Military Review

Galan: the man and the revolver

27
Galan: the man and the revolver
Revolver "Galan". World Illustration, No. 39, 1869


Forget about a thousand comrades,
And hundreds of other chimeras
You will never find a friend,
Than your combat revolver!

He was only lying in his pocket,
In the final decisive hour
You will never be deceived
He will never betray you!
(Adam Lindsay Gordon - Australian poet and politician)

Weapon and firms. Finally, the turn came to Galan's revolver. Many people asked me to tell about it, but what to tell? Do not rewrite the book of V.E. Markevich? But the stars converged, so you can tell about him, and show in all forms, and at the same time clarify the same Markevich. Well, we will start our story traditionally - with the biography of the creator of this original revolver. Charles-François René Galan was a French citizen (1832-1900), although he worked in Liege. His son Rene continued his father's business and was engaged in weapons until 1942. It was considered a major European manufacturer of revolvers - both civil and military. From 1873 he actively competed with the Chamelo-Delvin firm. He became famous for his revolver "Galan", which is also sometimes called "Galan-Sommerville" or "Galan-Perrin" by the name of the cartridge used with the "big hat".


Revolver "Galan" model 1870, 11 mm caliber. Photo by Alain Daubresse

In the 70s of the XIX century, among the designers-revolvers there was a trend to create models with fast discharge. The direction here was set by Smith and Wesson with their numerous models, and everyone was especially impressed by the purchase of their revolver by the Russian government and, of course, the huge orders that followed. Many, in particular the firm "Mervyn and Hubert", tried to create something better and "seduce" the tsarist government with their development, but until 1895 no one except Leon Nagant succeeded.

But it was Charles Galan's revolvers that became hardly the first sample of weapons that had "automatic discharge", only they entered service not for the army, but ... for the Russian naval fleet... And they took them into service almost simultaneously with the Smith and Wesson revolver!


Revolver "Galan" caliber 9 mm, also double-acting. Photo by Alain Daubresse

And it so happened that by order No. 33 of March 12, 1871, given by the manager of the naval department of the Russian Empire, this revolver, with some changes that were made at the direction of Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich, was adopted by the Russian fleet under the name of the "boarding revolver pistol sample of 1870 ". The revolvers were initially supposed to be purchased in Belgium. And then their release was to be carried out at the arms factory of Nikolai Ivanovich Goltyakov in Russia (about this moment in stories of this revolver will be discussed later). But, be that as it may, the revolver was adopted for service and for some time and in some quantity was used in our fleet!


Diagram of the Galan revolver device

For a number of indicators, it was a very advanced weapon at that time: a revolver with an open frame and double action, patented in 1868. The main "highlight" of the design was the lever located under the body of the revolver and combined with the trigger guard. To release the chambers of the revolver drum from spent cartridges, it was required to press the above lever and lower it down. At the same time, the barrel of the revolver moved forward, but the extractor plate was blocked and remained in place. At the same time, the barrel itself continued its movement, as a result of which the sleeves, held by the extractor plate, were removed from the drum and fell to the ground. Instead, new cartridges could be inserted, and the lever moved back, after which the revolver was loaded and ready to fire.


Drawing of a revolver "Galan" in a "luxurious performance"

The cartridges in the revolver were used in different calibers: 7, 9 and especially 11-12 mm. The first examples of the revolver were produced in the UK at the ammunition factory in Birmingham, which was led by Brandlin and Sommerville (hence its second name!). But from October 1868, the production of the revolver was organized in Liege. This revolver became a great success in France, where, before the inevitability of a conflict with a German neighbor, the officers were simply fascinated by it and bought at their own expense. The civilian market also did not remain indifferent. It sold a 12 mm and 9 mm caliber revolver (the so-called "belt revolver"). Moreover, not only Galan himself was engaged in the production of the revolver, but also the enterprise of Vivario Plomber, the Varnan company and the Nagan brothers, and the Goltyakov workshop in Tula in 1878. The Romanian army also ordered Galan revolvers.


