Tell me more! Civil War Era Boot Pistol & .22 Smith & Wesson

tokashikibob

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Mar 24, 2009
Location
Jacksonville NC
Hello, Friday there was a auction nearby with some CIVIL WAR swords and firearms, not many but what was there was nice. I bought this boot pistol and would like to know more about it. It is marked on every part however no company mark, which seems to lead to possible American manufacture. Does it look familiar to anyone? Thanks in advance, Bob

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tokashikibob

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Mar 24, 2009
Location
Jacksonville NC
This is a late war Inscribed Smith. Probably from the officer assigned to the 89th New York vice the other two Lt. Valentines from the below info from a historian. Thanks for looking. Bob

Thanks for reaching out to me through my website.

The Smith & Wesson Model 1, 2nd Issue bearing serial number 52,846 probably shipped from the factory sometime between late 1864 and mid 1865. On the best of days Smith & Wesson guns tended to ship in the rough order of serial number, but during this particular timeframe there was much more variability in when particular guns left the factory.

That said, virtually all Smith & Wesson guns from this time period were shipped to Joseph Storrs, who acted as Smith & Wesson's sole sales agent in New York City. Unfortunately, Storrs' records are not known to survive, so there's no way to know where the gun went from there.

I hope this information helps.

Best,
Mike Helms

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RobertH

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Jan 25, 2019
I'm not sure the boot pistol is an Allen. Most Allens had a part round, part hex barrel. The Allen markings were on the top of the Hex portion. I say most Allens had that barrel set up, I've seen double barrel boot pistols by Allen that were round the whole length.

But no Allen markings or Patent Dates at all make me think it's a different manufacturer.

The S&W is very nice. Have you researched LT. Valentine?
 

DixieRifles

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Collierville, TN
I bought this boot pistol and would like to know more about it.
I have seen some like this. I find it hard to believe they were made in .22 caliber. That would be a very tiny ball if it fired a patched round. About the size of the small English peas.
There is a dug relic pistol at Parker’s Crossroads Interpretive Center in Tenn. They say it is .22 caliber. It has a similar grip & frame as my .31 caliber. The handle & hammer spring on yours is similar to mine. Your hammer is also mounted in the center like mine but mine has a spur trigger w/o a guard.

A gun expert said mine was made by local gunsmiths. It is serialized but has no factory or inspector markings.
 
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Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Your boot pistol is an interesting artifact. How were these loaded without a ramrod?
Lubliner.
I had wondered the same thing. I saw a video about boot pistols a couple weeks ago. If its the type that has a barrel that screws off, the loading steps are as follows:

1) Screw off the barrel.
2) pour powder into the chamber/breech where the barrel screws around. Holding the gun so that the breech points upward, you fill the breech to the top.
3) place a ball on top of the powder and press it down slightly; the breech has a bit of a lip that the ball sits on without rolling off
4) screw the barrel back on
5) set percussion cap on nipple

Here's the video:

 
Last edited:
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
This is a late war Inscribed Smith. Probably from the officer assigned to the 89th New York vice the other two Lt. Valentines from the below info from a historian. Thanks for looking. Bob

Thanks for reaching out to me through my website.

The Smith & Wesson Model 1, 2nd Issue bearing serial number 52,846 probably shipped from the factory sometime between late 1864 and mid 1865. On the best of days Smith & Wesson guns tended to ship in the rough order of serial number, but during this particular timeframe there was much more variability in when particular guns left the factory.

That said, virtually all Smith & Wesson guns from this time period were shipped to Joseph Storrs, who acted as Smith & Wesson's sole sales agent in New York City. Unfortunately, Storrs' records are not known to survive, so there's no way to know where the gun went from there.

I hope this information helps.

Best,
Mike Helms

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I can't imagine taking a 22 cal pistol to war.
 
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Location
Spotsylvania Virginia
I'm not sure the boot pistol is an Allen. Most Allens had a part round, part hex barrel. The Allen markings were on the top of the Hex portion. I say most Allens had that barrel set up, I've seen double barrel boot pistols by Allen that were round the whole length.

But no Allen markings or Patent Dates at all make me think it's a different manufacturer.

The S&W is very nice. Have you researched LT. Valentine?
Screw Barrels usually had a hexagonal barrel or notches at the muzzle to fit a special tool.
There are a lot of pistols that dont have a ramrod mounted on it.
Example: pepper box pistol.
Here’s some photos of a similar one in my collection. There is a stamp on one side of the hexagon saying New York. There’s another in the top I can’t make out, but it looks like H __ __ cl. The “H” appears to be script but I am not positive. The difference between mine and these can be seen with the groove connection between the hexagon and the smooth parts of the barrel where the barrel was unscrewed for loading (I presume)

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Seduzal

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Jun 19, 2013
Location
Canton, North Carolina
Wow! Thanks for sharing this awesome article and photos. Learning something new today. Never seen these photos of such small guns of late Civil War history’s mysteries found.
 

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