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Confederate Modified Kerr Revolver Tool

Confederate Modified Kerr Revolver Tool

  • Product Code: FPTA-1720-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

Offered here is a very scarce Kerr Revolver Combination Tool in GOOD+ condition, with what appears to be period Confederate modifications. This is certainly the rarest and least often found Kerr revolver related tools or accessories to be found on the collector market. This combination tool combines a screwdriver, a cone (nipple) wrench and a detail oiler with oil reservoir in a single handy tool to maintain and care for a Kerr revolver. The screwdriver arm of the tool measures 2.4” from its tip to the tool body, and the tool body measures 2.5” from the top of the knurled brass detail oiler cap to the bottom of the cone wrench. The round tool body is .438” in diameter at its widest point and measures the same diameter at the mouth of the modified cone wrench. The detail oiler is 1.37” in length (including the brass cap), with the actual detail oiler blade measuring .9” in length. The blued steel tool retains minute traces of its original finish and has a thickly oxidized brown patina with moderate amounts of scattered surface oxidation and surface roughness. The tool has been modified, almost certainly during the period of use, by adding a brazed sleeve to the cone wrench end, changing the type of cone (nipple) the tool will work with. The modified wrench is now correct for the insertion or removal of civilian type cones with .25” shoulders, like those found on period civilian shotguns. This makes quite a bit of sense, as it was not uncommon for Confederate cavalry to be armed with a mix of shotguns and revolvers. As such, modifying a handful of the Kerr revolver tools to function with the shotguns the men were carrying is rather practical.

The tool remains relatively crisp throughout with good edges. The modified cone wrench remains relatively sharp with some wear and minor chipping. The screwdriver blade shows more moderate wear, with some minor damage and metal loss at the end. The tool also shows some minor dings and impact marks, particularly along the edge of the brass oiler cap.

I know of only a handful of these tools to ever hit the general collector’ market in the last couple of decades. I have only had the pleasure to offer two other examples and one was part of a complete set of implements included with a minty, cased Kerr revolver. I doubt that more than a few of these very scarce tools are in private collections today.

While very scarce today, a number of Kerr revolvers were imported with a complete set of accouterments and accessories that would have been included in a cased set. According to Payne Ledger, some 900 Kerr revolvers arrived at the port of Wilmington, NC on October 31, 1864. These guns also had the following accessories: “Spare Nipples & Cloth Bags, 900 Powder Flasks, 900 Cleaning Rods, 450 Steel Nipple Keys, 180 Bullet Moulds, 180 Mainsprings, 180 Trigger Springs, 90,000 Skin Cartridges, 108,000 Percussion Caps”. The guns were delivered by the blockade-runner Hope and were part of the consignment purchased through John Fraser & Company. Five hundred of the guns and their associated accouterments were subsequently delivered the Selma Arsenal, and the other four hundred and their accessories were delivered to the Richmond Arsenal. The presence of accessories like cleaning rods, powder flasks, cloth bags and the combination gun tools (“steel nipple keys”), suggest that the guns were purchased as cased sets, and were subsequently repacked into the standard 20 guns per box lead lined cases that most Kerr revolvers were delivered to the Confederacy in. The powder flasks and cloth bags were certainly of limited utility for guns that were designed to be used with “skin cartridges”. Bullet molds were typically delivered to the Confederacy at a ratio of 1 for every 20 long arms, but in this instance, they were delivered at the ratio of 1 for every 5 pistols. The cleaning rods would certainly have been useful in the field, but this is the only report I can find of cleaning rods being purchased by the Confederacy for use with revolvers. All of this suggests that these accessories originated in cased Kerr revolver sets. It seems quite likely that additional cased sets were acquired on a speculative basis for delivery to the south as well. Today all of these accessories are extremely rare, most especially the special Kerr revolver combination gun tool & cone (nipple) wrench.

While I can in no way determine if this is one of the “450 Steel Nipple Keys” delivered in Wilmington, it certainly could have been. This would be a fantastic addition to your Confederate Kerr revolver or for use in a display of Confederate cavalry items, since this one has been modified for use with the civilian cones often found in shotguns. These tools rarely appear for sale, so I have no idea when you might have another chance to obtain one.

The price includes free Priority Mail shipping within the Continental United States, customer from Alaska, Hawaii and foreign countries should contact me for a shipping quote. Please note that the photos are much larger than the actual tool.


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Tags: Confederate, Modified, Kerr, Revolver, Tool