North & Skinner Revolving Rifle

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The North & Skinner was an early 6-shot percussion-fired revolving rifle design. Its design was patented in 1852 by Henry North and Chauncy Skinner (US Patent #8982), and the guns were manufactured from 1856 to 1859 by the Savage & North company (which was Henry North and Edward Savage – not the Arthur Savage who developed the Savage 99). About 600 of these guns were made in total, with roughly 20% being .60-caliber shotguns and the remainder .44 caliber rifles. Unlike many revolving rifle designs, the North & Skinner functioned as a lever action, with the trigger guard serving as lever.

The North & Skinner design also included several features intended to protect the shooter from the cylinder gap blast (which was a significant problem with all such revolving rifle designs). It used recessed chambers and a locking wedge that would push the cylinder forward to achieve a semblance of a gas seal (a bit like the 1895 Nagant revolver). How well this worked, I have not been able to determine – perhaps one of these days I will find an example of the gun that I can shoot and find out.


[Music] Hi guys thanks for tuning in to another Video episode on Forgotten weapons calm Today we’re looking at a real Interesting unusual piece of pre Civil War technology this is a north and Skinner revolving rifle obviously Developed by two guys named north and Skinner the north was the same fellow Who went on to behalf of savage and North which Civil War buffs will Recognize as having made the figure 8 Revolver Well these guns they were invented by North and a fellow named skinner but Then they were actually manufactured by Savage and north so the design was Patented in 1852 they were manufactured About 600 total from 1856 there about 1859 and after that the company moved on To better ideas this this example is a Little bit damaged the hammer won’t Close all the way so there’s a broken Spring or something in the mechanism However we can still see how it operates And that is the really interesting part So as you can easily deduce the problem With a revolving rifle is that when You’re shooting it you need to have your Front hand out here to stabilise the gun There’s no handguard on this and there Wasn’t weren’t hand guards really on any Of the revolving rifles well once you’ve Got your arm out here you have the

Question of a cylinder gap and every Time you fire it’s going to spray hot Gas and little lead shavings and they’re Gonna hit you right in the middle of the Floor I was a major problem with Colts 1855 revolving rifle and well north and Skinner came up with a solution to Prevent that problem so first of all the Trigger guard is a lever that [ __ ] the Gun and rotates the cylinder and then You can see this wedge is it is a wedge It’s not a plate and it’s tapered and if We look at the front of the cylinders Can see them right up in here the Cylinders are actually each recessed and When I push that wedge back into place It cams the cylinder forward there’s a Nice shield built in the front has been Bored through just in case of chain fire To allow cart now allow ball to fly out Instead of it you know blowing up the Gun But this shield in combination with the Recess chamber and the camming forward Action should basically prevent the Problems that you get with cylinder gap On a revolving rifle As you can see this one has really seen Better days but with only 600 made you Can’t be too picky about it You know another interesting thing to Note here is that this big big hammer Sticking up right in the middle of the Gun is just about in your field of

Vision you can see that they hollowed Out the left side of the hammer Basically to allow you a sight picture The rear sight is just slightly offset To the left again to clear your your Sight picture which is as you can see Here not particularly good you just Barely can line up the sights Along the side of that hammer so so Anyway I think this is a just a Fascinating piece of early technology And hope you guys enjoyed it as well Tune in again to Forgotten weapons comm For more early revolving rifles You

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