Original U.S. Civil War Manhattan Firearms Series III Navy .36 Percussion Revolver with 4" Barrel - Serial 15886

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Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Well THIS is a real peach! This is a very nice condition Civil War revolver, made by the MANHATTAN FIREARMS COMPANY of NEWARK, N.J.. The company was originally founded in 1856, mainly to make Colt-style revolvers once their patent ran out in 1857. This revolver looks just like a Colt Navy and is in the same .36cal percussion, but it has a five shot cylinder, instead of the Colt's six.

This example features a special order short 4" barrel and matching serial number 15886, which is found on the barrel, frame, trigger guard, and the bottom of the grip. The barrel wedge is an unmarked arsenal replacement, and unfortunately the axis rod is currently stuck in the barrel, so we cannot see the serial number on the cylinder and rod. There are still traces of the original 5 engraved scenes on the cylinder, but they are mostly worn away due to oxidation and powder burn. However all cap nipples are still present, and there is even the original PATENTED DEC.27.1859 marking! The steel "nipple protector" is still partly present, though the upper portion has broken away around the hammer area.

From internet research, we know that the Series III revolvers have serial numbers from around 14,500 to 45,200, and were manufactured from September 1861 to April 1864. This makes this a definitely Civil War produced gun, probably made in late 1861 or very early 1862. Production slowed after the war, as the other firearms manufacturers no longer had military contracts, and focused more on the civilian market. As the Manhattan Fire Arms Co mainly made weapons for the civilian market, this drastically increased competition.

Top of the barrel still has the correct Series III manufacturer engraving, indicating the move to Newark:


The revolver has a lovely patina of age and is in fully functional condition. The Walnut grips are solid, with a lovely color, and a good amount of the original varnish present. The finish has been worn to a lovely gray patina from years of use and cleaning. The trigger guard/grip frame is worn a bit, which has entire removed the original nickel plating from the brass, which is typical, even for well cared for revolvers. The bore is in good condition, with clear lands and grooves, and the expected oxidation from fouling and use.

This is just a very nice civil war percussion revolver, ready to add to your collection and display!

History of Manhattan Firearms:

The Manhattan Fire Arms Manufacturing Co. was founded by a group of New Jersey businessmen in 1856. Their goal was to take advantage of Colt’s patent for revolving firearms that was due to expire in 1857. The founders hired Thomas Bacon to became the Superintendent of Manufacturing.

Manufacturing began in Norwich, Connecticut and in 1859 moved to Newark, New Jersey. Thomas Bacon remained in Norwich and started his own firearms company. During their existence, Manhattan Firearms produced approximately 175,000 pistols. Only Colt, Remington, and Winchester produced more guns during this era in which included the Civil War.

While waiting for Colt’s patent to expire, Manhattan first made copies of American firearms that no longer had patent protection. These included pepperboxes and various single-shot designs. Shortly thereafter, they turned their attention to making Colt-style revolvers in both the .31 caliber Pocket and .36 caliber Navy styles. Manhattan patented an extra set of cylinder safety notches on these models. Manhattans can be easily identified by the many notches on their cylinders.

After the Civil War, Manhattan production primarily consisted of a copy of the Smith & Wesson .22 caliber cartridge revolver and a single-shot boot pistol under the name "HERO". Manhattan changed it's name in 1868 to American Standard Tool Company and began to market industrial tools as well as firearms. American Standard Tool closed during the financial panic of 1873.

Manhattan Firearms also manufactured guns under the trade names “Hero”, “London Pistol Company”, and “American Standard Tool”.


Year of Manufacture: c.1861-2
Caliber: .36cal
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 4 inches
Overall Length: 9 1/2 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 5 Shot Revolver

NOTE: International orders of antique firearms MUST be shipped using UPS WW Services (courier). USPS Priority Mail international will not accept these.

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

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