Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 45: Fine Volcanic Lever Action Navy Pistol

Auction Date: April 24, 2015

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $16,000 - $22,500

Fine Volcanic Lever Action Navy Pistol

Manufacturer: Volcanic
Model: Navy Model
Type: Pistol
Gauge: 41 Volcanic
Barrel: 6 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Grip: walnut
Item Views: 2050
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 21
Class: Antique

This is a highly desirable example of a Lever Action Navy pistol that was manufactured by the Volcanic Repeating Arms Co., circa.1856. The pistol has a blued six-inch octagon barrel with integral magazine, distinctive brass frame, loading lever with finger hole and two-piece varnished walnut grips. The barrel has steel pinch-back front sight blade. The fixed rear sight is mounted in a dovetail on the top of the frame. The hammer, trigger and lever are color casehardened and the frame is unfinished brass. The two-piece walnut grips have a high polish piano finish. The top of the barrel is roll-stamped with the legend: "THE VOLCANIC/REPEATING ARMS CO./PATENT NEWHAVEN CONN. FEB.14. 1854" in three-lines. This legend was the standard marking of the Volcanic Repeating Arms Co. (1855-57). The original Volcanic design was based on a Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson patent. The Volcanic Repeating Arms Co., evolved from Smith & Wesson; shirt-maker Oliver Winchester purchased stock in the Volcanic Co., in 1855. In April 1857, Winchester reorganized the Volcanic Repeating Arms Co., as New Haven Arms. "Volcanic" was omitted from the barrel markings on guns manufactured after 1857. The serial number "698" is stamped on the right side of the finger lever, on the lower left side of the frame beneath the grips and on the inside of both grips. All of the visible serial numbers match. The Volcanic pistols and carbines were revolutionary and historically significant firearms. The combination of a self-contained primed cartridge, spring loaded magazine and self-cocking lever action was unique in 1855 and with improved cartridges, served as a basis for the Henry and Winchester lever action rifles and carbines. The Volcanic Arms Co. manufactured an estimated 1,200 Navy Pistols with six-inch barrels between 1855 and 1857.

Rating Definition:

Fine. The pistol is all original and retains 60% of the original blue finish. The blue finish on the barrel is thin with some surface spotting. There is some very fine pitting on the top and left side of the barrel sleeve near the muzzle. Each line of the three-line legend was individually rolled and the markings vary from faint to crisp; the markings are untouched. The case colors on cartridge elevator, lever, trigger and hammer have faded to a mottled silver-gray patina. The brass "gunmetal" receiver is in very-fine condition with an attractive aged patina. Wear is limited to a few very light scratches and handling marks and several minor dents along the top edge of the left side plate. The side plate joints are in otherwise fine condition. The grips are in very fine overall condition and retain close to 90% of the piano finish varnish with scattered minor handling marks. This is a fine example of a scarce and historically significant Volcanic Lever Action Navy pistol.

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