Volcanic-Repeating-Rifle

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Henry rifle

Designed by Benjamin T. Henry c.1857-60 based on the Volition and Volcanic repeating rifles, manufactured by New Haven Arms Co. c.1860-66 - serial number 3645.
.44RF Henry 16-round tubular magazine, lever action repeater, brass frame.

This is one of the few surviving example of an US ordinance Henry rifle purchased to arm the 1st D.C. Cavalry regiment. Most Henry rifles of the war were private purchases ; although expensive, its front-loaded magazine had an unmatched capacity for the time, earning him the reputation of being “a gun you load on Sunday and shoot all week long”.

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The Winchester Mystery House: the history of one of America’s strangest and most haunted houses

The story of the Winchester House began in September 1839 with the birth of a baby girl to Leonard and Sarah Pardee of New Haven, Connecticut. The baby’s name was also Sarah and as she reached maturity, she became the belle of the city. She was well-received at all social events, thanks to her musical skills, her fluency in various foreign languages and her sparkling charm. Her beauty was also well-known by the young men about town, despite her diminutive size. Although she was petite and stood only four feet, ten inches, she made up for this in personality and loveliness.

At the same time that Sarah was growing up, a young man was also maturing in another prominent New Haven family. The young man’s name was William Wirt Winchester and he was the son of Oliver Winchester, a shirt manufacturer and businessman. In 1857, he took over the assets of a firm which made the Volcanic Repeater, a rifle that used a lever mechanism to load bullets into the breech.

Obviously, this type of gun was a vast improvement over the muzzle-loading rifles of recent times, but Winchester still saw room for advance. In 1860, the company developed the Henry Rifle, which had a tubular magazine located under the barrel. Because it was easy to reload and could fire rapidly, the Henry was said to average one shot every three seconds. It became the first true repeating rifle and a favorite among the Northern troops at the outbreak of the Civil War.

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First Model Henry Rifle 

The Henry Rifle, itself an improvement on the Volcanic Repeating Rifle, would evolve into the famed Winchester repeater, the so-called “Gun That Won the West”. Produced in small numbers in the early 1860s, the Henry Rifle was one of the most popular of repeating rifles during the Civil War.

(Cowan’s Auctions)