William Tranter Model 1878 .450 Adams Solid Frame Military Revolver Antique

SOLD FOR: $1700

LSB#: 210722TS10

Make: William Tranter

Model: 1878

Serial Number: 353

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1878

Caliber: .450 Adams

Action Type: 6-Shot, Double / Single Action, Side Loading Gate Revolver

Markings: The right of the frame is marked with a British proof mark, “353” and “TRANTER / PATENT”. The left of the frame is marked “WD / 1” in front of the cylinder. The sideplate is marked with two opposing broad-arrows. The top of the cylinder pin head, the ejector tab, the rear of the cylinder and the bottom of the barrel at the rear are marked “353”. The top-left of the barrel has British proof marks to each side of “450”. There are British proofs at the rear of each cylinder flute. There are British cartouches on the left of the grip at the top.

Barrel Length: 6”

Sights / Optics: The front sight is blade fixed to the barrel at the front. The rear sight is a “U” notch in the topstrap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The grip is one-piece checkered walnut with a lanyard ring on the butt cap. The grip has light handling wear with some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The checkering is generally well defined. There are no chips or cracks. Overall, the grip is in Very Good-Fine condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: Blued & Bright

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is gray, the rifling is well defined. There is scattered light erosion and pitting in the bore.

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 35% of its current metal finish. The grip areas and cylinder are mostly worn to white. The frame and barrel have scattered remaining finish , interrupted by wear which has discolored from oxidation and several scattered nicks, scuffs and scratches. The cylinder has more notable nicks around most of the flutes and there are more notable scratches on the left of the frame between the grip and sideplate. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slot. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this handgun rates in Very Good-plus condition as Antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The cylinder locks up with almost no play on each chamber when the trigger is depressed. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: William Tranter had a large influence in early British cartridge firearms. He partnered with James & Isaac Hollis, made improvements to the Adams revolver, was a founder and director of the Birmingham Small Arms Company (BSA), and when he retired he sold his company to George Kynoch, his friend. He had contracts with the British government for military revolvers as well as Snyder rifle conversions. He even sold revolvers to both the Confederacy and the Pinkertons! This is one of his later revolver designs, the Model 1878. It is a robust gun chambered for the .450 Adams cartridge and has military markings, indicating that it was likely purchased by a British officer for use as a sidearm. The revolver is in nice shape given its age, retaining a fairly good bore considering its age and great mechanics. This will make a great addition for any collector who has an interest in early cartridge revolvers, especially British revolvers. Please see our photos and good luck!

William Tranter Model 1878 .450 Adams Solid Frame Military Revolver Antique
William Tranter Model 1878 .450 Adams Solid Frame Military Revolver Antique