Tag Archives: bannermans

That’s one big, goofy revolver

So recently I have been researching one downright weird friggen wheel gun.


*20-shot cylinder with a loading gate.
*11mm/.45cal (ish) chamber.
*10-inch barrel.
*No sights.
*No grip or stock.
*A long pry-bar shaped trigger with a rope hole in the bottom.
*Belgian proofs that date between circa 1893 and 1911.

I was able to find two clues throughout gun history where other people have encountered such a beast in the wild.

A 1927 Bannerman’s military surplus catalog listing to a rare revolver “found in a Paris gunshop.”

And a 2007 Hermann Historika listing in Germany of an “Unbekannter Grabenrevolver(?),” which translates roughly to an unknown trench/turret revolver (?). Other than the fact it is a top break, it is a dead ringer.

You know when they use the term “unknown” in a two-word title, and end it with a question mark, something bananas is going on.

So what is it?

Good question, more in my column at Guns.com.

The Jacob Double Rifle

Brig. Gen. John Jacob (CB) was an officer of the British East India Company born in 1812. Reared at the Addiscombe Military Seminary, he completed his formal education at age 16 when he was commissioned in the Bombay Artillery on his 16th birthday, subsequently sailing for India within the same week.

As a young subaltern of artillery he saw steady service on the Afghan frontier, covering himself in glory at the Battle of Meanee in 1843 which resulted in a Brevet Captain honor and his CB.

Sir John then went on to form an irregular cavalry unit which endured under his name as the 36th Jacob’s Horse (which, amalgamated in 1922 to become the 14th Prince of Wales’s Own Scinde Horse, remained until 1947 when it was allotted to the new Indian Army). He also went on to raise both the  130th Baluchis and 26th Jacob’s Mountain Battery.

He also crafted a very interesting rifle.

National Firearms Museum photo

National Firearms Museum photo

Jacob decided that a double barreled rifle with an elaborate sabre bayonet was just the ticket for his troops in India’s Northwest Frontier. His design fired a .52 caliber conical projectile with winged studs that could be modified for explosive impact against ammunition wagons at extreme distances (keep in mind the dum-dum round was born in the same place and time). The folding rear sight leaf was marked to an optimistic 2000 yards.


Some 900 were made by Swinburn & Son in England around 1860, though apparently few were ever issued. You see, the man who had ordered them had already expired of exhuastion. They circled the glob as military surplus for a few generations with the 1907 Bannermans’ catalog listing them as “double barrel elephant rifles.”

Jacob, known locally as Jekum Sahib Bahadur, never returned to England, fought in Perisa, and, buried in what is today Pakistan at Jacobabad (guess who it is named after), is well-remembered and even to a degree, liked.

Bannermans Legacy: The Ultimate Army-Navy store

Today there are dozens of companies that specialize in selling everything from surplus Russian Mosin rifles, to Belgian Vigneron submachine-gun parts kits, to well-used World War 2 steel pot helmets to those who are hungry for such items. Well what you may not know, is that these companies all owe their origin to one Francis Bannerman and his island of wonders.

Born in Scotland in 1851 and moving to the New World, Francis Bannerman IV grew up in New York. Son of a salesman who specialized in reselling goods bought at local auction, the junior Francis started picking up lots himself and selling them in smaller pieces to collectors of curios, relics, and interesting items. Then he discovered government surplus……
Read the rest in my column at GUNS.com

guns were often stacked floor to ceiling at Bannerman's Broadway warehouse

bannermans castle

And he had his own castle………

A Remington 1858 with a Story

During the US Civil War, more than two million Americans were called volunteered for or called to the service of their state, territory, or country. They were armed with any number of weapons including muskets, carbines, shotguns, pistols, pikes, lances, sabers and of course, revolvers. One of the most common Union revolvers encountered during and after the war was the Remington 44. Also known as the Remington Model of 1858, they were produced by Eliphalet Remington & Sons, in Ilion, New York from a patent by Fordyce Beals between 1862-1875.

Several versions of the Remington 1858 were produced with the 1863-vintage New Model Army being the most popular. The New Model Army has an 8-inch barrel, a new front sight, a low spur trigger, larger loading lever and a cylinder pin that was held by two pins. The New Model Army, with its solid top strap was one of the most powerful and rugged performers of its day and outlasted many of its competitors.

This one has a secret….find out what it is at my column at Firearms Talk.