Third Model – Cavalry
# 3rd/Cavalry or Wade Hampton Model – Common Characteristics
# Shoulder Stocks
# 1st Variation – Key Features
# 1st Sub-Variation
# Recollections of Contemporary Witness Friedrich Hebsacker
# 2nd Sub-Variation
# 3rd Sub-Variation
# 2nd Variation – Key Features
# 1st Sub-Variation
# 2nd 2 Sub-Variation
# Pricing & Serial Number Ranges
# Another Rumor
|3rd Model||Cavalry or Wade Hampton Model – Common Characteristics|
|Frame||4-screw frame cut for shoulder stock in recoil shield & back-strap
in most specimens the 4th or guiding screws extend out from the frame providing a platform for the attachment of the shoulder stock
|Finish||blue & case hardened (B/CCH)|
|Prefix||“F” before serial number (“F” for four (4) screw frame). They were manufactured from the end of 1960 in a separate block of serial numbers starting with F1.|
|Comments||this model owes its being to the USA’s National Rifle Association’s efforts in amending existing outmoded laws regarding stocked pistols|
This Centaure with shoulder stock and 4-screw frame is dubbed Cavalry Model by many collectors. In the USA some call it Wade Hampton Model after famous C.S. general who is said to have suggested the fluted cylinder design to Sam Colt. Centennial Arms Corporation termed it First Model Centennial Revolver in one of their ads, possibly because the launch was 1961, the centennial of the Civil War.
This variant was the 3rd Centaure model produced by Fabriques d’Armes Unies de Liège (FAUL) in Belgium for Centennial Arms Corp. in Lincolnwood, IL, U.S.A. (CAC) from 1960, after the Regular New Model Army (RNMA) and Civilian Model. CAC marketed it in the U.S.A. from 1961 only, however.
Shoulder Stocks: A detachable shoulder stock usually with matching serial numbers could be had as an accessory with most variants of the Cavalry Model. A few such combos are reported with mismatching stocks.
During April 2011 noted gun collector and FROCS #14 Chain-Fire conducted a test to assess the interchangeability of original Belgian shoulder stocks of 1961/62 and 1971 production, and a Colt shoulder stock of 1977 making, with various Centaure Cavalry and 2 Colt revolvers. The test results for all Centaures and Colts and shoulder stocks are presented in below Excel spreadsheet.
|Colt 2nd gen #208342||Colt 1st gen #4935|
|MADE IN BELGIUM stock – no S/N came with #F472||fits||fits||fits||fits||no fit||no fit||no fit|
|MADE IN BELGIUM stock – no S/N came with #F786||no fit||poor tight fit||fits||poor tight fit||no fit||no fit||poor loose fit|
|MADE IN BELGIUM stock – no S/N came with #F802||no fit||fits||no fit||fits||no fit||no fit||no fit|
came with Centaure #F651
|no fit||fits||fits||no fit||no fit||no fit||no fit|
came with Centaure #F11166
|poor loose fit||poor loose fit||poor loose fit||poor loose fit||fits||poor loose fit||very poor loose fit|
came with Colt Cavalry Commorative
|no fit||no fit||no fit||no fit||no fit||no fit||very poor loose fit|
Chain-Fire’s unexpected conclusions: each stock was hand fitted to the revolver with which it was sold no matter if the serial numbers were matching or not!
According to ads of Centennial Arms Corp. from the early 1960s extra stocks for Cavalry Models and the RNMAs (!) were available. As per Chain-Fire’s findings these stocks would require some fitting when they were to be attached to a 4 screw frame Cavalry pistol. Others found that they would usually work fine with the 3 screw frame RNMAs.
Cavalry Model extra shoulder stock: no serial number on top of butt plate (left) and lower tang (right), note MADE IN BELGIUM mark
Centaure collectors recognize 2 variations of the Cavalry Model today. Specimens of the first variation with 7,5” barrels were manufactured between 1960 and 1963, variants of the second variation with 8” barrels in 1971 only.
|1st Variation||Cavalry Model – Key Features|
|Comments||this version was often delivered with a matching shoulder stock, made for the US market|
A number of pistols of this 1st variation have the mark MADE IN BELGIUM on the butt and on the left side of the barrel lug. This seems to be a regular feature of pistols in the serial number range #F700 to #F1000.
