SOLD FOR: $4,000.00
Make: Hopkins & Allen manufactured this revolver for Merwin, Hulbert & Co.
Model: Late Large Frame Pocket Army on Birdshead Grip Frame – Sometimes referred to as the Third Model Pocket Army
Serial Number: 3824
Year of Manufacture: 1883-1892
Caliber: .44-40 Winchester
Action Type: Single Action Revolver with Twist-lock Barrel and Side-Loading Gated 6 Round Cylinder
Markings: The right side of the frame is marked “MERWIN, HULBERT & CO. N.Y. / POCKET ARMY”. The left side of the frame is marked “CALIBRE / WINCHESTER” and “1873”. The right side of the grip frame below the grip is marked “5255” and the left side of the frame underneath the grip is marked “3824”. The front face of the cylinder and the rear face of the barrel lug are marked “3824”. The left side of the barrel is marked “HOPKINS & ALLEN M’F’G CO. NORWICH, CONN. U.S.A. PAT. JAN. 24 / APR. 21. DEC. 15. 74. AUG. 3. 75. JULY 11.76. APR. 17. 77. PATS MAR. 6. 77”. The inside of the right grip is scribed with “3824”.
Barrel Length: 3 5/16”
Sights / Optics: The front sight is a tall thick blade half-round blade integral with the top of the barrel. The rear sight is a “V” groove in a boss at the top of the frame in front of the hammer.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The grips are checkered black hard rubber on a birds-head grip frame that have large textured circles at the tops of the grips. The “beak” extends below the grips with a large lanyard hole in the center. There are several light handling marks in the smooth sections of the grips, with a shallow bruise on the bottom shoulder of the left grip. There is also a hairline crack in the right grip starting at the top front corner and following the smooth border of the textured circle around its front edge down into the checkering. The checkering shows light to moderate even wear with a few tiny marks behind the grip screw in the right grip. The grips are in about Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: The revolver is nickel plated with deep flowery engraving on the barrel, cylinder, the sides of the frame and at the top of the backstrap. There is also a dog engraved on the left side of the frame behind the cylinder. Please see our pictures for a better description than we can put in words. The trigger guard is blued, the hammer case colored and the barrel latch appears to have a fire blue finish.
Finish Originality: We can see no marks or pitting under the finish, and the markings are what we would expect from a nickel-plated revolver. We believe the finish and therefore the engraving to be original.
Bore Condition: The bore is gray and the rifling shows light wear. There is light erosion scattered throughout the bore with a few spots of moderate erosion.
Overall Condition: This handgun retains about 40% of its metal finish. There are tiny spots of finish loss with dark eroded metal scattered over the barrel, cylinder latch, top strap and the top of the frame around the hammer. There are areas of finish loss on the front sight, front strap, back strap, trigger guard, cylinder, and the sides and underside of the frame, with scattered dark spots of light erosion, including pinprick surface erosion scattered over the cylinder. There are a few small dings in the underside of the barrel, several deeper dings in the left side of the top strap, and a dark drag line in the cylinder. The hammer knurling shows very light wear and the cylinder latch knurling shows light wear and the edges of the barrel latch are sharp. The screw heads in the front strap and trigger guard are disfigured. The markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Very Good to Fine condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. There is very little play in the cylinder lockup and the barrel lockup is solid. This pistol has a very unique twist barrel, unlocked via a sliding button on the bottom of the frame, that only moves forward far enough for fired cases to be removed, but not far enough to eject loaded cartridges. A latch on the left rear of the barrel allows the barrel and cylinder to be removed. We did not fire this handgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None.
Our Assessment: The Merwin-Hulbert company was a firearms dealer-distributor who listed their address as New York City. They were the primary sales agents for Hopkins & Allen of Norwich, Conn., the company that manufactured their guns. Merwin-Hulbert twist-barrel revolvers were offered in three frame sizes and in .32, .38 and .44 calibers, very similar to the frame size and caliber offerings of Smith & Wesson. M&H sold “Army” models chambered in .44 Merwin-Hulbert and “Frontier” Models in .44-40 Win. A “Pocket Army” model was offered with a rounded birds-head but shape with a substantial steel “beak” below the grip panels, and the grip shape was sometimes known as the “skull crusher”. Like other large frame M&H revolvers, the Pocket Army was first made in open top configuration with scooped cylinders and later with a full top strap and fluted cylinders. This is a late model Pocket Army large frame single action revolver chambered in .44-40 Winchester. The revolver has a nickel-plated finish and elaborate engraving, both of which we believe are original to the gun. The barrel, cylinder and frame have matching numbers. The revolver is in about Very Good to Fine condition with about 40% of its finish remaining. The bore is gray with light wear in the rifling and light erosion scattered throughout the bore. This is a fine example of a M&H revolver and would look great along-side a collection of other M&H revolvers. There are many configurations to choose from: open top or top strap, square butt, round butt or birds-head grip, single or double action, various calibers, etc., making it very hard to form a complete collection of M&H revolvers. In addition to the engraving, the right side of the frame is marked “Pocket Army”, which according to Flayderman’s is worth a 20-40% premium over the standard large frame model without this mark. Please see our pictures and good luck with your bidding.
CA Legal or CA Private Party Transferable: This antique handgun can be sold/transferred in California. All cartridge firing handguns (even C&R’s and antiques) sold to a California resident must be DROS’d. This does not apply to out of state residents.