Monday, December 5, 2016

Walch Revolvers




John Walch was a man trying to catch a ride on the Sam Colt run-away band wagon so he invented a firearm that fired more quickly. He took the popular revolver design and reasoned that one could carry more firepower with superposed rounds in each chamber.



John Walch and his partner J.P Lindsay (inventor (1863) of the Lindsay Two-Shot) founded and owned the Walch Firearms Company but they had no manufacturing facilities. Walch would eventually contract the Union Knife Company, located in Naugatuck, CT and the New Haven Arms Company to produce the twelve shot .36 Navy Models and the ten shot .31 Pocket Models, respectively. The Walch pocket model would be made in the same factory and at the same time as the Henry rifle.

About 1000 steel framed and 2000 brass framed pocket models were were manufactured from 1860 - 1862. Allegedly only 200 of the Walch 12-shot revolvers were ever produced around 1859.



The pocket model fires two shots from each cylinder chamber. The cylinder is twice as long so that two loads can be put in the same chamber. Both hammers are cocked at the same time.
 There is a channel leading from the front load to the right nipple, and the left nipple fires directly into the rear of the chamber. When the trigger is pulled, the right hammer drops firing the front load. The trigger must be released before it can be pulled a second time to fire the rear load. 





If complex design and complicated mechanism weren’t enough, the fact that loading two charges into one still requires a much smaller bullet as well as a smaller powder charge.This results in smaller bullet, being fired at a lower velocity - not exactly desirable traits in a revolver if you are hoping to win a military contract.
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The revolvers did see use in the Civil War and I have run across several mentions that in late 1861 or early 1862, when the regiment was stationed in Kentucky, the whole of Company I of the 9th Michigan Infantry purchased Walch revolvers.


Jeff Kinard references the Walch shortcomings with this Civil War story in his book,”Weapons and Warfare: An Illustrated History of Their Impact”;
"Elisha Stockwell, a Wisconsin private, recounted an incident in which he and a fellow soldier armed with a Walch attempted to supplement their rations in a farmer's pig sty: "Reeder shot several times before he would give up. That gun wouldn't kill a hog, and the pigs got so wild we couldn't get near them."




For a Forgotten Weapons video on the Walch Pocket pistol go HERE .



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