Early style Merwin Hulbert & Company Open Top Revolver in .44-40 with seven inch barrel, nickel finish, scoop fluted cylinder, and original 19th century ivory grips. Merwin Hulbert revolvers were manufactured by the Hopkins and Allen Company and used a clever unlocking mechanism where the barrel and cylinder assembly could be rotated and slid forward for easy cleaning and reloading. Over the years, many of these early .44's have come back from Mexico often showing a great deal of usage and reverent carry-wear. This one is remarkably intact with nothing missing. The lanyard is still intact, the barrel latches are both secure, and even the original loading gate has survived intact with its knob intact. Best of all, the barrel has not been cut as many of these were shortened during their many years of use. The raised front sight protected the main barrel address from years of holster wear. It remains in Very Good Condition and is marked:
MERWIN HULBERT & Co. New York, U.S.A. Pat. Jan. 24. Apr. 21. Dec. 15. 74. Aug. 3. 75. July 11. 76. Apr. 17. 77. Pat's Mar. 6. 77.
However, the Hopkins & Allen marking on the left side of the barrel which is not protected from chafing inside a leather holster did not fare as well. It is only partially visible with the Norwich Conn. U.S.A. portion showing. As on most Merwins, there is a main number on the bottom of the frame and what others would describe as assembly numbers on all of the internal parts. The main number is in the 13,000 range. The assembly number is 2889. For an 1870's era revolver, this must have been an enormously complex gun to cast and/or machine and put together. The various components are remarkably rounded and flowing with very little in the way of squared or rectangular-shaped pieces. Of the few 90 degree angles we find, most are heavily contoured or have their edges beveled. Without doing a 100% complete disassembly we found the mechanical assembly numbers to be completely matching. This included the number 2889 found on the:
1. Inside of frame under the grips
4. Cylinder Pin
5. Frame to Barrel Release Latch
6. Barrel to Cylinder Pin Release Latch
7. Barrel Wedge
8. Loading Gate
9. Trigger Guard
10. Side Plate
That said, there may be other numbers present...without getting into a gunsmith-level disassembly, we stopped at ten. There was also a number stamped on the inside of the ivory grips which was "75". I'm not sure if these are sub-assembly numbers for the pair or simply not matching the main assembly numbers but they've obviously been on this gun for a very long time and appear to be original. See photos.
Overall Condition Grades to NRA Antique Good++ to Very Good with 85% original nickel on the frame. Cylinder shows 70% original nickel. Loading port shows 60% original nickel while the trigger guard shows only traces. Barrel retains 5% original nickel in mostly protected areas. Case colors on the hammer have mostly silvered to silvery gray mixed with patina. Ivory grips show a great deal of Western usage with much age checking from being in a dry arid climate for many years. Left grip is solid except for a chip off the back edge/bottom corner. Right grip has a top to bottom crack through the escutcheon. Good mechanics with no alterations including the retaining ring on the front of the cylinder. Bore has good rifling with some scattered pitting...no rings or bulges. Good Overall. A neat example of an early large frame Merwin Hulbert revolver showing Western usage.