Whitney Navy Revolver
Offered here is a nice representative example of a Whitney Navy percussion revolver. Whitney Navy revolvers went into production in the late 1850s after the expiration of Colt's revolver mechanism expired in 1857, production continued through the early 1860s.
Whitney had a habit of continually improving the revolvers as production continued and old pattern parts were used up which resulted in a number of variations in the revolvers. This particular example is a Second Model type 2 revolver which is identified by the presence of the loading rod, not found on First Model revolvers, and the presence of six cylinder stops not in use on Second Model type 1 revolvers. The serial number of this revolver is 9740 M, which falls well within the rang of Second Model type 2 revolvers. However, this gun is equipped with an improved "Colt style" loading lever catch rather than the ball type catch usually found on type 2 revolvers.
Some 33,000 Whitney Navy revolvers were produced, with a substantial number seeing use during the Civil War. The US Army purchased a total of 10,587 Whitney revolvers, while the US Navy acquired 6,226, and the State of New Jersey another 920 (792 of which were resold to the Army and are included in the previous figure).
Whitney revolvers went South in the early days of the war as well, and/or fell into Southern hands via capture. General J.E.B. Stuart is known to have carried a Whitney Navy revolver number 3110, which was on his person when mortally wounded at Yellow Tavern. Another two dozen Whitney Navy revolvers were repaired for the 4th Virginia Cavalry. The Whitney design was also used as the basis of Southern produced revolvers made by Spiller and Burr, and T.W. Coffer.
This revolver is nice complete example of a Second Model Whitney Navy revolver. The top of the 7.5 inch barrel is well marked with E. Whitney (over) New Haven. The bore is dark, but shows a good amount of the original seven groove rifling. The metal has a dulled "bright" finish which is not unattractive. In protected areas, such as the bottom of the barrel and top of the loading lever the metal shows traces the original blued finish. The metal shows some scattered light pitting, but none too serious. There are a couple areas of roughness near the muzzle, primarily on the right side of the barrel. None of the cylinder scene remains, which is very common on even high condition Whitney revolvers due to its lightly rolled application. The left side grip panel has been cracked and repaired. The repair is strong, but is noticeable. Mechanically the gun is very good. The cylinder rotates and locks quite well, the internal springs are quite strong too.
In all, this is a nice, well used, Whitney Navy revolver. This gun has a good look to it and will display nicely in a collection of secondary revolvers. This gun is not a "perfect" example, if ever there was such a thing, but is priced accordingly. This would also make a good introduction piece for someone starting a collection of Civil War era handguns.