Savage & North “Figure 8” Revolver

Designed and patented in 1856 by Henry North (the grandson of company founder Simeon North), approximately 450 of these revolvers were made between 1856 and 1859. A first prototype was sent to the Washington Arsenal for examination in June 1856, and its successful testing led to an Ordnance Department order for 100 more. These were delivered in June 1857, and additional orders would follow. In 1859, the company was reorganized as the Savage Revolving Fire Arms Company (Henry North had been an employee, but not a partner) and the design was improved to what is today known as the Savage Navy revolver. These would prove much more successful, with about 24,000 produced during the Civil War.

The Figure 8 has an interesting action which allows rapid fire without altering the shooting grip, unlike the contemporary Colt designs. It also has a cylinder that cams forward and back, to seal against the barrel when firing. It has a six shot cylinder, caliber .36, with a 7 1/8 inch long barrel and a weight of 3 pounds and 6 ounces.

Savage Navy revolver:


  1. Ok so no connections whatsoever with Arthur Savage, of savage 99 and radial tyre fame?

  2. When you rotate the cylinder, is it possible to fire the weapon by maintaining pressure on the trigger? It looks like it would be easy to fire a second shot without intending to.

    • I think it is not possible or must be avoid due to mechanical reasons.
      I think if the lever and the trigger pulled together, the cock fires the gun in the lever’s rear position.
      The lever must be moved its forward position. In this position the toggle locks the cylinder in its forward position; and the the bores of the cylinder and the barrel are perfectly aligned and locked together to avoid the cylinder’s rotation.

      See Eon’s comment [Collier Flintlock Revolvers → November 9, 2016 at 9:13 PM]:
      “Over the years, a lot of Savage-Norths have been wrecked internally by people who thought they worked just like the double-trigger Tranter.
      That officer would really have hated the Savage-North. It had to be operated like the Tranter in “single-action” mode every time. First pull the ring trigger to operate the cylinder and hammer, then pull the front firing trigger to sear it off.
      If you pulled both together, you stood a good chance of breaking the internal parts. Literally.”

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