Original U.S. Merwin & Hulbert 1876 Frontier 2nd Model .44-40 Revolver with Bird's Head Grip - Assembly No. 2880
Original Item: Only One Available. To some this is one of the most beautiful Revolvers ever made. Wonderful design, great workmanship and so easy on the eye. Mervin & Hulbert started business in 1876 with this Open Frame cartridge revolver that took the .44 Merwin & Hulbert cartridge. It still retains it original long 7 inch barrel and integral sight, which were often shortened for "gunfighter" use. It also features the very rare and desirable "birds head" style grip, with wooden grip scales. Most examples that we see have the standard "flat bottom" grip, making this a real treat. Examining the revolver showed a few small areas of what looks to be nickel plate, so this revolver may originally have been nickel plated, but after that wore away, it was then blued.
The grips on this example do show some wear, but have a lovely aged look. Removing them shows the assembly number 2880 marked on the side of the grip frame. This matches the number on the cylinder rear and on the back of the barrel assembly. The serial number of M&H revolvers is marked on the bottom of the grip frame, and unfortunately has worn away on this example.
The top of the barrel still has clear original markings:
MERWIN HULBERT & Co. New York, U.S.A. Pat. Jan, 24. Apr. 21. Dec. 15. 74. Aug 3. 75. July 11. 76. Apr. 17. 77. Pat’s Mar. 6, 77.
While the side of the barrel is marked (partly worn away):
[HOPKINS & ALLEN] Manufacturing Co. Norwich. Conn. U.S.A.
The left side of the frame is marked CALIBER / WINCHESTER 1873 under the cylinder, indicating the pistol is chambered for the popular .44-40 Winchester Center Fire (W.C.F) Cartridge. The revolvers chambered for .44 Russian were marked "Russian Model" and the ones chambered in .44 Merwin & Hulbert were unmarked. While some may question why Merwin & Hulbert, Colt, and others made guns chambered for a competitor's cartridge, having a repeating rifle and revolver that took the same ammunition was a big selling point on the Frontier.
The revolver functions and breaks down correctly, though as with any revolver of this age, it can be finicky. This is partly due to the complex internal workings, which includes a "safety" that prevents the revolver from being broken open unless the hammer is in the loading position. If the latch on the bottom of the frame is not in the fully forward position, these revolvers can have trouble cycling. On this example the latch spring is broken, so it has to be moved forward manually. The revolver does cycle well, however some chambers do not index and lock up correctly.
In single action only, it was hoped to be accepted by the U.S. Government, however by this date Colt had most all of the Government Contracts in its pocket. There was stiff competition from Remington, Smith & Wesson and Forehand & Wadsworth however Mervin and Hulbert did succeed in getting some Police Contracts. With an ingenious reloading system it became a favorite with many individuals and even more so with Collectors of today. Merwin died in 1888 whereupon the Company became Hulbert Bros Co., but that eventually was liquidated in 1896.
A lovely and rare large Single Action U.S. Revolver, with a great look, sure to delight any collector of Americana. Ready to display!
Years of Manufacture: 1878 to 1882
Caliber: .44-40 Winchester Center Fire
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 7 inches
Overall Length: 12 1/2 inches
Action: Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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