Original U.S. Civil War Whitney 2nd Model Navy Revolver Converted to .36 Rimfire - Serial 14295

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. This is a very nice condition example of a Whitney Navy percussion revolver, as used in the Civil War. Like many Civil War Era percussion revolvers, it was later converted to have a drilled-through cylinder and take cartridge ammunition, in this case .36 Rimfire. This was not some basement job, but a high quality conversion.

The finish on this gun was most likely entirely redone when it was converted to take cartridge ammunition, This removed most of the external markings, including the WHITNEY name on the top of the barrel. However, the underside of the barrel still bears original serial number 14295 under the loading lever, and on the lever itself. The inside of the grips are also stamped with this matching number. The bottom of the grip has had the markings worn away, the same with the cylinder.

The revolver cycles well, with a good locking and crisp dry fire. It can be finicky at times, as with any revolver of this age, but we have had only a few hangups. The original brass-post front site is still intact. The bore shows strong lands and grooves, with some wear and fouling. The small brass trigger guard (correct for this model) has a pleasing aged patina.

This will make a nice addition to any Civil War or Indian Wars era collection. Guns such as these also saw much service out in the "Wild West." Ready to display!

More on the Whitney Navy Revolver:

The Whitney Navy is a 6-shot, .36 caliber, single action percussion revolver that was manufactured from the late 1850s through the early 1860s. The revolver went into production after Colt's patent on his revolver mechanism expired in 1857. The first 1,500 or so (aka "1st Model" Whitney Navy revolvers) were manufactured without a loading lever and were of lighter construction than the later 2nd Model revolvers. Between the Whitney desire to improve upon the guns, and the habit of making design changes when parts on hand ran out, both the 1st and 2nd Models were manufactured in a number of different "types" with a clear pattern of evolution that took place throughout their production. Some 33,000 Whitney Navy revolvers were produced during the production run, with many seeing US government use. The US Army acquired 10,587 of the revolvers between 1861 and 1864 and the US Navy purchased an additional 6,226 between 1863 and 1865. The state of New Jersey purchased 920 Whitney Navy revolvers in 1863, but 792 of those guns were subsequently resold to the US Army in 1863 and 1864. Those guns are included in the US Army purchases listed above.

A number of Whitney Navy revolvers also appear to have been acquired by the South and saw service during the American Civil War. Some were purchased prior to the outbreak of hostilities, and these guns tend to early production 2nd Model revolvers produced prior to the spring of 1861. A good example is Whitney Navy #3110, which was owned by Confederate cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart, and is now in the collection of the Virginia Historical Society. However, Confederate forces acquired many more Whitney Navy revolvers after the conflict started. These later production guns were no doubt obtained through a combination of capturing weapons and purchasing the guns surreptitiously from secondary retailers rather than Whitney. At least two-dozen Whitney Navy revolvers are known to have been repaired for use by the 4th Virginia "Black Horse" Cavalry, and a handful of identified Whitney Navy revolvers with Confederate provenance exist was well.

It is not surprising that the revolver found favor on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line, as the robust design with a reinforcing top strap, a solid frame with a screwed in barrel and the simple turn of a wing nut to release the loading lever and cylinder arbor were all significant improvements over the open topped frame and wedge-retained barrel of the Colt design. The popularity of the revolvers in the south is further indicated by the fact that the design was copied by Confederate gunmakers Spiller & Burr and T.W. Cofer, both of whom produced Whitney-like revolvers for the south.


Year of Manufacture: 1863-64
Caliber: .36cal
Ammunition Type: Rimfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 7 5/8 inches
Overall Length: 13 1/2 inches
Action: Single
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver

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    New Jersey

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