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The “Cartridge, Aiming Rifle, 1 inch” – by Dr. Dan LeClair On 25 April, 1881, Richard Morris received UK Patent No. 1773 for an adapter and barrel sleeve for “miniature-ammunition practice,” the first of seventeen patents he would receive over the next ten years. Arguably the most successful of his ideas, it soon translated into the “Morris Aiming Tube & Ammunition Company, Ltd,” which sold a wide variety of practice systems to both the British military and sportsmen interested in an...
This article will reveal information surrounding a previously unknown list of Colts, Winchesters, and Remingtons. The guns were listed by serial number in Feb, 1881 as part of camp supplies by head surveyor/engineer, Charles.W. Irish of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Co. (C.N. Ry. Co.), therefore property of the C.N. Ry. Co. The uncovered documents reveal a colorful view back in time, in an era of Westward expansion, and time when tensions were likely high; just a few years removed...
Gunpowder-Filled Bullets. The major, or “winning”, designs for cartridge development took the three traditional components of ammunition (gunpowder, bullet, and primer) and put them into a cartridge case. One minor, or “losing”, design answered yes to the question, “Can we do this without a case?” No case meant one less component, less cost, and no extractor. (“Losing” doesn’t mean extinct, just a path much less trodden, since caseless ammunition is still used today.) One early example was...
In the history of post-Civil War breech loading arms development Joshua Gray’s work rates just a footnote. His inventive mind produced only three designs, and only two of these actually resulted in functional firearms being produced. Yet Gray himself went on to a long career of invention and innovation, reaping significant rewards as a result. This is Gray’s story
Loughlin Conroy was one of those mid 1800s inventors with an interest in many types of innovations. His patents cover anything from a street sweeping machine (number 32,051 of 1861) to a sliding door design (185,499 of 1876). More to our interest here, he had three patents for breech loading firearms, two of which were actually used in the manufacture of firearms submitted to various government trials.
Did Eli Whitney, Jr. manufacture copies of Sam Colt’s Model 1851 Navy revolver? Some authors, including Frank Sellers and Norm Flayderman, say he did. Mr. Flayderman estimated Whitney made 300 to 400 of the revolvers, noting that the most obvious difference was the cylinder scene on the Whitney copy was like that used on Whitney’s first type navy revolvers. Regarding their construction, he said, “It is possible that Whitney utilized original Colt parts purchased as surplus and reworked [them]...
Spiller & Burr revolvers serial numbers in standard range production will surprise most collectors as the lower serial numbers are often late 1864 production. I know it surprised me as I have cataloged many Spillers in the past as 1863 Atlanta production and now know that serial range realistically starts at over serial 400 though with many outliers. This is part one of an article that in the next installment will explore more exacting dates on serial numbers including identified revolvers.