Rare Early Leech & Rigdon Revolver Found in Georgia

Our Price: sold


Serial Number 457. Caliber 36. This particular gun is the highest known serial number with the large “LEECH & RIGDON” barrel markings without “CSA” (“CSA” marked guns appear in the 494-1500 range). There are only 6 guns currently known in this early variant genre,(377, 399, 422, 439, 450 and 457). This gun has been retained in family since early 20th century. Found in Georgia, the former owner states his Uncle (father’s brother) traded for the gun in Wilkes County Georgia, about 1920. Wilkes County is adjacent to Greensboro, Georgia and this Confederate revolver apparently stayed in that area for many years. The name “BOWDEN” is nicely applied on backstrap, most likely representing the soldier who carried the gun. A quick check of the Confederate soldier database indicates the likely owner, a sergeant from Banks County, which is only 50 miles from the manufacturer. George Bowden enlisted in 1862 in the 34th Georgia Infantry, was badly wounded at Bakers Creek, Mississippi and was mustered out late in 1864 in Augusta Georgia.

This is an honest, original and complete example. Matching serial number’s are found on barrel, loading arm, latch, arbor, frame, trigger guard, backstrap, cylinder and stamped on bottom of grips, which is a scarce feature only occurring on a few early guns. The wedge has no serial number but appears to be the correct spring type and appears original with matching condition and patina. The “LEECH & RIGDON” barrel markings are the best and clearest noted on any guns in this serial range. Later in “CSA” production, barrel markings are less discernible even on highest condition guns. This indicates that the die deteriorated with use and was not changed.

Condition of this revolver is good to very good overall. Metal is overall dark with old cleaning, staining and pitting. Serial numbers are all discernible. Early gunsmithing efforts to tighten arbor evident. Gun has traces of case colors and blue in well at bottom of barrel showing this gun was put up in fairly nice condition and has had storage issues over the years. Grips are well fit, retaining thin traces of original varnish and easily discerned stamped serial number on left butt; there are 2 small chips on either inside toe. Cylinder has numerous dings and gashes and safety pins are smashed from dry firing. Mechanically gun functions intermittently. Cock holds well in both positions. Bore is crisp with well-discerned rifling. Original brass cone front sight shows minor wear as does the right edge of muzzle from holster wear. Accompanying holster is sound and displays gun well with much crazing, small reductions and old repairs to sewing where it has come loose, based on extra sewing lines on holster, the holster appears to be made of re-used military leather, possibly Confederate made as it emulates US made military flap holsters.

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