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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Smith-Percival Repeating Pistol - from Louis L'Amour:

Right after typing that earlier post I started on yet another 'Sacketts' story - this one titled 'Mojave Crossing'.
- Well here you go again, - about 84% of the way through this tale and Louis L'Amour throws-in another reference to a gun that I'd never heard of.

" He dropped his rifle where he stood and outs with those Remingtons ... you never heard such fire. You'd have thought that he had him one of those Smith-Percival magazine pistols that fire forty shots."

Note: The "Remingtons' referred to are earlier identified as "a pair of .36" calibre six-shooters that he spent a good part of his time polishing up."

- So off I go to Google and type in "Smith-Percival repeating pistol"  ..

Smith-Percival Magazine Pistol. (- but not a "forty shot").

Here we are then .. What I have learned from a few limited entries:

On July 9th 1850 Orville B Percival & Asa Smith patented their design for this gun and arranged for it to be manufactured in Norwich Connecticut by Horace Smith.

This was before Horace Smith and Dan Wesson got together (1852 and again in 1857).

1908 Photo of S&W Factory.

The Smith-Percival (or 'Percival-Smith') has the two cylindrical magazines below its chamber. The front magazine contained 24 bullets (Balls?) and the rear cylinder held powder in its main part and primer pellets in a sub-chamber.

First the guns hammer is cocked - then the two magazines are manually rotated (fixed together) to alignment above the chamber where one bullet and the powder charge and the primer pellet all drop into place in the chamber. - the magazines then are rotated back below the action, thus closing the chamber for the shot - squeeze trigger "bang" (with a nice cloud of smoke!) - the shooter then again cocking the hammer and reloading - up to twenty four times.

 .. but a cautious man might be a little bit slow to rotate that powder magazine over the chamber - thinking as I would be, - about glowing charcoal cinders eh.

There seems to have been only a few hundred of this .30" (or .32"?) calibre repeating pistol made - so they'll be as rare as rocking horse shit. I couldn't find anything written in detail about these.

I'd guess that once the gun shot a bit loose there wouldn't be much to stop the lit powder charge & flames finding their way under pressure down to the powder magazine .. handy eh.

- Just another guess - but maybe those drilled holes lined along the brass casing rotating sleeve - may just have been put there to bleed-off and relieve any pressure leakage from the chamber?

- and there is a warning that fakes have been made.

- That's it folks ..

Marty K.

P.S. I did find pictures of the Tibbert revolving rifle - up next.