The Navel Scene

Mitchel Shore

One of the unknown facts regarding the Centaures relates to the naval scene on their cylinders. Notes Mitch Shore: “We did not like the scene the Belgians had on their Civilian …which was kind of Ormsby style alright but lacked the background and depth! Therefore, these were not satisfactory for the U.S. market.” “Back then my dad and Bill Edwards were good friends with premier firearms restoration expert Tommy Haas. Haas visited regularly, about once per month. Sadly, he passed away a few years ago.”

Adds Field: “They hired him to produce a roll cylinder die with the Ormsby naval scene used on Colt revolvers…which he did. On the first test revolvers the engraving was perfect .The die was then heat treated for hardness and the die shrank 1/1000in so the engraving would not cut deep enough. A new die was then made by Tom Haas

oversized so when it was heat treated it shrank to proper size.”

“Revolvers were ordered from FAUL with the cylinders blank (what we call today 1st variation RNMAs) so the naval scene could be added here on the Centaure pistols.”

Mitch Shore confides: “ And guess who did apply the engraving here in the shop? Me and my brother Scott. We were 10 and 12 years back then. Brought up with guns all our life. And when we had too many cylinders to engrave our mom would help, too…Sometimes we did not correctly adjust the cylinders so the scenes were slightly off or not rolled on perfect…but we did not really care…young boys that we were.”


RNMA 2nd variation “Belgian” roll-engraved naval scene

“My dad sold Haas’s apparatus later to Val Forgett of Navy Arms!”

“FAUL shipped the revolvers wrapped in corrugated cardboard. Therefore, we had nice quality cartons made for them here in Chicago.”

Regarding extra cylinders Leslie Field commented: “I do not recall that we ever sold extra cylinders…but I cannot rule it out either. The only scenario I could think of that a customer would want an extra cylinder is that he uses the engraved one to display his pistol but the blank one when he wants to shoot it.”

Field also provided important background information regarding an early arbor issue: “We received reports of stretched arbors from around mid 1960. They could be traced back to wrong, low grade steel used by the Belgians, due to some misunderstanding or mistranslation of the specs provided by Bill Edwards. Of course, this was corrected by early 1961 with arbors of correct grade steel installed.”

Cylinder #162 with “Shore” roll-engraved scene

“However, we got the Liège Proof House involved to get a better understanding of the situation. They were surprised to learn that the Americans were shooting their Centaures regularly with loads of ca. 25 gr. or more of BP…The Proof House officials were under the impression that these Centaures would be fired once or twice and then used for display purposes only…and consequently had proof tested them only with light BP loads of ca. 13 gr. of BP if I recall correctly.”