Whitneyville Armory Revolver

Whitneyville Armory Revolver

This is a discussion on Whitneyville Armory Revolver within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; We now have a Whitneyville Armory .22 revolver acquired through my wife's family. What I could find on it was that they were produced between ...

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Thread: Whitneyville Armory Revolver

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    Whitneyville Armory Revolver

    We now have a Whitneyville Armory .22 revolver acquired through my wife's family.

    What I could find on it was that they were produced between 1871-1876 and most likely fired a .22 black powder cartridge.

    This one has a low serial number and is in excellent shape for a gun that old. Body of the gun is solid brass with steel octagonal barrel and other hardware. Grips are solid wood.

    Here are two photos of the gun.

    DSCN1214.JPG DSCN1215.JPG
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    That is a fantastic and gorgeous gun !!!! I wish it could speak and tell you the history behind it, where it has been, what is has seen. I wished you lived in indiana i would love to do some pictures of it :)
    JoJoGunn likes this.
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  3. #3
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    I'd have to shoot it! I'm goofy that way. A high-velocity .22 Short could be too intense. I wouldn't use anything more than a CB cap but would have to experience it at least once.

    Consulted the "Flayderman's" to find that the little .22 rimfire models are scarce with a total production of 3500 and were made c. 1871-1879. Termed a "Size/Model No. 1" they were produced in three variations: an unfluted cylinder model (the scarcest variation), a narrow (?) cylinder wiht short flutes, and a wide (?) cylinder with long flutes. The photos of the three in the book aren't large or of high quality but yours would seem to be the second variation. The physical appearance of this wide/narrow cylinder and short/long flute business is awfully subjective in my view. An iron-framed variant was called the Monitor and shows a lesser value than the brass-framed versions.

    There were also "Size/Model No. 1 1/2 in .32 rimfire, "Size/Model No,. 2 also in .32 rimfire, and "Size/Model No. 2 1/2 in .38 rimfire with the .32 rimfire. Half of total production of all 4 major caliber variations was centered in the No. 1 1/2 .32 rimfire with 15,000 produced.

    These same models were produced on contract as "house" brands and marked with various "trade" names such as: Union, Eagle, Defender, Monitor. Apparently these are also considered in total production even though they don't feature any Whitney markings, the actual maker. They could be had with either hard rubber or rosewood grips. Ivory or pearl grips are sometimes encountered though worth a premium.

    Your revolver is in unusually nice condition, far above the relic-grade condition so often seen. In this 1998 edition of the Flayderman's Guide values in excellent condition, show to be $225 for the iron-framed Monitor up to $375 for the first variation without cylinder flutes. Don't have a clue if values would be notably different in the 15 years since. The 19th century secondary American firearms manufacturers' wares' prices frequently remain stable. Many times production runs of various models were miniscule however collector interest in a lot of those models is even more miniscule and demand for them isn't high. A Colt or Smith & Wesson from the pre-1879 period would be far more common than the little Whitneyville .22 but would bring far more money due to the high interest level in such arms. Shame too as these handguns are a part of American firearms history as important to those who lived in the era as the "big" names. Everyone didn't tote a Colt Single Action Army back then.

    Whitney was an important American firearms manufacturer for much of the middle portion of the 19th century but was gone by the 20th century.
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    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    Great post and very informative as always, bmcgilvray. I was patiently waiting for you to come along on this one.
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  5. #5
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    That was Mr. Norm Flayderman speaking to us, may he rest in peace. I sure can't keep stuff like that in my head.

    N. FLAYDERMAN & CO., INC.

    When a young buck, I pestered him on the phone on a few occasions about one question or another and he would share his wealth of knowledge like he had all the time in the world for me and I was an important personage. The only money I was ever able to spend with him was for a minor piece of accoutrement for a U.S. military gun and I don't recall what now. Perhaps my Krag bayonet.
    JoJoGunn likes this.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    As said above I wouldnt shoot Hi Velocity ammo in it but Standard velosity should be OK, and any of the Shorts are OK. Hi Velocity didnt come along till the early 1930s. I have a few guns that pre date that. the best current ammo I have found are CCI Standard Velocity. They are pretty close to the speed of the old stuff, and shoot to point of aim in alot of old fixed sighted pistols. They are not as low pressure as a BP 22LR, But they are close. Good Shootin, DR
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  7. #7
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    Because of its time frame of manufacture, the .22 Long Rifle would be completely inappropriate for use in it as that round, in black powder form, wasn't introduced until 1887 and then only for rifles. It may have chambers that are bored through the cylinder with no provision for a chamber with a shoulder. Hence a .22 Long Rifle could fit. Even if the .22 Long Rifle or a .22 Long fits, the original manufacturer had the .22 Short in mind in the decade when the revolver was produced.

    There exists high-velocity .22 Short ammunition. It could split a chamber for sure. The now uncommonly found .22 Short target ammunition is not considered a high-velocity variation of the .22 Short cartridge and is said to be loaded to lower pressure but I can't say how true that is. It might be ok for some limited shooting. Truth be told, it'd be risky to shoot Whitneyville with any modern .22 Short ammunition. The cylinder may be (probably is) nothing more than malleable iron, un-heat-treated in any fashion. Such oldies rationally shouldn't be fired at all, no matter their apparently good condition - a fact which would not keep me from firing the aforementioned CB caps in it a few times, just to "hear it speak" again.
    JoJoGunn likes this.
    Charter Member of the DC .41 LC Society

    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

    Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array JoJoGunn's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the information.

    I really have no intentions of shooting it, although it is a temptation to say the least. It seems to be a well made firearm, still tight and everything works like the day it came out of the factory. The condition of this seems to be out of the normal for a handgun that old. The lands & grooves in the barrel are still there, and little if any corrosive pitting. A bit on the barrel, trigger and hammer but not enough to ever worry about. The revolver was used obviously but doesn't appear to have been fired much and when it was, a good cleaning was done afterwards. I know that Black Powder guns need to be cleaned well after firing.

    I saw a few online and they look beaten up fairly good and some were asking $400+ for them, even in that condition. I will say this one may be worth as much as $350 but I don't know. To a collector of antique firearms, this one may sell high. Don't have intentions of selling it, the gun will be a safe queen for sure.

    I do not know if the low serial number on the butt of the grip has anything to do with year of manufacture or being in sequence, but I do think this one is probably from the 1872-73 year range if I had to guess. Needless to say, I have never seen on that I know of in my life. I like it.
    bmcgilvray likes this.
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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Jaeger's Avatar
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    Too cool! I've got a Whitneyville lever gun in something odd like .38-50. It's not in shootable condition, and I think something internal is broken. It has a terribly long throw, almost like a .45-70 lever.
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  10. #10
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    Looks great!
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  11. #11
    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    Looks like it's in great condition. It'd be really hard for me not to at least fire her once.. good luck with your restraint!
    JoJoGunn likes this.
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    "Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn." - C.S. Lewis

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