RARE, ENGRAVED Antebellum Antique VOLCANIC Pistol
Precursor to Henry & Winchester Made Circa 1857
Here we present an antique Volcanic Lever Action Magazine No. 1 Pistol, made circa 1857 in New Haven, Connecticut. Only about 850 were made. It was the precursor to the Henry rifle and the Winchester after it. It made the names Smith & Wesson, Henry, and Winchester indelible in firearms history. This pistol was designed to use so-called rocket ball ammunition first developed by Walter Hunt in the late 1840s. It is equipped with a tubular magazine under the barrel, which is loaded from the front by simply compressing the spring and follower, then swiveling the muzzle to the side. The lever cycles both lifts a new round to the chamber and cocks the hammer.
Just prior to this pistol being made, Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson parted ways with the company to pursue the company that still bears their names today. Oliver Winchester now owned the company with Benjamin Tyler Henry as his superintendent. Henry would develop both new rimfire ammunition and rifle that would bear his name into the pantheon and see service in the American Civil War. This rifle would be further improved and become Winchester’s first namesake rifle, the Model 1866. As you can see, the Volcanic is a crucial link in the chain of development that brought us into the modern realm of firearms. Whereas before most employed a single shot percussion rifle for their hunting, protection or recreation, the repeating rifle was about to change the landscape of firearms to repeaters with self-contained metallic cartridges.
This Volcanic pistol features a 3-1/2 inch octagonal barrel chambered for .31 Rocket Ball ammunition. It came from the factory with this broad scroll engraving on each side, the top, and down the backstrap. The top of the barrel still reads “NEW HAVEN CONN. PATENT FEB. 14 1854”.
The overall condition is very good. The brass frame bears a mellow patina. Traces of the original blue finish remain on the barrel with an even gray patina. Engraving is still clear. The markings are legible. The serial numbers match. The grips are in good shape and match numerically. The left grip has a lengthwise crack that is stable. The bore is in great shape, semi-bright with good rifling. The action is excellent, strong and crisp. Here is an extremely desirable pistol that was touched by many legendary names and made many names legendary.
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 3-1/2 inches.
Caliber: .31 Rocket Ball
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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