Rifleman Q&A: 'Knuckleduster' Revolver

by
posted on November 27, 2022
Knuckleduster Pepperbox

Q. I purchased this .22-cal., seven-shot pistol. I was told it was called a “knuckleduster” and used as an under-the-table poker equalizer. It was designed to be turned around in the hand to be used as a brass knuckle, I guess in case there were more than seven players in the poker game or you were a poor shot and/or a poor poker player. The upper frame is stamped: “My Friend Pat.D: Dec 26, 1864.” Also, a serial number, 16026, is stamped on the bottom of the frame. What can you tell me about it?


A. Your seven-shot, .22 Short knuckle­duster pepperbox was manufactured by James Reid of New York City and Catskill, N.Y. It got its knuckleduster name because the frame was shaped so it could be used as brass knuckles. It was patented Dec. 26, 1865 (not 1864) and was produced in a number of variations with both silver-plated brass and blued-iron frames (scarcer and more valuable) in New York City between 1868 and 1882. Approximately 10,690 guns in .22-cal. were manufactured. Serial-numbers range from 3,500 to 17,715. At serial number 16026, yours must be one of the very last. Because the left side of the frame is marked “My Friend,” it is worth a premium to collectors. Larger .41-cal. rimfire variations were also made.

—Angus Laidlaw


This “Questions & Answers” was featured in the January 2007 issue of American Rifleman. At time of publication, "Questions & Answers" was compiled by Staff, Ballistics Editor William C. Davis, Jr., and Contributing Editors: David Andrews, Hugh C. Birnbaum, Bruce N. Canfield, O. Reid Coffield, Charles Q. Cutshaw, Charles M. Fagg, Angus Laidlaw, Evan P. Marshall, Charles E. Petty, Robert B. Pomeranz, O.D., Jon R. Sundra, Jim Supica, A.W.F. Taylerson, John M. Taylor and John W. Treakle.

To subscribe to the magazine, visit the NRA membership page and select American Rifleman as your member magazine.

Latest

S&W Model 350
S&W Model 350

S&W’s Model 350: The ‘Mild-Mannered’ X-Frame

The 350 Legend-chambered Model 350 represents quite a departure for S&W’s family of X-Frame revolvers, but it is no less capable of taking medium-size game—and it’s a lot easier to shoot and keep fed.

Product Preview: Infinity X1 Hybrid Power Flashlight 5000 Lumen

We are currently experiencing an arms race among flashlight companies, with each seemingly trying to out-lumen the competition with increasingly powerful models.

The Armed Citizen® Feb. 6, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

New For 2023: Bond Arms Stinger 22LR

Following the success of the company’s lightweight Stinger derringers in several centerfire chamberings, Bond Arms has developed what is certainly the most easily shootable derringer in the bunch with its .22 Long Rifle Stinger.

Australia’s Lee-Enfield 'Jungle Rifles'

While the British No. 5 Lee-Enfield “Jungle Carbines” are well-known guns, the Australian No. 1-based jungle rifles have languished in obscurity. They never went beyond the trials phase and are commonly faked. Here’s the real story on what are likely the rarest versions of the World War II Lee-Enfield.

Suppressor Ownership Growing in Popularity

The number of applications for a National Firearms Act (NFA) tax stamp—federally required for lawful ownership of suppressors, short-barreled rifles and similarly configured shotguns, among others—has more than doubled in the past four years.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.