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Original British Victorian Officer's Private Purchase Tranter .450 Revolver serial 54730 - circa 1878

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Traditionally British Officers, all Gentlemen and from an affluent background, were expected to pay for their own sidearms, both revolver and Sword. Back in the 1600s and early 1700s The Colonel of the Regiment was often expected to provide ALL weapons and Uniforms for the entire Regiment. During Queen Victoria's "LITTLE WARS" after the Crimean Campaign, all over the empire like India, Canada and South Africa, the Private Purchase system was still in full force for Officers. This finally started to change with the 1890s with the Boer War.

Here is an excellent example, very possibly purchased by an Officer going overseas to one of the many parts of the empire where a military presence was needed. This is an up market example of Tranter's patent Revolver, with the supplier information engraved on the top of the barrel:


The Army & Navy Store Co-Operative Society Limited, to give the full title, was set by in 1871 by a group of army and naval officers who had decided they were paying too much for issue items, such as furniture, wine, firearms, and so forth. They decided to open up their own shop and buy in bulk, which allowed them to keep prices down. The company is still in business today near Victoria Bridge, one of London's great traditions. There is very little that they have not retailed at one time or another, and as officers in the Victorian period were expected to purchase their own firearms, they sold quite a few during that period.

This revolver was purchased there, probably around 1877-1878, just prior to the Zulu Wars in Africa. Where this actual revolver actually ended up we can only speculate. There were numerous other conflicts during the late 1870s and early 1880s.

William Tranter was a major Birmingham gun maker who made many private purchase weapons at his factory until his retirement in 1885.  The basic design of his revolvers was originally developed for cap and ball percussion, but was easily adapted for later Rimfire and Centerfire cartrdges.

As with all the revolvers made by Tranter, the left frame bears the patent markings and serial number:


The revolver has a great aged blue patina, mostly fade to gray, with no real pitting or serious rust to speak of. The cylinder and barrel show the correct proof marks, and the barrel is also marked 450 on the right side, indicating the .450 Boxer / Adams Cartridge. The walnut checkered wood grip shows very little wear. This version of the revolver did not come with a lanyard ring.

This is most certainly a very desirable and fine condition British Officer's Campaign Revolver. Six Shot with side gate access on the right hand side to the rear of the chamber for re-loading. The ejector works great, and is locked in place by the latch on the right side of the frame, which also holds in the axis pin. The hammer for some reason had the firing pin removed, and a small screw threaded into the tip. It could probably be replaced by a gunsmith if desired.

Fully working and ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1878
Caliber: .450 Adams / Boxer
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Overall Length: 10 inches
Barrel Length: 4 1/2 inches

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

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