Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Dad's Old Pistol
This is my Dad's old pistol, one of the very few items he inherited from his Dad. The story was his Grandfather built it. I think his Grandfather made the pistol grip. He may also have been the person who removed the loading lever missing from in front of the frame under the barrel.
The Barrel is marked, first line: J. Reid, New York City, and second line: PATD APL 281863.
It is possible the "L" after AP is an "I" but a mark in the barrel prevents accuracy.
When I started writing this post, I thought this pistol was a James Reid, Model 4, 32 rimfire pistol as shown in the 2008 Standard Catalog of Firearms By Dan Shideler on page 876. The Catalog says about 1600 of these pistols were made between 1862 and 1865. The barrel measures 7 3/4 inches from the cylinder to the end of the barrel which is also within the parameters given for this pistol.
With the exception of the loading lever, Dad's old pistol looks just like James Reids Model #4.
However, while posting this, I really looked at Dad's old pistol. And while looking, I realized I could not figure out the loading lever. As shown in the Catalog, and on Dad's old pistol, the lever enters the frame at the 0600 position. Pressure applied at that point would be appropriate for loading a cap and ball pistol. This pistol also has a loading gate looking forward at the 0200 position. The pistol in the Catalog also appears to have a loading gate in the same position.
The pistol also is unique in that the cylinder when you look into it from the back the chamber about 1/3 of the chamber almost appears threaded; while if you look into the cylinder from the front the first 2/3 of the chamber is smooth inside.
Now I am wondering if perhaps this pistol was originally a cap and ball pistol which was later converted to .32 rimfire and at that point the loading lever was removed.
My initial searches indicate there is not much info out there but I guess I will have to keep looking.
Anyhow, every time I go through the safe, this old pistol reminds me of my Dad.
May Dad rest in peace and know his family is still growing.
Before posting, more research led me to: http://www.american-firearms.com/index.html where I found a picture identical to the Model 4 identified in the 2008 Standard Catalog of Firearms By Dan Shideler on page 876.
The owner of the site has this picture identified as a Pocket Revolver No. 3, 4 1/2" with octagon barrel. He further states that James Reid manufactured a dual caliber revolver, .32 r.f. or .31 percussion caliber. Though the revolver was conceptualized as cartridge revolver, it could fire either cartridge or percussion. The chambers were made to accept nipples. That would appear to answer my question on why the rear portion of the chambers appeared to be threaded while the front portion is smooth.