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Vintage Westley Richards 1856 'New Patent Revolving Pistol'

Another great find recently was this fabulous Westley Richards 'Revolving Pistol' in 55 bore complete in its case with original accessories. Now the term 'revolver' is an interesting one as it means different things to different collectors. The history of the revolver can be traced back to the 1600's with the very first revolving cylinders featuring on 'snaphaunce' action pistols. These weapons came predominantly from Europe and over the ensuing decades, in fact centuries that followed the revolving pistol existed.

In truth and fairness for many hand gun connoisseur's the true revolver (dare I say it!), came about through one Samuel Colt, whose now legendary revolver designs of the 1840's and 1850's transformed the worlds view of the revolver, and the rest as they say is history.

Most of the metal work including the barrel has been case colour hardened.

Whilst we cannot trace this revolver for sure in our records as there is no visible serial number, it seems very likely that it is one of only 44 supplied by the company during the period 1856 to 1859. As such this makes it quite a rarity and having only ever seen one other that was of exhibition quality, there cannot be too many around in this kind of condition.

This pistol features a 5" barrelled cylinder of 55 bore, the main body of which is fully scroll engraved and case colour hardened with the exception of the safety slide and trigger. It is interesting to see that this type of finish is still executed on our modern guns and rifles where all the action parts are case colour hardened. Some things never change.

As we always say 'condition is king' and this fine revolver has plenty of that. It would appear to be in unfired condition.
The 6 barrels of the revolving pistol make for an imposing sight particularly if you were at the wrong end of it! Vivid case colour hardening flows up the barrels.
A page from the Westley Richards archive showing sales of the 'New Patent Revolving Pistol' from 1856 to 1859.
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