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Kerr Revolvers: An English Source for Confederate Arms

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James Kerr formed the London Armoury Company in 1856, manufacturing Adams patent revolvers (Adams was one of the founding investors) and 1853 pattern Enfield rifles. The rifles were the better business and the company rather quickly decided to focus on them, which led Adams to leave with his patents. In order to keep a revolver in the LAC’s catalog, Kerr patented his own design, which proved to be a quite effective handgun.

When the US Civil War broke out, both the Union and the CSA sent procurement agents to Europe to purchase foreign arms, and the Confederate’s Captain Caleb Huse struck a substantial deal with the London Armoury Company. The Confederacy would ultimately purchase ore than 70,000 Enfield pattern rifles from LAC, as well as Kerr’s patent sharpshooting rifles and 7,000-9,000 Kerr revolvers - the vast majority of LAC’s production during the war. So much of their production, that the LAC would actually fail and dissolver in 1866 when their best customer ceased to exist.

The revolver design was made in single and double action versions and in both .36 and .44 calibers, although the CSA purchased guns were all single action .44s. The action is basically a simple rifle style lockplate mounted on the grip and frame, isolated form the soot and fouling of the black powder very well. The cylinder is easily removed via an axis pin entering the rear of the frame, and the guns could be easily serviced by any competent gunsmith without need for any special knowledge or parts.

The two we have in today’s video are actually consecutive serial numbers (10,110 and 10,111) right at the very end of the Confederate acquisition period.

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