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1863 slocum side revolver

From the Vault: 1863 Slocum Side-Loading Revolver

one year ago

Brownells Gun Tech™ Caleb Savant is joined today by special guest Cody Slocum, who shows us an early-production Slocum Side-Loading Revolver from 1863. It's a small, 5-shot, single action "pocket" revolver chambered in .32 Rimfire. The gun was cleverly designed by Cody's ancestor Frank Slocum to get around the Rollin White patent for a bored-through cylinder. White sold his patent to Smith & Wesson, which meant from 1855 to 1873 they were the only company that could manufacture revolvers with a cylinder bored through back to front to allow inserting of metallic cartridges. A lot of S&W's competitors - or would-be competitors! - tried to come up with revolver designs that got around the White patent.

The cylinder on Slocum's design has a solid rear wall. And "side loading" does not refer to a loading gate or swing-out cylinder. Cody demonstrates how the side of each CHAMBER slides forward so you can insert a cartridge. Slocum revolvers were manufactured in 1863 and 1864 in Brooklyn, New York. Slocum didn't have a manufacturing facility, so he hired the Brooklyn Arms Company to make his revolvers. Although not as prolific as "Gun Valley" in Connecticut, New York was home to some important firearm manufacturers in the 1800s. Slocum revolvers were carried as backup guns by Union soldiers during the Civil War.

The Slocum Side-Loading Revolver certainly is a masterpiece of precision engineering, but given its complexity, we have to wonder if Frank Slocum actually made a profit on his beautifully designed gun! Our thanks to his descendant Cody for letting us share it with our viewers.