In previous posts I’ve written about the predecessors to the Winchester Lever Action Rifle. Like the Hunt Volitional Rifle – the only one located at the Cody Firearms Museum – and the Jennings Repeater. In these writings, I began to piece together the factors that contributed to making the iconic western firearm.
This rifle is another rare piece of the puzzle: a Smith & Wesson Lever Action Rifle, developed from Horace Smith & Daniel Wesson’s lever action patent of 1854.
Smith & Wesson initially made their lever guns in Norwich, Connecticut that same year. In July 1855, they changed the name to the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company as new investors came on board. Those investors included Oliver Winchester who bought stock in the firm in 1855.
Both Smith and Wesson left the project between 1855 and 1856. A year later, the company was reorganized once again into the New Haven Arms Company. They retained the name Volcanic in reference to the firearms.
This Smith & Wesson Repeater is serial number 8 and was probably made in 1854. Note: the ornate embellishment on the rifle. The engraving indicates that it may be a promotion piece used by designers.
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