Griswold & Gunnison

Griswold and Gunnison Confederate Pistol. Interesting History and link to an Authentic Replica of the most Rare Civil War Pistol.
civil war pistol; Griswold & Gunnison Confederate revolver

The percussion revolver manufactured in small numbers by a makeshift company, hastily set up in a cotton gin outside of Macon, Georgia in the early part of the Civil War is often confused with the 1860 "Colt Army" and "Navy Colt"revolvers, which were manufactured in the Union North.  Once the war broke out, the CSA Army was in need of small arms, and most of the former nation's firearms manufacturers were located in the Northern Union states.  Clearly the Union had the advantage in manufacturing capacity and materials.  This imbalance of production ability plagued the Confederacy to the very bitter end.  Griswold  and Gunnison and a handful of slaves turned out these pistols in their makeshift shop in "Griswoldville" under a contract from the CSA government.  

Nearly identical to the more famous Colt revolvers in looks and design, the Griswold & Gunnison .36 caliber percussion revolver had some brass parts, since steel was more difficult to procure, owing to the supply problems caused by the war, and had an octagonal barrel that tapered to a round shape at the end of the muzzle.  They were also known to have used twisted iron for the barrel.  The Navy Colt had an octgonal barrel . In some of the Confederate revolvers, what appears to be brass may be actually be steel, with a high copper content, giving it a brassy look.  Griswold & Gunnison had to make do with whatever materials they could lay their hands on.  

A percussion revolver was charged by pouring a small, measured ration of black powder into a tiny sack of nitrated paper or cloth, and topped with either a conical or round lead projectile, and inserted into one of the 6 cylinders, and tamped down by a clever built-in ram that was attached by a hinge under the barrel.  A percussion cap was fitted onto the rear of the cylinder, which ignited the charge when struck by the hammer. 

This was an advance from the older days of flintlock rifles and pistols (some of which were still in use during the Civil War), until this type of charge was replaced by the fully self-contained cartridges around 1873, the type that is still in use today.  While crude by today's standards, this percussion revolver could be quite accurate in the hands of a skilled marksman. To be able to appreciate what had to be done to produce these pistols under adverse conditons with limited materials, you can see details inherent in the design, and the fitting of the parts.

Griswold & Gunnison

There were only some 3,600 of the Griswold & Gunnison pistols made, and many were lost and destroyed in or after the war.  At one point, the Union's infamous General Sherman burned down the Georgia factory (in addition to any number of CSA cities and other holdings), and they had to start anew, with yet even smaller production than before, which ceased altogether at the end of the war.  There are very few remaining Griswold & Gunnison pistols today, and they fetch very high prices at auctions by avid collectors with deep pockets.  By high prices, we're talking about over a million dollars!  The best way to own an example of one of these interesting revolvers, unless you are a billionaire, is to get a replica. 

Firearm Type: "Cap and Ball"  Percussion Revolver
Nation Of Manufacture: CSA (Confederate States of America)
Military Service Dates : 1862-1865
Variations: Small Scale production. Almost an exact copy of the 1851 Colt Navy Revolver
Ammunition: .36 Caliber Ball
Wars: US Civil War
Recent Prices at Auction for Originals: Extremely Rare, expensive Up to US $1Mil+

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