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The name Silvanus Frederick Van Choate is not one that is well recognized by arms collectors today. Nor did his name reach prominence as an arms inventor in the 1860s. Nonetheless, one of his designs was put into production — albeit limited — in 1870, so his story is worth telling.
It seems there is always something new to be discovered about Hiram Berdan’s efforts to profit from his many arms inventions. Back in the day, the author had published the story of Berdan’s several attempts to develop a method for converting muzzleloaders into metallic cartridge breechloaders (“Berdan Breechloaders” in six parts, Gun Report, 1987). Two years later Roy Marcot covered a much wider range of Berdan’s breechloaders in book form (CIVIL WAR CHIEF OF SHARPSHOOTERS HIRAM BERDAN,...
As I ended the first part of this article showing the timeline of manufacture, we identified 1st model revolvers to their dates of manufacture December 1862 and May 1863. Identifying 1st models was much easier when we only have 2 complete survivors. How do we identify individual 2nd model revolvers as to manufacture in Atlanta or Macon? All 1500 or so standard 2nd model Spiller & Burrs manufactured were made between July 1863 and December 1864. A large majority of revolvers if studied in...
“Rare” is not a term often used in reference to Harrington & Richardson (H&R) revolvers, but in the case of the revolver illustrated here it seems to be appropriate. I can’t say that for certain, for we don’t have readily available a good, scholarly reference book on these revolvers that is based on factory records. The best existing reference is W. (Bill) E. Goforth’s massive 628-page book, “H&R Arms Company, 1871-1986,” Gun Show Books Publishing, 2014. But Mr. Goforth’s book...
The antique arms collecting world calls the firearm in Figure 39 the Collette gravity-feed pistol.(24.)It was patented in Belgium by J. N. Herman in 1853-1854, and manufactured by the Liege gunmaker Victor Collette.It’s definitely in competition for the 19th Century Top Oddity Prize (for the winner, see Figure 59 at the end of the article).It’s a classic example of traditional Firearms Curiosa (25) and, in its native French, “Armes Insolites”.(26.)
Collectors occasionally find a military pattern Long Lee-Enfield—sometimes in nice condition with superior wood, or if lucky, fitted with a high quality target sight—and wonder why it has no date, no crown, no model number, and no government acceptance marks. The rifle is a “Volunteer” or commercial pattern rifle, purposely built for private sale by the Birmingham Small Arms Company, one of two government contractors. They were made on the same machinery and to the same (or higher) standard...
Cartridges for the Meigs Rifles – by Dr. Dan LeClair To piggy-back on Ed Hull’s article on “Josiah Meigs’ Breechloaders” (Arms Heritage, Vol. 10 No. 4, August 2020), this month’s column involves the cartridges Meigs designed. “Joe” received two patents, the first being U.S. Patent 87,352 (02 Mar 1869) (see Figure 1). “The objects of my invention,” Meigs stated in the second paragraph of the patent text, “are to secure in a metallic cartridge certainty in firing, simplicity and cheapness in...
It seems like yesterday that a group of aging, slightly demented (but serious) collectors decided to create Arms Heritage Magazine. With the collector world mourning the loss of Gun Report Magazine, we felt that we could step in and do a better job by having an editorial staff that were recognized as knowledgeable to the collecting universe. We further hoped that other recognized authorities would join us by contributing articles of merit. We now, immodestly, believe that we have achieved...