Only an estimated 300 of these First Model Porter rifles were manufactured. They were designed by Parry W. Porter originally from Tennessee, but later a resident of New York City when most of his firearms were manufactured. The Porter's rifles manufactured for him by G.P. Foster of Taunton, Massachusetts. His patent dates to July 18, 1851. Porter's design is mechanically ingenious, but poorly thought out in terms of safety. The cylinder has nine shots that all face outward rather than forward like a traditional revolver. This means that when fully loaded several of the loaded chambers are facing the direction of the shooter. In the event of a chain fire, a common and dangerous problem with all percussion revolving rifles, the shooter would be very seriously injured and very likely outright killed. Short stroking the lever or the hammer not locking up properly can also lead to accidental discharges as the hammer then drops down onto a live cap. The sights are offset to the left to allow for a clear sight plane. There is a long serpentine lever on top at the breech for loading and a small lever that allows the action to open up to remove the cylinder. The right side of the action under the hammer has a magazine for the percussion caps. Running the lever rotates the cylinder, prepares a cap, and cocks the hammer. The matching serial number is marked on most of the components, and it is fitted with a smooth walnut stock with traditional rifle buttplate.
Very good plus with crisp gray and brown patina, mild pitting concentrated in the breech section, and mild dings and scratches. The stock is very good and has strong original finish, mild dents and scratches, and a small chip on the bottom of the wrist. It mechanically needs some minor work; the hammer does not fully cock when the lever is operated, and the cap magazine spring is weak. When the hammer is manually cocked, it functions properly. This is a solid representative example of both a very unique and scarce American repeating rifle design.
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