEFT FORWARD UPPER FRAME

 

"A" -  BOTTOM OF TRIGGER GUARD

"A" -  BOTTOM OF TRIGGER GUARD

 

"C" - FRONT LOWER FRAME - BY SPANNER SCREW

"C" - FRONT LOWER FRAME - BY SPANNER SCREW

 


 


 

     This two pound, nine ounce "self cocking" double action 5 shot .36 caliber revolver can also function in a single action mode. It measures 12-1/2" overall in a straight line from muzzle to the base of the back strap. The blued octagonal 3 grooved barrel is 5-7/8". The 4" one piece walnut grip is checkered on most of it's surface. The grip is smooth on each side in a triangular shape from the lanyard ring (?) hole down to the butt cap. The recoil shield is part of a separate metal insert retained by a screw on the left side of the gun. There is a cylinder arbor thumb screw located forward of the cylinder on the right side. Turning it allows for the removal of the cylinder arbor for removal from the front. Depending on the number of turns, one can either move the arbor forward to remove the cylinder while retaining the arbor in it's channel or it can be removed in it's entirety. To the rear of the cylinder, on the right side, is a safety catch that when pushed forward enters one of five slots cut into the rear of the cylinder, locking it in place, which prevents the hammer from being cocked in either a double or single action mode. The cylinder is 1-15/16" long. The Kerr patent operating or loading lever is carried on the left side of the barrel. It is held in place by a catch attached to the barrel 1/2" from the muzzle. The operating lever, when drawn up, is pulled back to actuate the plunger and pivots on a large spanner screw that enters the left side of the frame. The plunger action seats the bullet in the cylinder. All metal parts are blued except the butt cap and trigger which are cased-hardened.

 

VIEWS OF RIGHT SIDE OF ADAMS / MASSACHUSETTS ARMS CO. WITH CYLINDER & CYLINDER ARBOR PIN REMOVED

 

VIEWS OF LEFT SIDE OF ADAMS / MASSACHUSETTS ARMS CO. WITH CYLINDER & CYLINDER ARBOR PIN REMOVED

 

VIEWS OF RIGHT AND LEFT SIDES OF ADAMS / MASSACHUSETTS ARMS CO. WITH CYLINDER & CYLINDER ARBOR PIN REMOVED
(Note Raised Loading Lever)

 

 
GRIP DETAIL

GRIP DETAIL

 

RIGHT REAR FRAME DETAIL

RIGHT REAR FRAME DETAIL
(Note Frame Cut Out For Cylinder Removal and Replacement)

 

LEFT REAR FRAME DETAIL

LEFT REAR FRAME DETAIL
(Note Recoil Plate Attachment)

 

FRONT OF CYLINDER

FRONT OF CYLINDER

 

REAR OF CYLINDER

REAR OF CYLINDER
(Note Match Head Shaped Safety Slots)

 

SAFETY CATCH (On)

SAFETY CATCH (On)

 

BUTT CAP

BUTT CAP

 


 

     The notched low rear sight is integral to the frame. The front 1/4" high blade sight is dove tailed into the barrel and presents a triangular sight picture. As in the case of the Deane Adams and Deane, the shooter's hand is protected from the hammer by the pronounced hump at the top of the grip. This arm is very well made and sturdy to the hand. It appears to be an excellent and rugged military weapon.

 

OBLIQUE VIEW OF HAMMER AND REAR SIGHT

OBLIQUE VIEW OF HAMMER AND REAR SIGHT

 

SIDE VIEW OF HAMMER

SIDE VIEW OF HAMMER

 

 
REAR SIGHT NOTCH

REAR SIGHT NOTCH

 

OBLIQUE VIEW - FRONT SIGHT

OBLIQUE VIEW - FRONT SIGHT

 

HEAD ON VIEW OF FRONT SIGHT

HEAD ON VIEW OF FRONT SIGHT

 

TOP VIEW

TOP VIEW

 

BOTTOM VIEW

BOTTOM VIEW

 


 

LEFT SIDE VIEW

LEFT SIDE VIEW

 


 

     Reference credits go to "A HISTORY OF FIREARMS" by Major Hugh Bertie Campbell Pollard, "CIVIL WAR GUNS" by Edwards, "U.S. MILITARY SMALL ARMS 1816-1865" by Reilly, American Rifleman Reprint -R7, "CIVIL WAR SMALL ARMS" - Articles on "Civil War Revolvers, Part 1 of 2" by C. Meade Patterson and Cuddy De Marco, and in the same publication, "Production and Purchases of Civil War Revolvers" by John F. Baenteli and, of course, "FLAYDERMAN'S GUIDE TO ANTIQUE AMERICAN FIREARMS... AND THEIR VALUES" by Norm Flayderman.

 

     Credit must also go to Reed Radcliffe, my son, the web master of this page, for his expertise and work in transforming this detail from the typed word to this web page.

 

Dave Radcliffe