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Curio & Relic/Black Powder Curio & Relics and Black Powder Firearms, Old School shooting fun!

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Old 09-09-2019, 10:08 AM
pitfighter's Avatar
pitfighter pitfighter is offline
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Default Old English (Belgian manufactured) revolver.

This is an interesting revolver..
Thought I'd share a pic or two and some research, maybe an alternative to the discussion of FFL renewal and COE applications.
It is a Deane, Adams and Deane - (Yes, Deane with an "e" and used twice.)

This is one of the rarest and least often encountered variations of the M-1851 Self-Cocking Adams Patent Percussion Revolver, the Dragoon model, a .50 caliber hand cannon.
Robert Adams manufactured these exceptionally strong and powerful handguns under his solid frame revolver patent. In 1851 Adams was granted a patent for significant improvements to revolvers by patenting a unique design with the barrel and frame of the pistol were forged as a single piece.
This made the pistol incredibly strong and was a much stronger system than any of the other revolvers system then commonly in use, particularly those used by Colt which used a wedge to attach the barrel to the frame and had no top strap to reinforce the frame. Adams also received patents for a spring-loaded, frame mounted safety device and a spring based cylinder arbor latch.

The gun is clearly marked on the left side of the frame "ADAMS PATENT" and "12707." The cylinder is clearly marked with the same number: 12707.
While the number on the gun and side of the cylinder is a “serial number”, it is more importantly a way by which the numbered revolvers were tracked for the payment of patent royalties, such as this one manufactured in Belgium for sale in France.
In fact, other manufacturers that produced Adams pattern guns under license, were actually given specific serial number ranges to work within, as well as letter suffixes to more easily determine the manufacturer of the revolver.
While specific serial number records are not available for Adams revolvers like they are for Colt’s and Smith & Wesson’s, we can determine with some certainty that this revolver was probably produced between mid-1853 and mid-1854.

The revolvers produced and marketed by Deane, Adams and Deane in 1851 & 1852 included a reference to the fact that they had manufactured guns for royal family during that time frame and included as part of the barrel address Manufactures to HRH Prince Albert.

This revolver has a top-strap engraving that reads: "MANUFD BY A.F. LICENSED BY/ DEANE ADAMS & DEANE LONDON,".
A barrel address that read: Fni Le Page Moutier, Paris.
Le Page Moutier was an exceptionally high-end French Gun Smith and Gun Merchant.
Proofs: The Adams and its descendants in Europe spelled doom for Samuel Colt's European sales. This Adams patent revolver was manufactured by Auguste Francotte in Belgium as demonstrated by the Liege proofmarks and "crown/AF" markings.
Phony CSA marking: - 100% positive this is something some bright spark added in the 1960's or so - to try to spruce it up for his collection or sale.

Starting about the middle of 1854 Adams added a frame mounted loading lever of his own design, as well as a new frame mounted sliding safety on the right side of the frame. He also changed the cylinder arbor latch system. All of these items were patented as additional improvements to revolver design towards the end of 1854 and became standard features from that point on.
Since this revolver has only one of the 1854 improvements, it is fair to guess that the gun was manufactured in 1853 or early 1854.

Adams produced his self-cocking, or “double action”, revolvers in a wide array of calibers, but by early 1853, the standard calibers were 38 bore (.50 caliber), 54 bore (.442 caliber), 80 bore (.38 caliber) and 120 Bore (.31 caliber). The British method of stating caliber as a “bore” or “gauge” was based on how many round balls of that size could be cast from a single pound of lead, thus the lower the number, the larger the caliber, and vise versa. Of these various calibers the 54 bore and 120 bore revolvers are most common and the 38 Bore revolvers are the least common. This was truly one of the original large bore revolvers and would have been the side arm of choice if Dirty Harry had been a mid-1850’s English policeman!

Until recently it had been assumed that there was no Confederate connection between the large 38-bore (.50) Adams “Dragoon” revolvers and those gun purchased by the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The more commonly encountered 54-Bore (.442) Adams patent revolvers, primarily of the Beaumont-Adams design, are well known to have seen service in the South during the war. However, recent scholarship has uncovered that at least a handful of the .50 Adams revolvers were purchased and imported by the Confederacy and at least one dug example indicates that some made it into the field.
The .50 Adams Dragoon revolver is discussed in detail in the new book The English Connection on pages 217-219 and this exact revolver is pictured in detail on pages 218-219. According to documents in the National Archives, eight cased Adams M-1851 38-Bore “Dragoon” revolvers were included in the cargo of the ill fated blockade runner Elizabeth.
The Elizabeth was owned by John Fraser & Co and was captured on May 29, 1862 while trying to enter the port of Charleston, SC. Listed in the cargo manifest was a case of revolvers, marked A within a rhomboid, and the case contained “eight Deane, Adams & Deane 8 inch revolvers, in cases complete”.
The barrel length clearly indicates that these were the large bore, .50 revolvers and not the more common 54-bore guns. The pre-war barrel markings suggest that these guns were purchased from existing inventory in English gun shops, likely by arms speculators, rather than the Confederate central government purchasing agents. Further indication that these large bore revolvers saw use during the war is a dug example with a 7 ““ barrel that was recovered near Brandy Station by a relic hunter in the 1960’s. This dug example with its history and provenance recently sold from an Internet relic web site. Thus the period documentation, and at least one field recovered example indicates that the Confederacy did purchase at least a few of these massive revolvers and some of them did see use in the field.

The gun is mechanically excellent and functions perfectly, with the double action mechanism timing, indexing and locking up as well as the day it was manufactured.

The early Adam's used spigoted balls with a wad attached. The reason was, also as mentioned, due to the cylinder being oversized compared to the bore. In my case, the 80 bore cylinder (.390") is matched with a 90 bore barrel (.375"). Anybody reading this and wanting to test fire their Adamses, should be aware of this: Firing a full-sized ball (compard to the cylinder) in these revolvers may be extremely dangerous, as the load required to resize the ball in the forcing cone is close to a full cylinder, which may destroy the revolver! Therefore - do as the originals: Size the ball according to the bore, and add an oversized wad.

I have included a picture of the Adams with a Colt 1851 Navy in .36 caliber firing in single action only with a weakling open top frame. Sitting side-by-side they are about the same size, length, barrel length, the Adam being just 7 percent heavier 43 oz vs 40 oz, and 4 % longer overall.
The Adams shot are more than 2 1/2 times heavier than the Colt and a full load accounting for the 5/6 cylinders is more than twice the amount of lead and powder than the Colt - a big difference.
I would prefer the Adams firepower at close quarters such as a cavalry charge or ship boarding with adversaries just a few yards away.
The Colt's accuracy would become an advantage only at much longer range.

Pics: Shown with some props, a Lancers Pith Helmet, a Katar Indian Dagger a Victorian British Bandolier and Holster.

User remarks:
Captain Joshua Crosse of the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) who used the largest calibre ( Adams revolver during the Crimean War (1854-56) wrote favourably about it to its inventor, Robert Adams, following the Battle of Inkerman (1854), in which he was wounded after being surrounded by Russians:

'I then found the advantages of your pistol over that of Colonel Colt's, for had I to cock before each shot I should have lost my life; but with yours, having only to pull the trigger, I was able to shoot four Russians, and therefore save my life. I should not have had time to cock, for they were too close to me, being only a few yards from me, so close that I was bayoneted through he thigh immediately after shooting the fourth man'.

Phoenix, AZ.

Last edited by pitfighter; 09-09-2019 at 12:03 PM..
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