Original Belgian 7mm Pinfire Pocket Pepperbox Revolver by Deprez circa 1856 - Serial 12621
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 DEPREZ / B'TE, for Deprez Breveté (patented), a known Belgian maker of revolvers. There were actually several different members of this family who produced firearms, and the earliest examples did not have an initial before this name, like this example.
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. Some were well decorated on the exterior, however this one is plain, intended more for utility than for show.
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, along with over proofs. It also has serial number 12621 marked on bottom of the right grip scale. Assembly number 8 is stamped on the end of the cylinder assembly, the cylinder arbor pin, and on the inside of both grip scales. This definitely looks to be an "ALL MATCHING" example, without any parts swapped out.
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, retaining the original finish in areas, with the rest faded to a gray patina. The grips are made from what looks to be walnut, and are in great shape. The cylinder is held in place by an arbor pin which has a lever on front to unscrew it, which is somewhat hard to move. This pepperbox, like most, functions in double action only, with good indexing and a crisp dry fire. The trigger and main spring are quite strong, so it can take some effort to cycle and dry fire the revolver. We checked the bores, and they are smooth bore, showing some 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 1856
Caliber: 7mm / .32cal
Ammunition Type: Pinfire Cartridge
Overall Length: 4 1/2 inches
Barrel Length: 1 7/8 inches
Action: Double Action Only
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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