1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.

1893 Grand Exhibition. The world's intro to PBR, hot dogs, ice cream cones and the Ferris Wheel.
A view through the wheel. The black, horizontal line is the axle, the single largest forging to that time.
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."

1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"

Paul Valery

"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."

The Wisdom of the Ages

"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"

Mikhail Kalashnikov
"Here lies the bravest soldier I've seen since my mirror got grease on it."

Zapp Brannigan

Saturday, March 24, 2007

"This misconception protected by S&W"


Seriously. When you see the bumper sticker I'm making fun of in the title to this post, don't you think; "This vehicle has a handgun under the seat"?
Oh God, I'm going to do it again. The sacred cows aren't safe around me. Months back I seconded the prevailing wisdom that the metallic cartridge was invented by Smith and Wesson. I showed an image of their tube magazine pistol and bought into the whole trip. I'm sorry. I'm better now.
S&W did develop a rim fire cartridge in 22 short, the oldest ammunition still in production. Pictured you'll see their 7 shot 22 revolver that, being it was black powder - and 22 short, must have been somewhat lacking in "stopping power" (Ow! Stop shooting me, damnit!).
On the other hand, Casimir Lefaucheux (a Frenchman! What is my problem? - I just can't help myself) invented the pin fire system in the 1820's. Now, I'm no armorer, but it seems that such a setup would require a metallic cartridge. Not to mention, on the subject of stopping power, I submit that the 1854 12 mm 6 shot pin fire revolver produced by his son and gun making genius, Eugene was more than a match for 22 short. I'm metrically challenged myself so I'll offer this equivalency: 12 mm = .472 caliber. Now, if you've got some pinfire cartridges, here's a place where you can buy the goodies to reload them. I tell you, you can buy anything n the internet.
Lacking slightly in the punch or the Colt Army (relatively small charge - the rounds are not much longer that they are wide. But, lighter, more reliable - and with weatherproof ammo, the Lefaucheux, model 1854 was was used extensively by both sides during the War of Northern Aggression.
A Colonel Schuyler of the Union Army ordered 10,000 Lefaucheux, model 1854's (shown above) - along with 200,000 rounds. Others were supplied by another French gun maker, as well as from the makers of Liege, Belgium, some from American suppliers. In the end, some 11,833 Lefaucheux 1854's were delivered to the Northern troops between October, 1861 and June, 1862.
Regarding the Confederates, in the absence of any complete archives - and the willingness of the Rebels to use anything they could get their hands on, 7 mm, 9 mm as well as 12 mm, it's unclear how many "Went South" in the course of the conflict. It's estimated, however that 2000 to 5000 Lefaucheux 1854's were used by the Southern troops during the course of the war.
This was a different time. In Europe the craft guilds still dictated how products were manufactured. This guaranteed high quality but something else in affordability. The next picture shows an example of the type of engraving a purchaser of such could ask for.In adition, lest you think that any of this is based rational thinking (Descartes was full of shit), take a look at a .32 caliber, 21 shot revolver, 10 on the inner ring of chambers and 11 outboard. Now, notice the folding trigger. Don't you think that if you were going to try to stick this sideways, tuna can into your pocket, whether or not there was a big intrusive trigger guard was a moot point?
Just to stir the shit a bit: Check out the loading gate from this 12 shot, 10mm Lefaucheux. This coupled with the ejector rod...where have we seen this before? The Colt 1873 Single Action Army (my Sweetie).
In closing, a "baby Lefaucheux" shown with a second-model LeMatt. Now there's a gun. Nine .44 caliber chambers around a .65 caliber smoothbore. Invented by another French nut although he lived in New Orleans. This was the favored sidearm of JEB Stuart.

2 comments:

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