Make: C.H. Ballard
Model: Single Shot Derringer
Serial Number: 3156
Year of Manufacture: Circa 1870 (Flayderman’s)
Caliber: .41 Rimfire
Action Type: Single Action Single Shot Derringer – Barrel Tips Down To Load
Markings: The top of the barrel at the chamber is marked “BALLARD’S”. The left side of the barrel at the chamber is marked “BALLARD & CO. / WORCESTER MASS / PAT’D JUNE 22, 1869”. The underside of the barrel and the top of the frame below the barrel are marked “3156”.
Barrel Length: 2 13/16”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is short rounded brass blade fixed to the slide. There is no rear sight provided. The shooter simply aligns the top edge of the firing pin with the front sight.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are bone on a birds-head grip frame. There are light surface cracks around the bottom edges and the grips each have a large orange colored spot from aging. The grips show a few light handling marks and are in about Fine overall condition.
Type of Finish: The barrel is blued, the trigger and hammer appear to be case colored and the frame is brass with a mustard colored patina. The frame was original silver plated, which has long since been removed.
Finish Originality: The finish is original.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. The bore shows a spot of heavy erosion at the muzzle but is otherwise free of erosion.
Overall Condition: This pistol retains about 5% of its metal finish. There is still bluing left on the barrel. There is heavy erosion on the right side of the round part of the barrel, the left side of the octagon part of the barrel and both sides of the hammer. There are also scratches through the finish on both sides of the barrel in the flats of the hinge. There are also compression marks in the sides of the frame just above the trigger. The screw heads are disfigured and the hinge screw may be unserviceable. The markings are partially obscured by erosion on the left side of the barrel. Overall, this pistol rates in about Very good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The hammer has a half-cock safety position. The barrel lockup is solid. We did not fire this handgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: The box is made from oak veneer with a plywood bottom. The lid is secured to the bottom with two brass hinges. The inside of the box is lined with green felt and fitted for this derringer. The outside of the box shows a few light handling marks and a compression mark on its top left edge. The green felt in the bottom part of the box is slightly pulled away from the wood at the muzzle and at the heel of the grip. Overall, the box is in about Fine condition.
Our Assessment: This is a single shot derringer in .41 Rimfire made by C.H. Ballard in the early 1870’s. It has a blued half-round half-octagon barrel and a brass frame which was originally silver plated but which now shows only a mustard colored patina. The grips are bone, and this must have been a really beautiful handgun when it was new. It is in about Very Good condition with about 5% of its original finish left, all on the barrel. The barrel shows surface loss and heavy erosion on both sides. There are few small compression marks in the frame above the trigger and scratches on the sides of the barrel above the trigger. The bone grips show yellowing from age and light surface cracks around their bottom edges. The bore is bright with sharp rifling, but there is a spot of heavy erosion at the muzzle. The barrel is tight to the frame. According to Flayderman’s, there were only a few thousand of these derringers manufactured, so this one should be a bit hit with the collectors.