Our Price: $37,500

Serial Number: 1610. Caliber 36. There were only 18 known early model Rigdon & Ansleys with the "AUGUSTA, GA CSA" address until this superior example was just discovered in Sparta, GA in August of 2018 where it had been in the same family since 1953. It is now the 19th known example with this marking and the marking is the finest observed to date. The highest known serial number with this marking is "1689" and lowest is “1512”. All serial numbers on this revolver are stamped with the correct small number dies. It is also to be noted that the number "1" is a broken die which became broken at pistol #1237, continuing to be used through the small-die run to R&A pistol #1900, or thereabouts.

This gun has cryptic "J" stamped rear of serial number on center of trigger guard at interface of triggerbow. Gun appears all original with matching serial numbers "1610" that are found on barrel housing, latch, frame, arbor, cylinder, backstrap, trigger guard and wedge. The grips were not removed as so well fit with associated screws apparently not being turned in a long time.  The loading arm is numbered “1511” which appears to be a factory error as 1st and 3rd digits both are “1”. The loading arm has clearly always been with this revolver. Top barrel flat is inspected "CSA" just rear of the "AUGUSTA, GA" barrel marking.

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 percussion revolvers of the Colt patent design, though contract was not signed for 1500 guns until firm settled in Greensboro, GA. 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 on 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 re-cocking procedure, after each round was fired. This "cap release groove" is found on this revolver along with the employment of a "Colt-type" loading lever latching assembly, rather than Leech & Rigdon ball and pin type catches.

 Rigdon- Ansley revolvers range in SN 1490 to 2373, about 120 Rigdon Ansleys of all configurations survive as of this date.

 “Augusta, GA CSA” known SNs are 1512, 1518, 1522, 1530, 1531, 1532, 1546, 1672, 1574, 1582, 1584, 1610, 1613, 1616, 1619, 1631, 1641, 1656, and 1689.

This revolver is in just as found condition. Generous traces of finish remain on the barrel and barrel housing with the balance plum. Cylinder has a nice blue color with some minor battering marks. Brass has a wonderful dark mustard patina. Grips retain about 70-80% original varnish, they  most likely have penciled serial number in the backstrap channel. But were not removed as they fit perfect and the screws have not been disturbed. The grips have the best 'WH' inspectors cartouche that I've ever seen. 


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