The shoulder stock had its serials with prefix stamped in one line on top of the butt plate and often on the bottom of the tang as well matching the pistol. Yoke and butt plate were made of brass. Some were stamped MADE IN BELGIUM on the left side of the brass of the lower tang.
Cavalry Model #F845 1st variation 2nd sub-variation: barrel marking (left) & lower tang of the shoulder stock MADE IN BELGIUM marking (right)
Today we are aware of 3 sub-variations of this first variation of the Cavalry Model, see details below.
|1st Sub-Variation||Additional Specific Properties of this 1st Variation Cavalry Model|
|Barrel markings||“1960 NEW MODEL ARMY”
“1960 NEW MODEL ARMY” CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK CHICAGO U.S.A.
“1960 NEW MODEL ARMY” CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK
|4th screws||protrude ca. 6 mm/.236 in|
|Comments||majority of Cavalry Models manufactured|
Cavalry #F1 1st variation 1st sub-variation from 1960: rampant centaur logo (left), serial number placement top of butt plate (center), lower tang (right)
Very few Cavalry pistols were sold in display cases with accessories like #F7 and #F993 pictured below left and right.
“Long” guiding or 4th screws were standard with the 1st sub-variation like #F1 above left or #F12 right below.
Cavalry Models #F7 cased with accessories (left), #F993 with Italian accessories (center), #F12 typical “long” 4th screws (right)
All currently known Cavalry Models of the 1stvariation 1st sub-variation were discovered in the USA except for #F82 below. She was sold at German Auction House Hermann Historica a few years back but is believed to be an import from the USA ages ago.
Cavalry Model #F82: custom nickel finish on cylinder & loading lever, note crescent shaped front sight modified by a previous owner
Cavalry Model #F490 with shoulder stock #F400: perfect fit
Like #F490 above #F651 below was found with mismatching stock #F340. After a complete disassembly of these stocks interesting marks were discovered.
#F651 was discovered with stock #F340
Note pencilled “3” under the butt plate and bottom tang mortise, and “3” stamped on inside of brass parts. SILE is stamped on the wood under the butt plate.
Shoulder stock #F340 serial number on bottom tang (left) & butt plate top strap (right)
Shoulder stocks of #F340 & #F400 note 3 SILE marks and pencilled 3 (left); butt plate of #F340 & #F400 note stamp 3 (right)
Bottom tang mortise of#F340 note pencilled 3 (left); yoke of #F340 & #F400 note 3 (right)
Chain-Fire FROCS #14 adds further observations and offers interesting background information regarding F802 (below pics): “The numeric portion of the serial number 802 plus 34 is written in pencil on the wood underneath the butt plate. Additionally, the underlined word SILE is stamped in block letters into the wood.”
“SILE Distributors, Inc. was located in Meriden, CT. Between the late 1950s and mid 1990s they acted as importer for a multitude of foreign firearms and military surplus, were distributor for a host of American firearms companies and marketer of firearms under their own private brand.”
Stock of #F802 note pencilled 802 without prefix F and 34. Stamp SILE could identify SILE as manufacturer of the wood (left), butt plate of #F802 note stamp 34 on inside (right)
“It is also my understanding that SILE was a source for the manufacture of stocks for other firearms manufacturers. So, perhaps FAUL outsourced the manufacture of their shoulder stocks to SILE.”
“This might make sense given the fact that shoulder stocks were produced in limited numbers. Therefore, rather than tool up for a limited run of shoulder stocks, perhaps SILE did the work and during the manufacturing process they applied their logo stamp to the butt…”
Recollections of Contemporary Witness Friedrich Hebsacker: You learn something new every day you are dealing with Centaures. Got a phone call from Friedrich Hebsacker of Schwäbisch Hall, Germany July 8, 2010. Hebsacker is another member of the first generation of the replica industry, founder of famous HEGE firearms company in Germany. He knew both Edwards and Shore since the late 1950s. Here is his explanation how SILE was working with FAUL back in the days: “The parent company of SILE Inc. in the USA was the Italian manufacturer SILE in Brescia. They were an internationally recognized maker of gun stocks for many gun makers the world over.”
