Handguns Another One! (A William P. Uhlinger .32 RF Revolver, That Is)

James N.

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Yesterday I was offline because I was attending my favorite HUGE monthly regional indoor-outdoor flea market in Canton, Texas, where I found another one of these Civil War oddities about which I'd posted previously: https://civilwartalk.com/threads/william-p-uhlinger-32-rimfire-revolver.157404/#post-2041451 I purchased this one due to the several problems with the previous one: broken off hammer spur and loading gate and missing ejector rod; however upon comparison, this one has several differences.

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As I noted previously, Uhlinger revolvers are a simple design, one that involved infringement on patents held by Smith & Wesson for their very similar cartridge revolvers, the most important of which was for a bored-through cylinder. The only moveable parts are the cylinder and its internal mechanics, the loading gate (which does nothing other than swing down allowing access to the cylinder), and the spring-loaded detachable cartridge ejector rod, making it obvious why these would commonly be found missing!

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Serial numbers - in this case 1754 - on frame, barrel, cylinder, and buttstrap all match, and along with the totally bogus barrel marking J. P. Lower they are the only ones to be found. My other one has an equally phoney barrel marking W. L. Grant; Uhlinger also used the name D. D. Cone on some of his guns and others are totally unmarked. The bogus names *may* have been those of some of his dealers and so marked as red herrings to throw off Smith & Wesson's lawyers who were no doubt furiously trying to find out who was actually manufacturing these! They appear to have only been made during the war when demand for small pistols like these, especially by Union officers for personal protection sidearms, was at its height; with the winding down of the conflict the company evidently folded, possibly due to legal action by Smith & Wesson.

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Above, hammer on full cock and loading gate extended; Uhlingers were about the same size and used the same ammunition as the famous Smith & Wesson No. 2 so-called "Army" revolver, though there were no U.S. Government contracts let to either company for these small privately-purchased sidearms. Oddly enough, side-by-side below, although their parentage and origins are obvious, there are nevertheless several differences between the one marked Grant and the Lower: frames are slightly larger and smaller, grip woods appear different, barrel lengths are longer and shorter, and overall lengths are 10" and 9 1/2".

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James N.

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An impressive little gun. Does it have a bigger brother.
No - there were even smaller .22's though, but I have to my knowledge never seen one other than in pictures. Naturally they were likewise patent infringements of Smith & Wesson's No. 1 pocket-size revolvers and shot their ammunition.
 
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