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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ever since I bought a S&W baby Russian earlier in the summer I've been thinking about this Pepperbox that was next to it. And ever since I was a kid and played the game "Clue" I've wanted one. This is what I once thought a "revolver" was and I guess technically it is.
Anyway, I happened by the gun shop today and it was still there. Most Pepperboxes I see are in pretty rough shape but this one is really nice and seemed like a pretty decent deal. The shop owner knocked about $90 off of it since it had been sitting there a while. Not a lot of demand in these parts for these things. The only thing that is missing is the mainspring strain screw but doesn't seem to be necessary for the gun to operate properly. From what I read it is just to adjust the spring tension anyway. But if anyone out there knows who would have one of these screws please let me know.
All I know about it is that it is .32 caliber, the barrel is about 4" long, "Allen & Thurber" and "Worcester" puts the date of manufacture between 1847-1854. Ever part that has a number is stamped "13" so this is either the serial number or just an assembly number. I don't know if these were serial numbered or not.
So I took it apart as far as I dared and flushed it out with Rem oil and brushed it out wherever I could get to with a tooth brush. This thing hasn't been apart in loooong time by the looks of it. I brushed the surface rust out of the barrels oiled it up and it seems to work perfectly. Oil was bubbling out of all of the nipples so I know those aren't plugged which is good.
Below are my after clean up pics and before clean up when I had it disassembled.
If anyone has any further information they could share regarding this gun please share.
Thank you.























 

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Well you done a service just rescuing it from the dust bin of unwantedness.

Ready to be handed down and preserved now.

Maybe to a museum, if family doesnt want it.
 

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I think you should Shoot it! Do a 'Range Report'!

It'd be fun, and, you are not going to hurt it using the Black Powder and pure Lead Balls it was meant for.

It sure looks to be in nice shape, inside and out!

Nice Workmanship...fun to see the innards on one of those.

The 'Lucky 13' is an Assembly Number...( I do not remember ever seeing much of anything for Serial Numbers on any guns of that period ).
 

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I'm trying to figure out how it 'works' I guess the hammer (on top) is cocked, that sets the trigger and rotates the barrel?
 

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I'm trying to figure out how it 'works' I guess the hammer (on top) is cocked, that sets the trigger and rotates the barrel?
twaits will have to verify, but I think these are "double action," where pulling the trigger cocks the hammer, rotates the barrels and drops the hammer. Right, twaits?
 

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Yes...it is 'Double Action'.

One would not cock the Hammer manually.


I have a same time period Allen and Wheelock Revolver which is not a Pepperbox, but, from the breech back is about the same.

DA only, a 'Flat' or Mule Ear Hammer.


I imagine many fellows carried these as Back-Up, in the War of Federal Aggression.
 

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These appear to be Cast Iron Frames...

Those were some able Foundrymen! And an amenable Alloy.

Very nicely done.
 

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I'm trying to figure out how it 'works' I guess the hammer (on top) is cocked, that sets the trigger and rotates the barrel?
As mentioned by de Judge, that was double action. The trigger cocked it and rotated the cylinder simultaneously then the hammer fell on the same pull of the trigger. You can see the linkage in the picture Twait posted. So double action was about as old as single action for handguns.
 

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As mentioned by de Judge, that was double action. The trigger cocked it and rotated the cylinder simultaneously then the hammer fell on the same pull of the trigger. You can see the linkage in the picture Twait posted. So double action was about as old as single action for handguns.
Thanks, yes I was trying to figure the 'innards' Didn't realize that double and single action (handgun) were about the same age, sort of.
 

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Sam'l Colt's original prospective Revolving Pistol Model, ( which aside from prototypes, was not produced ) was Double Action...prior to the 'Patterson' ( which was Single Action ).


So, indeed, Revolver wise, SA and DA appear to have been neck and neck from the beginning, even if the various primary Manufactures apparently ended up mostly settling on SA for most of the Percussion era.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes DA only. Note the little coil spring at the top of the action. This forces a detent forward which indexes into an area on the back of the barrel cluster to stop the rotation when the barrel comes in line with the hammer. Here's a video of me working the action without dry firing it:

Pepperbox video - YouTube
 

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That's great! I think you should keep it loaded with lead balls and black powder...never know when you might have to blow away Col. Mustard in the Conservatory! ;)
 

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Mark Twain on the Allen Pepperbox.

George Bemis . . . wore in his belt an old original "Allen" revolver, such as irreverent people called a "pepper-box." Simply drawing the trigger back, cocked and fired the pistol. As the trigger came back, the hammer would begin to rise and the barrel to turn over, and presently down would drop the hammer, and away would speed the ball. To aim along the turning barrel and hit the thing aimed at was a feat which was probably never done with an "Allen" in the world. But George's was a reliable weapon, nevertheless, because, as one of the stage-drivers afterward said, "If she didn't get what she went after, she would fetch something else." And so she did. She went after a deuce of spades nailed against a tree, once, and fetched a mule standing about thirty yards to the left of it. Bemis did not want the mule; but the owner came out with a double-barreled shotgun and persuaded him to buy it, anyhow. It was a cheerful weapon--the "Allen." Sometimes all its six barrels would go off at once, and then there was no safe place in all the region round about, but behind it.
 

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Now I am waitin' on twait's "Range Report" even more than I was already!

I will go dig out my .31 Calibre Allen & Wheelock Percussion Revolver, and locate my Mould and Caps and Powder, and do a Range Report with it also, just to practice what I preach, and, so twaits won't feel all out there by himself, doing such a thing.

We'll see who can hit the Thumbtack at ten Paces, too! ( besides not me ).
 

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Hi twaits,


I got the little .31 Calibre Allen & Wheelock Revolver on Gunbroker a couple years ago.

They never made very many of them of course, but, they are on Gunbroker fairly regularly.

Timing and Lock-Up on mine are pretty decent, Nipples are nice, Bores could use a good cleaning, so, all in all, I would expect it to be a decent Shooter.

I expect these were close up Guns, Pocket Guns too ( with their Hammer design ). Mine does not appear to have ever had a Front Sight...or a Rear Sight, either. Meant to be fired at waist level I imagine.
 
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