Original U.S. Civil War Massachusetts Arms Co .36cal Adams Patent Percussion Revolver - serial 641

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very interesting Percussion Revolver, in an nicely matured condition. The Beaumont–Adams revolver is a muzzle-loading, double-action, percussion revolver. It was originally adopted by the British Army in .442 calibre (54-bore, 11.2mm) as a modification of the Adams revolver already in service. On 20 February 1856, Lieutenant Frederick E. B. Beaumont of the Royal Engineers had been granted a British patent for improvements to the Adams revolver which allowed them to be cocked and fired either by manually cocking the hammer as in Colt single-action revolvers, or by just pulling the trigger. Beaumont was granted a US Patent (no. 15,032) on 3 June of the same year. Once production started, the revised revolver was so popular the Colt was forced to shut down their London factory due to lack of sales.

The revolver design also saw some popularity in the United States, even with the stiff competition from Colt, Remington, and others. In 1857 Massachusetts Arms Company of Chicopee Falls, Mass. entered into an agreement to produce the Beaumont-Adams design revolvers in "belt" size (.36cal) for the U.S. Ordnance Dept.. Unfortunately, only about 500 were produced for this, however the State of Virginia proceeded to order around 1000 for its own use, along with the same number of Cavalry Sabers from Ames MFG Co., located in the same town. All of these revolvers are quite rare, with only around 1500 units produced.

This example still retains some of the original color, and is marked on the top of the barrel strap with the maker information:-


The left side of the frame under the cylinder is marked with the Adams patent date :-

MAY 3, 1853

The right side bears the Beaumont improvement patent date:-

JUNE 3, 1856

Serial number 614 is present on the lower left side of the frame, and there are not really any other markings that we can see. Without any U.S. ordnance acceptance marks, it is very possible that this is one of the revolvers delivered directly from Mass. Arms Co. to the state of Virginia. "609" is the last recorded revolver accepted by the U.S. and it is generally accepted that numbers over that went to Virgnia.

The Revolver generally shows use, including overall wear and light pitting. The loading rammer is functional, but it is worn, so it can fall out of alignment. The revolver functions well, with good indexing, though it only functions in double action. We do not know if this was a special order, or whether it as modified, as all of the Mass Arms. Co. revolvers should have the "Beaumont" double/single action mechanics, especially since this revolver bears the Beaumont patent date of 1856. It may simply have a missing piece or need adjustment.

A nice example of a used Civil War Era Percussion Revolver, Ready to display!


Years of Manufacture: 1859–1860
Caliber: .36"
Ammunition Type: Cap and Ball
Barrel Length: 6 inches
Overall Length: 11 1/2 inches
Action: Double Action Only
Feed System: 5 Shot Revolver

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