Help Identifying a Percussion Revolver Cylinder

w10085

Cadet
Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Messages
5
I am a long-time lurker on this forum but just joined because I need some assistance. I bought an 1851 Colt Navy parts lot and it came with a cylinder I can’t identify. I have taken a bunch of pictures with micrometer measurements of the details. The thinks I find unique on the cylinder and the lack of relief cuts on the cylinder stop holes. The location of the cylinder stops relative to the nipple cutouts. The impression of what looks like cylinder safety pins cast into the back of the cylinder and the 0.406 chamber bore. I have looked at hundreds of pictures online. I originally assumed it was a Remington but quickly realized that was not right. I know there were many European Brevet Colt copies and unauthorized copies. It is probably one of those and may never be identifiable but it sure looks like a Leech and Rigdon. The back of the cylinder looks very similar. There are a bunch of hacks on the cylinder right where the serial number should be and there are slight indications of a number under the marks (but very slight). Some Leech and Rigdons appear to not have the relief cuts. The stop hole locations look right. The radius on the back of the cylinder is not exactly right though. I realize that form follows function and all copies of 1851 Navys are going to look a lot alike and have almost identical features. Also, statistics say that it won’t be a Leech and Rigdon because there were not many made. I would appreciate any input you may have. Thanks in advance.

Here are the pictures I have been looking at:

http://www.ccrelics.com/index.php/rare-confederate-leech-rigdon-confederate-revolver-571

https://www.morphyauctions.com/jamesdjulia/item/3272-369/

http://perryadamsantiques.com/shop/rare-confederate-leech-and-rigdon-revolver-1386/

http://rebelrelics.com/2018/11/28/leech-rigdon-confederate-revolver-2/

https://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-for-sale-online/revolvers/civil-war-revolvers/ridgon-ansley-confederate-revolver.cfm?gun_id=101177475

https://pre1900.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-leech-and-rigdon-revolver.html

http://www.civilwarpreservations.com/newmus86.html


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WJC

Brigadier General
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Welcome! Sorry, I can't answer your question, but I am confident that some others will! Meanwhile, join in our discussions: new perspectives are always appreciated! Enjoy!
 

w10085

Cadet
Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Messages
5
Thank you everyone for the welcomes. Thanks for directing this to some experts. It's probably a Brevet Colt or other copy but I would hate to not have spent some time if it is something interesting.
 

sourdough

Private
Joined
May 29, 2017
Messages
221
Location
Pe Ell, Washington
Hi! Welcome to the forum!

I don't collect original 1851 Navy "type" pistols as they cost too much for my retirement income; rather I collect Italian replicas. In order to have my repros as accurate as possible, I rely upon books to research the originals. Here is my $.02 worth about your cylinder.

I have taken a bunch of pictures with micrometer measurements of the details.

I commend you for that!

The things I find unique on the cylinder are the lack of relief cuts on the cylinder stop holes.

The "relief cuts" are termed stop-slot approaches.

The location of the cylinder stops relative to the nipple cutouts.

As this is not a Colt 1851 Navy cylinder, there will be variations from one Confederate manufacturer to another: Griswold & Gunnison, Leech & Rigdon, Rigdon & Ansley, Augusta Machine Works, Columbus Firearms Manufacturing Company, L.E (Laban) Tucker & Sons, et al. All Colt cylinders had roll-marked engraving while all Confederate copies had smooth cylinders.

The impression of what looks like cylinder safety pins cast into the back of the cylinder

The safety pins were not cast with the cylinder, but were machined parts pressed into holes at the rear of the cylinder.

and the 0.406 chamber bore.

That is a huge anomaly! It should be no more than .380" at the very most, and more like .375". Any standard ACW .36 lead ball would never seat firmly upon the powder charge with that dimension you have.

I know there were many European Brevet Colt copies and unauthorized copies. It is probably one of those and may never be identifiable but it sure looks like a Leech and Rigdon. The back of the cylinder looks very similar.

To me, it is not a L&R. Reasons below.

There are a bunch of hacks on the cylinder right where the serial number should be and there are slight indications of a number under the marks (but very slight).

As this cylinder is not on a gun, I cannot fathom why it would have any "hack" marks to make it look like an ACW period cylinder. L&R did not put serial numbers on cylinders, although R&A did so on 12-stop-slot guns but very seldom.

Some Leech and Rigdons appear to not have the relief cuts.

The only L&R photo I have ever seen like that is the one pictured in your last link. The rest of the links you posted all have approaches, even if very slight. I believe it may be a defarbed/antiqued repro because the "Leech And Rigdon" rollmark on the top of the barrel lug reads L to R from the cylinder to the muzzle (called read up). Original L&R guns read L to R from the muzzle to the cylinder (called read down).

The stop hole locations look right. The radius on the back of the cylinder is not exactly right though. I realize that form follows function and all copies of 1851 Navies are going to look a lot alike and have almost identical features.

Not at all. Original G&G cylinders were made from twisted iron bars and the faint twist marks (clockwise from the cylinder rear) are usually discernible. Insofar as other parts, very few copied the Colt 1851 Navy exactly. Most were basically handmade in small shop factories, some by slaves.

Also, statistics say that it won’t be a Leech and Rigdon because there were not many made.

L&R had a contract with the CSA for 1500 revolvers. Leech left the partnership around S/N 1100, and Rigdon completed the remainder of the contract. Some of the cylinders had safety pins and some did not during the remainder of the contract. Around S/N 1500 Rigdon started producing 12-stop-slot cylinders with no safety pins. L&R/ R&A produced about 2300 revolvers. The only Confederate arms producer of 1851 Navy "copies" greater than that number was Griswold and Gunnison at just over 3600 guns.

The only guns, to my knowledge, without approaches to the stop-slots were the Tucker, Sherrard, and Co. revolvers, but they were slightly smaller copies of the Colt Dragoon 2nd Model in .44 caliber.

I hope this helps a bit. Please keep us posted about anything you find out!

Regards,

Jim
 

Cpl. Smith

Sergeant
Joined
May 1, 2018
Messages
841
Not big enough to be an army, but too big for a navy. Also, don't see any of the engraving(think it was engraving). So definitely not a colt. mabey a early remington or something? The caliber is just odd!
 

Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
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Mar 7, 2014
Messages
10,269
I find these speculative answers very interesting, and I'm far too ignorant to argue. I think you've got an interesting piece there. Welcome to the forum.
 

w10085

Cadet
Joined
Apr 14, 2019
Messages
5
Thank you everybody for your kind welcomes. I am still interested in opinions of the cylinder if anybody has some ideas!
 


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