The same revolver in reality. Handsome, isn't it? Here you have a notch in gold and ivory ... Photo by Alain Daubresse


And this is how he looked at the time of reloading. Photo by Alain Daubresse

To France after the war of 1870-1871. it was decided to introduce a new revolver into service, and Galan decided to take part in the competition announced by the Ministry of War. At first he decided to offer the army an improved version of his 1868 model, but the military wanted a closed-frame revolver. Under this requirement, Galan created in 1872 (patents dated February 28, June 24 and September 24 of this year) a very simple but elegant revolver, which, however, turned out to be more expensive than Chamelo-Delvin, who won this competition. There are two known (extremely rare) models of this revolver: one is designed for traditional ammunition with a massive head, the other for 11-mm Chamelo-Delvin cartridges. The second type of this revolver is no less rare, also with two barrels: one for 11-mm Galan cartridges, the other for 11-mm Chamelo-Delvin.


A very rare model from 1872. Photo by Alain Daubresse

Having failed with the army, Galan turned to the civilian market and launched his TUE-TUE (Kill-Kill) hammerless revolver on it in 1892/1893. It turned out to be so successful that it was produced until about 1935 under the 8 mm cartridge of 1892. By the way, at the VO this revolver was described in detail in the article “Galand Tué Tué Revolver».

As for the fate of Galan's revolvers in the Russian Imperial Navy, the situation here was as follows: in 1874, Smith and Wesson's revolvers also began to arrive at the fleet, and they were already in the early 1880s. began to gradually, but steadily supplant "Galan". Operating experience has shown that from the point of view of design perfection, neither one nor the other has serious advantages over each other, but preference still needs to be given to the Smith and Wesson revolver due to the "technical and economic" conveniences that result from the use of a sample that is the same as army. In 1881, the Grand Duke Constantine expressed his consent to the acquisition of Smith and Wesson revolvers for the fleet and the suspension of orders for Galan revolvers. Nevertheless, the "Galans" finally ceased to be used in the Russian fleet only at the very beginning of the twentieth century.


This photo clearly shows the extractor plate in the reload position. Photo by Alain Daubresse

A number of specialists, including V.E. Markevich, among the shortcomings of this revolver is the relatively weak cartridge of the 450-caliber central battle. Now, they say, if it were an English revolver cartridge, then with the same caliber it would be a much more powerful and constructively perfect weapon compared to the same English revolver of Adams!


Diagram from John Thomas patent

However, the main, so to speak, "competitor" of Galan in the sense of exploiting the idea of ​​an advanced barrel was a certain John Thomas, who lived in Birmingham in 1879-1883. He worked as a foreman at Tipping & Lowden, a revolver manufacturer. It was there that he “dawned”, and as a result, on March 13, 1869, he received an English patent No. 779 for his “revolver with automatic ejection of cartridges”, and then registered it in Belgium, in Brussels. On May 31, 1869, under No. 25565, he received another patent for an improved model of his revolver.


The exterior of Thomas's revolver. Photo by Alain Daubresse

In his revolver, he abandoned the lower lever, and provided the barrel with a handle. With its help, the barrel was rotated (for this a spiral groove was made on it) half a turn up, disengaged from the frame and moved forward along with the drum. At the same time, the star-shaped extractor was pulled out of the drum and at the same time threw out all empty cases from it.


Revolver Thomas with rotated barrel and extractable casings. Photo by Alain Daubresse

It should be noted that there is also a fuse on the left side under the trigger and the Abadi door (on the right side), which folds back to load ammunition.


Revolver Thomas and next to his cartridge. Photo by Alain Daubresse

However, he was late with his revolver. Like Galan. The Smith and Wesson system supplanted both of these revolvers.

PS Photos of the revolvers courtesy of Alain Daubresse, author of www.littlegun.be.

