First Model

Spiller & Burr #13.

Only twelve of this first lot were delivered to the C.S. Government in December 1862. This is the only known specimen from the lot.

Barrel Stamping.

Apparently only a fraction of the total revolvers produced had the barrel stamped with the "Spiller & Burr" name. Also, a barrel stamping did not necessarily indicate whether the revolver was made by the private firm or the C.S. Armory at Macon. Many of the barrels were fabricated and stamped in Atlanta prior to the factory's sale to the Confederate government. This led to many "Macon made" revolvers having a "Spiller & Burr" stamp.

Spiller & Burr, first model, #23.

One of seven accepted by the C. S. government in May 1863. Forty pistols were presented for inspection, but thirty-three of them had major flaws and were condemned. This revolver incorporates Major Downer's recommendations. The catch on the underside of the barrel to hold the loading lever in place was improved. The Whitney revolver and the first Spiller & Burr revolvers utilized a simple ball-spring mechanism. This was altered to a true catch similar to the type used on the Colt revolver. Safety notches on the rear of the cylinder were cut to allow the hammer to rest between each cone if necessary. Originally, only one safety notch was present on the Whitney or Spiller & Burr. The calibre of the revolver was altered slightly to conform to the Confederate standard, which was derived from Colt's pattern. The final change incorporated in this small lot of revolvers was the elimination of the electroplated silver on the brass parts. The brass was left plain, which was considered to have a more long-term pleasing appearance.

Spiller & Burr #23, right sided view.

Second Model

Spiller & Burr #267.

This revolver and all subsequent illustartions of revolvers are considered second model because of the major changes to the lock frame from previously manufactured Spiller & Burrs. Since first model Spiller & Burr revolvers are so rare, the second model examples are more typical of remaining specimens. The change in manufacturing occurred during the summer of 1863, because the lock frames burst during successive firings. M. H. Wright proposed to decrease "the distance from the end of the cylinder to the lock frame in front - so that there would be but slight play between the end of the cylinder and the lock frame, instead of 3/4 of an inch or thereabouts. . . . This would . . . increase the strength . . . of the frame." All revolvers manufactured after May 1863 incorporated this change.

Spiller & Burr #798

Spiller & Burr #882

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Museum of History

Spiller & Burr #1214

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Museum of History

Pair of second model Spiller & Burrs #855 (top) and #29 (bottom)

Close up of "C.S." stamp on Spiller & Burr #726

Photo courtesy of Matthew W. Norman

Exploded view of Spiller & Burr revolver showing all of the parts of the firearm.

Drawing by Robert A. Wiesner

Spiller & Burr Home Page

The Men

Buildings and Places

Revolving Page