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THE SAVAGE-NORTH PERCUSSION .36 CALIBER NAVY REVOLVER

 

A DETAILED LOOK AT THE CIVIL WAR'S
UGLY DUCKLING REVOLVER

 

RIGHT VIEW OF THE SAVAGE-NORTH .36 CALIBER REVOLVER

 

LEFT VIEW OF THE SAVAGE-NORTH .36 CALIBER REVOLVER

RIGHT & LEFT VIEWS OF THE SAVAGE-NORTH .36 CALIBER REVOLVER
("BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER")

 

     The Savage-North revolver, a product of the Savage Revolving Firearms Company, was patented by Henry S. North  and Edward Savage of Middletown, Connecticut. The Savage Revolving Firearms Company, established in 1860, were successors to North & Savage and E. Savage. Their original 1861 contract with the government was for 5, 500 arms at a cost of $20.00 each. However, in the first two years of the war, the government purchased 11,284 of these revolvers at an average cost of $19.00. Over 10,000 went to the Army with most being delivered by June of 1862. The Navy had one formal contract during the Civil War calling for Savage to deliver 800 revolvers at $20.00 each. These standard war time models were ordered on May 7, 1861.  300 were delivered in May, 200 in June, 100 in July and the last 100 in September. These 800 were in addition to 300 delivered to the Navy in 1860. Navy issues can be found with anchor stampings and Naval inspector markings. The Savage-North revolver is a direct descendant of the Savage & North Figure 8 Model Revolver and the Alsop revolver sharing many similarities with both arms. Alsop was also located in Middletown, CT. and three members of the Alsop family served on the Savage Revolving Firearms Company board of directors. Therefore, the relationship between the two companies and the two weapons was more than coincidental.

 


 

LEFT SIDE VIEW OF THE SAVAGE-NORTH NAVY REVOLVER WITH THE COMBINATION LOADING LEVER / CYLINDER ARBOR MECHANISM, CYLINDER ARBOR SPRING, CYLINDER, PRESSURE PLATE AND GRIPS REMOVED

LEFT SIDE VIEW OF THE SAVAGE-NORTH NAVY REVOLVER WITH THE COMBINATION LOADING LEVER / CYLINDER ARBOR MECHANISM, CYLINDER ARBOR SPRING, CYLINDER, PRESSURE PLATE AND GRIPS REMOVED

 

     This single action, six-shot weapon is .36 caliber and weighs 3 pounds, 6 ounces. The  6-7/8" barrel is rifled with 5 grooves. Measured diagonally from the tip of the butt to the muzzle face it is 14-1/2" overall. The barrel is unmarked except for the government sub inspector's marking of "H" on the right barrel flat just forward of the frame. The same "H" stamping can be found on the top left of the frame in front of the cylinder; on the top left of the frame just to the rear of the cylinder; on the left of the ram rod assembly just forward of the frame and on the cylinder between the nipple wells (one only). Other inspector's stampings can be found on the back of the cylinder ("M") and on the left rear frame under the grip ("MM"). The "M" & "MM" stampings are those of  M. Moulton, Armory Sub Inspector, 1861. The "H" stampings may be those of Benjamin Hannis, Armory Sub Inspector, 1861. Stamped on the top frame strap, over the cylinder, is "SAVAGE R.F.A. Co. MIDDLETOWN.CT / H.S.NORTH PATENTED JUNE 17 1856 / JANUARY 18 1859 MAY 15 1860" in three lines. Other markings on this arm include the serial numbers "666" or "999" stamped on the bottom flat of the barrel at the rear under the ram rod assembly and on the right rear frame under the grip. On the right forward frame under the grip is another number; "153". Opposite the "M" mentioned above, on the back of the of the cylinder, is the number "694". A illegible cartouche of the inspector's initials is also stamped in the left grip at the center bottom. One of the individuals who carried this weapon has also scratched "T M" at the top of both grips.

 

 
"H" STAMPING - RIGHT BARREL FLAT "H" STAMPING - TOP LEFT FRAME-FRONT OF CYLINDER "H" STAMPING - TOP LEFT FRAME-REAR OF CYLINDER
"H" STAMPING - RIGHT BARREL FLAT

 

"H" STAMPING - TOP LEFT FRAME-FRONT OF CYLINDER

 

"H" STAMPING - TOP LEFT FRAME-REAR OF CYLINDER

 

"H" STAMPING - RAM ROD ASSEMBLY LEFT REAR
"H" STAMPING - RAM ROD ASSEMBLY LEFT REAR

 

"H" STAMPING - BETWEEN NIPPLE WELLS ON CYLINDER
"H" STAMPING - BETWEEN NIPPLE WELLS ON CYLINDER

 

BACK OF CYLINDER - "M" & "694" STAMPINGS
BACK OF CYLINDER - "M" & "694" STAMPINGS

 

FRONT OF CYLINDER
FRONT OF CYLINDER
NOTE RECESSED CHAMBERS FOR GAS SEAL

 

"M M" STAMPING - LEFT REAR FRAME UNDER GRIP
"M M" STAMPING - LEFT REAR FRAME UNDER GRIP

 

NAME STAMPING - TOP STRAP
NAME STAMPING - TOP STRAP
"SAVAGE R.F.A. Co. MIDDLETOWN.CT
H.S.NORTH PATENTED JUNE 17 1856
JANUARY 18 1859 MAY 15 1860"

 

