Tranter Military Revolvers

List of Military Marked Tranter Model 1868 & 1878 Revolvers

British War Department marked Tranter revolvers are some of the rarest of all British Military revolvers. The two tables below detail examples of these revolvers that have come to my attention over the past few years. I've found reference to these in books, auction catalogues, websites, chatrooms, museums, gun shows, and private collections. Where possible I've included details of serial numbers, military markings, as well as general notes.

Much of the data in these tables as been sourced from the Firearms Technology Museum database. An invaluable source of information on all things Tranter. I highly recommend it.

Tranter Model 1868 Revolvers

In March 1879 the British War Department made an emergency purchase of about 235 commercial Tranter Model 1868 revolvers. This was in response to the Anglo Zulu war in southern Africa as well as supply problems with the official issue Adams Mark III revolver. These are all 6 shot double action revolvers chambered in the .450CF cartridge. They are found marked on the right frame with a war department W^D stamp, an acceptance date 3.79 (March 1879), and a strange mark of CS over A. This marking is not fully understood. Many also show the sold out of service mark. Most revolvers are in the 56.000 to 60,000 serial number range,

Tranter Model 1878 Revolvers

This revolver was adopted by the British War Department as “Pistol, Revolver B.L. Tranter Interchangeable (MKI)” in the List of Changes No. 3567 of 19 July 1978.  This adoption of this type was due to a high demand for revolvers and Adams inability to meet supply with the Adams MkIII revolver. An initial quantity of 2000 was ordered by the War Department but the order was suspended in mid 1879. Military marked examples show a War Department (W^D) stamp over 1, inspection marks (Crown/BR/17) and often an acceptance date (2.79, 3.79, 4.79) and often sold out of service marks.

Very few appear to have been officially issued to the War Department and the majority seem to have been later sold to the colonial New Zealand government. I've made note of all the Model 1878 revolvers I've encountered, regardless of whether they have War Department, colonial or even commercial markings.


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