A Real Oddball

All of the above led to the development of one of America’s oddest revolvers. But it still looked pretty good. That was the Merwin & Hulbert design. The M&H could probably be termed a “twist-frame” revolver as opposed to the S&W’s “top-break” style. This is always funny: if I hand my M&H Pocket Army .44 to an uninitiated person and ask them to open it, they will just look perplexed. To do so requires a button on the bottom of the frame to be pushed back while at the same time the barrel is turned clockwise 90 degrees and pulled forwards. If the revolver has been fired, empty cases will fall free. However, the rims of loaded rounds will be retained and their overall length will keep them started in the chambers. After the fired cases (hopefully) fall clear, the M&H is locked back by pushing the barrel rearwards and turning it counter-clockwise until it locks in place. Sadly, however, the speed loading ends there because then the empty chambers must be filled one cartridge at a time through a gate on the frame’s right side.

Keeping with the odd theme, M&H had a couple more features. One was the point of the grip frame. It was called the Skullcrusher, and was there for when altercations became hand-to-hand. The other was that M&H large frame .44 caliber revolvers could be purchased with both 3½" and 7" barrel lengths. Switching barrels requires all of about 10 seconds. That was a heck of an option for an extra $4.00 in purchase price.