Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Strange, Savage bullet

Hey everyone!  I got out yesterday to do some detecting, starting out at a new site.  I was looking for a larger camp, but it doesn't appear to be on my target property and I'll have to keep searching.  In fact, I didn't have much to show for my first half of the trip.  Just some modern rubbish, and iron fence wire.  I did get one signal that sounded great - a nice deeper low tone.  I dug it up, hoping for a Civil War bullet.  What I found was this odd looking bullet, that appeared in the field to be some sort of older (but still relatively modern) rifle slug.  Still, something stuck out to me about it, and I stuck it in my pocket.  It's shown here next to a standard 58 caliber bullet.

Later that evening I attended the monthly meeting of the Northern Virginia Relic Hunters Association.  I had actually forgotten about the weird little bullet, but pulled it out with a few other finds that were in my pouch from the second half of the day (more on this later).  "Can anyone tell me about this one?" I asked, holding it up.  "Post War?"

The replies came quick from some of the real veterans in the room - that's a Civil War bullet, and a pretty good one at that.  It was meant to be fired from a Savage revolver, a gun that was as odd looking as the projectile.

The Savage was named for one of the two designers of the weapon, Henry North and Edward Savage.  It had a very small production run, from 1860-1862, with only 20,000 total units produced.  These were purchased by both the Federal army and navy, as well as individual sales, and some did end up in the hands of Confederate forces.  The most unique feature of the Savage is the double trigger design, a sort of hybrid between single and double action firearms.  One trigger was used to advance the cylinder and cock the gun, and the second to fire.  Despite the potential advantages to this design, it was not adopted in great numbers due to somewhat unnatural cocking mechanism and significantly lower cost of Colt and other revolvers.

Finding bullets for this gun is not common - this was my first, and unless I can locate some more on a return to that site, I may never find another.  I feel very blessed to have recovered this one!  I also had another great find yesterday, but I will write that up as a second post here in a day or so.  Thanks for reading, and happy hunting!

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