An original Philadelphia Deringer made by Henry Deringer. This was the pocket pistol used by John Wilkes Booth in the Abraham Lincoln Assassination.
2 barrel Remington derringer

The term derringer is a genericized misspelling of the last name of Henry Deringer, a famous 19th-century maker of small pocket pistols. Many copies of the original Philadelphia Deringer pistol were made by other gun makers worldwide, and the name was often misspelled; this misspelling soon became an alternate generic term for any pocket pistol, along with the generic phrase palm pistol Deringer's competitors invented and used in their advertising. The original Deringer pistol was a single-shot muzzleloading pistol; with the advent of cartridge firearms, pistols began to be produced in the modern form still known as a derringer.



Magazine of the four-shot COP derringer patent 4,407,085

A derringer is generally the smallest usable handgun of a given caliber. They were frequently used by women, because they are easily concealable in a purse or as a stocking gun. Such weapons designed specifically for women were called "muff pistols", due to their compact size enabling them to be carried in a muff. Derringers are not repeating firearms—repeating mechanisms such as used on semi-automatic handguns or revolvers would add significant bulk to the gun, defeating the purpose. The original cartridge derringers held only a single round, usually a pinfire or rimfire .40 caliber cartridge, with the barrel pivoted sideways on the frame to allow access to the breech for reloading. The famous Remington derringer design doubled the capacity, while maintaining the compact size, by adding a second barrel on top of the first and pivoting the barrels upwards to reload. Each barrel then held one round, and a cam on the hammer alternated between top and bottom barrels. The Remington derringer was in .41 Rimfire caliber and achieved wide popularity. The .41 Rimfire bullet moved very slowly, at about 425 feet per second (a modern .45 ACP travels at 850 feet per second). It could be seen in flight, but at very close range, such as at a casino or saloon card table, it could easily kill. The Remington derringer was sold from 1866 to 1935.

Even with the advent of smaller, higher-powered cartridges made possible by the use of smokeless powder rather than the black powder used in the 19th century and before, the classic Remington design remained popular; a Remington-pattern derringer in .38 Special is still smaller than the most compact .25 ACP semiautomatic, and provides superior terminal ballistic performance to the .25 ACP. While the classic Remington design is a single action, manufacturers have also made double action derringers, including some four-shot models, with the barrels stacked in a 2 x 2 block. The COP 357 Derringer, made in Boise, Idaho, provided four shots of .357 Magnum in a package not much larger than a .25 ACP automatic, and was significantly more compact than a similar revolver. The COP derringer was invented by Robert Hillberg and closely resembled his earlier work on insurgency weapons.

A related design, often grouped with derringers since it fits no other standard classification, is the Semmerling pistol. It is a five-shot, .45 ACP pistol with a manual repeater: the barrel mechanism is manually pulled forward to eject the fired round, then pushed back to chamber the next round. These pistols were originally built for the United States Army, and the few available on the civilian market are highly sought after due to their unique combination of high power, large capacity, and tiny size. Another military pistol that is truly a derringer design is the FP-45 Liberator, a .45 ACP insurgency weapon dropped behind Axis lines in World War II.

The Remington derringer design is still in manufacture as of 2010. Bond Arms, Cobra Arms and American Derringer all manufacture the over/under derringer in a variety of calibers from .22 long rifle to .45 Long Colt. The current production of derringers are used by Cowboy Action Shooting reenactors as well as a concealed-carry weapon. It is the smallest handgun that is capable of handling the largest ammunition. Some favor the derringer as a concealed carry weapon because of its size as well as the swiftness of putting it into action. Critics believe it is not an adequate weapon for self-defense since the derringer possesses a two-shot capacity.

Derringer manufacturing history

Remington Model 95 over-under derringers were manufactured from 1866 until 1935, in several rimfire calibers, the most common of which was .41 rimfire. They were never serially numbered, but were numbered within production batches. Batches apparently went from 500 to 5,000 guns per batch depending on demand. There were 3 trademarks — "E. Remington & Sons, Ilion, NY", "Remington Arms Co.", and "Remington-UMC". The 1st model derringer had a hollow rather than skeleton butt and no extractor. It was marked "E. Remington & Sons, Ilion, NY". The 2nd had a skeleton butt but no extractor and the same trademark. The 3rd model had a 2-part extractor and same trademark. The 4th model had a one piece extractor and all 3 trademarks.

Remington went bankrupt in 1881. In 1883 the assets were bought by Hartley & Graham of New York, a major firearms wholesaler. Hartley & Graham renamed the company Remington Arms Co. and marked all Remington firearms with that trademark until 1910. In 1910 Hartley & Graham merged Remington with Union Metallic Cartridge Company and changed the trademark to "Remington-UMC". In 1921 Hartley & Graham sold Remington and UMC to the DuPont company. DuPont separated Remington and UMC and marked all Remington weapons except the derringer with Remington Arms Co. The derringer continued to be marked Remington-UMC until production ceased in 1935.

Hollow-butt derringers were made only in 1866. Skeleton butt without extractor from 1866-67. Two part extractor thru '69. One part extractor thereafter. Derringers with one part extractors marked E. Remington & Sons, Ilion, NY—1870-1881. Remington Arms Co. mark—1883-1910. Remington-UMC—1910-1935.  

Philadelphia Deringer

A Philadelphia Deringer is a small percussion handgun designed by Henry Deringer (1786–1868) and produced from 1852 through 1868. A popular concealed carry handgun of the era, this pocket pistol design was widely copied by competitors, sometimes down to the markings. Over time, the common misspelling "derringer" that was used on copies of Deringer's design has come to refer to any small-sized, usually large-caliber handgun that is neither a semi-automatic pistol nor a revolver.

