20 Oct 2023

Walch 12-Shot Navy Revolver


Walch 12-Shot .36 Navy Revolver.

I thought I knew almost everything about guns, but reading Louis L’Amour’s short story “Mistakes Can Kill You” in the collection West of the Tularosa, I was rather astonished to find Johnny O’Day surviving the gloating of the villainous Loss Degner, who confesses his crimes and expresses the intention of cold-bloodedly gunning Johnny down at his leisure, since Johnny has just fired six times winning a shootout with two of Degner’s henchmen.

Johnny responds by putting three rounds into Degner’s chest, telling him:

“This ain’t a six-shooter. It’s a Walch twelve-shot Navy gun, thirty-six caliber. She’s right handy, Loss, and it only goes to show you shouldn’t jump to conclusions.”

I was amazed and had to look it up.

Frank Graves explains:

The 12-shot Walch is one of the more rare American percussion revolvers. Patented in 1859 by John Walch of New York City, only 200-300 were reportedly manufactured by Walch Firearms & Co. Walch contracted the production to the Union Knife Company in Naugatuck, Conn., as he did not own production facilities.

The Navy designation suggests it was purchased by this branch of the service – it wasn’t – but because the Navy favored .36 caliber martial revolvers.

The Walch had a 6-chambered cylinder with each chamber taking a stacked double load. The mechanism of the Walch Navy Revolver was unique, with two nipples per chamber and two hammers to fire them, along with two triggers to do so. This invention is at the core of Walch’s patent.

In practice, the shooter pulled the right trigger first to fire the front charge, then the second trigger to fire the rear charge. If the shooter was not paying attention and pulled the wrong sequence of triggers, the ignition of the rear charge before the front charge was previously fired from the front of the cylinder, and mayhem would ensue. As firearms collectors have seen many times, the invention of a better mousetrap does not necessarily mean so. Certainly, the lack of acceptance of the Walch Navy Revolver for the above reasons contributed to its limited production.


2 Feedbacks on "Walch 12-Shot Navy Revolver"

A. Squaretail

This is just the kind of weapon the Biden is looking for.

M. Murcek

Didn’t say I don’t know how to use one. Said I don’t have much use for one.

Quigley Down Under.


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