Savage Navy serial number question

Joined
Aug 26, 2021
I purchased this Savage Navy revolver recently for what I feel was a good price. I was finally able to get it apart and find it to be all matching (frame, barrel and cylinder show the same serial number; no markings under the grips however)

The serial number is 11765 and I’m trying to find out what year it was manufactured. My guess is late 1861 or sometime in 1862 but that’s strictly a guess. Any assistance in find out for sure is greatly appreciated!

3873BC3D-3548-43C0-B2A0-B4EC8EA291F3.jpeg
 

bayonet

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Nov 7, 2012
well they made about 20,000 of them from 1861 to just after war ended. The government purchased just under 12,000. So yours is somewhere in-between I'd say.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
There are a couple of places that have the letter M but that's all I saw.

I see ads/postings/etc. that have a Savage Navy shown with a serial number and the year of manufacture (sometimes even the month). I'm wondering how they are getting that info - I've searched for data bases, etc. online to no avail. So how are others able to narrow down their Savage Navys?
 
There are a couple of places that have the letter M but that's all I saw.

I see ads/postings/etc. that have a Savage Navy shown with a serial number and the year of manufacture (sometimes even the month). I'm wondering how they are getting that info - I've searched for data bases, etc. online to no avail. So how are others able to narrow down their Savage Navys?

If the revolver has an "MM" stamped anywhere on it that would be for M. Moulton, a military inspector of the Savage Navy revolvers. The list of inspector stampings only shows him assigned to those revolvers from the years 1861 thru 1864 without being more specific than that.
 
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Upstate N.Y.
If you can get a hold of a copy of John McAulay's "Civil War Pistol's of the Union" it might help a little. He list's government purchases with quantities and date , no serial numbers. The Army contracted for about 11400 and the Navy for about 1100. Basically from May 1851 to June 1862 time frame. There were other private and state purchases. Just a guess, April-May 1862.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
If you can get a hold of a copy of John McAulay's "Civil War Pistol's of the Union" it might help a little. He list's government purchases with quantities and date , no serial numbers. The Army contracted for about 11400 and the Navy for about 1100. Basically from May 1851 to June 1862 time frame. There were other private and state purchases. Just a guess, April-May 1862.

Thank you! I wasn't aware of the existence of this book - a quick search found a like new volume for a decent price so I ordered it. Hopefully it will shed some insight into when this particular gun was made and maybe it'll come in handy for my Colt 1851 Navy and Colt 1860 Army as well.

But if anyone has any more insight I would welcome it!
 

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
If you can get a hold of a copy of John McAulay's "Civil War Pistol's of the Union" it might help a little. He list's government purchases with quantities and date , no serial numbers. The Army contracted for about 11400 and the Navy for about 1100. Basically from May 1851 to June 1862 time frame. There were other private and state purchases. Just a guess, April-May 1862.
check your dates, not May 1851. The early Savage was the figure 8 model in 1857-60. The above Model started coming out late 1860 with the government stopped buying them mid-1862. I have the book and it ain't going to help him pin down the date it was made. Your serial # is just over the half way mark of 20,000 made. so mid to late 1862 into 1863 I'd say. No cartouche then no government issued or purchased, probably a private purchase.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
I understood the 1851 to be a typo and probably meant to be 1861. I think the book will be interesting regardless.

My understanding is that the government purchased a little over half of the ones produced by mid-1862 (around 11,400 or so between Army & Navy). Assuming that the government didn’t purchase all of the ones made then there would be others produced during that same pre mid-1862 timeframe that we’re civilian purchases or purchased and shipped/taken south.

I suspect this one wasnt a government purchase but the lack of a cartouche doesn’t necessarily mean that since it seems to be the opinion that the grips were sanded and perhaps so was any cartouche that might have been there.

I guess the one thing that would throw off my supposition is knowing whether all the ones the government purchased were delivered by mid-1862 (or merely ordered by then). Maybe the book will clear that up.
 
Joined
May 1, 2015
Location
Upstate N.Y.
check your dates, not May 1851. The early Savage was the figure 8 model in 1857-60. The above Model started coming out late 1860 with the government stopped buying them mid-1862. I have the book and it ain't going to help him pin down the date it was made. Your serial # is just over the half way mark of 20,000 made. so mid to late 1862 into 1863 I'd say. No cartouche then no government issued or purchased, probably a private purchase.
So I made my first mistake this year. I stand corrected at 1861. Wait till your eyes are as old as mind that feel like they have been around since 1861. Interpolating is going to be the best one can do without providence to prove otherwise. This is figuring that serial sequence started at #1 in May of 1861. So that is where my Apr-May 1862 "Guess" comes from. Government deliveries ended in July 1862. It is extremely unlikely that this was manufactured in 1861 and sat in storage. Firearms were needed. The quantity of private sales will remain unknown. Unless a verified number can get close, it has to remain a guess, but the book will show all the government orders by quantity and time frame of each order. 😊
 
Joined
May 1, 2015
Location
Upstate N.Y.
Thank you! I wasn't aware of the existence of this book - a quick search found a like new volume for a decent price so I ordered it. Hopefully it will shed some insight into when this particular gun was made and maybe it'll come in handy for my Colt 1851 Navy and Colt 1860 Army as well.

