Original British Victorian Zulu War Era Model 1872 Mk.III Adams .450 Revolver - Matching Serial 9282

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. These are VERY rare! This is the Model 1872 MkIII. ADAMS .450 Revolver, officially termed the "Pistol, Adams' Central Fire, B.L. (Mark III)". 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 a few more.

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 patented swivel ejector on the Mk.III version, adopted afterwards in August 1872. The very brief List of Changes entry for this pattern simply states: "It differs from the previous pattern, Mark II (L.o.C. 2227) in having a more efficient extractor." This model was the most widely produced, however to find them in this nice condition is extremely rare.

By 1880 however, the Enfield Mk.I revolver was introduced, and it replaced the Adams in service, 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 of a mk.III that IMA has had.

This Revolver is marked ADAMS'S PATENT on the frame along with the Adams's trademark symbol. The right side of the frame is marked with 4 broad arrows, indicating it was sold out of service. It is also marked again on the barrel, complete with the address:


The frame and cylinder bear various proof and acceptance markings. The revolver is also marked with serial number 9282 on the frame, cylinder, trigger, barrel axis pin, and on the barrel underneath the hammer.

This revolver is complete, with no missing or replaced parts that we can find. The wood grips, still fully and fairly crisply checkered, are in fine condition. The revolver metalwork is still shows a lot of the original finish,and there is even still case hardening on the trigger. The bore shows clear rifling, and has a nice bright finish, so this revolver most likely did not see much use in service.

Ready to Display. Very rare in this fine condition.


Year of Manufacture: circa 1872-1878
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

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