Original U.S. Civil War Era M-1842 Cavalry Percussion Pistol by I.N. Johnson - dated 1854

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This U.S.-made single-shot, smoothbore pistol is a very nice example of the Model 1842 percussion pistol, produced by Ira N. Johnson of Middletown, Connecticut. Ira Johnson received a contract from the U.S. Ordnance Dept in March 1851 to produce 10,000 M1842 pistols. Johnson was a partner in the firm of H. Aston & Co when he resigned to start his own company to manufacture single shot pistols. Johnson delivered pistols that were identical to Aston’s arms save for the markings on the plate.

The Model 1842 was intended for use of Cavalry, and has a .54" caliber 8 1/2" barrel, with a with swivel steel "captured" ramrod for easier loading while on horse back. The pistol is 14 inches long in total, and is totally correct to the model specification. It is in very good condition, with the expected wear from service.

The lock plate on this example is marked U.S. / I.N. JOHNSON in front of the hammer, and MIDDTN / CONN / 1854 on the tail of the lock plate. The barrel is proof marked with the inspectors initials: US / JCB / P, and is also marked STEEL on the left barrel facet. The inspector marking is for John C. Beaumont Lt., USN, who is specifically noted for inspecting "I.N. Johnson Pistols, Ames Pistols and Cutlasses 1852-1855." Overall the metalwork has a very nice blued finish, probably applied during an arsenal reconditioning.

The walnut stock is in good condition, though it has been cleaned over the years, which has made any original inspection cartouches very faint, or removed them completely. It does have a crack near the rear lock screw, but it does not look to go all the way through. The brass mounts all in very fine condition. The lock is fully functional, holding correctly at half cock and firing at full. The "captured" cleaning rod functions correctly, though it is loose in the stock, so the retainer spoon is worn.

There is some powder burn around the cap nipple cone, which has definitely been worn down a bit. The stock near the bolster has a bit of damage due to powder, and the cup end of the hammer is also damaged from corrosion. This is a pistol that definitely saw significant use while in service. This Model was widely used in the U.S./Mexican War and then in the U.S. Civil War.

A very nice example, ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1854
Caliber: .54 inches
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder with Percussion Cap
Barrel Length: 8.5 inches
Overall Length: 14 inches
Action: Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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