Tranter Model 1878 Revolver, .450 Boxer

British War Department Marked

The Tranter revolver was adopted by the British Government as “Pistol, Revolver B.L. Tranter Interchangeable (MKI)” in the List of Changes No. 3567 of 19 July 1978. It was the first domestically made interchangeable parts revolver adopted by Great Britain. This purchase was due to a shortage of revolvers and Adams inability to meet supply with the Adams MkIII revolver. An initial supply of 2000 was ordered but this order was suspended later in 1878. Very few were believed to have entered service. Typically, these revolvers will have inspection markings, a W^D (war department) over 1 marking, an acceptance date (2.79, 3.79, 4.79 are known and sometimes a sale mark (opposing broad arrows). Many were also purchased by New Zealand and are found with N80Z markings.

This example has the following markings:

1) Left side frame marked W^D over 1.

2) Right side frame marked with proof mark, 1230 and W. TRANTER PATENT

3) Marked with serial number 1230 on side of frame, cylinder pin, ejector rod lever, underside of barrel, face of cylinder, inside loading gate, inside ejector rod housing, inside grip, on frame under grip

4) Top of barrel marked with British proofs and a faint 450

5) Crown over BR over 17 marked on underside of grip frame

6) Crown over BR over 2? marked on underside of barrel

7) Both sides of grip marked with Crown over BR over 17

8) Lower left side of grip marked 1882

9) On frame underneath grip is marked JW or TW

A survey of 70 Tranter Model 1878 revolvers reveals the following:

1) The lowest serial number observed is SN: 11.

2) The earliest revolvers are marked with a British War Department W^D over I on the left forward frame, an issue date (eg 2.79 for February 1879) on the left frame just above the grip, and  Crown/BR/17 stamped on either grip. Many also show a Sold Out of Service mark.

3) The last observed issue date is 4.79 (April 1879) on revolver SN: 365.

4) The last observed revolver with the British War Department WD over I mark is SN: 1491.

5) The first revolver marked with the New Zealand N80Z marking is SN: 1293 and the highest is SN: 3334. These New Zealand revolvers also show a crown/BR/18 mark on the upper grip.

6) Between SN: 3769 and SN: 3889 are a number of revolvers marked with the retailer name of V & R Blakemore, London. These guns usually show a C.M.R. (Cape Mounted Rifles) mark on the frame and often a Crown over 3 mark under the barrel which is thought to indicate use in the British colony of Basutoland (Now the African kingdom of Lesotho).

7) The highest serial number observed is SN: 4536.


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