Antique ALLEN & WHEELOCK .32 Cal. POCKET SIZED Percussion PEPPERBOX Pistol
5-Shot Pepperbox That Enjoyed More Popularity Than Colt!
Here we present an antique Allen & Wheelock Pocket-Sized 5-shot Pepperbox Revolver, manufactured circa 1856-1865 in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was during the Worchester period that the five-shot pepperbox was introduced. This revolving pistol had percussion nipples integrated to the barrels. Made with a bar hammer and standard trigger, models have been encountered with or without an integral nipple shield and .32 was the most common caliber. The five barrel is relatively rare compared to the six-barrel models. While simplifying shooting (no manual cocking of the hammer), the bar hammer did preclude the inclusion of usable sights. However, this early example of a double-action pistol must have been quite a selling point. As these were considered “point and shoot” short range defensive weapons or “belly guns”, the market did not seem to object to the limitation of not having sights.
Ethan Allen was already a prolific inventor in the 1830s when he came up with this design. Ethan Allen was a true family man, investing and partnering with a nephew in a New York sporting goods retailer, hiring another brother-in-law, Thomas Wheelock, who was eventually made a partner, and similarly hiring and later making partner his two sons-in-law Sullivan Forehand and Henry Wadsworth. Because of these practices, his business was very successful. These revolvers enjoyed even greater popularity than Sam Colt’s first designs. The history that these pistols enjoyed over the years is astounding: the Seminole Wars, Gold Rush, Mexican War and American Civil War. These guns are true relics of American history.
The overall condition is near fine. Original finish/patina. Strong, tight action. Great bores. Both grips are seated firmly with less than average wear. A fantastic example of one of the most popular, early US revolvers!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 3 inches.
Caliber: .32 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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