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Tuesday, 8 December 2015

NZ Armed Constabulary TRANTER Revolvers:

Way back in 1879 New Zealand ordered 500 1878 Tranter Revolvers in .450" calibre for the NZ Armed Constabulary ..

This fact from history may seem inexplicable and strange - because we are frequently assured by politicians and the Police executive (not Orwells 1984 'Ministry Of Truth') - that the NZ Police have a long history of being an unarmed law enforcement force.

- Perhaps they are just 'mistaken'.


You should be able to make-out the N80Z government marking stamped on the above example.


These six inch octagonal barrel double action, centre-fire Tranter revolvers have a 5 groove R.H. twist bore - and were an advanced design when compared with the classic Colt 1873  SAA Peacemaker - which was single-action and remained the US military arm until 1892.

The Tranter 1878 loaded and ejected through a rear loading gate - and was withdrawn from British service in 1881.


A Display of .450" Cartridges.
Velocity with a 225 grain bullet was 650 ft./sec. black-powder (13grains) to 700 ft./sec. smokeless.

British and European handgun design moved forward rapidly in this era when compared to US.

William Tranter (1816-1890) had by his retirement secured 24 firearms patents and 19 cartridge patents including the early British patent for rim-fire cartridges.
Hone Riiwi* Toia with four Supporters (Hokianga Maori) arrested May 1898 by The Armed Constabulary.
(He was imprisoned for 10 months - having given himself up - on "Conspiracy" charges
 - for opposing a 'dog tax' of 2 shillings & 6 pence').
*Riiwi was grandson of a Jewish trader 'Levy'.
 
As well as these New Zealand Police sales - 1,000 of these .450" revolvers were bought by the English military and used in the 'Zulu Campaign' and were described as "non-interchangeable" - being hand made and assembled.
 

William Tranter was associated variously with other arms makers - notably Hollis Bros., Kerr, Adams, Beaumont, and Braedlin and his factory was finally taken-over by George Kynoch.

 - He was a Founding Director of British Small Arms (BSA) Ltd. He built some Henry Carbines and rifles in his plants.

Known users of Tranters guns are Allan Pinkerton (Pinkerton Detective Agency - known to have carried two.), Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling, the US Civil War Confederate General James Stuart, Australian 'Bushranger' Ben Hall, and the fictional Sherlock Holmes .. and the New Zealand Armed Constabulary.

.. The first official New Zealand Police were New South Wales troopers who accompanied Governor  Hobson (landed 31 January 1840) .. and the first 'local' force formed was Auckland Armed Police established  9 October 1846.

Marty K.

P.S.  - I have mentioned the guns of this maker before, on 13 April 1994 'History: Tranter & Kerr Patent Revolvers'.

Rod says:
 "I purchased a tidy 1878 Tranter (ex NZ armed Constabulary) from a relative of the notorious Stanley Graham way back in 1965 for the sum of 10 Pounds.  It also came with dress and service holsters.  These revolvers were sold to the public when the Police finished with them in the early 1900’s (when they switched over the Colt M1903 .32 autos, one of which was used against Stan Graham!).  The 1878 Tranter was a very robust and well-made revolver, much superior to the Colt SAA and one of the reasons why the Tranters and other English double-action revolvers were quite popular (contrary to US notions) in the ‘old west’.  Even Custer had a pair of English ..450’s, not that they did him much good!"
 
M.K.