1884 Tacticool: Silver & Fletcher’s “Expert” Auto-Ejector

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These are Lots 580 (cased) and 3256 (regular) in the upcoming RIA December 2019 Premier auction.

In 1884, High Silver and Walther Fletcher patented a system to rapidly unload a gate-style revolver. They negotiated an agreement to have their system integrated into Webley revolvers (specifically the New Model RIC) as an option, and sold about 350 of them, including some to both he Royal Irish Constabulary and the Metropolitan London Police, under the name “The Expert”. Not so different from today’s tactical widget market, eh? The practical use of the system was to bypass the glacially-slow manual ejector rod and instead unload a cylinder full of empty cases simply by pulling the trigger six times in rapid succession. To avoid the obvious potential safety hazard this entailed, they also added a safety to retract the firing pin. It’s this firing pin safety that people usually notice when seeing the guns, as it is much more visible than the ejection mechanism.

The system could also be used to eject empty cases one by one as the gun was fired, although doing so required leaving the loading gate open while firing. The Webley revolvers made with the system are devoid of Webley company markings, although they do have both a Webley serial number (most being in the 33,000 – 36,000 range) and a Silver & Fletcher number (between 1 and about 350).

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