For loading a Philadelphia Deringer, one would typically fire a couple of percussion caps on the handgun, to dry out any residual moisture contained in the tube or at the base of the barrel, to prevent a subsequent misfire. One would then remove the remains of the last fired percussion cap and place the handgun on its half-cock notch, pour 15 to 25 grains of blackpowder down the barrel, followed by ramming a patched lead ball down onto the powder, being very careful to leave no air gap between the patched ball and the powder, to prevent the handgun from exploding when used. (The purpose of the patch on the ball was to keep the ball firmly lodged against the powder, to avoid creating what was called a "short start" when the ball was dislodged from being firmly against the powder.) A new percussion cap would then be placed on the tube (what today would be called a nipple), and the gun was then loaded and ready to fire. (The half-cock notch prevented the hammer from falling if the trigger were bumped accidentally while carrying the handgun in one's coat pocket.) Then, to fire the handgun, a user would fully cock the hammer, aim, and squeeze the trigger. Upon a misfire, the user could fully re-cock the hammer, and attempt to fire the handgun once more, or, equally common, switch to a second Deringer. Accuracy was highly variable; although front sights were common, rear sights were less common, and some Philadelphia Deringers had no sights at all, being intended for point and shoot use instead of aim and shoot, across Poker-table distances. Professional gamblers, and others who carried regularly, often would fire and reload daily, to decrease the chance of a misfire upon needing to use a Philadelphia Deringer.

A common magician trick from this era called the "bullet catch" was commonly done with a Philadelphia Deringer without applying a patch on the lead ball. The magician would, with great fanfare, go through the motions of pouring a small amount of blackpowder down the barrel, followed by inserting a very light overpowder wad, and by then dropping an intentionally-undersized lead ball down the barrel, unpatched, after showing it carefully to the audience, and placing a cap on the tube. Prior to handing the gun to another person, the magician would tip the Philadelphia Deringer, causing the lead ball to drop into a closed palm. The accomplice or a volunteer from the audience would then aim the Philadelphia Deringer at the magician, squeeze the trigger, the gun would fire, a large cloud of blackpowder smoke would appear, and the magician would, with great fanfare, have "caught" a bullet out of the air, holding the palmed bullet between his fingers. The trick was highly dangerous, as the overpowder could kill at short distances, and a real bullet or other small object, could be dropped down the barrel before the handgun was fired, for a volunteer or accomplice intent on malice.

Currier and Ives depiction of Lincoln's assassination with a Philadelphia Deringer. L-to-r: Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, and John Wilkes Booth

Henry Deringer's production records, and contemporaneous records of his imitators, indicate that these pistols were almost always sold in matching pairs. (A typical price was $15 to $25 for a pair, with silver-inlaid and engraved models selling at higher prices.) The choice of buying a pair, in part, was to compensate for the limited power of a single-shot, short-barreled pistol, and to compensate for a design considerably less reliable than subsequent cartridge derringer designs. Original Deringers are almost never found still in their matched pairs today.

Initially popular with military officers, the Deringer became widely popular among civilians who wished to own a small and easily concealable pistol for self defense.

In total, approximately 15,000 Deringer pistols were manufactured. All were single barrel pistols with back action percussion locks, typically .41" rifled bores, and walnut stocks. Barrel length varied from 1.5" to 6", and the hardware was commonly a copper-nickel alloy known as "German silver". (The back action lock was a later, improved design among locks, which had its spring and mechanism located behind the hammer, where it was thereby protected from dirt, fired cap residue, and gunpowder residue unlike earlier front action locks that had their springs and mechanism located directly in the path of such residue in front of the hammer, under the tube.)

Because of their small size and easy availability, Deringers sometimes had the dubious reputation of being a favored tool of assassins. The single most famous Deringer used for this purpose was fired by John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Booth's Deringer was unusual in that the rifling twisted counterclockwise (left-handed twist), rather than the typical clockwise twist used on most Philadelphia Deringers.

See also

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Derringer — Der Deringer von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Derringer — Der rin*ger, n. [From the American inventor.] A kind of short barreled pocket pistol, of very large caliber, often carrying a half ounce ball. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • derringer — 1850, for Henry Deringer (1786 1868), U.S. gunsmith who invented it in the 1840s; prevailing misspelled form is how his name appeared on the many counterfeits and imitations. A small pistol with a large bore, very effective at short range [OED] …   Etymology dictionary

  • derringer — ☆ derringer [der′in jər ] n. [after Henry Deringer 1786 1868, U.S. gunsmith] a small, short barreled pistol …   English World dictionary

  • Derringer — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Derringer est une marque d arme à feu, Derringer est un groupe de musique dont le leader est Rick Derringer. Catégorie : Homonymie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Derringer —    Henry Deringer (1786 1868) was a successful manufacturer of squirrel rifles in Philadelphia, the city in which he was born. The rifles worked so well that the demand for them became nationwide. Deringer then turned his talents to the… …   Dictionary of eponyms

  • derringer —    The generic term applied to many variations of pocket size pistols, either percussion or cartridge, made by manufacturers other than Henry Derringer, up to present time …   Forensic science glossary

  • Derringer (album) — Derringer Studio album by Derringer Released 1976 …   Wikipedia

  • Derringer (groupe) — Rick Derringer Pour les articles homonymes, voir Derringer. Richard Zehringer, dit Rick Derringer, né le 5 août 1947 à Fort Recovery dans l Ohio, est un guitariste chanteur et compositeur américain de blues et de rock. Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Derringer (disambiguation) — A derringer is a type of pistol. Derringer or Deringer may also refer to: People Henry Deringer (1786–1868), gunsmith John Derringer, broadcaster Nancy Nall Derringer, journalist Paul Derringer (1906–1987), baseball player Rick Derringer (born… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”