SERIAL NUMBER "999" OR "666"STAMPING BOTTOM BARREL FLAT
SERIAL NUMBER "999" OR "666"STAMPING BOTTOM BARREL FLAT
SERIAL NUMBER "999" OR "666"STAMPING RIGHT REAR FRAME UNDER GRIP
SERIAL NUMBER "999" OR "666"STAMPING RIGHT REAR FRAME UNDER GRIP

 

NUMBER "153"STAMPING RIGHT FRONT FRAME UNDER GRIP
NUMBER "153"STAMPING RIGHT FRONT FRAME UNDER GRIP

 

"999/666" & "153" STAMPINGS RIGHT FRAME UNDER GRIP
"999/666" & "153" STAMPINGS RIGHT FRAME UNDER GRIP

 

INSPECTOR'S CARTOUCHE - LEFT GRIP
INSPECTOR'S CARTOUCHE - LEFT GRIP

 

"T M" MARKS -LEFT GRIP
"T M" MARKS -LEFT GRIP

 


 

     There is a brass post front sight, set on center, 7/16" from the muzzle face. The rear sight has a round base and is V-notched. It is set just to the immediate rear of the hammer entry hole in the top strap. The iron blued frame is flat sided with a narrow slightly raised recoil shield behind the cylinder. Among the distinctive features of this weapon is the "humped" back strap, the large case-hardened off set hammer and the extreme size of the off set case-hardened trigger guard containing a ring cocking lever below a conventional  trigger. Both are cased-hardened. The heart shaped  guard extends from behind the cylinder to the lower part of the frame just above the butt strap. The cocking lever or ring trigger when drawn to the rear cocks the hammer, rotates the cylinder and draws it backward away from the barrel. When the ring is released, the cylinder moves forward locking the cylinder against the beveled barrel breech to form a gas tight union. The arm is then fired by pulling the upper trigger which releases the hammer to fall on the percussion cap through the opening in the top of the frame. The blued, six shot cylinder is 2" long with the nipples recessed in three quarter circular wells. A separate 1/4" pressure plate on which the stop lugs are located is directly behind the cylinder. The linked type case-hardened loading lever is secured by a conventional "Navy" type latch. The linked cylinder arbor is encircled by a substantial 1-1/4" long spring which compresses against the pressure plate when the hammer is cocked and is released after the hammer is cocked causing the cylinder to move forward to it's gas tight position with the barrel. The wide black walnut two piece grips are oil finished with the inspector's cartouche, on military purchased arms, being stamped into the left grip.

 

RIGHT  SIDE VIEW OF BARREL, FRONT SIGHT AND LINKED  RAM ROD & CYLINDER ASSEMBLY
RIGHT  SIDE VIEW OF BARREL, FRONT SIGHT AND LINKED  RAM ROD & CYLINDER ASSEMBLY

 

REAR SIGHT
REAR SIGHT

 

RIGHT SIDE  VIEW OF TRIGGER GUARD, COCKING RING AND TRIGGER BOTTOM  VIEW OF TRIGGER GUARD, COCKING RING AND TRIGGER
RIGHT SIDE & BOTTOM  VIEW OF TRIGGER GUARD, COCKING RING AND TRIGGER

 

 
VIEW OF PRESSURE PLATE WITH CYLINDER OUT PRESSURE PLATE VIEW PRESSURE PLATE VIEW
VIEW OF PRESSURE PLATE WITH CYLINDER OUT

 

PRESSURE PLATE VIEWS

 

 
INSIDE OF GRIPS VIEW MAIN SPRING VIEW - RIGHT  SIDE MAIN SPRING VIEW - LEFT  SIDE
INSIDE OF GRIPS VIEW

 

MAIN SPRING VIEWS - RIGHT  & LEFT  SIDES

 

 

TOP AND BOTTOM VIEWS OF SAVAGE-NORTH REVOLVER

 


 

     This posting was initiated through the comments of an English visitor to this site who commented on the "beauty" of the Savage-North Navy revolver. I unfortunately deleted his email and his name thereby saving him the embarrassment of explaining how in the world he could use that term in relation to this arm. But as I said at the beginning "BEAUTY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER". So be it.

 

     Reference  material for this posting came from "U.S. Military Small Arms 1816-1865" by Robert M. Reilly, "Civil War Small Arms", an American Rifleman Reprint - Articles "Civil War Revolvers Part 1 & 2 of 2" by C. Meade Patterson & Cuddy De Marco, Jr.,  Norm Flayderman's "Flayderman's Guide To Antique American Firearms... And Their Values", "Small Arms of the Sea Services" by Colonel Robert H. Rankin, USMC (RET), "Civil War Small Arms of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps" by John D.  McAulay and finally, "Small Arms Makers" by Colonel Robert E. Gardner.

 

     I should point out that without my library of books that I would not be able to put these posting together with the detail as given.  Although the information in some of the books may conflict, particularly as to stampings and markings and sometimes measurements, I utilize what I see in front of me, the weapon itself,  so I can guarantee that information. However, there may also be errors in the text that I use from these books, so other than the hard evidence as pictured, I caution the viewer from taking all statements as absolute fact as the writers of these tomes are only human as am I.

 

     The photographs are all originals of mine as are any assumptions or errors in this posting.  My great webmaster is Reed Radcliffe, my son, who puts this all together for your viewing.

     What the next posting may be is anybody's guess at this point.  However, there will be one, so come back in ten days or so and be surprised.

 

Dave Radcliffe