Massachusetts Arms Maynard-Primed Belt Revolver

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When the Massachusetts Arms Company initially produced the Wesson & Leavitt Dragoon revolver, they quickly incurred the wrath of the colt company. Those initial revolvers violated several Colt patents. The resulting lawsuit forced the end of production of the Dragoons, and the company decided to redesign the guns to avoid the Colt patents. The result was this .31-caliber belt model revolve,r as well as a similar .28 caliber pocket model.

To make the guns legal, the hammer was no longer connected to movement of the cylinder. Instead a release button was located inside the trigger guard. After firing, the user would press this to release the cylinder and then manually rotate it to the next chamber. In addition, the metallic cap priming was replaced by a Maynard tape system (used under license, unlike the Colt patents!).

Not more than about a thousand of these revolvers were made, as they were obviously technically inferior to the Colt guns of the time. However, the small sales, combined with other guns, were enough to hold the Massachusetts Arms Company above water financially until 1857, when the Colt patents expired.


Hi guys thanks for tuning in to another Video on Forgotten weapons comm I’m in I Am here today at the James Giulia Auction house taking a look at some of The guns that they’re selling in their Upcoming October of 2015 auction and I Found something down here that jumped Out at me because we did a video just Recently about a predecessor to this Revolver so this was made by the Massachusetts Arms Company and the first Version of this is known as the Wesson And Leavitt Dragoon revolver not very Many of them are made about a thousand In 1850 1851 they were a 40 caliber six Shot army style you know belt revolver Unfortunately they had a number three in Fact different features on them that Were violations of existing patents so They had a little walls between the the Percussion-cap nipples to prevent cross Firing and when you cocked the hammer That automatically rotated the cylinder And these were things that Colt had Patented and Colt noticed that Westman Level was making this and filed a Lawsuit and got them shut down or rather Got their production of that revolver Shut down so what Wesson and Levitt did Was they redesigned the gun and they Made it mm less practical but more legal So they got rid of all of these features And what they developed instead what They released to the market was this

Updated version of the gun this is 31 Caliber this is the belt model there was Also a twenty eight caliber pocket Version and on this one you no longer Actually you don’t use metallic primers At all it uses a Maynard tape primer and You have to manually index the cylinder So let me show you exactly how that Works it’s go said it’s less practical But it’s pretty cool because it’s Different alright this later 31 caliber Version is really quite a lot smaller And really handy or more pleasant in the Hand than the original 40 caliber Wesson And levites however the mechanics are of The the general assembly are pretty much The same we still have this hook holding The barrel down on to the access pin Push the button right there And you can pivot this out of the way There’s a locking wedge that comes Through the top here through the access Pin that make sure everything stays in Place now this one is kind of stuck and I’m not sure why I don’t want to force It it should the barrel should pivot Open around this point which then allows You to take the cylinder off like I said This one’s a little sticky Not sure why I don’t want to force it I’m more interested in the action here Anyway so you’ll notice when I [ __ ] and Drop the hammer the cylinder does not Move first they had to get rid of that

Functionality because Colt had patented It what they replaced it with was this Little button under the trigger guard When you push this up it releases the Cylinder lock then the cylinder can spin So what you do after you fire it around Is you push the button start to rotate It you can then let go with a button and Just rotate the cylinder until it snaps Into place like that now you’re in Position to fire a shot so it doesn’t Automatically rotate but it does index So you don’t have to like try and line It up and hold it in place by hand now The second thing that they had to do but They didn’t necessarily have to but the Easiest way they found to get around Colt patent was to simply get rid of the Percussion-cap use altogether they Replaced it with the use of a Maynard Tape primer now unlike their work with Colt they licensed Maynard’s patent you Can see there on that side plate that Actually says Maynard’s patent you take this little Gripping surface pull it down and we Have an opening for a tape primer if You’ve ever used the little kids cap gun With those rolls of paper caps that’s Kind of exactly what a Maynard tape Primer is except instead of being Intended just to make some noise and be Used in a toy that was an actual priming Mechanism so you’d have a roll of paper

Tape in here with with percussion Fulminate on it you would then pull it Up through this slot so that a spot of Priming compound was sitting over the Nipple here once it there then you fire The gun Boom gun fires detonates we then hit our Button rotate to the next cylinder So while cocking the hammer doesn’t Automatically index the cylinder it does Rotate this little wheel and you can see The two flat Springs in that tape primer Compartment what this does is Automatically feed a new well it Automatically feeds the paper tape the Correct distance so that you get a new Spot of priming compound under the Hammer so you don’t have to manually Pull this tape with each shot and once You fire around basically the explosion Of the primer gets rid of the excess Paper so you don’t really have a length Of tape coming out because it gets blown Off every time you fire but you do have This nice store of plenty of caps inside There to use kind of automatically so The Maynard tape primer was used for a Little while it did lose out in general To metallic caps of course the tape Primers not waterproof The metallic caps were that was a big Point in their favor in total only about A thousand of these revolvers were made Plus about another nine hundred of the

28 caliber pocket model of this they Were made from 1851 to 1857 so actually A surprisingly long time the the Massachusetts Arms Company that made These was working on some other ideas at The same time they came out with some Other guns as well they were really Struggling financially to keep the Company in existence until 1857 when Finally Colts patents on things like the Hammer automatically rotating the Cylinder finally expired And anyone could design guns using those Features and a lot of people including Massachusetts Arms Company immediately Did thanks for watching guys I hope you Enjoyed the video I certainly wasn’t Expecting to see this updated version of The Wesson and Levitt and it’s pretty Cool to take a look at one if you’d like To have it yourself it is of course Coming up for sale if you check out the Link in the text description below that Will take you to Julia’s catalog page About it you can take a look at their Pictures and their description all that Sort of stuff and If you’re interested you can place a bit Online or you could come up here to Beautiful Maine and check it out in Person thanks for watching

alpooser@yahoo.com

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