Allen & Wheelock Lipfire Navy

1860: Ethan Allen was one of the most important American gun designers of the early nineteenth century but by 1850 he and his series of partners were soon to be eclipsed, first by Colt and then also by Smith and Wesson.

Around 1860 Allen and Wheelock designed a new lipfire cartridge system. The lipfire system also had an intrinsic advantage over ordinary rimfire cartridges since it requiring only a small amount of primer in the short segment of rim that protruded from the base of the cartridge.

The primary disadvantage of the lipfire system was the rounds had to be loaded with more deliberation, so that the lips would fit into the recesses in the side of the chambers.

This pistol is a 36 caliber Navy model, of which only about 500 were made.

The trigger guard is used as a lever for a rack and pinion that moved the ejector rod, to push spent cases out through a loading gate.

Roger Papke (USA)

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