Image Lot Price Description

Revised: 9/23/2015 

Please Note: Lot number in catalog on page 327 reads 3364. Correct catalog number should have been 3363. This is the Ridgon & Ansley Revolver SN 1581.


SN 1581. There are 18 known early model Rigdon & Ansley’s with the “AUGUSTA, GA CSA” address. This is a nice all matching example with SN 1581 found on bbl, frame, trigger guard, backstrap, cylinder, loading arm, loading arm catch and cylinder pin. Sometime in late November or early December of 1862, the firm of Leech & Rigdon, then located in Columbus, Mississippi, contracted with the Confederate Government to manufacture 1500 percussion revolvers of the Colt patent design. With Union troops threatening the Columbus area, Leech & Rigdon moved its operation (its third move) to Greensboro, Georgia, where they began turning out revolvers in March of 1863. Approximately 1000 revolvers were produced at Greensboro, before it was again necessary to move because of Yankee pressure in the area. The Leech & Rigdon partnership split up in January of 1864, and Rigdon took all the gun-making machinery with him, moved to Augusta, Georgia (the fourth and last move) forming a new partnership with Jesse Ansley. Rigdon & Ansley assumed the responsibility of completing the original Leech & Rigdon contract, by manufacturing the remaining 500 revolvers of that model, then going on with a new contract to furnish 1500 Rigdon & Ansley revolvers. While the Rigdon & Ansley revolvers were practically identical in design to the Leech & Rigdons, there were some changes made which were considered improvements at the time. The most obvious change was the addition of six (6) more cylinder stops in the Rigdon & Ansley, and the omission of the locking pins on the rear shoulders of the cylinder. This was thought to be a safety improvement in that it allowed the cylinder to be locked in place with the hammer resting between the percussion nipples. An additional change was the milling-out of a groove in the recoil shield, which now came to be called a “cap release groove”, which allowed spent percussion caps an easier exit from the frame, so that they were expelled via the groove at the right top side of the recoil shields as the cylinder rotated to the right in the firing and recocking procedure, after each round was fired. The final change from the Leech & Rigdon, was the employment of a ‘Colt-type’ loading lever latching assembly, rather than the Leech & Rigdon’s ball-type catch. This serial #1581 is the R-A numerically immediately preceding the AUGUSTA GA CSA marked R- SN 1582 which is in the famed Confederate collection of Richard D. Steuart located in the Virginia Historical Society (“The Battle Abby”), Richmond, VA. Until the early 1950s, #1582 was believed to be the sole surviving AUGUSTA GA CSA marked R-A revolver. CONDITION: Gun is good to very good overall. Bbl markings and SNs are well discerned as can be seen in photos. Metal is grey/brown with smooth mustard colored patina to trigger guard. Backstrap has been cleaned and has braised repair at either ear. 3 screws appear replaced and there is a braised repair at end of loading arm near catch. The wedge is missing spring but appears of correct type with cryptic SN different from rest of gun. Cryptic “W” is found stamped on left rear of trigger guard web. Grips are old and contemporary and possibly orig to this gun, though they is internal modifications to each channel possibly when backstrap was repaired. Grips have a poor appearance of fitting with a wood inset repair about 1/2″ on right side of butt and trigger guard and a putty repair on left side at edge. Front sight is missing. Mechanically gun is functional though weak mainspring with crisp discernible rifling in pitted bore. 49484-1 JS (25,000-30,000) – Lot 3363

Auction: Firearms - October 2015
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.