Merwin Hulbert & Co. Army .44-40 WCF Double Action Revolver, 1883-1887

SOLD FOR: $2500

LSB#: 230531JE031

Make: Merwin Hulbert & Company (as made by Hopkins & Allen)

Model: Double Action Army Revolver w/ Folding Hammer

Serial Number: 22827

Year of Manufacture: ca. 1883 – 1887

Caliber: .44-40 Winchester, .44 WCF – Black Powder Cartridge

Action Type: Single and Double Action with Pivoting Barrel Assembly

Barrel Length: 7” Round

Sights / Optics: The front sight is a large round blade integral to the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” groove milled into the top strap.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The two piece checkered hard rubber grips show minor marks with one small compression mark on the edge of the left panel butt. The checkering is still well defined. There are no cracks or chips. The grips rate in about Excellent overall condition as an antique.

Type of Finish: Nickel

Finish Originality: Factory Original

Bore Condition: The bore is bright and the rifling is sharp. There are small patches of erosion in the bore and at the muzzle. In this writer’s opinion and for the age, this bore rates a 7 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.

Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 73% of its metal finish. A coating of freckling is visible on the barrel and frame, with patches of finish loss on the grip frame and butt. Drag lines are present on the cylinder with freckling apparent in the flutes and patches of finish loss on the forward face. The case colored trigger guard has developed a dark patina with traces of case coloring remaining. A lanyard ring is fastened to the butt. The screw on the loading gate is missing. The remaining screwheads are used but serviceable. The markings are somewhat faded. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good Plus condition as an antique.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly with only mild play in the cylinder lock up. This revolver has a folding hammer. The Merwin, Hulbert mechanism was unique. Moving a slide lock on the underside of the frame allows the barrel assembly to rotate 90 degrees and move forward, which ejects the spent rounds while retaining the unfired cartridges. To break down the revolver, the same slide lock is moved to unlock the barrel assembly so it may be rotated, then a lever on the barrel assembly is pushed, allowing the barrel assembly and cylinder to slip off the cylinder pin. With a little practice, the revolver can be broken down in about two seconds, with reassembly taking about the same amount of time. We did not fire this handgun. As with all previously owned firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.

Our Assessment: This is a spectacular Merwin, Hulbert & Company Double Action Army revolver. These pistols were revered for their clever mechanics and splendid craftsmanship. They were built like tanks and the unique twist action made them easy and fast to load. They were quite expensive and thus not as common as Colt’s or Remington’s, but they were carried by luminaries such as Jesse James. Merwin, Hulbert and Co. was primarily a sporting goods retailer, selling their own designs and also representing many other manufacturers’ products. Merwin had a knack for identifying interesting items and in 1876 they began manufacturing their own line of pistols at the Hopkins and Allen factory, of which they owned a fifty percent share. The action works flawlessly, and shows a good remaining finish. Merwin, Hulbert & Company revolvers have become an object of collectors over the past few years and the demand for them has been increasing. This is Very Good Plus example of a deluxe revolver from the Old West.


Merwin Hulbert & Co. Army .44-40 WCF Double Action Revolver, 1883-1887
Merwin Hulbert & Co. Army .44-40 WCF Double Action Revolver, 1883-1887