But if anyone has any more insight I would welcome it!
The book covers lots of other revolvers used in the Civil War also.
 

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
So I made my first mistake this year. I stand corrected at 1861. Wait till your eyes are as old as mind that feel like they have been around since 1861. Interpolating is going to be the best one can do without providence to prove otherwise. This is figuring that serial sequence started at #1 in May of 1861. So that is where my Apr-May 1862 "Guess" comes from. Government deliveries ended in July 1862. It is extremely unlikely that this was manufactured in 1861 and sat in storage. Firearms were needed. The quantity of private sales will remain unknown. Unless a verified number can get close, it has to remain a guess, but the book will show all the government orders by quantity and time frame of each order. 😊
Your a good Man if you only average 1 mistake a year, I don't count mine. Yup my eyes are getting there too, don't be surprised I might be older. No matter how much time I spend in the gym I'm still getting a slight gut. To atone for your mistake your punishment is no dessert for dinner tonight!
 

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
I understood the 1851 to be a typo and probably meant to be 1861. I think the book will be interesting regardless.

My understanding is that the government purchased a little over half of the ones produced by mid-1862 (around 11,400 or so between Army & Navy). Assuming that the government didn’t purchase all of the ones made then there would be others produced during that same pre mid-1862 timeframe that we’re civilian purchases or purchased and shipped/taken south.

I suspect this one wasnt a government purchase but the lack of a cartouche doesn’t necessarily mean that since it seems to be the opinion that the grips were sanded and perhaps so was any cartouche that might have been there.

I guess the one thing that would throw off my supposition is knowing whether all the ones the government purchased were delivered by mid-1862 (or merely ordered by then). Maybe the book will clear that up.
The War was on or about to ramp up to War when they started to make these so I doubt "shipped/taken south" would be accurate at all. A very small amount if any at all went South I'd say is a safe bet.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
The War was on or about to ramp up to War when they started to make these so I doubt "shipped/taken south" would be accurate at all. A very small amount if any at all went South I'd say is a safe bet.
From reading I understand that many of these revolvers were used by Confederate cavalry. Confederate cavalry units that used these revolvers include the 11th Texas and the 7th, 34th, and 35th Virginian Battalions and the 7th Missouri Cavalry. At least according to several sources online (so take it with a grain of salt).
 

bayonet

Corporal
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
From reading I understand that many of these revolvers were used by Confederate cavalry. Confederate cavalry units that used these revolvers include the 11th Texas and the 7th, 34th, and 35th Virginian Battalions and the 7th Missouri Cavalry. At least according to several sources online (so take it with a grain of salt).
Maybe they captured them then since the Union Cavalry was not the greatest in the first 2 years of the War. Or just maybe The Union Officers dropped their Savage Pistols as the first shot went by them, running to the rear hoping that Supply Officer job offer was still available safely away from the fighting. Then the Rebs galloped by, swooped down, and equipped themselves with a nice Savage Pistol.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Maybe. But lots of arms were purchased in the North and taken/shipped/smuggled South. I suspect it might have been more of those activities than captured weapons to outfit several cavalry units (although I'm sure there were many captured weapons used by both sides). Of course it may have been aliens instead.
 

bayonet

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Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Maybe. But lots of arms were purchased in the North and taken/shipped/smuggled South. I suspect it might have been more of those activities than captured weapons to outfit several cavalry units (although I'm sure there were many captured weapons used by both sides). Of course it may have been aliens instead.
"Aliens"! Hey you might got something there. That movie I believe was called "Cowboys & Aliens" and had some good actors in it plus it was entertaining. Up next "Rebels & Aliens" or "Lee & Grant were Aliens". :smile coffee:
 

James N.

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From reading I understand that many of these revolvers were used by Confederate cavalry. Confederate cavalry units that used these revolvers include the 11th Texas and the 7th, 34th, and 35th Virginian Battalions and the 7th Missouri Cavalry. At least according to several sources online (so take it with a grain of salt).
captain-bob-lee-jpg.jpg

Texas renegade Reconstruction outlaw "Bob" Lee (assassinated in 1869) had also been a member of the 9th Texas Cavalry during the war, serving in the Western theater in the division commanded by Brig. Gen. William "Red" Jackson. Unfortunately I don't know when the photo was made.
 

bayonet

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View attachment 420084
Texas renegade Reconstruction outlaw "Bob" Lee (assassinated in 1869) had also been a member of the 9th Texas Cavalry during the war, serving in the Western theater in the division commanded by Brig. Gen. William "Red" Jackson. Unfortunately I don't know when the photo was made.
Photo? That looks like a sketch to me!
 
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