“Among others they supplied FAUL with the wooden shoulder stocks for their cavalry models. Roughly cut and shaped stocks were ordered by the Belgians in Brescia. SILE would ship them to Liège were they were fitted and mated to their respective yokes and butt plates, and finished.”
Bottom tang mortise of #F802 note pencilled 802 without prefix F, and 34 (left), yoke of #F802 note stamp 34 on inside (right)
The “3” of #F340 and #F400, or the “34” of #F802 stamped on the inside of yoke and butt plate and pencilled in the wood then could be some kind of assembly number …
Adds FROCS #10 Dr. Jim April 17, 2011: “I speculate that these were assembly numbers when they were putting the stocks together. Leslie Field (former manager at the Shore companies Mars Equipment Corp. and Centennial Arms Corp.) told me that he always wondered how they got such close fit of the wood and metal until he was able to watch this being done at the factory.”
“He said they started with in-letted oversize stocks and literally hammered the stock onto the metal, cut off the excess wood, and finished them.”
“This would definitely (have) required some identification of the parts since each was pretty much a set that would not interchange with another without more fitting.”
Did I tell you that you have to be prepared for surprises when you deal with Centaures? Feb. 14, 2011 was the day when below #F1000 was brought to my attention. The current owner FROCS #97 Old Man Young had inherited her a couple of years ago NIB but without the original box. She is well maintained, was never fired or played with.
The first owner was an avid and very knowledgeable collector by the name of Dr. Leon Michelle from Swampscott, Mass. Michelle was a very close friend of Sig Shore of Shore Galleries. He received this combo as a Christmas present 1964 after he guided Sig into the disposal of one of the best collections of Lugers and WWII memorabilia that anyone had ever seen. This was a celebrated auction conducted by Shore in the early 1960s.
Cavalry Model #F1000 1st variation 1st sub-variation: highest known serial number of a 1st variation Cavalry Model
Some of her features deserve to be mentioned because they are rare or unusual: MADE IN BELGIUM on the left side of the barrel lug which is quite common in this serial number range. The country of origin mark is stamped again on the butt of the pistol and on the left side of the yoke of the shoulder stock as well.
Doesn’t the “F” of the prefix look different?! Looking under a magnifying glass, actually all three F’s are slightly different. Maybe hand cut with a graver of some type or a small straight chisel.
The breech side of the cylinder is stamped 100044. The “1000” is fine because that’s the serial number but what does the “44” stand for?
The only visible mark on the shoulder stock is the MADE IN BELGIUM. No serial numbers are stamped on the top of the butt plate or on the bottom of the tang. However, the serial number is hand scribed in the yoke of the stock. When the brass is removed from the stock the pencilled assembly number 65 is visible under the bottom tang mortise and under the butt plate. SILE is stamped in the wood under the butt plate as well.
|2nd Sub-Variation||Additional Specific Properties of this 1st Variation Cavalry Model|
|Barrel markings||“1960 NEW MODEL ARMY”
“1960 NEW MODEL ARMY” CENTENNIAL TRADE MARKCHICAGO U.S.A.
|4th screws||flat or domed head almost flush with frame|
|Comments||most specimens are known without shoulder stock|
That a second sub-variation exists was noted during March 2011 when I checked the survey data of the Cavalry Model over again. Their distinctive feature is the guiding screws. Contrary to the 1st sub-variation with their “long” pair of guiding screws these 4th screws are either flush with the frame or have a domed head protruding from the frame just a bit.
Cavalry Model 1st variation 2nd sub-variations: #F144 with 4th screw flush with frame (left), #F362 “short” 4th screw with domed head (right)
Based on our current findings only some 17 % of the 1st variation Cavalry Models share this type of screws. Most of them were shipped from the factory without shoulder stock. Currently only #F845 is known with a matching shoulder stock.
Cavalry Model #845 1st variation 2nd sub-variation with matching shoulder stock (left), note domed 4th screw head (right)
These 4th screws look like the ones of the original 4 screw framed Colt Armies of yesteryear. We will probably never know, however, if these 2 different types of “short” 4th screws were inserted at Fabriques d’Armes Unies de Liège or at the shop of Centennial Arms Corp. in Lincolnwood, IL.
