The Savage & North Percussion Revolver was a percussion lock revolver, used during the American Civil War. Like the Butterfield Revolver, the Savage Navy Revolver (as it was called in military use) had the hammer strike the percussion caps through the top of the frame.
After Samuel Colt's patent for revolving cylinder firearms ended in 1857, a wave of new revolvers hit the market. Among them was the Savage & North Percussion Revolver, which was designed by Henry S. North and Edward Savage. The Savage was the first product of the newly formed Savage Revolving Firearms Company, founded in 1860 from the ruins of the pair's previous company.
The US Army took an interest in the design at the start of the American Civil War, ordering 5,500 for Union troops across America. In the end, some 11,284 Savages were sold to the US Army (with a further 800 for the US Navy) at an average cost of $19.00 per gun. Various stampings were put on each Savage, depending on whether it was for the Navy or Army.
The Savage was a percussion lock revolver, using percussion caps to fire the round. The unusual thing about the Savage was that the hammer struck the cap through the top of the frame (as the revolver was solid framed) which meant that the percussion cones were located on the outside of the cylinder (rather than the rear of the cylinder like most revolvers). The hammer itself had a twist to one side of the frame, making it easier to set (as the shooter would not need to reach as far to reach it).
The barrel was octagonal in shape (another conventional design feature) and measured 7.25in (most commonly) in length. Although there were reports of Savages with 23in barrels, it is known that some Savages, regardless of length, were issued with shoulder stocks as well. Both the barrel and frame were blued, while the unusual trigger and cocking ring (used to rotate and pull the cylinder away from the barrel and to cock the hammer) were casehardened, as were the distinctive trigger guard and loading lever.
The Savage fired a .36 calibre round, the typical size for a US Navy pistol. This was held in a paper cartridge in one of six chambers in the cylinder. A percussion cap was mounted on each cone on the exterior of the cylinder, which could be removed by pulling the loading lever down (similar to the Whitney Navy Revolver or Remington 1858).
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