London Armoury Co. Kerr’s Patent Revolver .44 Cal 6″ Single Action Antique

SOLD FOR: $4,500

LSB#: 240429NN001

Make: London Armoury

Kerr’s Patent Revolver

Serial Number: 

Year of Manufacture: 1859-1866

.44 Cal.

Action Type: 
Single Action 5-Shot Cap & Ball Revolver

Barrel Length: 
5 3/4″, Nominal 6″, Octagonal

Sights/ Optics: 
The front sight is a brass conical post set on the barrel. The rear sight is a “V”-notch in a rise integral to the top-strap.

Stock Configuration & Condition/ Grip: 
The grip is one-piece checkered walnut. The frontstrap is stamped “JS” above an anchor, all the markings are upside down. There some scattered compressions. There are some nicks and scratches, most noticeable on the smooth portion on the left side. There are a few grain splits on the smooth portion of the left side. The checkering has some scattered marks but is mostly strong. Overall, the grip is in Fine condition as Antique.

Type of Finish: 

Finish Originality: Original 

Bore Condition: The bore is light gray and the rifling is strong where not interrupted by erosion. There are patches of pitting scattered in the bore. In my opinion, the bore rates 4 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: 
The revolver retains about 65% of its metal finish. The frame and cylinder have a matching serial number “1645”. There are matching assembly numbers on on both portions of the frame (in the cylinder window above and below the cylinder), on the cylinder, and in the trigger guard. There is finish loss on the edges. There are scattered spots of oxidation and light scabbing. There are some scattered nicks and scratches in the metal. There are areas of finish loss, most notable on the cylinder and lockplate. There are some light scabs and small spots of minor erosion. There are some scattered light handling marks. There are areas of strong bluing remaining on the frame and barrel. There is operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this revolver is in Very Good condition as Antique. 

Mechanics: The cylinder arbor retention pin leaf spring on the left side of the frame is worn and does not hold the cylinder arbor snug in the frame, it can be pulled out without pulling the small release tab on the left of the frame. The action otherwise functions correctly. We have not fired this revolver. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance requirements.

Box Paperwork and Accessories: 

Our Assessment: The London Armoury was founded in February of 1856 and among its noted shareholders were Robert Adams, known for the revolver bearing his name, and his cousin, James Kerr. Through the production of the Adams Patent revolver, the company was very successful but in 1859 dispute occurred about shifting production emphasis to rifles as opposed to handguns. They ended up choosing to focus on rifles and got various contracts for the 1853 Enfield rifle, because of this Adams left the firm and Kerr became a key figure in their business. He kept an interest in revolvers and ended up being granted a few patents of his own. In 1859 London Armoury began manufacturing a new revolver which became known as Kerr’s patent.

Sales of the new revolver were modest and mostly sold to volunteer units and commercial outfits. In 1861 the United States government purchased 16 revolvers and this is the only documented sale to the U.S. government. In 1861 when the Civil War broke out, Confederate War Department Captain Caleb Huse went to Europe aiming to purchase various arms for the Confederacy. He went to London Armoury with the goal of securing all their output of arms, a problem with Union purchasing agents and a British Government contract allowed for the success of this plan which in essence made the LAC a Confederate Armoury in England. Around September of 1861 the Bermuda arrived in Savannah carrying some of the first blockade-ran ordnance from Europe with weapons from LAC. Shipments of Enfield rifles and Kerr revolvers continued at a steady pace from 1862 to 1864 and at least 7,000 were made for the CSA with other estimates being 9,000. The revolver was held in high regard and considered one of the finest arms provided to the Confederacy. The revolvers were simple to operate and used a sidehammer similar to rifles of the time. Because of this they were also very easy to repair. It could be repaired by any gunsmith without the need for mush knowledge of revolvers. The revolvers were made in .36 and .44 calibers with both double action and single action available. Only .44 caliber single action revolvers were sent to the Confederacy. Because of the London Armoury sending all of their arms to a single buyer, their fates were so closely intertwined that they dissolved only a year after the fall of the Confederacy. The Confederacy had two Army contracts and an 1861 Navy contract for 1,000 guns very early in the production run. An unknown number was also purchased for private sale to Confederate soldiers once they reached the south. A 1987 estimate states that the Confederate serial numbers started at 3,000 but more recent numbers indicate the start of the Confederate guns at 1,500, so this one may have been one of the very first purchased by the CSA. It retains a lot of its blued finish, has nice mechanics, and a surprisingly impressive bore for a gun of its age that was subjected to the use of black powder. This will make a great addition to just about any collection with an interest in antique revolvers or Civil War era weapons. Please see our photos and good luck!

Some are hot, some are not, but thankfully most can be shot!

London Armoury Co. Kerr's Patent Revolver .44 Cal 6" Single Action Antique
London Armoury Co. Kerr’s Patent Revolver .44 Cal 6″ Single Action Antique