Author Topic: Let's talk pocket guns  (Read 512 times)

Offline DarkLord

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Let's talk pocket guns
« on: November 18, 2021, 11:59:21 AM »
Clearly Colt owned the large revolver market, but when it came to pocket guns, there were oodles of them, and Colt was one maker in a sea of makers. 

What are some of the most common pocket revolves in the...


I think of the 1849 as THE pocket revolver, but there were the Coopers, Metro's and a bunch of other makers.  And in the tail end of the 1860's it seems rimfire cartridges became rather prolific, with pocket revolvers in various .32 & .38, and .41 rimfires. 

In the 1880's, I think of S&W's pocket top breaks in .38 S&W as well as the Merwin & Hulbert's, and Marlin top breaks. 

So what are some of the others that were commonly found in pockets? 

Offline St. George

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Re: Let's talk pocket guns
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2021, 02:39:06 PM »
We've talked about this before...


St. George's Notes XIV - 'Suicide Specials'...
« on: April 01, 2005, 10:46:01 AM »     

In my earlier 'Notes' - I spoke of 'real' pocket pistols  - those medium-frame, nickel-finish revolvers that sometimes seem ubiquitous at gun shows - with good reason, as they produced a helluva lot of them - and 'way back when',  pretty much everybody carried some kind of 'protection' - and 'not' against the 'Perils of Eros'...

Those little revolvers had even smaller companions - the much-maligned, so-called 'Suicide Specials' - a Post-WWII term that describes their relatively unsophisticated construction.
The 'other' popular term - especially among would-be lawmakers - was/is 'Saturday Night Specials' - and they probably made even more of them.

That being said - Flayderman accurately describes them:

"The Suicide Special as generally considered by the collecting world and as a distinct arms collecting category, embodies the following features:  Small pocket revolvers, single-action, solid-frame, spur trigger, cylinders generally locked into the frame by a removeable center pin."

That pretty much sums it up...

There are seemingly endless variations - many, many of these little guns were made for 'the Trade' and featured the buyer's imprint - rather than that of the actual manufacturer of the piece.
You'll find quite a few that are identical - save for the featured 'Trade Name' on their respective barrels.

Here's a non-all-inclusive list - taken from the long-out-of-print "Suicide Specials" - by Donald B. Webster,Jr.

Aetna, Alaska, Alert, Alex, Alexia, Alexis, Allen, America, American Boy, American Eagle, Aristocrat, Aubrey, Avenger,Bang Up, Big Bonanza, Bismarck, Blood Hound, Blue Jacket, Blue Whistler, Bonanza, Boy's Choice, Brutus, Buffalo Bill, Bull Dog, Bull Dozer, Bull's Eye, Capt. Jack, Centennial, Challenge, Champion, Chicago Ledger, Chieftain, Clipper, Columbia, Columbian, Comet, Commander, Conqueror, Constant, Continental, Cowboy, Cowboy Ranger, Creedmore, Crescent, Crown, Czar, Daisy, Dead Shot, Defender, Defender 89, Defiance, Despatch, Diamond, Dictator, Dispatch, Double Header, Dreadnaught, Eagle Arms Co., Earlhood, Earthquake, Eastern Arms Co., Elector, Electric, Empire, Empress, Encore, Enterprise, Excelsior, Express, Faultless, Favorite, Favorite Navy, Forehand & Wadsworth, Frontier, Garrison, Gem, Governor, Great Western, Guardian, Half Breed, Hard Pan, Harrington and Richardson, Hartford Arms Co., Hero, Hecla, Hood, Hopkins & Allen, Imperial,
International, Jewel, Joker, King Pin, Kittemaug, Knockabout, Lakeside, Leader, Liberty, Lifelong, Little Giant, Little John, Little Joker, Little Pet, Little Scott, Lone Star, Long Range, Long Tom, Marquis of Lorne, Metropolitan Police, Midget, Mohawk, Mohegan, Monarch, Mountain Eagle, My Companion, Napoleon, Nero, New Baby, Newport, No. 3, Nonpariel, Non-XL, Norwich Arms Co., Norwich Falls, O.K., Orient, Our Own, Paragon, Parole, Pathfinder, Patriot, Peace Maker, Peerless, Penetrator, Pet, Phoenix, Pinafore, Pioneer, Prairie King, Premier, Princess, Protector, Protector Arms Co., Ranger, Rattler, Red Jacket, Red Hot, Reliable, Retriever, Robin Hood, Rob Roy, Rover, Royal, Russian, Ryan, Ryan's New Model, Safeguard, Savage, Scott, Scott Arms Co., Scout, Secret Service, Senator, Smoker, Smokey City, Southron, Spitfire, Splendor, Spy, Star Leader, Sterling, Striker, Success, Swamp Angel, Terror, Tiger, Tower's Police Safety, Tramp's Terror, True Blue,
Tycoon, Union Jack, U.S. Arms Co., Veiled Prophets, Venus, Veteran, Veto, Victor, Victoria, White jacket, White Star, Wide Awake, William Tell, Winfield Arms Co., Winner, Wonder, XL, XLCR.

Some really 'optimistic' names, wouldn't you say?
Fraught with significance...

And these aren't 'all' of them, by a long shot - these are just the 'observed' ones - new ones surface all the time.

As you can see - for a collector or for someone looking to round-out his (or her) Impression - there were many of these inexpensive revolvers being actively carried by the folks of the Frontier West, and the'll fit into your vest pocket or muff as if they belonged there.

Prices will vary wildly - and some may actually be worth the tariff - but as in everything deemed 'collectable' - let condition guide you.

As to actually 'shooting' one - look to an earlier post involving 'selection'.

Many of these little revolvers have suffered indignities in their long lives and aren't as tight as they were when new - and they never enjoyed a very tight lock-up, in the first place.

By this stage of the game - a lot of springs are tired, and generally, replacement parts are inside other folk's guns...

For the .22's - there are .22 CB caps and 'Colibri' makes a very low-pressure load as do a couple of folks who supply low-velocity .22's for 'interesting' applications.

Remember, though - the round that they were designed for was the Standard Velocity .22 Short - and most definitely 'not' the later 'High-Speed' versions.

The centerfire stuff should be at black powder levels.

Mostly, though - they can remain unfired and serve quietly as a part of your Old West display - to be taken out and marvelled at - or merely to be acknowledged for the part they'd played in the history of the Frontier.

Now - which one to choose...

Scouts Out!
"It Wasn't Cowboys and Ponies - It Was Horses and Men.
It Wasn't Schoolboys and Ladies - It Was Cowtowns and Sin..."

Online DeaconKC

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Re: Let's talk pocket guns
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2021, 05:07:33 PM »
And there were the "good" guns like Iver Johnson and H&R that were very well made, but did not have the cachet of Colt or S&W. Still fun to shoot when you find decent examples.
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