Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1139: Wesson & Leavitt Massachusetts Arms Company Revolving-Rifle 40 P

Auction Date: September 11, 2015

Extremely Rare Serial Number 16 Long Barreled Wesson & Leavitt Revolving Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $16,000 - $27,500

Extremely Rare Serial Number 16 Long Barreled Wesson & Leavitt Revolving Rifle

Manufacturer: Wesson & Leavitt Massachusetts Arms Company
Model: Revolving-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 40 Perc
Barrel: 24 inch round
Finish: blue/casehardened
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1924
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 71
Class: Antique

This percussion revolving rifle design was patented by Edwin Wesson and Daniel Leavitt and manufactured by the Massachusetts Arms Co., of Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts circa 1850. Experts estimate that only between 20 - 50 of these rare rifles were manufactured. The rifle frame is based on the .40 caliber Wesson & Leavitt "Army" revolver with side hammer and six-shot cylinder. An integral fixed rear sight is mounted on the top of the frame. The 24 inch round two-step barrel has a brass front sight blade. The rifle has an oil-finished one-piece walnut stock with integral pistol grip and iron buttplate. The trigger guard is brass. The buttplate, frame, hammer and cylinder pin are casehardened, and the barrel, top strap and cylinder have a blue finish. The right side plate is roll-stamped: "WESSON'S & LEAVITT'S PATENT". The top strap is marked: "MASS. ARMS CO./CHICOPEE FALLS" in two lines. The rear face of the cylinder is roll-stamped: "LEAVITT'S PATENT APRIL 29, 1837". 'WESSON'S PATENT AUG. 28, 1849" is stamped on the frame above the cylinder arbor pin. The number "16" is stamped on the rear face of the cylinder, back of the frame concealed by the stock, front face of the stock at the junction with the frame on the right, and underside of the buttplate tang, and "56" is stamped on the rear of the barrel lug front of the arbor pin.

Rating Definition:

Very fine. The rifle shows only minimal firing wear. The barrel retains 60% plus of the original high polish blue finish. The finish on the rear third of the barrel has faded to a plum brown patina from handling. The cylinder has a smooth plum brown patina; there is light to moderate flash pitting on the percussion nipples and adjacent areas of the cylinder. The top strap has most of the high polish blue finish. The cylinder pin, frame, side plate and hammer retain about 80% of the subdued color casehardened finish. The case colors on the buttplate have faded to a dark patina and the buttplate heel shows some scattered pitting. The stock/pistol grip is in very good condition with a barley noticeable professional repair to the stock wrist. The well-figured walnut has nearly all of the varnished finish and is free from handling or storage marks. The markings on the side plate, frame and cylinder are clear. The action is crisp and functions well. This is a very fine example; perhaps the best example extant of an extremely rare Wesson & Leavitt revolving rifle.

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