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Encyclopedia > Deringer
John Wilkes Booth's Deringer
John Wilkes Booth's Deringer

A Philadelphia Deringer is a small percussion handgun designed by Henry Deringer (1786-1868) and produced from 1852 through 1968. A popular handgun of the era, this design was widely copied by competitors, sometimes down to the markings. Over time, the misspelling "derringer" has come to refer to any small-sized, usually large-caliber handgun that is neither semiautomatic nor a revolver. color version File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... color version File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A handgun is a firearm small enough to be carried and used in one hand. ... Henry Deringer (October 26, 1786 - Unknown, 1868) was an American gunsmith born in Easton, Pennsylvania. ... The term derringer is a genericized misspelling of the last name of Henry Deringer, a famous maker of small pocket pistols in the 1800s. ... The word calibre (British English) or caliber (American English) designates the interior diameter of a tube or the exterior diameter of a wire or rod, also common for handguns. ... A semi-automatic firearm automatically loads a round into the chamber after the weapon is fired, but still requires a trigger pull for each round that is fired. ... The Colt Single Action Army, one of the most popular revolvers of all time A revolver is a multishot firearm, usually a handgun, in which the rounds are held in a revolving cylinder that rotates to fire them through a single barrel. ...


Henry Deringer's production records, and contemporaneous records of his imitators, indicate that these pistols were almost always sold in matching pairs. This was, in part, to compensate for the limited power of a single-shot short-barreled pistol. Original Deringers are almost never found still in their matched pairs today. A Browning 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol Ordnance pistol of the French Navy, 19th century A pistol or handgun is a usually small firearm that can be used with one hand. ...


Initially popular with military officers, the Deringer became widely popular with 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". German silver is an alloy of 45–70% copper, 5–30% nickel, and 8–45% zinc — sometimes small amounts of tin or lead are added. ...


Because of their small size and easy availability, Deringers sometimes had the dubious reputation as 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, although the Booth Deringer was atypical in that the rifling twists left, i.e. counterclockwise -- the typical rifling is a right twist. Jack Ruby murdered the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in a very public manner. ... John Wilkes Booth John Wilkes Booth (May 10, 1838 – April 26, 1865) was an American stage actor and assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865), sometimes called Abe Lincoln and nicknamed Honest Abe, the Rail Splitter, and the Great Emancipator, was the 16th President of the United States (1861 to 1865), and the first president from the Republican Party. ...


External links

  • "The Booth Deringer—Genuine Artifact or Replica?" at FBI.gov
  • Bond Arms - Modern manufacturer of derringers
  • American Derringer - Modern manufacturer of derringers

  Results from FactBites:
 
Deringer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (275 words)
A Philadelphia Deringer is a small percussion handgun designed by Henry Deringer (1786-1868) and produced from 1852 through 1968.
Henry Deringer's production records, and contemporaneous records of his imitators, indicate that these pistols were almost always sold in matching pairs.
The single most famous Deringer used for this purpose was fired by John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, although the Booth Deringer was atypical in that the rifling twists left, i.e.
The Booth Deringer--Genuine Artifact or Replica?, by Schehl and Rosati (Forensic Science Communications, January 2001) (2706 words)
Although the Deringer pistol was somewhat limited by its single-shot capacity, its light weight and small size gave it a distinct advantage over bulkier, unconcealable alternatives, and the limitations of its firing capacity could be circumvented by carrying two pistols, which were sold as pairs for approximately $22 to $25 during that time period.
The Deringer pistol's ubiquity, success, and infamy as a deadly weapon is apparent in its association with a number of prominent California murders that took place during the 1850s, as well as its later use in the assassination of President Lincoln.
Because the age and historical value of the Deringer pistol precluded test firing to obtain rifled bullet samples, the interior of the barrel, breech plug, and flash port of the firearm were cast with Mikrosil, a dental material used to reproduce three-dimensional impressions.
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