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The History of Confederate Revolvers

Did you know this year marks the 161st anniversary of the Civil War? What better time to learn about the history of Confederate revolvers!

The History of Confederate Revolvers

During the Civil War, Southern States faced a critical shortage of firearms and artillery. This created a wealth of opportunity for any Southern manufacturer who could produce guns using the limited materials available.

With smugglers and blockade runners unable to meet Confederate wartime demand, a number of small workshops, factories, and even individual gunsmiths throughout the South stepped up to the challenge. Some shortcuts were inevitable though, and one solution Confederate gun makers embraced was to ignore patent law and reproduce existing designs from Northern arms manufacturers.

Beyond the strict reproductions, Confederate revolvers have a distinct style and personality that’s immediately evident to any fan of antique wheelguns. Shortages of iron and graded steel led to brass pistol frames and other brass componentry. Smaller-scale manufacturing practices and rapid production often resulted in slight mechanical differences between guns of the same model.

Due to their history and extreme rarity, surviving Confederate revolvers are some of the most sought-after treasures in arms collecting today.


Some of the top, highly collectible Confederate Revolvers include:


  • The Griswold Revolver
  • Dance & Brothers Revolver
  • Augusta Machine Works Revolver
  • Spiller & Burr Revolver
  • The Leech and Rigdon Revolver
  • Rigdon, Ansley and Company Revolver
  • LeMat Revolvers

Any Southern-made Confederate revolver is a true rarity today, and Rock Island Auction Company’s May 13-15 Premier Firearms Auction features examples from six different manufacturers, one of the most comprehensive collections of Confederate revolvers even offered to the collecting public. From scarce sidearms to Civil War cannons to some of the finest carbines of the era, May’s auction event offers the highest level of history and artistry that the industry has to offer.

Learn more about Confederate Revolvers: Wheelguns of the Rebellion – and see which Civil War guns will be up for auction in RIAC’s May Premier Firearms Auction.

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