Revolvers, like swords and rifles, appeared on the battlefield and in the camps in a bewildering variety of makes and models. The Colt .44in Model 1860 Army revolver (right) was the most commonly seen sidearm during the Civil War, both among Union officers and among those Confederate officers who could get hold of one. A percussion weapon, it used rammer loading from the front of the cylinder, with the wiser shooters having a ready-prepared stock of paper cartridges to hand. The weapon was made from iron or steel, with a bronze trigger guard and front-strap, and was no mean weight: 44oz (1.2kg).
By contrast, the distinctive
Savage revolver (left) was carried by only a few, and mostly as a privately purchased arm. It was designed and manufactured by the Savage Arms Company, which has a long-standing reputation for producing weapons of very high quality and sometimes unusual design, as was the case here. The shooter used his middle finger to draw back the ring below the trigger, which rotated the six-round chamber and cocked the weapon; he then used his index finger to fire the gun in the normal manner. It was a safe and ingenious system and should have been appreciated, but it was not and it lagged far behind the Colt models in popularity.
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