Cavalry Model #F946 1st variation 2nd sub-variation custom engraved, cased in English fit: case colors on cylinder, FAUL bullet mold, Italian flask
|3rd Sub-Variation||Additional Specific Properties of this 1st Variation Cavalry Model|
|Cylinder||rebated, roll-engraved with Centaure proprietary naval scene|
|Barrel marking||“1960 NEW MODEL ARMY”|
|4th screws||protrude ca. 6 mm/.236 in|
|Comments||very rare variant|
Pictorial proof for this sub-variation exists from a 1962 ad published in Guns Magazine, below picture. As for survey data we only have #F620 recorded.
We assume that specimens of this 3rd sub-variation are found in the same range of serial numbers as the 1st and 2nd sub-variations of the early Cavalry Models. I believe no more than ca. 20 such pistols were made for the US market during the early 1960s.
|FAQ: Why this short production run of the 1st variation, 3rd sub-variation Cavalry Model?|
|IMHO it is a fair guestimate that Roncarati of Liège, FAUL’s contract manufacturer for semi-finished barrels, frames and cylinders was behind schedule at one time in supplying fluted cylinders for the Cavalry project for one reason or the other. If at the same time orders of Mars Equipment Corporation for Centennial Arms could not be processed for that very reason but an ample inventory of cylinders was available from the Civilian project with the Centaure proprietary naval scene what management decision was Mr. Hanquet likely to have taken? Yes, make your customers happy, complete orders on hand with the cylinders available. Hence this variation|
“Colterizing”: Bill Edwards and Sig Shore had this fine sense of humor. They liked to make deals with the boys under the Blue Dome, see the story of the first SAA commemorative in the Pocket Army chapter of the MODELS & VARIATIONS page, but they also liked to pull their legs from time to time. As was only discovered at the end of February 2010, they had famous gunsmith Thomas Haas “colterize” a couple of different Centaure models for the Shore Collection, for sale to the public and possibly also as presentation guns. This “colterizing” program included new period correct finish, New York barrel address, COLTS PATENT, serial numbers with the proper font and 1st generation number ranges on the frame, butt and all.
“Colterized” Centaure Cavalry Model #8890: trigger-guard and yoke are silver plated
Haas was THE Colt restoration expert back in the days. He regularly visited Shore Galleries and became friend with Edwards and Shore. Above and below is a typical example of his art of “colterization”: 1st variation Cavalry Model turned Colt 1860 Army with matching shoulder stock. Even the dies for the serial number #8890 are Colt font.
“Colterized” Centaure Cavalry Model #8890: note New-York barrel marking (left), COLTS PATENT and colt dies used on serial number (right)
For further details and other “colterized” Centaures, see the MOTHERLOAD page of this website.
Adds FROCS #96 Buddbudd March 3, 2011: “I thought I would share with you a recent find I made. At a Midwest sale there were three interesting Colt replicas offered. I noted the serial numbers and features and felt they were Centennials. After examining them here is what I can tell about each one” (regarding Centaure #1 please see paragraph in the Civilian chapter of the MODELS & VARIATIONS page – notes here relate to pistols #2 and 3).
Top to bottom: “colterized” Cavalry #888 with protruding 4th screws & matching stock (1st variation, 1st sub-variation), Civilian #ENG C23 note case colored cylinder, “colterized” Cavalry #889 with flush domed screws (1st variation, 2nd sub-variation)
“The other two (Cavalries) are equally interesting. In your article about the MOTHERLOAD at the Shore Gallery you mention several early Centennials that were “Colterized” by Tom Haas. The other two that were included are a pair of 7 1/2” Cavalry Models with the Colt barrel markings. These are serial numbers 888 and 889. Also a matching shoulder stock with number 888. The screws are domed and there are no Centennial names or proof marks. They are also full engraved along with the stock. They fit your description of the work of Mr. Haas.”
“I wonder if any of his work has been found much less a matched pair (consecutively numbered) with a correct stock.”
“I’m sure you will find this interesting.”
“I enjoy the site and hope to add some new information.”
