N.P. Ames
Model 1842

U.S. Navy Model 1842 .54 Caliber
Date: November, 1843

The Ames .54 Caliber pistol was the U.S. Governments first contract to supply the percussion pistol.  The barrel and side plate are both marked U.S.N. and 1843 for the year of production.  The barrel also has the JCB (Joseph C. Bragg) inspectors marking with a P for proof. Ames production was approximately 3,800* of which all were delivered to the Navy by September of 1845. All Ames manufactured pistols are dated 1842, 1843, 1844 or 1845.

This pistol was probably delivered in November of 1843 to the Boston Navy Yard. The original contract date was September 1st, 1842 at a price of $5.00 each this would then be followed by two more contracts which were dated March 23rd, 1843 and September 1st, 1844.

The Model 1842 served in both the Mexican War in 1846 and the U.S. Civil War in 1861. U.S. Civil War inventories show the Ames Model 1842 was in the inventory of 30+ ships at the conclusion. Its in fair to good condition and is still functional. There are also pistols marked USR and these are of the cutter service, it is not known how many were produced.

*Other publications have stated Ames production at 2,000 pistols. Based on procurement numbers published by John D. McAulay I believe the 2000 to be low.

Left Profile

Right Profile

Barrel mark

Top view

Side plate

Brass barrel band


Front sight


From the collection
of T. Moore

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