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Old 22nd May 2021, 02:08 PM   #1
urbanspaceman
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Came across this and was intrigued: did this system ever have any uptake?
Percussion Savage Firearms Co. Navy Model Six-Shot Revolver, Circa 1860. With russet octagonal sighted barrel, top-strap, bevelled frame and spurred butt all in one piece, the top-strap stamped, ‘Savage R.F.A. Co. Middletown. Ct. H.S. North Patented June 17 1856 January 18 1859 May 15 1860’,
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Old 22nd May 2021, 05:18 PM   #2
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While I am surely no gun authority, I have always thought these were pretty intriguing for their most unusual appearance.
From what I have found on them they were produced for the Navy in 1860 through 1862, but only 300 in '60 and 800 in '61.

Apparently these were an early attempt at double action firing mechanisms where the cocking and firing both are initiated by the trigger. This 'system' seems to have been regarded as too complex, possibly leading to malfunctions?
Thus this particular model gun ceased.

As far as double action goes, Colt introduced their version in 1877.
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Old 22nd May 2021, 05:46 PM   #3
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Hey Jim, thank-you, I guess they must have been prone to malfunction with so few manufactured. Like my series 1 Remington rolling block, the Navy were happy to experiment but quick to abandon. Rim-fire then c/f solved everybody's problems I suspect and they all moved on.
Even so, double-action was still the holy-grail back then.
Still, it gives collectors of the unusual an opportunity to lust over rare examples.
I am tempted by this piece.
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Old 22nd May 2021, 06:13 PM   #4
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The Army contract was for 20,000.
I guess by 1861 the Navy had given up on percussion caps; I understand they were nothing but trouble out on the high seas.
I've also been told that the caps were prone to dropping off at the best of times and jamming the cylinder.
Still, it is an attractive curiosity.
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Old 22nd May 2021, 10:48 PM   #5
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It would seem percussion caps would present problems in any kind of a situation where dynamics would impair their intended function.

In the much misunderstood Battle of San Pascual in the Mexican-American war Dec 7, 1846, it has always been heralded that the forces of US Dragoons and Marines were soundly defeated by Californio riders armed only with lances.

The main claim was that the US rifle's would not fire due to wet powder and exposure to rain.
The truth was that the actual combat took place literally in the early morning hours or middle of the night; the US troops were exhausted after being on one of the longest marches in US history, the horses were spent and the men were on mules; it had indeed been raining and they were in rugged, unfamiliar terrain in pitch black darkness....and it was freezing cold in damp fog.

The ball and paper cartridges for the M1833 Hall & North breech loading carbines were held in coated leather pouches, so it was not damp powder.... it was that the men could not see to load the guns........in darkness, and freezing fingers.....the caps were fumbled and fell.

The Mexicans were upon them with lances, and with no defense other than using the guns as clubs, they were instantly victims.

Definitely, the cartridge was a most important innovation for guns.
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Old 22nd May 2021, 10:57 PM   #6
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Did they not have bayonets Jim or was the no time to fix?
Still poor defence against Lancers of course.
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Old 23rd May 2021, 09:42 PM   #7
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Bayonets on Hall Carbines for cavalry I don't think so... Sabres is an other matter! But US combatants seem to have a long standing problem with blades.
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Old 23rd May 2021, 10:07 PM   #8
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Thank-you David. I have no idea what a Hall Carbine is.
While we are straying from my initial post I am curious to understand why they had difficulty with edged weapons. What was the weapon of choice for cavalry then?
I really don't fancy the idea of going up against lancers from horseback with a sabre.

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Old 24th May 2021, 12:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanspaceman View Post
Thank-you David. I have no idea what a Hall Carbine is.
While we are straying from my initial post I am curious to understand why they had difficulty with edged weapons. What was the weapon of choice for cavalry then?
I really don't fancy the idea of going up against lancers from horseback with a sabre.
The M1833 musket had a bayonet, but the carbines no. These were dragoons and surely had sabers, but of little use with these Mexican horsemen all over them in pitch darkness with lances. Besides being pretty well dampened, middle of the night, most of them on mules, the horses spent, on unfamiliar terrain.

