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THE JS ANCHOR STAMPED LONDON ARMORY KERR REVOLVER

 

A CONFEDERATE VETERAN OF NOTE

 


 

     During the American Civil War, The London Armory Company (LAC) acted somewhat as official armorers for the Confederacy. They supplied high quality interchangeable Enfield rifles and the rugged Kerr revolver. They also were the unofficial London headquarters for Confederate Army and Navy officers. After the opening days of the Civil War there is no evidence whatsoever that any of their products went to supply the North. Caleb Huse and Confederate Navy Captain James D. Bullock, both primary buyers of Confederate arms dealt extensively with this company. The LAC produced over 10,000 Kerr revolvers but the exact amount ultimately imported into the South is unknown. While it is generally found that pistols marked with the "JS" over an anchor were of Confederate usage it cannot be proposed that the absence of it precludes a Confederate heritage. It is simply not known if all were so marked. However, the following pistol does bear such a marking. 

 


 

KERR REVOLVER RIGHT SIDE VIEW

 

KERR REVOLVER LEFT SIDE VIEW

RIGHT AND LEFT SIDE VIEWS OF A LONDON ARMORY KERR REVOLVER WITH A JS ANCHOR STAMPING

 

     The pictured arm is a 5 shot, 54 bore (.45 caliber) single action weapon with English proof marks. It is stamped on the left upper flat of the irregular octagonal* barrel with a small "L.A.C." forward of a crown over an enjoined "GP" ( a London proof mark of the Gunmakers' Company) and a crown over a "V" ( London viewers' mark). On the left lower frame to the rear of the lower front frame screw is a small oval stamping of "LONDON ARMORY". The lock plate is engraved "LONDON ARMORY Co.". On the lower right side of the frame is an engraved "KERR'S PATENT No. 6227". The same number is engraved on the cylinder. Both of the previous engravings are difficult to see on the pictured gun. This is thought to be a mark of final acceptance as it was engraved only after all polishing immediately before bluing. It is not the serial number of the gun. The actual serial number, "471" of the gun is stamped on the front face of the cylinder (hardly visible on the pictured arm), on the frame flat below the cylinder where it is preceded by the letter "F", under the barrel strap over the cylinder (all but gone) and the inside bow of the trigger guard.

 

     It is also stated, by Williams, to be "in the handle in the lock mortising". I did not take this arm apart that far to check that location. The cylinder is also stamped to the rear, between chambers, with 5 London proof stampings . 3 are the crown over "V" markings and 2 are crown over "GP" markings. One more stamping, which some consider more important than the rest, is found in the wood of the stock just below the rear trigger guard strap. This is the approximately 1/8" high "JS" letters over a 3/16"+/- anchor.

 

* The top flat is a narrow viewing plane of 1/8" width. The upper right and left flats are 3/8" wide while the lower right and left flats are 1/4" in width with a 9/32" wide bottom flat.

 


 

"L.A.C." & PROOF STAMPINGS

"L.A.C." & PROOF STAMPINGS
LEFT UPPER BARREL FLAT

 

"LONDON / ARMORY" STAMPING

"LONDON / ARMORY" STAMPING
LEFT LOWER FRAME

 

"LONDON ARMORY Co."

"LONDON ARMORY Co."
LOCK PLATE

 

"KERR'S PATENT No. 6227"

"KERR'S PATENT No. 6227"
LOWER RIGHT SIDE OF FRAME (Faint)

 

CYLINDER ENGRAVING (faint)

"6627"
CYLINDER ENGRAVING (faint)

 

FRONT OF CYLINDER

FRONT OF CYLINDER
"471" STAMPING ILLEGIBLE

 

SERIAL NO. "F471"

SERIAL NO. "F471"
FRAME UNDER CYLINDER

 

BOTTOM OF TOP STRAP

BOTTOM OF TOP STRAP
SERIAL NO. "471" ILLEGIBLE

 

