View Full Version : Manhattan Percussion Revolvers

August 20, 2001, 05:43 PM
A friend has shown me a collection of Manhattan Percussion Revolvers which he collected over a period of 25 years. They look to be Colt clones but about half the size and about .32 Cal. Do you guys know anything about these guns? I can't find them listed in Fjestads Blue Book at all.


James K
August 20, 2001, 08:38 PM
The Manhattan Firearms Manufacturing Co. was incorporated in (surprise!) Manhattan, but their manufacturing facilities were first in Norwich, CT and later in Newark, NJ. Their first products were single shot percussion pistols, followed by pepperbox revolvers (several barrels turning like a revolver cylinder).

After Colt's patents expired, Manhattan made a series of percussion revolvers in .31 and .36 caliber, nearly identical in appearance and size to the Colt revolvers in the same calibers. AFAIK, they never made a .44 caliber.

One characteristic of the Manhattan revolvers is the extra cylinder notches (12 in the case of a 6-shot cylinder) to provide a means of safe carry. With the cylinder stop locked into the safety notch, the hammer was between caps and the gun could not fire if dropped. (Colt used a safety pin in the cylinder over which a notch in the hammer nose fitted for the same purpose.)

Later, Manhattan made .22 caliber "tip-up" revolvers very similar to those made by S&W. They also made, quite late, a screw barrel percussion pistol.


August 21, 2001, 02:26 PM
Thanks for the info, Jim! Much appreciated. Are they really collectible in terms of value? I know, one should collect whatever winds one's clock; but I have never heard of them before. Just interested as to current pricing profiles.

James K
August 21, 2001, 03:38 PM
Manhattans do not have the interest that Colts do, and they never bring anywhere near the prices of equivalent Colts. For example, the latest Flayderman's I have (7th Ed.) shows the Manhattan .31 caliber (equivalent to the Model 1849 Colt) as Fine condition at $600-650, with the Navy .36 (equivalent to the Colt 1851 Navy) at $800-900+. The equivalent Colts show (in the Blue Book) at 95% $3800+ and $6000+. Engraved Manhattans bring more, but there were few cased sets or presentation models.

As guns, the Manhattans were just as good as the Colts. But they never got the hype and interest that Colt himself and subsequent Colt collectors fostered. Still a Manhattan collection would be of interest and a reasonable one could be built without spending the equivalent of the national debt.


August 24, 2001, 05:04 PM
Thanks again for the additional info. My friend's collection appears to be in very nice condition given the age of each piece. He is no longer interested in collecting and may be willing to part with the whole set. Although I personally am not interested, perhaps some TFL'rs are. If anyone is, drop me an email and I'll see if I can get more info to you.