Antique MERWIN HULBERT Large Frame SAA Revolver
EAGLE/SNAKE Engraved Full-Sized Late 1870s Revolver
Here we present an antique Merwin, Hulbert & Co. Large Frame “Open Top” Single Action Revolver, made circa 1876-1878 in Norwich, Connecticut. These were made by Hopkins & Allen for Merwin, Hulbert & Co. Only several thousand are thought to have been produced. This Army features 6 shots of .44-40 WCF or, as Merwin & Hulbert put it: “CALIBRE WINCHESTER 1873”. These revolvers are considered today to be some of the best made of the late 19th Century and the Wild West, even better to some than similar Colts and Smith & Wessons, though we all know who stood the test of time. These revolvers certainly tended to have different, very well-thought features than their competition, and they were extremely well-made.
One such feature was the method of ejection. Loading was achieved by placing the hammer at half-cock and sliding down the loading gate to single feed cartridges. If one wanted to unload the gun, they could simply push the latch back on the bottom of the gun, twist the barrel and cylinder assembly and pull forward. Only the empty brass would come out as the space created was shorter than a loaded cartridge, enabling the shooter to top of his gun and keep rounds available. An ingenious method was designed to achieve this that included a machined cut on the cylinder axis pin and a ledge on the breech face that kept the cartridge rims underneath. This system was also advantageous for forcefully removing stuck cartridges, providing lots of mechanical advantage.
The factory engravings on this revolver have a Mexican theme which features an eagle clearly based on the Mexican coat of arms eating a snake on the left side and a songbird protecting its nest from a striking snake on the right. The eagle/snake motif originated with the Aztecs, whose origin story of the settling of Tenochtitlan included these same symbols. Tenochtitlan would become Mexico City with the coming of the Spanish Conquistadors and the eagle/snake symbology lives on today.
The overall condition is very good. Traces of nickel finish remain with a dark gray patina throughout. The engravings are clear. The markings are mostly clear. The grips are in great shape. The bore is in good shape with strong rifling. The action is glassy smooth as is typical for this design. Here’s a great example of the vaunted Merwin & Hulbert Revolver with Mexican themed engraving!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 7 inches.
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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