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TWO PAIR OR
FOUR OF A KIND
Civil War Era Allen & Wheelock Percussion Revolvers
In stumbling around from show to show, I have managed to pick up some
Allen & Wheelock percussion revolvers. I also have some lip fire
cartridge ones, but we will "show and tell" about those later in the
We will look at these guns in order of birth. The first two are "sidehammer"
models made between 1858-1861. Following are: Top gun - Sidehammer
Navy Revolver. Bottom gun -Sidehammer Pocket or Belt Revolver.
The sidehammer 5 shot pocket or belt revolver is .34 caliber.
The barrel length is 4¾". Overall length is 10½". It
is the standard model, except it appears to be .34 caliber. There
are no barrel markings or cylinder scene. They were buffed off when
someone cold blued this gun a few years back. I removed the cold blue,
repaired a couple of other items and put it in my collection until
I can upgrade it to one with more or less original finish and barrel
The only mark on this gun is the serial number 781, which is stamped
inside the combination trigger guard/loading lever, at the very top.
1,000 made of both the .28 and .31 caliber specimens.
The sidehammer 6 shot Navy Model is .36 caliber with a 7¾''
barrel. The overall length is 14". It has features of both the early
and standard models. It is serial or batch numbered 331. The marking
on the rear left side barrel flat are: "ALLEN & WHEELOCK WORCHESTER,
MASS.U.S./ALLEN'S PT'S. JAN. 13, DEC. 15, 1857, SEPT. 7, 1858. The
cylinder is roll engraved with a forest scene and deer. About 750
of this model revolver were manufactured.
Both guns were originally blued finish with case harden hammer and
trigger guard. Both have walnut grips and octagon barrels. The barrel
and cylinder close-up pictures follow:
Allen & Wheelock also made center hammer revolvers. They were
an improvement over the side hammer models. These guns were made between
1861-1862. 536 of them were purchased by the government. Exactly how
many over all were manufactured is unknown. Estimates vary with the
low end being 700 for the Army Model and 500 for the Navy Model. These
center hammer percussion revolvers are believed to have been made
after the Allen & Wheelock lipfire cartridge Army & Navy production.
Both models are considered, by collectors, to be martial weapons.
Following are pictures of the .44 caliber Army Model and the .36 caliber
The center hammer 6 shot Army Model is .44 caliber. It has
a 7½" half round, half octagon barrel. It is 13¾" overall.
The cylinder is rebated at the nipple end. The guns were blued finish
with case hardened hammer and trigger guard. This gun is serial or
batch numbered 59. The marking on the left rear barrel flat are: "ALLEN
(&) WHEELOCK, WORCESTER, MASS. U.S./ALLEN'S PT'S. JAN.13, DEC.
15, 1857, SEPT. 7, 1(858)" in 2 lines. It should be noted, on this
gun, that there is no "&" between Allen and Wheelock and the date
stamping stops at Sept 7, 1 as they ran out of barrel flat area! The
cylinders were not engraved on this model. Following is a close-up
picture of the barrel stamping:
The center hammer 6 shot Navy Model is .36 caliber. It has a 5-7/8"
octagon barrel. It is 11¼" overall. The cylinder is rebated
at the nipple end. The guns were blued finish with case hardened hammer
and trigger guard. This gun is serial or batch numbered 32. The marking
on the left rear barrel flat are: "ALLEN & WHEELOCK, WORCESTER,
MASS. U.S./ALLEN'S PT'S. JAN.13, DEC. 15, 1857, SEPT. 7, 1858" in
2 lines. The cylinders were not engraved on this model. Following
is a close-up picture of the barrel stamping: