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ON1457

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Original British Victorian Zulu War Era Model 1872 Mk.II Adams .450 Revolver - Matching Serial 1537

Regular price $3,495.00

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. These are EXTREMLY rare! This is the Model 1872 MkII. ADAMS .450 Revolver, officially termed the "Pistol, Adams' Central Fire, B.L. (Mark II)". This is exactly like those issued to British Officers at the time of the ZULU WARS in 1879. Company director Christian Cranmer was given two of these by his father when he was 14, however at the time only percussion revolvers caught his fancy, and they were traded away. Now, decades later, he finally has found another.

This revolver design, the model of 1872, started out as a conversion from the Adams Revolver of 1858 in Percussion, known as the Beaumont Adams. This modification took the Double-Action only Adams 1854, and gave it the ability to shoot in the more accurate single action. Further modifications resulted in the Adams model of 1866, the last percussion Model produced.

In 1867, Robert Adams' brother John Adams patented a breech-loading revolver which was adopted by the British government in place of the Beaumont–Adams. It was a solid frame pistol with six chambers, in .450 caliber. After official acceptance of his pistol, Adams left the London Armoury Company and established his own factory, the Adams Patent Small Arms Company. His pistol was manufactured in three distinct variations (differences related mainly to methods of spent cartridge ejection) between 1867 and about 1880. The models were tested and adopted by the British Army and Navy, with the last, the M1872 Mark III, seeing the widest use.

The .450 Adams was the first official centerfire cartridge service revolver adopted by the British War Department . However, the "Mark I" Adams was actually a breechloading conversion of the primary percussion service revolver, as indicated by its official designation in the W.D. "List of Changes" entry 1738 of 26 Nov 1868 - "Deane & Adams' Revolver Pistol Converted to a Breech-Loader by Mr. J. Adams" . This indicated that The Adams Patent Small Arms company was converting the 1866 models to breech loading cartridges. This was accomplished  by adding a loading gate and bored-through replacement cylinder, with a fixed case-extraction rod.

In February of 1872, the Mk.II was introduced, and it was not a conversion from previous designs, but one purpose made as a breech loader, with a two piece frame. It still had the same fixed side-mounted ejector, which was replaced with a swivel ejector on the Mk.III version, adopted afterwards in August 1872, which was the most widely produced model. The MkII, only made during the year of 1872, is extremely rare.

By 1880 however, the Enfield Mk.I revolver was introduced, and it replaced the Adams, though it was itself then replaced shortly afterwards by the Webley Mk.I.

We all know and love the Movie ZULU and most everyone knows that Michael Caine in the final redoubt scene is seen to be carrying a MARK VI WEBLEY Revolver circa 1916. No authentic Adams Revolvers could be found at that time from the prop house suppliers in London. This is the only example that IMA has had.

This Revolver is marked ADAMS'S PATENT on the frame and again faintly on the barrel, together with:

[ADAMS] PATENT SMALL [ARMS] Co. 391, STRAND, LONDON. 


The words in brackets are not readable but identified by research.The frame and cylinder bear various proof and acceptance markings. The revolver is also marked with serial number 1537 on the frame, cylinder, and on the barrel underneath the hammer.

It appears the very simple Ejection Rod is absent but could be easily replicated. Also the release lever for the ejector and cylinder axis pin is partly missing. The wood grips, still fully and fairly crisply checkered, are in fine condition. The revolver metalwork is now a grey color but has very pleasingly responded to a light cleaning. Bore shows rifling, though it is faint, as expected of a revolver that was in service.

Ready to Display. VERY VERY RARE.

Specifications: 

Year of Manufacture: circa 1872
Caliber:  .450
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 5 3/4inches

Overall Length: 11 1/2 inches
Action: External Hammer Double/Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

Shipping Restrictions

    This product is not available for shipping in US state(s)
    New Jersey


    This product is not available for international shipping.

Legal Information

  • IMA considers all of our antique guns as non-firing, inoperable and/or inert. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 921(a)(16) defines antique firearms as all guns made prior to 1899. This law exempts antique firearms from any form of gun control or special engineering because they are not legally considered firearms. No FFL, C&R or any license is required to possess, transport, sell or trade Antique guns. All rifles and muskets sold by IMA that were manufactured prior to 1899 are considered Antiques by the US BATF (United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). Therefore, all of IMA's Antique guns may be shipped to all US States.

    These antique guns are not sold in "live" condition. They are sold as collector's items or as "wall hangers". Any attempt at restoring an antique gun to be operational is strongly discouraged and is done so at the risk of the customer. By purchasing an antique gun from IMA you thereby release IMA, its employees and corporate officers from any and all liability associated with use of our Antique guns.

    Pre-1899 Manufacture, no licenses required.

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