While sabers were in use, they were hardly a weapon of choice as had become the case prevailing through the rest of the century, with firearms the primary.
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Old 24th May 2021, 11:04 AM   #10
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Hey Jim... et al:
I'm afraid I know virtually nothing about battle tactics of any description, nor war in general; but don't let that stop you, I enjoy all your tales of battle over there
I did come across the Scottish lancers approach to English cavalry once and the virtual impenetrability of the horses in a frontal assault; mainly because it took place in my back-yard; not recently, of course, your friend Hiram put an end to all of that.
While on the subject of invention: I have explained in the past that my principle personal interest lies in engineering and design.
My five year project on the Shotley Bridge swordmakers introduced me to a plethora of engineering details that stretched way beyond the production of a blade and which I enjoyed enormously and benefited from equally enormously.
Returning to the original subject: the design and engineering of that Savage pistol is fascinating but way too complex; the rotate and thumb-cock system of single action Colts and etc was far more sensible. Again, hat's-off to Maxim.
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Old 24th May 2021, 12:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanspaceman View Post
Thank-you David. I have no idea what a Hall Carbine is.
While we are straying from my initial post I am curious to understand why they had difficulty with edged weapons. What was the weapon of choice for cavalry then?
I really don't fancy the idea of going up against lancers from horseback with a sabre.
Back in the Napoleonic wars a bunch of poorly trained cavalry stood off a charge by following orders. They drew swords, and leaned over their horses necks with sabres extended as a hedge of blades, without moving.
I think the US problem was a matter of training and inclination, guns being preferred. In Europe Cavalry trained heavily with swords, and had confidence in their effectiveness, perhaps too much so. Lances were also a weapon they were familiar with, and again trained to deal with them.
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Old 24th May 2021, 03:44 PM   #12
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Actually I dont really follow battle tactics or strategy either, and remain focused on arms history.
The use of the lance was well known historically in Europe, and during the Civil War there was a regiment of lancers formed (6th Pennsylvania, Rush's lancers)in 1861. By 1863 they gave up the lances for Sharp's carbines.
The initial training was disastrous, and they were more danger to each other than anyone else and the 9 ft. lances became a hinderance in the kinds of wooded areas etc.

With the Mexicans at San Pascual, Pico's forces were not highly trained cavalry, but vaqueros, local horsemen from ranchos who were used to using the lance for hunting as well as prodding cattle. There was one unit of local militia, also made up of these local ranchers whose training was primarily the same practical use.
Their strength was in riding skills, knowing the terrain, having actual rideable and sturdy horses, and using the lance, which had been a primary weapon and tool for centuries in the Spanish frontiers in America.
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Old 25th May 2021, 12:31 PM   #13
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Firstly: sorry to hear of your medical troubles Fernando; best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Secondly: I think two pages got turned over regarding your post because I am definitely missing something.
Perhaps someone in better condition (assuming you are troubled by posting) could clarify this issue for me.

Last edited by fernando; 25th May 2021 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 25th May 2021, 02:48 PM   #14
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Me too, what guy?
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Old 25th May 2021, 03:22 PM   #15
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I am deeply, deeply sorry guys; that was some wrong post in a wrong thread.
And thank you so much for your wishes on my surgery recovery .
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Old 25th May 2021, 05:15 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
I am deeply, deeply sorry guys; that was some wrong post in a wrong thread.
And thank you so much for your wishes on my surgery recovery .
No, don't worry, it was not a problem, just a mystery.
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Old 25th May 2021, 06:47 PM   #17
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Not that i have been folowing this thread, with all 'nuances' involving both the clash between short and long edged weapons, or and edged weapons versus firearms, among different cultures. Whether memorized in Californio episodes or somewhere in Europe, was only a different time delay of one of the parties before inexorable evolution took place (save me from the dumb philosophy).
Matchlock was good and stood long until flintlock showed up; then comes Forsyth with the fulminant cap and goodbye lazy flint system. Then came Lefaucheux with the pinfire whole cartridge (1830's); better was Flobert with his rimfire (pinless) cartridge ( ho ... yelowboy). But of course, all had the 'right' to have their failures, one at a time.
But as we are collectors, (ignition) system liabilities are not the big issue, sometimes the opposite, as make them rarer. The pistol posted in this thread is a great collectors item. Note that is not a double action but a single action with a 'trick' to double act ... which makes it unique.
All the above tale to get me courage to show you a real bizarre ingnition system, one worthy of its author ... a dentist.

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...hlight=bizarre
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Old 25th May 2021, 07:17 PM   #18
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I actually think that was an altogether better system that the perc' caps which you couldn't load with gloved hands and which were also prone to falling off..
Shame they never adapted that system for revolvers.
If the cap-roll paper was heavily waxed, and consequently waterproof, and you had multiple pre-loaded cylinders, you were well ahead of the game.
Fascinating. Thank-you Fernando: my area of interest indeed.
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Old 25th May 2021, 07:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando View Post
The pistol posted in this thread is a great collectors item.
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showth...hlight=bizarre
I haven't bought this pistol yet as I am waiting on the auction of a Sciavona which is seriously missing from my collection. If it proves to rich for my wallet then I suspect I will buy the pistol.
As Fernando says, it's a great collector's item.
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Old 26th May 2021, 12:02 AM   #20
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Well, well, well, what a surprise: just what I was talking about, up for sale.
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