Walch Navy 12-Shot Revolver

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Patented by John Walch in 1859, this is a .36 caliber revolver using superimposed chambers – meaning that each of the six chambers could hold two shots, for a total of 12 rounds before reloading. The revolver has two hammers and two side by side triggers, with the trigger for the front loading being positioned slightly ahead of the rear load’s trigger, to help ensure that they are fired in the correct order.

While the 12-shot capacity was a major advantage over other revolvers of the period, number of significant disadvantages (weak charges because of the small chamber capacity and the safety hazards of a misfire or accidental firing of the rear load first) led to it being produced only in small numbers. About 200 of these .36 caliber Navy guns were made, and only for commercial sale. They did see use in the Civil War, though, as did most other guns in production at the time. A much more popular version was the 10-shot, .31 caliber pocket model.


Hi guys thanks for tuning in to another Video on Forgotten weapons comm I’m Ian I’m here today at the Rock Island Auction company taking a look at some of The guns that they’re going to be Selling in their upcoming April of 2016 Premier auction and I got a chance here To find a very rare wolch Navy revolver Now we took a look at a walsh pocket Revolver a little while back and if You’re interested in these guns i would Recommend checking out that video as Well because in that when i go into a Little more of the background history of John walsh the inventor and the whole Story of these guns now what’s Interesting about this one is this is The large the 36 caliber so-called navy Version and only about 200 of these guns Were made and I believe these came first And then Walt developed or changed the Design a bit and started manufacturing 31 caliber pocket models there are a Couple differences to the pocket models And they actually sold much better than These guys did there are a couple Thousand of those manufactured as Compared to just two hundred of these so Pretty cool to get to get a chance to Take a look at these in addition to this Being a larger caliber 36 which was a Marshall caliber hence the Navy term in General during the Civil War period 36 Was referred to as Navy 44 owes referred

To as army in addition to that this is Also has a larger capacity to it than The 31 caliber guns this is a six Chambered piece normally think of that As a six-shot revolver the pocket guns Were five chambers and what makes Walsh Revolvers interesting and cool is that They are superimposed chambers so while We have six holes in the cylinder this Actually is a twelve shot revolver Because you would load each chamber Twice that is why there are two hammers And two triggers in the gun well I go Ahead and bring the camera up a little Closer and let me show you that Arrangement because that’s really neat That’s what’s distinctive about these Guns this is a pretty sleek looking Handgun it’s got good lines to it it’s Not in my view it’s not chunky and ugly Like some of the Civil War percussion Revolvers were it’s a nice gun and it Also fits well in the hand it just feels Good Now as I mentioned we have our typical Six chambers here however each one of Them has to percussion nipples on the Back you can see there’s way more than Six on this cylinder so the way this Works is that the bottom nipple here has A flash hole that goes straight into the Back of the chamber and then the top one Up here has a channel that comes up here And goes into the cylinder up right here

I believe we can actually get a camera Shot showing where this flash hole comes Into the chamber okay right there I can Get it with the flashlight it is Actually remarkably close to the mouth Of the cylinder this enlarged surface Here allows the flash hole to come down Into the front so what you do is you Actually load powder into the back and Then press a projectile lead ball in When you press that in it seals nicely And then you put in more powder a second Charge of powder and a second lead ball On top so when you fire the first and We’ll get to how it’s ensured that you Fire the first one when you so when you Fire the front load the the second lead Ball in the cylinder acts as a seal Which prevents the flash up here from Spreading to the back hence you can fire The one and then once it gets gone you Have another percussion cap to fire the Rear powder and ball now there are two Hammers and they operate independently So I can [ __ ] one or both and I can fire One and then the other that’s done by Having two triggers and in this case the Left trigger fires the left hammer and The right trigger fires the right hammer Now the right hammer is the front one And you’ll notice that the right trigger Is positioned slightly forward now this Works best when you’re right-handed so That when you put your finger across the

Triggers you’re going to pull this front Trigger first because it’s the one That’s well you’re going to hit it first And your finger is is On the same side as that trigger that is Going to ensure that when you and the Way you work this as you talk both Hammers and having this one in front Ensures that you fire the front chamber First and then so you have to have kind Of a delicate touch on this think of This as kind of like being able to fire Single shots out of a machine gun on Full auto you need to have enough Trigger press to fire this back hammer Or this front hammer without also Pressing the second trigger now it Doesn’t hurt anything if you press the Second one but it means that you’ll fire Both of the chambers in wrapp very rapid Succession if you just grab this and Yank on it it’s going to sound probably Like one single shot one nice loud shot Now because of the spacing in the Triggers even if you yank them Simultaneously The Hammers will fall in sequence and Quickly enough that unless you have say A flash hole that’s clogged with powder Residue that delays it you should fire The front charge and then safely fire The back charge this is actually one of The the principle changes to the 31 Caliber pocket model those guns have a

Single trigger that would fire both both Hammers one after the other with that Design it was impossible to accidentally Fire the rear chamber first which is a Safety improvement definitely now some Of the potential problems to this are For one thing it’s kind of difficult to Keep these long flash holes clear you’d Probably have to actually remove the Nipples to clean these flash holes Because it’s really important that when You fire the front charge it actually Goes off and that’s a very long small Diameter hole that definitely going to Get filled up with powder fouling pretty Quickly one of the other problems was That while you can see that the cylinder Is longer than a typical say 36 caliber Colt cylinder you’re stuffing to charges In there and each one is actually Substantially smaller than standard army Or standard Navy revolver so you’ve got A fairly light charge of powder this Isn’t going to throw Led ball all that fast in fact there’s Really only one anecdote about use of These in the Civil War and it was a Soldier who was out foraging for food And attempted to shoot a pig in a Farmer’s pen and shot it several times With one of these and it just wouldn’t Die and really kind of destroyed his Confidence in the gun because he Couldn’t even kill a hog at basically

Point-blank range with it and that would Be probably partly because he wasn’t a Very good shot and who knows where he Was actually shooting the poor thing But also because this had a pretty low Muzzle velocity because you were Dividing that chamber into two separate Powder charges one other issue here is If you do have a misfire on the front Charge you have to make sure that you Don’t fire the back charge because that Would very literally be firing with a Gigantic obstruction in the bore and you Definitely risk blowing up the gun in The process so this is kind of it’s an Idea that has merit and it’s a good idea But it requires some care and some Understanding of how best to use it so Not not something that would be well in That would do well in the hands of just Any old enlisted private who may or may Not have any experience with handguns Before getting into the military and I Think that explains why there were never Any official military contracts for These guns they were purchased privately By soldiers and and the number of them Did see use in the Civil War of course They were being manufactured this was Patented in 1859 and the manufacturer Went on into the Civil War so pretty Much everything being manufactured at That point was used in the war one way Or another but no military contracts for

This and and that makes sense given the Liabilities of the design thanks for Watching guys I hope you enjoyed the Video Walt revolvers are really cool and I’m Very happy to have gotten a chance to Take a look at one of these Navy model Ones this one mechanically feels really Nice in the hand I have to say it’s it’s Pretty slick if you’d like to own it Yourself play with it whenever you want Hang it on the wall let it keep your Other Civil War revolvers company well Take a look at the description text Below you’ll find a link there to rock Islands catalog page on Peace can check out their pictures in Their description and place a bid for it Right there online thanks for watching

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