Original U.S. Civil War First Model 1856 Savage & North Figure 8 Percussion Revolver - Serial Number 29

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Developed in 1856 by Henry S. North and Edward Savage and manufactured in Middletown, Connecticut, this is the revolver that predated the famous Savage model 1858 and 1861 Union Naval Revolvers of the Civil War. In .36 caliber, this revolver is fitted with a ring trigger below a regular trigger above it, contained in the trademark "Figure-8" iron trigger guard.

The system operated by pulling the lower ring trigger which then cocked the revolver and when the upper, regular style, trigger was depressed the hammer fell and discharged the revolver. This makes the revolver close to an early attempt at double-action, and allowed a faster rate of fire than other percussion revolvers of the period, which required a second hand, or use of the thumb, to cock the weapon.

The steel components of the model 1856 have a blued and color case hardened finish, including the 7" octagonal barrel. The frame is made from solid brass, which is only found in the earliest Savage & North Revolvers. Assembly number 84 is stamped on the loading lever, both parts of the cylinder, and on the inside of the frame where cylinder sits. Under the grips, where Savage and North always put their serial numbers, the grip frame and rear of the cylinder are stamped with 29, which means that it is very early production.

Additionally, next to the serial number is stamped R. F. ENEWOLD, a well known collector of "Old-Time Guns" based out of Reno, Nevada. Enewold was a retailer/collector, and stamped many of the guns he sold, as discussed in the Colt Peacemaker Encyclopedia.

The first model 1856 Savage & North revolvers were actually made in two distinct revisions. The earliest type, of which only 10 are known, had gas sealing rings on the front of the cylinder, which mated with the end of the barrel. The second variation, which this is an example of, has the front of the cylinder chamfered around each chamber, which would then interface with the end of the barrel.

Only about 250 of these early brass-framed predecessors to the later Savage Navy 1858 revolver were ever produced. Of these 100 were sent to the Ordnance Department for testing. The 100 pistols were delivered in June 1857 and by June 1858 all but one were in service with the Calvary. In April 1858, Henry North received patent # 19,868 for a creeping style loading lever. This innovation was immediately incorporated into what became the Figure Eight Model 2 – steel frame, which had a round profile, creeping loading lever, and was marked H. S. North.

Offered in overall splendid condition, this revolver mechanically sound, and cycles well, though as with any revolver of this age, it can be a bit temperamental. The exterior shows some scattered pitting to the cylinder from powder burn, and the brass has a very appealing patina. The bore is quite nice, with clear land and grooves, and just a few spots of oxidation. 

This is an exceeding rare, Pre-Civil War percussion revolver, the only one we've ever had. Judging from the condition, this almost certainly saw service during the civil war.

Ready to add to your collection and display!


Year of Manufacture: c.1856-1857
Caliber: .36cal
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 7 inches
Overall Length: 14 1/2 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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