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R. G. Wilson Revolver

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by expat_alaska, May 16, 2020.

  1. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    Pe Ell WA
    I would like to pick your collective brains for more information about this revolver.

    It is a "copy" of a Colt 1860 Army .44 that was entirely handmade by a machinist/gunsmith R. G. Wilson, Fulton MI in the early 1960's. It is serial number 7 with a total of only ten revolvers like this produced by him. It has a two-piece grip, a blued steel trigger guard, a smooth non-engraved cylinder, the wedge (with no spring) enters from the right, and the rammer pivot screw enters from the right (but it is possible to create that by installing the rammer upside down). The existence and whereabouts of the other nine revolvers is unknown to me, the owner, or anyone else to our knowledge.

    It was part of the extensive Dr. Jim L. Davis (RPRCA) collection which was sold to October Country (Idaho) when Dr. Davis passed last September. I saw it on the OC website in early December 2019 but passed on it because of the 2-piece grip, and I had never heard of Wilson or Firearms Specialties prior to that. I mentioned the revolver to a friend on another forum and he purchased it (cased) for $325(!). It has been discussed by Dennis Norton (Cap & Ball Revolvers, Pistols and Rifles Facebook group) who is in the process of obtaining access to Davis' voluminous notes about reproduction revolvers.

    Firearms-Specialties-44-1a.jpg

    Firearms-Specialties-44-2a.jpg

    Firearms-Specialties-44-3a.jpg

    Wilson also created a vastly oversized rendition of the Colt 1873 SAA in .45-70 caliber which weighed 6.5#. Century Arms produced a similar revolver in the 90's.

    SAA-45-70.jpg

    Any and all information would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,

    Jim
     
  2. sspierce8

    sspierce8 Member

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    I can’t help you with info, but I like it.
     
  3. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Never heard of him or his revolvers but it sure is fascinating to say the least! I actually like the all blued finish along with the two piece grips. Gives it a somewhat all-business look to it!
     
  4. arcticap

    arcticap Member

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    Jim,
    You've learned a lot more about it than many Italian gun owners from the same era are able to learn about their gun makers.
    Unless a surviving family member can somehow be tracked down to ask about anecdotes from their father's production days or such.
    What else is there to learn besides details such as who did the design work and drawings that were followed to build it.
    Has your friend tried to analyze any of the gun's specifications to see how it compares to originals or reproductions?
    Such as what type of rifling, its depth and twist rate does it have?
    What do the nipple threads measure?
    For the price paid, it is simply going to be part of a collection or does your friend intend to shoot it?
    By taking measuements, perhaps it can be determined if it's really a viable shooting iron, or would be easy to repair or not.
    Has your buddy turned or cocked it to check the timing, or the fit & finish, or disassembled it at all?
    Can it bust a cap?
    Maybe you can tell us more about it since there's little chance that anyone else will ever report about it here.
    At least that way there will be a data base record about it here for future posterity.

    It looks like a handsome piece.
    One of the first questions that came to mind when I saw it was "Is that a ratcheting loading lever?"
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
    Gordon likes this.
  5. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    I was hoping to possibly (a very long shot) jog some memories as to the whereabouts of one of the other nine, that's all.

    Once the owner learned what he conveyed to me, he is not going to shoot it. I don't think he has done any investigation concerning rifling, nipples, internals, etc. It does have the ratcheting load lever.

    There were two fellows who contacted him about it offering to buy it at twice the price he paid for it at October Country. They seem to have more information. One of them is a forum member Roy L Oak.

    Regards,

    Jim
     
    Gordon and arcticap like this.
  6. expat_alaska

    expat_alaska Member

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    arcticap likes this.
  7. Ephraim Kibbey

    Ephraim Kibbey Member

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    Jim,
    Have you tried emailing hghrdnhck at [email protected] who offered to buy the 45-70 in the Firing Line Forum thread you posted?
    Working off of your two found links above and the mutual poster hghrdnhck who said it was his grandfather (R. G. Wilson?) who made them for Firearms Specialties and that he had all the companies records, I googled his handle and found him on several hunting and non gun forums.
    I was able to collect the following information about him from his profiles and posts but not his name:
    Name - maybe Wilson???
    Birthday - Oct 6, 1984
    Cell Phone - (989) 323 - 7232
    Location - chesaning mi
    Occupation - I work at Gander mtn in Saginaw
    Vehicles Owned - 06 superduty 4x4 diesel, 88 f150, 67 scout 800, 79 f150
    Remember what you put on the internet NEVER dies!!!
    Good Luck with your quest,
    David
     
  8. Ephraim Kibbey

    Ephraim Kibbey Member

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    This thread mentions that Elmer Keith talked about the 45-70 in a 1965 Guns and Ammo article and in "Sixguns."
    https://singleactions.proboards.com/thread/13649/first-45-70-revolver
    This thread mentions a Russel Wilson, maybe what the R. stands for???
    https://forums.sassnet.com/index.php?/topic/229551-matched-set-of-45-70-single-action-revolvers/
    I doubt these are the same company but?:
    Firearms Specialties
    23601 Hott Dr
    Cleveland, MO 64734
    or
    Firearms Specialties
    354 Zion Rd, Hillsborough Township, NJ, 08844
    (908) 369-7034
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
    expat_alaska likes this.
  9. Ephraim Kibbey

    Ephraim Kibbey Member

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