in Firearm History
Frequently Asked Questions
(From the Cody Firearms Museum)
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History of a Gun
by Jim Supica
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M1917 Enfield Parts
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Cartridge Research Association
of American Bayonet Collectors
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Article by Jim Supica
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RELATIFS FRANÇAIS DE LA GUERRE CIVILE AMÉRICAINE
3 DE 3
Related Pistols of the American Civil War
3 of 3
This is the third of three photo discourses on French related revolvers
used in the American Civil War. These pistols, as pictured below,
are from top to bottom:
Liege manufactured E. LeFaucheux Brevete 6 shot, 12 millimeter
(.47 cal.) pinfire cartridge single action revolver. (Please see
Collector's Item Of The Week
for June 30, 2000)
Paris, France made Perrin 6 shot, 12 millimeter (.47 cal.) center
fire internal primed cartridge double action only revolver. (Please
see Collector's Item Of The Week
for July 6, 2000)
unmarked George Raphael 6 shot, 11 millimeter (.42 cal) center
fire internal primed cartridge double action revolver. (This Collector's
SHOT, 11 MILLIMETER CENTER FIRE CARTRIDGE DOUBLE ACTION REVOLVER
The over all length of this revolver is 11¼" measured in
a straight line from the back of the butt to the front of the barrel.
The barrel length is 5-5/8". The 2 piece walnut grip has an oval
metal butt cap with a centered lanyard ring. There is a spur on
the back strap behind the hammer. There is no safety. However, there
is a hole in the cylinder plate to rest the elongated firing pin
in to secure it from resting on the base of a cartridge. In order
to load this revolver, the firing pin must first be in that hole.
Then one must open the loading gate to release the cylinder plate
locking pin in order to manually rotate the cylinder for placement
of the cartridges. The cylinder cannot be rotated without first
unlatching the loading gate and it cannot be made ready for firing
without latching the loading gate which replaces the cylinder plate
locking (or loading) pin into a notch in the side of the cylinder.
It is a finely machined mechanism that could prove troublesome to
a soldier in a hurry. The gun can be fired in either a double or
single action mode. The only markings are a "V" on the inside rim
of the cylinder plate loading gate opening and the serial number
"21" which is on the front face of the cylinder, on the front of
the cylinder pin housing and at the bottom base of the barrel at
the frame. The barrel and cylinder pin housing serial numbers cannot
be viewed without removing the cylinder pin.
About 1,000 Raphaels were purchased on the open market by the federal
government during the war. This weapon was probably also available
for purchase by individuals. George Raphael also supplied swords
that were purchased by the federal government. There is a possibility
that swords marked R&C stand for Raphael & Company. George
Raphael was allegedly a friend of Abraham Lincoln. This may explain
the government's purchases of his weapons. Although George may have
marked his European made swords, he certainly did not mark his revolvers.
Other then the "V" described above there are no proof marks of any
kind or a country of origin or a manufacture's name on this revolver.
However, it is generally assumed that this weapon was made in France.
Pictures of the specific items discussed above follow:
The serial number,
"21" is, as mentioned, stamped on the front cylinder face, the front
of the cylinder pin housing and on the bottom of the barrel at the
These photos show the rear of the cylinder with the loading gate
closed, the hammer firing pin "at safe" in the resting hole that
is machined into the rear of the cylinder plate, and the placement
of the cylinder plate loading gate locking pin.
These pictures show the loading gate open from the rear and side.
Please note the letter "V" on the inside cut of the loading gate
Following are top & bottom views of the Raphael revolver and
a look through the barrel:
Let's hear it for the last of the French revolvers. One last time!
All together now!
la France - et hooray pour le pistolet de Raphael"!
Thanks for visiting with us. The "Dixie Gun Works, Inc. Catalog"
plus personal notes were utilized in reviewing government purchase
amount figures. Credit should also be given to my son, Reed Radcliffe,
who is the webmaster of this site.