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Williamson Deringer in .41 Rimfire with Percussion Adaptor Chamber
Williamson Single Shot Deringer in caliber .41 rimfire with auxiliary/adapter percussion chamber. According to Flayderman's Guide to Antique American Firearms, this was invented by David Williamson of New York City and manufactured by Moore's Patent Firearms Company of Brooklyn, New York and later by its successor, The National Firearms Company, also in Brooklyn. Made from 1866-70 with a few thousand units manufactured between the two companies. I found an an original ad for the Williamson in an 1873 edition of the Great Western Gun Works Catalog that states this was the only pistol on the market with dual capability to fire as a cartridge gun or in percussion mode. See Photos.
The design shows a clear likeness to Henry Deringer's original percussion single shot pistol from the 1840's...especially in size, profile, and single piece stock. It even uses Deringer's distinctive wrap-around checkering on the grip handle. Internally though, the gun is a completely different animal mechanically speaking. Williamson's design is a true breech loading cartridge gun...but he does a fantastic job of hiding the technology inside the traditional shell of the Deringer tradition. Instead, everything is internally mounted by incorporating an internally mounted one piece brass frame inside the traditional style handle and obviating the external hammer and lockplate mechanism. Instead of the wood being the central mounting point for various components, the frame that houses a centrally mounted hammer, mainspring, firing mechanism, locking mechanism for the barrel and the barrel itself. The barrel design is about forty years ahead of its time...it's fashioned like the slide on a semi-automatic pistol...the frame acting as a bed with mortised grooves to allow the barrel to function as a sled back and forth to gain access to the breech. It makes one wonder if early designers of the automatic pistol like John Browning had a chance to study this design thirty years later. Williamson even found a way to fire the gun in percussion mode...another smart move that must have eased the worries of customers, many of whom were probably purchasing their first cartridge gun back in the 1860's. Provided with each gun was an auxiliary chamber...a steel cup with a percussion nipple centrally mounted...which acted in similar fashion to a central fire primer found in cartridges today. To achieve this, there are two points of ignition...one through a rimfire firing pin located on the top of the hammer, the other through a small hole in the back of the frame where a hidden internal nub on the hammer face would make contact with the percussion cap. Unfortunately, this innovative design was only manufactured for approximately four years (1866-70) when Colt Patent Firearms bought out National and dissolved the company. The only National product to survive was the No. 1 and No. 2 Single Shot Deringers which were added to the Colt product line...also in .41 caliber.
Overall condition is NRA Antique Very Good. The metal is in great shape...the barrel is a very old nickel plated finish which was offered back in the late 1860's although this one was likely replated early in its life. You'd really have to look at it with a glass to tell as the markings and edges are quite sharp. Barrel and Frame have matching serial numbers.. Top barrel flat has a large engraved arrow a distinctive feature found on many surviving examples of Williamson Deringers. Williamson's Oct. 2, 1866 patent date is located on the left side of the barrel. Very nice deeply cut New York style engraving on the backstrap, trigger guard and nose cap. The walnut grip is in Fine condition with Henry Deringer style original wrap-around checkering on the butt which is still pronounced showing only light wear.. The mechanics are in very nice shape. The auxiliary chamber is still with the gun. It's very old, its condition consistent with that of the gun itself and could be original although I've heard in years past, someone re-produced them. The bore is a little frosty but Good overall with its original three groove rifling. This fantastic little pistol that is seldom seen, especially one with the auxiliary percussion chamber! An impressive gun in both design and condition. Antique, Pre-1898 Prodcution. No FFL required in most states. No sales to NJ, NY, Chicago, or DC. Sorry, no international sales. 20.00 shipping.
Handgun Caliber: .41 Rimfire
Manufacturer: Moore and National Firearms
Model: Williamson Derringer