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Historic Speed Loaders

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PJ Hardtack:
I've got a copy of "The History of the Colt Revolver" by Haven & Belden, a large volume on Colt revolvers from 1836 to 1940.

On page 415 there is an article on "The New Colt Cartridge Pack", a two piece item that consisted of a ring (rubber?) and a wooden plug. Six rds were placed in a loading block, the ring put around them and the plug inserted to hold them in place. A neat looking device. It could also be loaded without use of the loading block as per a modern speed loader.

In use, the rds were started in the chambers, pushing with the ring, the wood plug dropping off to the rear. Done.

Patented in 1889, the US Navy adopted it shortly thereafter and a large number were ordered . Must have seemed revolutionary at the time! It made it possible to load a revolver even  in the dark without fumbling single rds from a drop pouch.

In the movie "Lawrence of Arabia", Peter O'Toole is seen ejecting fired cases from his Webley MK VI, his hand automatically going to the bandoleer across his chest - empty! It would have made a lot of sense to have had some of the British speed loaders which were in existence at the time.

Thinking of an Officer on a trench raid armed with a revolver, these would have been a life saver!

A wag on another forum said that it was likely the user pocketed the speed loader after use as opposed to dropping it in the mud. Yeah, right .... fighting for your life and under great stress, you're going to care what happens to a speed loader or magazine?

I suggested he give his head a shake.

Are modern soldiers taught to retain magazines during a firefight? I'm willing to bet that when the bullets are flying both ways, most aren't even counting rds, but firing to lock back.

Reverend P. Babcock Chase:
I have a pair of speed loaders for 45 Colt S&W that work great on my Schofields.

Rev. Chase

St. George:
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 06:59:10 PM »

We 'have' discussed period speed loaders - dig deeper.

Matter of fact, back in the day, the military supplied a version for the Schofield that held six rounds around a wooden spool - held in place by a paper tape.

They also developed a cartridge-pack device, built 'specifically' for the Navy - in 1889.

It was developed for the newly-issued Colt .38 DA, in order to carry the Colt Cartridge Pack - a six-round reloadable device similar to the one developed by Kelton in 1888.

The Colt-made cartridge-packs were invented and patented by Carl J. Ehbets, who assigned rights to Colt on April 30, 1890 - Patent No# 402,424.

It was also reloadable - but most were discarded after initial use - according to reports.

It was made of light metal and a spring arrangement.

It cost .25 - and that was 'real money' at the time for the military  - so their use was eventually discontinued.

That they proved to be one-time use affairs - and since no one was spending money on the military at the time, a frivolous item that was essentially non-recoverable wasn't pursued.

Modern speed loaders have also been discussed - but as far as I remember - nothing was said about their use in competition, since this forum deals with period weapons and their use during the era.


Scouts Out!


Reverend P. Babcock Chase:
I forgot to mention that I only use my speed loaders at the loading table. Also, they work well on my Rem. conversion with the six firing pins.

Rev. Chase

Professor Marvel:
I managed to find some images of the devices



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