Friday, October 12, 2012

Model 1860 Savage-North Percussion Navy Revolver

Here is a firearm that I had never heard of prior to seeing it in the Pink Palace Museum in Memphis, Tennessee. For those that find the name of the museum strange (and I did) I will explain. The museum is partially housed in a large pink granite mansion. Like many smaller museums, it features a pretty wide array of historical pieces and fossils from dinosaurs (which you might know that I like) to weapons (which you should certainly know I like). I only went to the museum because Graceland was going to be $80. Which is about $70 more than I would pay to see Elvis's couch, no matter how big it is.

 Anyway, back to the gun. It is a Savage-North Percussion cap revolver in .36 caliber. Like many small arms of its era, it is constructed out of blued iron frame and cylinder with and other parts made of case hardened iron and with wooden grip panels. The US Government purchased 11,284 of these weapons during the Civil War, with the majority going to the Army. Navy models can be distinguished by an anchor stamp and Naval inspector marks. The Savage-North Model 1860 revolver was patented by Henry North and Edward Savage and was a produced by the Savage Revolving Firearms Company of Connecticut. The Model 1860 was a design that in all probability descended from both the Alsop revolver and the Savage and North Figure 8 revolver.    

The Model 1860 was a six-shot revolver, firing a .36 caliber round lead ball. The most striking feature of the Savage-North is the large, frankly funny shaped trigger guard. It encloses both the trigger and the cocking ring that functions to pull back the hammer and make the weapon ready to fire. While this is not a feature that caught on in revolver design, it was useful for this design since it used a slightly older style hammer that is not a easy to operate as the Colt Navy, for example. When the cocking ring is pulled, it locks back the hammer, advances the cylinder and pulls the cylinder away from the barrel. When the pressure on the ring is released, the cylinder moves forward again and makes a gas seal against the breach end of the barrel. As near as I can tell, the designation of "Navy" in the weapon's title refers to the .36 caliber which was standard chambering for the Colt Navy revolver as opposed to the Colt Army, which was a .44 caliber.

I like these sort of rare, mechanically interesting, dead-end of design kind of firearms.



  1. It really is an odd looking revolver.

  2. I own one. It's a sexy gun that never fails to attract interest.