Page 170 - 4090-BOOK3
P. 170

LOT 3287
Scarce Factory Engraved Prototype North & Savage Percussion Revolving Rifle -
NSN, 44 percussion cal., 23 1/2 inch part octagon bbl., blue finish, walnut stock. Although referred to as the North & Skinner revolving rifle, these rifles were actually manufactured by North & Savage of Middletown, Connecticut, from 1856 to 1859. It is estimated that a total
of 600 were manufactured. The rifle follows patent no. 8,982 that was issued to H.S. North
and C.D. Skinner in 1852. The action of these early revolving rifles is more complicated than
the later revolvers, and unlike most revolving rifles of the period, it is built on a lever action design. There is a wedge behind the cylinder. When the lever below the cylinder is pulled
down, it also pulls the wedge down and allows the spring around the cylinder pin to push
the cylinder away from the barrel, disengaging the protruding mouth of the chambers
from the barrel. When it is loose a tooth on the wedge engages the track on the back of the cylinder causing it to turn to the next chamber. A link fastened to the lever behind the wedge cocks the hammer. When the lever is returned the wedge forces it tight against the rear of the barrel as a means to protect the operator from the cylinder gas blast, a common problem facing revolving long guns of the period. Pushing the cylinder forward was an early attempt at creating a gas seal. This example appears to be a prototype because the cocking lever is separate from the trigger guard and the hammer configuration is different from the rifles known to exist.
The rifle is engraved with a floral scroll pattern on a punch dot background. The engraving is featured on the frame, loading lever, trigger guard, cocking lever, hammer and buttplate. There
is an engraved dog on top of the frame and an engraved fox on the cocking lever. The period engraving is well-executed. The scrollwork is similar to other L.D. Nimschke attributed engravings. Dogs and foxes are also common animals featured Nimschke’s work (see, for example, Wilson’s “L.D. Nimschke, Firearms Engraver” pages 1, 2, 9, 12, 39 and 49). The rifle is equipped with a
blade front sight and a folding leaf rear sight. The top barrel flat is marked “NORTH & SAVAGE MIDDLETOWN CONN” ahead of the rear sight, the upper right barrel flat is marked “PATENTED. JUNE 1 1852,” and the upper left barrel flat is marked “CAST STEEL.” Mounted on a smooth
straight grip stock with crescent buttplate and engraved patch box.
CONDITION: Very good. The rifle retains scattered traces of faded original blue finish
with the balance a smooth brown patina. There is flash type pitting. The engraving is
crisp. The stock is fine with a gash on the left side and a number of minor pressure dents
and scratches. The action needs work as the cylinder is slightly out of time and does not
rotate properly. Do not miss your chance to own a rarely encountered rifle that is a must
have for the serious antique revolving firearms collector!
Provenance: The Herbert Tannenbaum Collection; The Robert M. Lee Collection;
Property of a Gentleman.
 168 Estimate: 16,000 - 25,000

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