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This 5 shot top break revolver is chambered for the S&W 32 cartridge. I am guessing that this revolver was made in Belgium due to some of the proof stamps but the actual manufacturer is unknown. The firearm is not stamped any where with the makers name or address. I believe this firearm was built some time between 1878 and July of 1893. At this time and well into the first half of the 19th century, inexpensive, nickel plated pocket revolvers were a dime a dozen among American citizens and many hundreds of thousands of these revolvers were manufactured.

  

  

  

The photograph on the left shows where this revolver gets it name. When the latch on the top of the barrel assembly is pulled in an upward motion, the barrel and cylinder can then be rotated in a downward motion. When this is done, the expended shells are ejected leaving the cylinder empty and ready for new rounds. The picture on the right is of the cylinder after it was removed from the revolver. The ELG in an oval at the bottom of the cylinder is a Belgium proof mark which is why I believe that this revolver was made in Belgium even though there is no manufacturers name on the firearm.

Every barrel that was delivered to the proof house were first inspected , the caliber or gauge was measured, and according to this, the proof loads were developed. After proof firing, the barrels were inspected once more, and the inspector affixed his mark to the barrel after he was satisfied that the barrel was still serviceable. The inspector mark consisted of a star above one or two capital letters, A, N, AE,(An interesting note is that all of the inspectors names have been kept secret.). After this, the temporary acceptance mark was placed on the barrel or gun. Once the firearm was finished, it was then re-inspected and then marked with the final proof mark, the ELG in an oval. This final proof mark, like the ELG stamp above, is placed on firearms built after 1810 and prior to July 11, 1893. After this date, the final proof mark was modified to include a crown at the top of the oval. So judging from this, we can tell that the revolver on this page was produced some time between 1810 and July 11, 1893.

On the left hand side of the cylinder in the picture on the right, there is a star above a pair of brackets stamping. As of this writing, I do not know what this marking should indicate. This marking is also found on the barrel.  

The picture on the left is of a possible serial number and a AN stamp that was found once the grips were removed. The only other markings that are on this revolver besides the ones shown here in the pictures was the number 22 that was found on some of the small parts. These parts which include the hammer and trigger for example, needed to be completely removed from the firearm in order to reveal the number.

The photograph on the right is of the top of the barrel and indicates that the revolver is chambered for the .32 S&W cartridge. I used this mark as well as the ELG in the oval stamp to help date this revolver. The .32 S&W cartridge was first introduced back in 1878 for the Smith & Wesson model 1-1/2 revolver. The .32 S&W round was originally designed as a black powder cartridge. By the standards of today, the .32 S&W is a very low-powered cartridge when compared to other small rounds such as the .32 ACP and the .380 ACP. The original .32 S&W cartridge was loaded with an 85 grain projectile that would travel at  705 fps which produced 97 foot pounds of energy. Today the .32 S&W round is currently loaded with an 85 to 88 grain projectile that travels at 680 fps which produces a nominal 90 foot pounds of muzzle energy. In comparison, the .32 ACP and .380 ACP cartridges will generate muzzle energies of 129 and 190 foot pounds.

  

Resource:

Cartridges of the world by Frank C. Barnes

The standard directory of proof marks by Gerhard Wirnsberger

Official guide to gunmarks by Robert Balderson

Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson by Jim Supica and Richard Nahas  

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