"Low Hammer Spur" Confederate Tucker & Sherrard Revolver
The Texas-based Tucker & Sherrard Armory has been dubbed "Texas' most highly publicized maker of Arms during the Civil War and the least effective". In 1862, the Dallas Herald announced the partnership of "Tucker, Sherrard, Killen and Burnie...for the purpose of manufacturing Colt's and other revolving Pistols." The news of Texas' newest arms plant was of great interest to Lieutenant Governor John M. Crockett who immediately lobbied the Military Board to offer the new firm a contract to produce pistols for the Confederacy.
After obtaining the Board's approval, Crockett approached the partners of the Lancaster County-based firm and offered them a government contract in exchange for naming him a partner; which they did and from then on John M. Crockett became the spokesperson for the firm. From there, the story becomes a little bizarre. The original order received by the plant was for 100 "old style Colt's Army Revolvers" (Dragoon-style) per month at a price of $40 per pistol. The original delivery deadline was slated for May 1862; however by September, not a single pistol had been delivered. A string of letters written by Crockett to the state Board between May of 1862 and April of 1863 makes every excuse imaginable for the armories' delay in delivering even a single pistol. Crockett blames everything from a lack of able-bodied workmen, a lack of necessary equipment, a lack of raw materials, and a general concern that if the pistols were delayed long enough, he could ensure that they would be delivered to the Texas State Military Board instead of being "pressed into general service" by the Confederate Conscription Officers (as a proud Texan, Crockett wanted to assure the board that his pistols would be used by Texas boys only). The delay in delivery was so bad, that in one letter Crockett ran out of excuses and resorted to blaming "the prejudice against our establishment on account of the exemption of conscripts in it" with "much being said to injure [our firm]". In each letter Crockett continually reissured the Board that the first delivery of "the elusive 400 pistols" would be made soon as he claimed that "nearly all the pistols are complete". However, many scholars agree that the Tucker and Sherrard Armory began selling pistols under the table. Friedrich Victor, in an article published in The Texas Gun Collector wrote that Tucker & Sherrod revolvers were mostly likely sold to officers and enlisted men directly "at an excessive profit". Crockett himself, lamented the low price at which he had agreed to sell his pistols to the state when he wrote, "we are actually told here that we can have $100 a piece for them." After advancing the Tucker & Sherrard (or Sherrod, as it was often misspelled in government documents) revolver company $5,000 in early 1863 with an additional $10,000 bond to follow a few months later, the Military Board had finally had enough and cancelled the contract without ever having received a single pistol. Despite the fact that Tuck & Sherrard were never able to fulfill even their first order of pistols, there are a number of documented Tucker & Sherrard pistols that saw use on Civil War Battlefields. A Tucker & Sherrard revolver that was picked off a battlefield by a soldier from the 28th Maine recently sold at auction for $86,250.
War-time Tucker and Sherard pistols are characterized by their close resemblance to the Colt M1848 Dragoon Pistol. Their most distinguishing feature is their lack of a "loading aperture" or relief cut in the barrel frame to allow the necessary clearance for loading conical bullets. Historians are baffled as to why the company left this feature out but, it is a universal characteristic on all documented Tucker & Sherard pistols. The revolver can easily be loaded with round balls however, the shooter simply needs to "start" the ball in the out-bored chamber and rotate it under the loading lever to seat it. Tucker and Sherard Dragoons also have larger back strap screws than their Colt counterparts and the heads of these screws can be seen protruding out of their holes. Tucker loading levers are also unique in the fact that the spring loaded lever latch is the updated horizontal style found on the Colt M1851 and M1860 revolvers rather than vertical as seen on the Colt Dragoon pistol from which it was copied. A number of these Tucker and Sherrard pistols also feature a "low hammer spur" similar to many European pistols made during the same time period. These models are very rare and only two original "low hammer spur" Tuckers are known to exist. It is thought that these models were built by Joseph Paul Henry, an artificer at the Tucker and Sherrard firm who emigrated from Liege, Belgium. As a European gunmaker, it is likely that Henry was allowed to build a number revolvers that incorporated some of the design ideas that he brought with him from Europe.
This pistol, built by Steve Krolick is a faithful copy of the infamous Tucker & Sherrard Pistol in every way shape and form. Steve built this pistol using a brand new Uberti Colt Dragoon as a base. He began by meticulously welding up the loading aperture relief cut and hand filed it to shape. The result is an absolutely perfect Tucker and Sherrard barrel that has no traces of ever having a loading cut to begin with. Steve continued by defarbing the whole pistol; removing all the Italian and Colt markings from the barrel, frame, cylinder, trigger guard and back strap. Steve also machined washers for the back strap screws to allow them to protrude just like the originals. Steve also completely re-worked the loading lever and barrel catch to be the correct "horizontal catch" rather than vertical.
The most obvious design element of this pistol is the "low hammer spur" that Steve custom fabricated to match the originals. This creates a very fast cocking and comfortable revolver; and gives the whole piece a look all its own. The grips were then thinned out and re-shaped before being refinished and antiqued. Steve marked all the major components serial numbers the appropriate size and font to original Tucker pistols. He also stamped many of the components with a small sub-inspector's "A" stamp. Finally, Steve finished the work by installing an appropriate Confederate spring-less wedge and antiqued the whole pistol to simulate the wear and patina that would have developed on the pistol from war time service.
The Tucker and Sherrard pistols are arguably the most rare and mysterious revolvers of the Civil War. Never before has a war time production Tucker pistol been produced. This would be the perfect pistol for a Texas Cavalry Reenactor, and the bizarre history surrounding it would be sure to delight many a listener around the campfire. This pistol would also be a great addition to any CS pistol enthusiasts collection. It's new barrel with crisp rifling will make it a great shooter too!