Revolvers by Rick Sapp


NonfictionRevolvers by Rick SappReviewed by Molly

Rick Sapp’s Revolvers begins with 9 pages of text detailing the evolution of what has become one of the most preferred, trustworthy small arms used the world over.  I like a tome which gives some space to illumination how and why and what things are, as well as indicating explicit illustrations of whatever it is the book is describing.  And, the 9 pages of text included in this book is packed with lots of information for the reader who does have some to a lot of curiosity for how things come about.

Reading Sapp’s text leaves the reader with a better understanding of revolvers, how they came about, their evolution and use.

Contrasting modern semi-automatic fire arms, revolvers are very dependable, tend not to jam, can take a good bit of hard use and still discharge a tight group, and, they can accept potent loads.

During the early days of our country one shot weaponry, flintlock pistols and muskets, used by soldiers and hunters alike were deadly and quite accurate at short distances.  Time needed to reload led to experiments and tinkering to develop a gun able to fire multiple times.  One of the earliest firearm inventors in our country was a little recollected Bostonian gunsmith, Elisha Collier, who in 1818 received a patent for a single action flintlock based weapon having self-priming action.

Even though Collier’s designs were not widely accepted here in the U.S.; they were soon mass produced by John Evans & Son, London and were being used by the British army in India.

While Samuel Colt has been long been accepted as the Father of the Revolver, other names too do stand out in the story of small handguns.  Oliver Winchester bought the failing Volcanic Repeating Arms Co, launched by Horace Smith of Massachusetts and Dan Wesson of Connecticut, and, renamed his new enterprise after himself which ultimately lead to Winchester Repeating Arms.

Rollin White patented a design for a revolver in 1855, licensed the idea to Smith and Wesson who in 1857 made a second, more successful, attempt at fabrication of a small revolver to fire a self-contained rimfire cartridge they had patented in 1854.  The development of a patented revolver capable of firing a .22 Short with four grains of black powder behind a conical bullet; helped to make the name Smith and Wesson well known.  

Remington, the 1860s self-contained metallic centerfire cartridges, Colt single Action Army, known as Peacemaker, Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, Period Guns and Rise of the 1911, Webley, continued refinement and development of cartridges and guns; hold reader attention and keep the reader turning the pages.

Photographs of revolvers begins on page 14 and continues on to page 95.  Page 96 is an index with guns listed by manufacture including Beretta, Charter Arms, Colt, Rossi, Ruger, Smith & Wesson and more; there are 13 in all.

Beginning with the Beretta Laramie each page illustrates a revolver one to a page.  Some of the revolvers shown have longish barrels, and some are very short.  Handgrips run the gamut of wood, plastic, rubberized, General Patton’s were Ivory.

The grip appearing on Charter Arms Bulldog appears to be stocky while the Chiappa Model 1873-22 is more slender.  Many of the grips are black, wood is sanded and stained, rubber and plastic are offered in varied colors.

Many of the revolvers shown, Charter Arms Target Mag Pug, Ruger Super Blackhawk Bisley Hunter, Smith and Wesson 680 Plus are presented in natural steel color,  while Ruger Bearcat, Uberti 1875 Top Break, Taurus Raging Judge Magnum are blued.  Charter Arms Pink Lady sports a strawberry pink frame.

While not a big weighty tome, I found Rick Sapp’s Revolvers to be a very thought-provoking, instructive work comprised of enough background to foster reader interest and inform at the same time.  Packed with enough photographs to portray the diversity of the gun called a revolver; this small book having 96 pages and measuring just over 5 inches square is a perfect size for tucking into gift bag for gun enthusiast, and curious hand gun collector alike.

I enjoyed the read. Happy to recommend, particularly for the target audience of gun enthusiasts, and, for the inquisitive, non-gun enthusiasts alike.

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