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Original British Adams Model 1851 Dragoon Percussion Revolver named to Lt. Col. John Yorke

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. With no original finish whatsoever, this is a very impressive Dragoon Revolver designed by ROBERT ADAMS of London. He was a 19th-century British gunsmith who patented the first successful double-action revolver in 1851. His revolvers were used during the Crimean War, the Indian Mutiny, the U.S. Civil War, and the Anglo-Zulu War. Adams was the manager for the London arms manufacturers George & John Deane. On August 22, 1851, he was granted a British patent for a new revolver design.

The .436cal Deane and Adams was a five-shot percussion (cap-and-ball) revolver with a spurless hammer, and the first revolver with a solid frame. The revolver used a double-action only system in which the external hammer could not be cocked by thumbing it back, like most other pistols of the era, but instead cocked itself when the trigger was pulled. This made it possible to fire the gun much more rapidly than contemporary single-action revolvers, such as the Colt, which had to be cocked before each shot. With this "rapid fire" ability, the larger caliber must have packed an amazing punch! The pistol was reloaded by pulling the cylinder pin and removing the cylinder. There is a small 'safety" that holds the hammer in place to allow the cylinder to be removed. The checkered wood grip is in really very good condition considering the use displayed on the metal work, though it is missing a chunk on the right side near the frame.

It was known that a British Officer armed with an M-1851 .36 caliber Colt Navy revolver had shot a Russian Cavalry Trooper a full SIX times in the chest, and STILL the trooper cleaved the Officer's head in two from brown to chin before falling dead. These large caliber handguns had such power that, like a .45 ACP 1911A1 pistol an assailant even only hit in the arm was spun onto the ground. Even so, this model was not without it's faults, one of which was the inability to cock the hammer for greater accuracy. It was double action only, with no provision for single action, which was later rectified with the Beaumont–Adams revolver.

Our revolver's Top strap is engraved:-


With the patent info on the right side above the trigger:

ADAMS' PATENT No. 13253.

It is marked D A & D / 38 on the front of the frame under the barrel, and also on the right side of the frame/barrel is engraved with a name: LT. COL. JOHN YORKE.

Unfortunately, this gives no Regiment of other unit designation. He could even have been a foreigner, heavens forbid an American, perhaps even a Confederate Rebel! We have not yet been able to identify the exact John Yorke this revolver is named to. No doubt he was a British Officer who served in the Crimean War of 1854/1855 and on through the following Great Sepoy Rebellion of 1857/1859 but with minimal internet research we have not located him.

A named very large bore Percussion Adam's Revolver that has seen service with an identified Officer, a great research project, ready to display.


Year of Manufacture: circa 1855
Caliber: .436"
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 7 inches
Overall Length: 13.5 inches
Action: Double Action Only
Feed System: 5 Shot Revolver

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