Tuesday, February 7, 2017

T.W. Cofer Revolvers

Cofer Second Model

We are all aware of the numerous Confederate revolvers made during the Civil War and most of us wish we owned one of the rare ones…... No, make that one of each, wish big.
For me, my first wish would be a Thomas W. Cofer revolver, and since I’m wishing, make that a second model Cofer.

Cofer’s first introduction to gunsmithing came before the Civil War in the form of an apprenticeship to his cousin, Pembroke Gwaltney, who was already an established gunsmith.
Sometime before 1861, Cofer went into business for himself in Portsmouth, Virginia. The earliest known examples of Cofer-marked guns are shotguns bearing his name on the lockplates that were made prior to the Civil War.

On August 12, 1861, the Confederate Patent Office granted Cofer patent number 9. (one of the first patents delivered by the Confederate States of America) The patent was granted for and relates only to a unique two-piece cylinder. 
Collectors feel that there are only two known examples of his revolvers with the two-piece cylinder. (sorry no pictures)

Cofer’s second model was also a percussion-cartridge revolver but utilized a single-piece "bored through" cylinder for an improved reloadable cartridge.

What is interesting about the second model is that the metallic cartridge was not a rimfire but one featuring a simple brass case with a nipple at the rear for a percussion cap.

Cofer had applied for and had been granted a Confederate Government contract which forced him to be realistic and practical. The complexities of the second model and the urgent needs of war prompted Cofer to concentrate his efforts on producing a standard percussion model. This model is referred to as the "production model" by collectors.
Portsmouth fell to the Union in early May of 1862 and it is believed that only 86 revolvers were delivered and all went to the 5th Virginia Cavalry.

The revolvers copied the solid frame principle of the Whitney model but with a brass frame and spur trigger.


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