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Massachusetts Arms Model 1850 Dragoon (Wesson & Leavitt)


Six-Shot, Percussion Cap Cavalry Revolver (1850)


Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

Jump-to: Specifications

Fewer than 1,000 Wesson and Leavitt revolvers were furnished by the Massachusetts Arms Company from 1850 until 1851.



Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/30/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.
Massachusetts Arms Company was founded in 1849 by a collection of talent that included famous gunsmiths Horace Smith and Daniel B. Wesson (Smith & Wesson). The company began operations by fashioning pistols and rifles as well as swords from existing patents under license. From this exposure arrived the "Wesson & Leavitt" Dragoon percussion revolver - a design by Daniel Leavitt of Cabotsville originally produced by Wesson, Stevens & Miller from their Hartford, Connecticut location. The gun was also produced by the Massachusetts Arms Company and saw service in the American Civil War (1861-1865).

For historical perspective, the "Dragoon" was an armed cavalry unit that operated as "mounted infantry". The soldier, trained in horseback riding as well as shooting, could dismount his horse and operate as a standard trooper when needed but it was the power of his steed, as well as his sword or gun, that stoked fear in the hearts of enemy foot soldiers. Some firearms, particularly carbines (shortened rifles), were deliberately developed for horse-mounted troopers like Dragoons and therefore went on to be either generically or purposely referred to by the "Dragoon" name.

The Massachusetts Arms / Wesson & Leavitt revolver - also referred to as the "Army Revolver" - was a percussion-based firearm involving a cocked hammer and percussion cap set upon a nipple. An elegantly shaped grip formed the handle and there was an underslung trigger loop in its traditional place under the receiver. The cylinder was smooth-sided and offered six chambers for .40 ammunition. The barrel assembly was rounded and smooth typically measuring 7.1 inches long. Unlike contemporary revolvers, there was no loading lever installed which slowed reloading of the weapon.

The Massachusetts Arms Dragoon revolver was produced from 1850 to 1851 and some early forms included a 6.25" barrel while other, later models, introduced 8" long barrels. About 800 of the pistols were manufactured in all and the Massachusetts Arms Company, operating out of Chicopee Falls in Massachusetts, ended their stay in 1876.

Specifications



Service Year
1850

Origin
United States national flag graphic
United States

Classification


Six-Shot, Percussion Cap Cavalry Revolver


Massachusetts Arms Company - USA
National flag of the United States United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Pistol / Sidearm
Compact design for close-quarters work or general self-defense.


Action


Percussion Cap; Revolving Cylinder

Percussion Cap
Utilizes the percussion cap system of operation to actuate ignition of propellant; much like a child's cap gun, small explosive caps are set upon nipples and these are actuated by a falling hammer previously cocked.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


Caliber(s)*


.40 Ball

Sample Visuals**


Graphical image of a Musket Ball bullet
Rounds / Feed


Six-Shot Rotating Cylinder
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Rate-of-Fire
6
rds/min


Model 1850 Dragoon - Base Series Model; based on the original Wesson & Leavitt product.


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