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Rifleman Q&A: Sidehammer Navy Revolver

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QCan you identify this .36-caliber percussion pistol? It has no serial number or markings of any kind, save the number 17 on two of the parts. I did not completely dismantle it.

A. Judging from the pictures of the pistol you submitted, it would appear to be the Sidehammer Navy Model Percussion Revolver made by Allen & Wheelock of Worchester, Mass., circa 1858-1861. Approximately 100 were made. This model was made in .36 cal., in a large frame size with a six-shot round cylinder with a roll-engraved forest scene, including a rabbit, deer and doe motif. It had walnut grips, blued finish, and a casehardened hammer and trigger guard. Some confusion exists in the study of these sidehammer revolvers, due to the number of variants encountered and the relatively small quantities produced. The Navy model is the easiest to identify and the type most sought after. Although no government contracts were given for this model, collectors consider it to be a martial type.

—Harry Hunter, Contributing Editor

This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the January 2007 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, “Questions & Answers” was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Harry Hunter, Chuck Karwan, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, John M. Taylor and John Treakle.

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