POTD: Merwin & Hulbert Revolvers – Quick Eject But Not Top Break
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Merwin & Hulbert revolvers are a subject I know little about, but are extremely fascinating. At the time of their introduction revolvers around the world were blossoming, and better yet, they were all trying to avoid patent infringement so that necessitated creative design. In the Merwin & Hulbert revolver aspect of things, it was the idea of quick eject. Smith & Wesson would have a few top-break revolvers and the Peacemaker had its loading gate and ejector rod.
Burst onto the scene in 1876 was Merwin & Hulbert’s Frontier model in which it featured a quick eject that was competitive with the top break design. In this case, the revolver can be unloaded via a small tab on the underside of the frame is pushed rearward. After the tab is pushed the barrel assembly can be rotated 90 degrees and pulled forward. Upon pulling forward the shells are ejected and the gun can be reverse maneuvered back into a revolver in which it can be reloaded through the downward traveling loading gate.
These revolvers never quite caught on extensively like most quick eject designs that involved moving or weakening the top strap. This was because of the introduction of more powerful ammo which made the top strap a must in the event of a catastrophic failure. The only real holdout from the 1800s was the Webley revolvers that lasted well into the 20th century. As of today, I have only seen a Merwin & Hulbert revolver unloaded and reloaded at the end of one motion picture. That movie in question is Bone Tomahawk and I highly recommend it. The scene is very brief, but if you look closely you can see the quick reload nature of these fine revolvers. Otherwise, a closer look can be found in the YouTube sphere.
[Photograph found in Photos, Cody Firearms Museum’s Facebook]. (n.d.). Retrieved June 23, 2021.