To be continued ...
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27 comments
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  1. Hunter 2
    Hunter 2 13 January 2021 18: 07
    +14
    Well And Great ... the second evening in a row, a high-quality article about Weapons from Vyacheslav Olegovich, Thank you!
    I congratulate everyone on the upcoming Old New Year! From SW. Alexei. drinks
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 13 January 2021 18: 43
      +13
      Hello everyone! Vyacheslav Olegovich has pleased us again !!! Especially after reading the postscript "to be continued ..." pleases me!
      I join in congratulating Alexey! For more than a century we have been celebrating the "old - New Year"! drinks
      1. Crowe
        Crowe 13 January 2021 19: 08
        +14
        I was also interested in the phrase "to be continued ..." It seems that the topic has been thoroughly disclosed (unless it can be added that before the Navy, Galan revolvers were also supplied for the Russian border guard. However, this fact is practically not mentioned anywhere now, unless by Rolf Müller in the book "Geschichte und Technik der europaischen Militarrevolver") and, as always, is qualitatively illustrated, the more curious it will be to get acquainted with the continuation ...
        1. Mordvin 3
          Mordvin 3 13 January 2021 19: 24
          +12
          Quote: Crowe
          that before the navy, Galan revolvers were also supplied to the Russian border guards.

          I'll stick in Galan and Colt, even though the lousy photos, but my own. Petra Goltyakova.
          1. kalibr
            14 January 2021 07: 09
            +3
            Quote: Mordvin 3
            Petra Goltyakova.

            So you photographed it in the Tula Museum of Weapons?
            1. Mordvin 3
              Mordvin 3 14 January 2021 08: 51
              +2
              Quote: kalibr
              So you photographed it in the Tula Museum of Weapons?

              Yes, back in the USSR.
              1. kalibr
                14 January 2021 10: 00
                +5
                Well, the next article will be about Goltyakov ...
        2. kalibr
          13 January 2021 19: 34
          +19
          Quote: Crowe
          as always well illustrated, the more curious it will be to get acquainted with the continuation ...
          I just finished writing a sequel and it turned out to be very interesting. Only the text itself, without signatures under the photo, more than 9000 characters! And the photos are just unique! Some...
    2. kalibr
      13 January 2021 19: 37
      +16
      And you and all the visitors of the VO - Happy New Year, old, and all the best in the new year!
      1. Alien From
        Alien From 14 January 2021 00: 41
        +6
        And Vyacheslav Olegovich with the come! Health, kindness, creative success! drinks hi
  2. Dimide
    Dimide 13 January 2021 19: 02
    +8
    Interesting design solutions for the extraction of spent cartridges.
    I join in the congratulations of the previous speakers!
    1. Dimide
      Dimide 13 January 2021 19: 15
      +7
      Vyacheslav Olegovich, an article about "Nagan" and why will it be adopted?
      1. kalibr
        13 January 2021 19: 35
        +11
        Quote: Dimid
        Vyacheslav Olegovich, an article about "Nagan" and why will it be adopted?

        Of course, now I am collecting material on this topic. But the next 5-6 articles will not be devoted to this topic, that's for sure!
        1. Dimide
          Dimide 13 January 2021 20: 07
          +5
          Thank you, "we'll wait" hi
  3. Undecim
    Undecim 13 January 2021 20: 12
    +11
    The first examples of the revolver were produced in the UK at the ammunition factory in Birmingham, which was led by Brandlin and Sommerville (hence its second name!). But from October 1868, the production of the revolver was organized in Liege.
    Several clarifications. A. Sommerville is a co-inventor of the extractor design as indicated in revolver patent # 3039.
    The revolvers, which were manufactured by the British firm "Braendlin, Sommerville & Co" and became known under the designation "Galand Sommerville", are structurally different from those that were later produced in Belgium as Galand M 1868
    The main difference is the "Galand Sommerville" locking lever is located under the barrel and is not combined with the trigger guard.
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 13 January 2021 20: 19
      +13
      And there was also a "sports" option for hunting.
      1. kalibr
        13 January 2021 21: 17
        +7
        The photo was of poor quality ...
      2. Hunter 2
        Hunter 2 14 January 2021 09: 32
        +3
        In general, the use of the Revolver on the hunt, as a "last chance" Weapon, is quite justified! The only question is in weight and dimensions, from the photo it is not entirely clear the device of its butt and dimensions. If there is more information about the hunting option - please share hi .
        1. Undecim
          Undecim 14 January 2021 10: 30
          +7

