Original Belgian 7mm Pinfire Engraved Pocket Pepperbox Revolver by Decortis BTE circa 1855 - Serial 5078

Item Description

Original item. Only One Available. This is a very nice Belgian Pinfire Pocket Pepperbox revolver, in the relatively small 7mm pinfire cartridge. It is made very much in the French style, and many French makers had these made under contract. This example however is marked DECORTIS B[TE] under number 961 on the rear of the right recoil shield, a known Belgian maker of revolvers.

Made around 1855 these were principally supplied to the Parisian Market from where many were shipped to the United States before the Civil War. Intended for personal protection the revolver has a folding trigger for easy concealment. The pepperbox is nicely decorated with scroll engravings overall.

The pistol was made in the Belgian Gunmaking city of Liège, where many operations were making guns under contract to French makers. The rear of the cylinder / barrel is marked with the E / L G / * in an oval marking proof from Liège. It also has serial number 5078 marked on the left side of the frame under the cylinder.

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.

This revolver is definitely a very nice example, with lovely decorative engraving on the frame and cylinder. It is fitted with lovely checkered ebony wood grips, which are still in very good condition. The cylinder is held in place by a hinged arm in front, released by a button on the left front of the frame. This pepperbox, like most, functions in double action only, with good indexing and a crisp dry fire. The trigger return spring is a bit weak, so the trigger often needs to be moved forward manually. We checked the bores, and they do still show some rifling, but also wear and oxidation. This was a revolver that did see use during its lifetime.

These were often referred to as "APACHE REVOLVERS", referring to the PARISIAN CRIMINAL ELEMENTS of the time. Romantic perhaps but certainly easy to carry which could easily have been a life saver. Unusual and an attention getter.

A lovely little revolver, ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1855
Caliber: 7mm / .32cal
Ammunition Type: Pinfire Cartridge
Overall Length: 4 3/4 inches
Barrel Length: 1 7/8 inches

Action: Double Action Only
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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