View Full Version : Red Jacket No. 8

July 9, 2010, 09:39 PM
I was given a pistol from my Dad before he passed away that his Grandfather carried daily in the late 1880's in the bars he owned in the Chicagoland area. I would like to be able to get all the moving parts to function, the barrel will not rotate and there is a pin unfer the barrel which performs some sort of function but I don't know what, also there is a vertical 'screw' in front of the barrel that is spring loaded as it will 'float' vertically and has a screw top but appears to do nothing...noob needs help, thanks in advance...:confused:

James K
July 9, 2010, 11:29 PM
I think that marking may be RED JACKET No. 3, not No. 8.

That Red Jacket series was made by the Lee Arms Co., of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and some are so marked. There were the Red Jacket, the Red Jacket No. 1 (same as Red Jacket) and numbers 2, 3 and 4. The RJ and the RJ No. 1 are .22; the others .32 rimfire. They belong to a class of inexpensive handguns called by collectors "suicide specials", though it is unclear whether the term means that they were considered only good for one shot, or that a person armed with one would be committing suicide to challenge a better armed opponent.

Ammunition is not readily available, and I would recommend against firing the gun in any event as it was made in the black powder era. That gun appears to be blued, which is unusual, as most were nickel plated. The engraving adds to the interest, but not a lot to the value as engraving at that time cost a whole $.25 (yes, a quarter) extra. The guns sold for around $2.00 in the 1880's and 1890's.

I think had I felt the need to carry a gun in that era, a much rougher time than today, I would have had a better one, but apparently your great-grandfather thought it was adequate. Or maybe he was the kind of man who didn't need a gun to control his customers.

The "button" on the left side ahead of the cylinder is the cylinder pin catch; pushing it to the right should allow the cylinder pin under the barrel to be pulled forward freeing the cylinder to come out. That is, if the parts are not rusted in place. Even then, you could try removing the grips and soaking the gun in a carburetor cleaner or something similar to try to free things up.

The value, in dollars, is not much, maybe $75-100 tops, mainly because of the engraving. But the family history - priceless.


July 9, 2010, 11:47 PM
thank s for the info Jim- it sure looks like an 8 to me...

James K
July 10, 2010, 11:02 PM
I can't tell, but the main book on those does not mention a number above 4 and yours looks like the one described as a No. 3.


July 12, 2010, 08:05 PM
you are probably right, thank you for the help Jim, I appreciate it...:)