          Butt device.
          Revolvers Galand Sportsmen Revolver were produced with a barrel of 203 mm and 124 mm. Caliber - 12 mm. Weight - up to 1,3 kg.
          1. Hunter 2
            Hunter 2 14 January 2021 10: 40
            +3
            Thank you so much! The very scheme of attaching a folding butt - I was interested in it! Quite a Last Chance Revolver! hi
            1. Undecim
              Undecim 14 January 2021 11: 10
              +6
              By the way, the title of the article "Galan: Man and Revolver" is somewhat incorrect, since Galan designed and produced not only revolvers, but also pistols.

              Target pistol - kipplauf, Galand, Belgium, circa 1880.
              High quality artistic finish.
              1. Hunter 2
                Hunter 2 14 January 2021 11: 19
                +2
                Quote: Undecim

                Target pistol - kipplauf, Galand, Belgium, circa 1880.
                High quality artistic finish.

                Quite a sports model of the nineteenth century! Maybe at major competitions somewhere he appeared, for example, at the Olympic Games in 1896. Can you tell me the caliber?
                1. Undecim
                  Undecim 14 January 2021 11: 31
                  +3
                  Caliber - .22. The cartridge - it is necessary to clarify.
  4. Normal ok
    Normal ok 14 January 2021 00: 19
    +2
    Thank you so much for this series of articles on revolvers. As an amateur (not a pro) I knew some samples before. I even held something in my hands. But, what I read - expanded the horizons.
  5. Vladimir_2U
    Vladimir_2U 14 January 2021 04: 24
    +3
    It looks like a meat grinder with incomplete disassembly, only the holes are larger, for coarse minced meat, from people! wassat
  6. gorenina91
    gorenina91 14 January 2021 12: 00
    +3
    Forget about a thousand comrades,
    And hundreds of other chimeras
    You will never find a friend,
    Than your combat revolver!

    He was only lying in his pocket,
    In the final decisive hour
    You will never be deceived
    He will never betray you!

    - What a wonderful epigraph !!!
    - In Akunin's "State Councilor" there is one Temka, where Prince Pozharsky more than once demonstrates a device that is fixed on his arm, under his sleeve; which, with a sharp wave, brings out a small pistol; who (according to Pozharsky himself) ... - allegedly saved his life more than once ... - At the same time, Pozharsky praised the British ... - I would like to know ... - is this pistol so good ... - such a pistol (Pozharsky does not report the brand of this pistol) ...
    - And Fandorin himself ... - also had some kind of elaborate revolver "Gerstal" ... - someone can say something about this weapon ...
    - As for the Galan revolver ... - I personally didn't like it ... - Some levers (is it a Winchester, or what?) ... - And then, if you shoot twice (don't shoot the whole drum ); then you can accidentally throw away all the whole cartridges ...
    - And then the revolver was so good that it did not throw out the shot cartridges when the shooting was carried out (and this is clear evidence) ... - And this "Galan", when reloading ... - all the cartridges fly apart ...
    1. kalibr
      15 January 2021 12: 33
      +2
      "Gerstal" - reads Herstalle. But the revolver of the literary Fandorin (Gerstal-Agent) is a fiction. He didn't really exist! Most likely it is "Bulldog". Galan did not throw out whole cartridges. The bullets remained in the drum and therefore did not fall out!