Alsop Pocket Revolver - Near Excellent & Only 300 Made!
- Product Code: FHG-1396-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is a NEARLY EXCELLENT example of a very scarce American percussion revolver with an interesting lineage. The Alsop Pocket percussion revolver was based on patents granted to Charles R. Alsop, and was produced in the Middletown, CT factory of his father, Joseph Alsop Sr. At first glance, there are clearly some similarities between the Alsop family of revolvers (both the larger .36 Navy and the .31 Pocket) and the Savage Navy revolver. The guns of both makers have an awkwardly shaped grip, with an odd hump or spur near the top of it. They both have center-hung hammers that ignite the percussion cap through the top of the frame of the revolver. In fact all three of the gun makers in the Alsop family (Charles R, Joseph Sr & Joseph Jr) were listed as members of the Savage Revolving Firearms corporation in the Savage incorporation papers, so it makes sense that some design similarities exist between the revolvers of the two firms. Approximately 300 Alsop pocket revolvers were produced, likely between 1862 and 1863. While most references indicate that the pistols were serial numbered from 1 up, it is more likely that they were numbered consecutively with the Alsop Navy revolvers, as this revolver is number 758. The Alsop featured a complicated and somewhat fragile single action lock work. The cylinder engages a rotating plate at its rear that indexes the cylinder. This system is similar to the system used on some of the Allen & Wheelock side hammer revolvers. The revolver is well marked throughout with the typical Alsop manufacturing marks and patent information. The top of the barrel is marked in two lines:
C.R. ALSOP MIDDLETOWN CONN.
PATENTED JULY 17th. AUGUST 7th 1860 MAY 14th 1862
The cylinder is marked in two lines:
C.H. ALSOP PATENTED
NOV 26th 1861
While many firearms historians note that the Savage Navy was revolver was a descendant of the Alsop revolvers, the patent dates applicable to the guns do not bear this out. Clearly the Alsop’s were involved with the Savage firearms company and at least one Alsop patent drawing is included with the patent information filed on the Savage Navy. However, the Alsop guns seem to be somewhat less complicated and more refined versions of the Savage pistol, and not vice versa.
This particular Alsop Pocket revolver is in NEAR EXCELLENT condition overall. It is 100% correct, original and fully functional. The gun is .31 caliber (hence the “pocket” moniker), with a six shot cylinder, and has a 4” octagonal barrel. It retains the original brass cone front site at the end of the barrel (which is reminiscent of the Savage Navy revolver) and the rear site is a simple groove in the top strap of the revolver. The gun retains excellent, sharp edges and all of the markings are quite clear and sharp. The gun retains about 80%+ of its original blued finish on the barrel. The bore of the pistol is bright, with crisp rifling and only some light scattered pitting present, primarily in the last ““ to 1” of the bore, nearest the muzzle. The frame retains about 50% of its original blued finish, mixed with a smooth pewter patina, with the majority of the finish loss on the grip frame and backstrap. The cylinder retains about 65% of its original blued finish, mixed with a smooth brownish gray patina. There is a minor surface ding on the cylinder, just below the patent information. All of the original cones (nipples) are present in the cylinder, and they are in very good condition. The cone recesses of the cylinder show some minor roughness and peppering, with scattered minor oxidation “ all of which is the result of the caustic flash form the mercury based percussion caps of the era. The hammer retains 90%+ of the original vivid case coloring and the loading lever retains about 80%+ of its case coloring, with some fading and silvering. The loading lever functions smoothly and locks into position crisply. The serial number 758 is present on the top edge of the left side of the grip frame, on the bottom of the barrel (hidden by the loading lever), on the loading lever link (concealed by the side plate that covers the lever link) and in pencil on the inside of the left grip frame. It is likely on other major components, but due to the complicated and delicate action, I did not dismantle the revolver beyond removing the grips and loading lever side plate. The original grips are present and are a lovely pair of dark walnut. They are in about VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINE condition. There is a minor stress crack along the grain lines of the left grip panel, which has an old stabilizing glue repair that is visible with the grips removed. The crack appears to be the result of the grip screw being over tightened. The grips are smooth with only a few minor bumps and dings present and they retain nearly all of their original varnish.
It is not often that you have the opportunity to own a revolver that is one of only 300 manufactured. This is a very rarely encountered Civil War era revolver, which is missing from nearly all Civil War revolver collections, except the most advanced ones. When encountered they are almost never in this high state of condition. This is simply an outstanding, original and unmolested example of a very scarce percussion revolver, which would be a fantastic addition to a very advanced collection of high grade Civil War handguns.SOLD