SERIAL NO. "471"

SERIAL NO. "471"
INSIDE TRIGGER GUARD BOW

 

CYLINDER PROOFS

CYLINDER PROOFS

 

"JS ANCHOR" STAMP

"JS ANCHOR" STAMP
INSIDE OF THE GRIP BELOW REAR TRIGGER GUARD STRAP 

 


 

     The Kerr revolver is 12-1/4" over all with a barrel length of 5-3/16". The back action lock plate is 3-7/8". There is a rather large imposing side hammer that curves over the frame to the center of the barrel. The integral firing pin is 5/8" long. All metal parts are blued. The grips appear to be checkered English walnut. The metal butt plate is held in place by 2 screws. It has a lanyard swivel ring attached. There is a external side spring behind the recoil shield on the left side. This spring retains the back entering cylinder pin in place. The spring must be pulled away from the gun to allow for the removal of the cylinder pin and cylinder. When repositioning the cylinder pin, it must be turned as to line up it's spring retaining hole with the retaining spring. There is a hole though the end of the cylinder pin to facilitate it's removal. The 1/8" thick flat webbed ramrod is 4-13/16" long. It has a knurled rounded end with a retaining spring on the left side for securing it between two ears attached to the bottom barrel flat. The top strap has a "W" shaped notch at the rear to allow for lining up the sighting with the German silver front cone sight. Various views of these features follow:

 

VIEW OF  KERR REVOLVER WITH CYLINDER REMOVED

VIEW OF KERR REVOLVER WITH CYLINDER REMOVED

 

TOP REAR VIEW OF HAMMER

TOP REAR VIEW OF HAMMER 

 

TOP VIEW OF BARREL

TOP VIEW OF BARREL

 

VIEW OF EXTERIOR CYLINDER PIN RETAINING SPRING AND FIRING PIN

VIEW OF EXTERIOR CYLINDER PIN RETAINING SPRING AND FIRING PIN

 

CYLINDER PIN VIEW SHOWING HOLE THROUGH PIN AND RETENTION HOLE FOR EXTERNAL RETAINING SPRING

CYLINDER PIN VIEW SHOWING HOLE THROUGH PIN AND RETENTION HOLE FOR EXTERNAL RETAINING SPRING

 

VIEW OF BUTT PLATE AND LANYARD SWIVEL RING

VIEW OF BUTT PLATE AND LANYARD SWIVEL RING

 

BOTTOM VIEW OF KERR REVOLVER

BOTTOM VIEW OF KERR REVOLVER

 

VIEW OF TOP STRAP AND REAR SIGHT

VIEW OF TOP STRAP AND REAR SIGHT

 

REAR VIEW OF CYLINDER

REAR VIEW OF CYLINDER

 

FRONT VIEW OF KERR REVOLVER FRONT VIEW OF KERR REVOLVER REAR VIEW OF KERR REVOLVER

 

FRONT AND REAR VIEWS OF KERR REVOLVER

 


 

A COUPLE OF NICE OUTSIDE VIEWS OF THE KERR REVOLVER

 

A COUPLE OF NICE OUTSIDE VIEWS OF THE KERR REVOLVER

A COUPLE OF NICE OUTSIDE VIEWS OF THE KERR REVOLVER

 


 

     Credits for information used in this posting should go to William Edwards and his great book "CIVIL WAR GUNS", and to William A. Albaugh, III, Hugh Benet, Jr. and Edward N. Simmons for their extremely informative book, "CONFEDERATE HANDGUNS". These are extremely important books for both the advanced and novice collector. Without them we would just be gatherers rather than studiers and keepers of historic and important firearms. This posting is in their honor. 

 

     Another person, my son, Reed Radcliffe is to be credited as the Web Master for this page. Without him I could not bring this information and photographs to you, the viewer.

 

     It may be several days before another posting is made. There will be more. Check back often. Thanks for visiting with us.

 

Dave Radcliffe