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French Related Pistols of the American Civil War

Part 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:

1.  A  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)

2.  A 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)

3.  An unmarked George Raphael 6 shot, 11 millimeter (.42 cal) center fire internal primed cartridge double action revolver. (This Collector's Item)











     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 frame.




     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 opening.


     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! 

"Viva 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. 

Dave Radcliffe