Original U.S. Merwin & Hulbert D.A. 1876 Frontier Army 3rd Model Revolver in .44-40 with 5" Barrel - Serial 19381
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. Merwin, Hulbert, & Co. or Merwin & Hulbert was an American firearms designer and marketer based in New York City which produced revolvers and rifles from 1874 through 1916. The firearms were manufactured by a subsidiary company, Hopkins & Allen of Norwich, Connecticut.
Mervin & Hulbert started business in 1876 with the "Frontier" Army Model Open Frame cartridge revolver, which took the .44 Merwin & Hulbert cartridge. This was followed by a refined 2nd model in 1883, which also introduced a version which took the very popular .44-40 Winchester Cartridge. It was then replaced by the 3rd model, which did away with the open top frame, as well as the superfluous barrel wedge. This model was available in both Single and Double action configurations, and featured 3/4 length flutes on the cylinder to reduce weight.
This is a very nice example, with lovely worn walnut grips. As with many we have seen, the original 7 inch barrel has been cut-down to a more "cowboy friendly" 5 inches, and no front sight was added to avoid snagging on a holster. There are traces of nickel plate under the grips, so it may have been produced in that finish, but is now worn to a lovely gray patina. The revolver has serial number 19381 marked on the bottom of the grip frame, with assembly number 1876 is stamped into the frame under the grips. Currently the frame latch is stuck, so we are not able to check the cylinder and barrel for further assembly numbers.
The top of the barrel still has part of the original marking:
MERWIN HULBERT & Co. New York,[ U.S.A. Pat.] Apr.1[7.77 June 16.80. Mar.14.82 Jan.9.89]
Originally offered 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. Even with the later addition of double action ability, the revolver unfortunately was still unable to catch up.
The left side of the frame is marked CALIBRE / WINCHESTER next to 1873 under the cylinder, indicating the pistol is chambered for the .44-40 Winchester Centerfire Cartridge. The revolvers chambered for .44 Russian were marked "Russian Model" and the ones chambered in .44 Merwin & Hulbert would have no caliber markings.
Condition is good with a nice bore with clear lands and grooves and an lightly oxidized patina. The action works well in both single and double action, however the revolver has seen use, so it definitely can be finicky. If the trigger is pulled too fast the cylinder may over rotate, as the cylinder lock is worn. As stated before, the frame lock is currently stuck, so the revolver cannot be broken down.
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 was liquidated in 1896.
A lovely and rare large frame Double Action U.S. Revolver.
Years of Manufacture: 1883 to 1888
Caliber: .44-40 Winchester Center Fire
Ammunition Type: Centerfire Cartridge
Barrel Length: 5 inches
Overall Length: 10 inches
Action: Double / Single Action
Feed System: 6 Shot Revolver
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