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Make them yourself!
- Shot Pocket Pistol
1863 U.S. Double Rifle Musket
Read Instructions Before Using either!)
Inventor J. P. Lindsay had a thing for guns with superposed loads,
two hammers, a single trigger and a single barrel. The story goes
that J.P.'s brother had a run in with two Indians and he was armed
only with a standard single shot musket. Being a expert shot, he
brought down one of the two Indians charging him. Trying to reload,
while looking back and forth at his gun and at the Indian still
charging him, and possibly still admiring his marksmanship, he was
unable to bring his musket up in time to stop the second assailant.
He died in the effort.
J.P. felt that if his brother had the time to get two shots off,
he would not have been killed (and scalped) by the second attacker.
Armed with that thought he produced 3 distinctive two shot, single
barrel handguns and the Model 1863 U.S. Double Rifle Musket.
All 3 of his pistols were made by the Union Knife Company, Naugatuck,
Connecticut for the inventor. The first pistol with a 4½'
to 5½" barrel was a "belt pistol" made in the early 1860s.
The second gun with a 4" barrel, referred to as a "pocket pistol",
was also made in the early 1860s. Both guns were .41 cal. The third
weapon, a martial size pistol with a 8½" barrel of .45 cal.
was manufactured in the same time period. About 100 each of the
belt and martial size pistols were made compared with several hundred
of the pocket model pictured herein. About 1,000 of the Lindsay
rifled musket, also featured below, were manufactured in 1863-64.
All these guns are oddities in the arms collecting field. They are
quite interesting but dangerous in some ways. The hammers can be
cocked individually or together. If both hammers are cocked, the
right hammer always falls first. It's firing channel ignites the
forward or second (front) load which is superposed over the first
load. The minie ball of the first load serves as a check against
ignition of the powder behind it when the second load is set off
by the flame from the percussion cap. Pulling the trigger again
drops the left hammer which ignites the back or first load. This
is all well and good, but there are several things that could and
probably did go wrong.
If one would put too much powder in the first load, the projectile,
either ball or minie, sitting on top of the excess powder would
block the firing channel of the forward or second load causing a
misfire. If one cocked only the left hammer and pulled the trigger
with both loads being in the weapon, the back projectile would push
the forward load, powder ball and all, out the front of the barrel
(hopefully). If not, something else, such as the barrel itself,
would explode. It is doubtful that both powder loads would ignite
simultaneously as the rear ball would also block ignition of the
powder in front of it. But what if one or both of the lead balls
were a little undersized or deformed? Then it wouldn't matter what
hammer dropped first.
Also, when using the musket in battle with both hammers cocked and
percussion caps in place, it would be possible to lose the right
cap. In the terrible noise and mental confusion of battle, it's
difficult to hear your own gun firing with others firing closely
to your left, right, center and rear. You pull the trigger once
- the hammer finds no cap. You pull the trigger again, a cap is
struck and the fun begins (or ends). Of course, the safest thing
to do would be to cock only one hammer at a time. If only one is
cocked that one will drop at the pull of the trigger, whether it's
the right or left hammer. But one has to remember to cock and fire
the right hammer first. I hope everyone read the instructions carefully
before using these guns. If you didn't know your right from your
left, it was trouble all the way!
The Model 1863 U.S. Double Rifle was accepted on August 12, 1864
and used in combat at Peebles Farm, Virginia by members of the 16th
Michigan Volunteer Infantry. Reports indicate that both charges
often ignited simultaneously destroying the barrel(s). The involved
loading and firing system, along with lack of acceptance from the
units they were issued to, lead to a relatively short issuance life.
I wonder, and so must have J.P. Lindsay, if this contraption really
would have saved his brother's life after all. However, it might
well have saved the life of that first Indian, if his brother had
cocked the wrong hammer or overloaded it!
Please note that the described adverse happenings are based on my
opinion from playing with these guns and that the information regarding
his brother has been called up from memory. I can't remember where
I read it or if someone told me that story. But it does make for
an interesting story, doesn't it?
Enough of the story, here are the pictures and statistics:
Two - Shot
Breech Flat Engraving
Breech Flat Engraving
View with Hammers Cocked
Number and Patent Stampings
The measurements of this little pistol are 6½" overall with
the .41 caliber octagon barrel from the breech to the tip of the
muzzle measuring 4". The loading chambers appear to be 1½".
The barrel is fluted at the top. The markings on the right side
of the barrel, at the breech, are LINDSAY'S/YOUNG-AMERICA / MAN'F'D
BY / J.P. LINDSAY-MAN'FG CO. / NEW YORK" in four lines within a
scroll engraved panel that extends forward on the barrel. The left
panel is profusely engraved, left to right, with a laying down male
lion, flags, military trophies and an eagle. On the bottom of the
blued barrel, at the frame, is the serial number, "954". Running
length-wise in two lines is "PATENT'D. FEB. 8 1859" over "PATENT'D.
OCT. 9. 1860" The frame is brass. The hammers and two stage spur
trigger are blued steel. The grips are walnut.
U.S. Double Rifle Musket
Cocked - Side View
Cocked - Top View
Hammer Down-Left Hammer Up
Down - Top View
View of Breech Section
of Rear Sight
Note Sub Inspector
Trigger Guard View
This gun is 56" overall with a 41-1/8" round barrel and semi-octagonal
breech. There are two nipples, two hammers and a single two stage
trigger. There are three barrel bands. It has a tulip head swelled
ramrod. All metal parts are finished bright. The front sight doubles
as a lug for a triangular socket bayonet. The stock is walnut.
Although only faintly visible on the pictured weapon, the barrel is
marked on the top of the breech, "LINDSAY / PATENT'D. OCT. 9. 1860."
in two lines. There is a "U.S." on the butt plate tang. A sub inspector
mark, "H" is on the right side of the sight and there is an "S" at
the rear of the trigger guard. The inspector's initials of "ADK" and
those of a sub inspector were stamped on the left flat of the stock
near the breech. These marks are only imaginable on the pictured musket.
Once again reference credits should be given to Flayderman's Guide
to Antique Firearms by Norm Flayderman and U.S. Military Small Arms
1816-1865 by Robert M. Reilly. The webmaster for this page is
my son, Reed R. Radcliffe. He should also receive the credit he so