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Original Belgian "The Guardian" American Model of 1878 11mm Pinfire Double Action Revolver with Liège Proofs - Serial 19

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Item Description

Original item. Only One Available. This is a very nice large Belgian Pinfire revolver, made very much in the French style. It looks to be in 11mm Lefaucheux pinfire chambering, double action with a 6 round cylinder. It does not have a maker mark on it, but around the cylinder it is has an engraved banner reading THE GUARDIAN ✤ AMERICAN MODEL OF 1878. It is also marked with a few single letter proofs under crowns, and the side of the cylinder has the the E / L G / * in an Oval marking of the Belgian Gun-making city of Liège in use prior to 1893. It also is marked with serial number 19 on the left side of the frame, with assembly number 9 stamped on virtually every component.

Research indicates that these revolvers were made in the 1880s by the firm of Fagnus & Clément, though there is unfortunately not much further information that we have been able to find.

The Pinfire system was the earliest form of "Cartridge" developed with a pin projecting out at 90 degrees to the cartridge case. When depressed by the falling hammer the cartridge discharged. At the time up against muzzle loading Revolvers these were revolutionary. Like most things by the end of the Civil War technology had moved on and in the late 1860's regular type cartridges as we know them today had been introduced. However, due to their relatively low cost, the revolvers continued to be used until at least the WWI Era in some areas. Many U.S. ammunition producers continued to make the cartridges well into the late 19th century, as the demand was there.

This example follows the standard French style, with a 5 3/4 inch long barrel, and overall length of 10 3/4 inches. It features a standard trigger guard and trigger, most likely intended for use in a holster, not a pocket. The metalwork on the pistol is really in fantastic shape, though we assume that it was refinished at some point, as there is very little wear to the finish at any location, and also some evidence of rust in areas prior to the refinishing. The trigger, hammer, and other smaller components were either case hardened, or left bright steel, which has now mellowed a bit.

The flat bottom grip looks to have ebony grip scales, which have a very tight grain pattern that can almost look to be gutta percha or rubber. Both are in very good condition, with just a bit of denting and no cracking, and the lanyard ring on the bottom is still intact.

Functionally, the revolver cycles well in both single and double action. We did not notice any finicky behavior, with solid indexing and a crisp dry fire. The bore is in very good condition, showing strong lands and grooves with a partly bright finish. There is some dirt, fouling, and oxidation in the grooves, but that is to be expected on a black powder revolver. Also, at some point a new front sight must have been fitted, and the bottom of it protrudes slightly into the bore. The ejector works great, and the loading gate is present and fully functional.

A very nice Belgian pinfire revolver, intended for the U.S. Market in the later 19th Century. In lovely condition and ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1885
Caliber: 11mm Lefaucheux
Ammunition Type: Pinfire Cartridge
Overall Length: 10 3/4 inches
Barrel Length: 6 inches

Action: Double / Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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