Help author get gun facts right

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by high path, Aug 18, 2012.

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  1. high path

    high path Member

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    I have a friend with a small publishing business. He has an author writing a story set in England in 1857 that requires a repeating handgun for the plot. I don't know that much about old guns. Could anyone here suggest some plausible models of pistol that would be used in England at that time?

    Thanks
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  3. Black Knight

    Black Knight Member

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    I don't know much about old guns either. I would imagine that Colt would have been able to export their 1850 cap and ball revolvers to England during that time frame. The Remington model may also have been exported.
     
  4. Lost Sheep

    Lost Sheep Member

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    1857 Was nearing the end of the percussion period in the U.S. I believe Europe was slightly ahead of us and even had some double-action revolvers around that time.

    The author's local library should have a copy of Guns of the World which would be the place I would first look.

    Give us an idea of the social circle the individual using this arm would be a member of. The cost would be a major factor for a repeater, I think.

    Lost Sheep
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Colt had a factory in London at that time.

    rc
     
  6. BullRunBear

    BullRunBear Member

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    One of the more likely revolvers for 1857 would be an 1851 Colt Navy cap and ball. Another could be a Colt Walker or one of the Dragoon models that came out in the decade earlier. The Walker and Dragoon revolvers are relatively large, heavy guns and would often be carried in holsters on a horse, not a belt. The 1851 Navy was the general size of a Single Action Army (the stereotypical 'cowboy' gun used by Roy Rogers and John Wayne.) The 1851 Navy would be comfortable carried on the gun belt, inserted in a waist sash, and could even be concealed in a large pocket. They were six shot guns but would normally be carried with the hammer down on an empty chamber for safety. Any of these would be available in England.

    Hope this gives you a starting point.

    Jeff
     
  7. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The 1851 Navy would normally be carried fully loaded with the hammer resting on one of the safety pegs between the nipples.

    The empty chamber deal came along later with the cartridge firing 1873 SAA.

    rc
     
  9. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    And the M1851 was smaller than the SAA. Colt generally made percussion revolvers in three sizes:

    1. Dragoon or Army revolvers in .44 (actually .45) caliber. These were increasingly smaller during the period 1846 - 1860, but were still full-size handguns,

    2. "Navy" revolvers -- so-called because the M1851 had a naval battle scene roll-engraved on the cylinder. These were .36 caliber and smaller than the dragoon or Army revolvers.

    3. Pocker models -- typically the M1848 and M1849. These were .31 caliber.
     
  10. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Geoffrey Boothroyd, The Handgun, Sportsmans Press, 1990, is the best source on development of handguns in Great Britain, Europe and America and what would be popular especially from a British historical view (including detail on Colt's London operations). 592 pages, lotsa well done photo illustrations.

    Boothroyd noticed errors in Ian Fleming's Bond early novels, contacted the author and actually became the basis of the characters Maj. Boothroyd and "Q" in the later books.
     
  11. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    Most popular of the Colts at that time would have been the 31 caliber pocket model 1848/49 . Colt sold more of these than any other for civilian use.

    Many at the time would still be carrying the single or double barrel boot pistols and or muff guns. Some would have the fairly popular pepper box with its multiple rotating barrels.
     
  12. high path

    high path Member

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    Thanks for the responses. My friend says they have been very helpful.
     
  13. Burt Blade

    Burt Blade Member

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    Colt Baby Dragoon or Pocket Model: a small-frame, 5-shot, .31 caliber percussion revolver. It was very popular and outsold most other percussion guns by Colt.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colt_Baby_Dragoon

    Quite common in 1857. Small and handy. Easy to carry in a coat pocket.
     
  14. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Member

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    Pepperbox

    The first pepperbox revolver repeaters were percussion.

    They are interesting and a bit more scarce than a revolver,so might pique the imagination.
     
  15. paramedic70002

    paramedic70002 Member

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    A long time ago I respectfully offered to Stephen King to proofread his novels for firearms errors after having read one too many blatant firearms errors. Still waiting for a reply.
     
  16. nyrifleman

    nyrifleman Member

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    I stopped reading Stephen King because of this. It's not that I'm offended by his politics, but his willful ignorance of firearm function just completely destroys my suspension of disbelief.

    Glad to hear that someone is taking their firearms research seriously!
     
  17. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    An author who neglects his research is contemptous of his readers. I've been put off by many an author who makes stupid tefhnical mistakes over and over.
     
  18. roadchoad

    roadchoad Member

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    Having a period-correct firearm is one thing, having all the details right is another. Sounds, operation, forces involved, ammo, etc. Keeping all that right is what makes for realism. No one will care if he has the correct gun if the character reloads cartridges into his cap and ball revolver, or his shot knocks a man ten feet back.
     
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