Antique SAVAGE & NORTH 1st Model 2nd Variation FIGURE 8 NAVY Perc. Revolver
EXTREMELY RARE 1 of 250 Two-Trigger Revolvers
Here we present an extremely rare antique Savage & North 1st Model 2nd Variation Figure 8 Navy Percussion Revolver, made between 1856 and 1859 during its three year production run in Middletown, Connecticut. Designed and patented in 1856 by Henry North (the grandson of company founder Simeon North), approximately 450 of these revolvers were made between 1856 and 1859. A first prototype was sent to the Washington Arsenal for examination in June 1856, and its successful testing led to an Ordnance Department order for 100 more. These were delivered in June 1857, and all but 1 of these revolvers were in the field for trial use by U.S. cavalry units within a year.
The guns utilized a unique self-cocking action that rotated the cylinder and cocked the hammer by pulling back the lower ring trigger of a “Figure-8”. The upper trigger then fired the pistol in a conventional fashion. These test revolvers were chambered in .36 caliber, the same as the Colt Model 1851 Navy revolvers then in service with the United States military. Savage & North produced approximately 450 of these “Figure-8” revolvers between 1856 and 1859. The revolvers were produced in three distinct model variations. The first model was produced with a brass frame with a round cross section, and a conventional swinging link loading lever. The second model was produced with a round iron frame and new ratchet action loading lever. The third model was produced with the same ratcheting loading lever, and a flat-sided frame, taking on an appearance much akin to the more often encountered Savage Navy revolver.
It is estimated that about 250 of the first type revolvers were produced, with 100 of these being the Ordnance Department test revolvers. About 100 of the second model were produced, and another 100-200 of the third model were produced. The serial numbering system is noted as confusing by most arms historians, but the system seems to be a serial number range for brass framed guns and one for iron-framed guns. These numbers probably remained separate and consistent for the entire production run of both brass and iron framed guns with the improvements being added as they were adopted during the manufacturing process.
In 1859, the company was reorganized as the Savage Revolving Fire Arms Company and the design was improved to what is today known as the Savage Navy revolver. These would prove much more successful, with about 24,000 produced during the Civil War.
The bore is in good shape for its age with strong rifling. Solid grips. Numbers (“29”) on the barrel, trigger, hammer, and grip frame match. The action (hammer/trigger) are functional, though the cylinder does not index properly at this time. A handsome example of a rare and desirable and interesting American sidearm!
Own the original! This is a legitimate antique and not a reproduction.
Barrel is 7-1/8 inches.
Caliber: .36 Percussion
Overall condition as seen in photos.
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