Rogers & Spencer Army .44


May 4, 2006, 05:28 AM
Anyone know if a book has ever been published on the history of Rogers & Spencer and their factory at Willowvale/Utica, and particuarly with regard to production of their .44 Army percussion revolver. I've just acquired an original and would like to have some published material on it and its precessor the Pettengil. Books on Remingtons and Colts are easy enough to find but there seems little on R&S apart from snippets on the internet.

Thanks for reading

Tight Wad :)

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May 4, 2006, 10:54 AM
That is one nice looking R&S Tight_Wad,and welcome to The High Road.

I can't help you with a book,but I will let you know if I run across anything.

There may be some info in a back issue of the American Rifleman (US NRA magazine if you aren't familar with the title).

Steven Mace
May 4, 2006, 02:36 PM
Tight Wad, the Rogers & Spencer Army Model Revolver is listed on pages 317 & 318 of Flayderman's Guide To Antique American Firearms - 8th Edition.

Steve Mace

May 5, 2006, 06:49 PM
Thanks guys.

I remember reading about Francis Bannerman's emporium and how he bought up a lot of Rogers & Spencer revolvers (unfired) for fifty cents each! That article was in the NRA magazine about 30-years ago. Nowadays they fetch up to $6000 for one in mint condition - sound like a good investment, though they're still not as pricey as the Colts.

I guess I'll have to invest in a copy of Flayderman's guide.

Regards from blighty,

Tight Wad

Jim K
May 6, 2006, 10:18 PM
The Pettingill was not really a predecessor of the Rogers & Spencer in design. Although R&S made the Pettingills, they are odd-ball and pretty much of a dead end. I think the design predecessor of the R&S revolvers was an even more obscure gun patented by Austin Freeman, which was made in Watertown, NY. I don't know the connection between Freeman and R&S, but the designs are similar.

That is a very nice gun. They were apparently bought by the government (thus being legitimate U.S. martials) but were not issued. They were also made for the civilian market. The cartouche indicates yours was part of the military purchase.


May 7, 2006, 12:09 PM

The cartouche is 'RPB' Robert P Barry, Capt US Army and Inspector 1860-65.

The thing I love about these old guns is the way they used to stamp the serial number on everything - frame, cylinder, barrel, loading lever, even each wood grip panel! It's also covered in small 'B' inspectors marks on all major components including the hammer. Internally the barrel is mint and would give a modern repro a run for its money.

I took a chance and bought it from a US dealer purely on photographs but it worked out fine and I'm very pleased. All matching parts and original 5-groove barrel. It's holding history in your hand and a direct link to the past.

Tight Wad :)

Jim K
May 8, 2006, 01:25 PM
The reason for the numbers was that in a day before truly interchangeable parts, they first assembled the gun "in the white", fitting and filing as necessary. They even installed the grips and polished the stocks and frame down together; that is why old time grips fit so well. Then they disassembled the gun for final finishing and assembly.

To get the fitted parts all back together after the finishing process, they numbered them. To collectors today, "all matching parts" is a sign of originality and a fully matched gun will bring top dollar, all else being equal.


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