Merwin and Bray Sidearm

Merwin & Bray Sidearm

The Merwin & Bray cupfire revolver captures a defining moment in gun manufacturing history. The American Civil War era sidearm was developed to override the Smith & Wesson patent by utilizing an innovative cupfire system. This mid to late 1860’s revolver was invented by Willard Ellis and John White. It is in fine working gorder and is one of 20,000 manufactured during it’s heyday. It is a fourth model which clearly demonstrates the ingenious mechanism designed to work around the Rollin White patent owned by Smith & Wesson.

The cupfire system was technically similar to rimfire but with the priming compound in the base of the hollow cup at the end of the brass cartridge case. This allowed it to be loaded from the front of the cylinder and fired by a hammer striking through a smaller hole in the rear of the cylinder. This concept circumvented the need for a bored-through cylinder – thus eliminating a patent infringement on Smith & Wesson.

The Merwin & Bray Revolver was made in several calibers (.28, .30, and .42). These sizes are actually based on the diameter and not the actual bullet caliber. The bullet caliber is .26, .28, and .39 respectively. This .42-caliber Merwin &Bray revolver with serial number 6605 features a standard 85% nickel-plated iron frame. The barrel is 5 ½ inches in 60% nickel. The cylinder is 95% nickel.

Although short lived, the Merwin & Bray became a popular mid-19th century interim design before the modern centerfire cartridge took over the market. These guns are known to have been used in the American Civil War though there are no official Army procurements. Soldiers often bring their own sidearm since many were only issued a rifle.

While many other different cartridge priming methods have been tried since the 19th century, only rimfire and centerfire technology survive today in significant use.

It is in fully functional condition with normal wear and no sign of abuse. We do not recommend firing as its age might make it susceptible to damage to both the user and itself.

SKU: G32

Price: $2050.00