You may not recognize the name, Massachusetts Arms Company, but I bet you recognize the players –Smith, Wesson, Stevens, and Ames. This company was affiliated with many men who became historically significant firearms manufacturers. And this powerhouse team posed a threat to Sam Colt’s monopoly on the revolver market.
The first firearm they made was based on a pistol from Edwin Wesson (Daniel Wesson’s brother). The Wesson & Leavitt Belt Revolver was a smaller version of the Dragoon offered at the same time between 1850 and 1851. Only about 1,000 of these .31 caliber six-shot revolvers were produced until Sam Colt sued and won a patent infringement case against the company.
After the lawsuit, they altered their side arms to incorporate the Maynard priming system in order to avoid further litigation. These firearms however did not see mainstream popularity. Nevertheless, it’s unique to see an early iteration of a company that was affiliated with so many big names and went head on with Sam Colt’s Revolver dynasty.
_To see the previous Gun of the Week—William Harnett and the Faithful Colt, 1890—__click here. Stay tuned for a new gun next Wednesday. For more information, check out the Cody Firearms Museum page here, or follow the Cody Firearms Museum on Facebook and Twitter._