Which you did, Baddbudd, thanks a bunch.
|2nd Variation||Cavalry Model – Key Features|
|Barrel Marking||CENTENNIAL TRADE MARK “1960 NEW MODEL ARMY”|
|Prefix||only over serial number under barrel lug, all other SNs without prefix|
Like the 1st variation of the Cavaly Model also the 2nd variation had its in sub-variations, see descriptions and pictures below. As mentioned elsewhere the re-launch of the Cavalry Model during the early 1970s is said to be the brain child of Peter Harlos of then FAUL’s German exclusive importer and Western guns dealer, Bärbel Harlos of Schwäbisch Hall.
|1st Sub-Variation||Additional Specific Properties of this 2nd Variation Cavalry Model|
|4th screws||protrude ca. 1,88 mm/.074 in|
|Comments||probably shipped without shoulder stock, available on both sides of the Atlantic|
Only a few pistols like below #F11117 are currently known. She was liberated in the USA in April 2008 and brought to a new home in Germany.
Cavalry Model #F11117 2nd variation 1st sub-variation (left), note flat or short 4th or “guiding screws” (right)
Right picture above provides details of frame and “guiding” screws: longer screw for the right, shorter one for the left side of the frame. The F prefix picture below left of the 2nd variation Cavalry Model is stamped above the serial number on the barrel lug only, not on frame or trigger-guard like you would find on the earlier 1st variation pistols.
Cavalry Model #F11117: note serial number on barrel with F prefix, without on frame and trigger-guard (left), cylinder matching digits 117
Strange looking 4 screw Centaure #F11295 below was sold by a German dealer through Egun auction house in March 2009. One previous owner had her nickel plated. This pistol had a rebated, plain cylinder installed and not the fluted one usually found with Cavalry Models.
Cavalry Model #F11295 2nd variation 1st sub-variation: custom nickel plated & fire blued screws (left), serial number on barrel lug with F-prefix
All regularly numbered parts of the pistols are stamped with matching numbers except for the cylinder. The proof mark of the Liège Proof house is present but the digits stamped on the breech side of the cylinder are “650” and not “295” as one would expect. It is my considered opinion that the original fluted cylinder of #F11295 was lost somewhere along the road years ago. The currently installed cylinder is either a replacement or came originally with the pistol as an extra cylinder.
Liège proof mark on cylinder (left), digits 650 on breech side of cyliner (center), guiding screw protrudes only marginally over frame (right)
OAL of the “guiding” screws of #F11295 is 6,88 mm/.271 in (right) and 4,86 mm/.191 in (left). Interestingly, the number of grooves in the barrel is 7 for #F11117 but 8 for #F11295.
Back then in Germany you could have this version enhanced with two Centaure logo medallions inlaid into upper end of the grip. With these medallions the pistol had to be specially ordered through your dealer.
|2nd Sub-Variation||Additional Specific Properties of this 2nd Variation Cavalry Model|
|4th screws||protrude ca. 6 mm/.236 in|
|Arbor||3rd & 4th version|
|Comments||most specimens found were shipped with a matching shoulder stock, only discovered in the USA and Germany|
Cavalry Model #F11166 2nd variation 2nd sub-variation (left), top of butt plate of shoulder stock is stamped F over 11166 (right)
Note that serial number of above #F11166 on the butt plate is stamped in two lines whereas it was stamped in one line on the 1st variation Cavalries!
Shoulder stock of #F11166: could this be hash marks for 23 (left)?, note 23 on the inside of butt plate (right)
Stock of #11166: nor marks on bottom tang mortise (left); note 23 on yoke (right)
Is “23” another assembly number or the ID for another contract manufacturer of wood and brass of the Centaure shoulder stocks? One thing is for sure these shoulder stocks are a great field for new discoveries and we have a lot more to learn.
Below 2nd variation, 2nd sub-variation #F11103 was discovered NIB at the Sinsheim gun show, Germany, on April 8, 2011. Dealer Kurt Bouras of Mainz sold her together with a 1st variation Civilian for the family of a collector from Heidelberg. She was found in below wooden presentation case of English fit with red interior and a couple of round balls, but without a shoulder stock or other accessories. The Dixon flask was added for the picture only.
Cavalry Model #F11103 2nd variation 2nd sub-variation with case of English fit
There were no traces on frame or back-strap that a stock was ever attached to this pistol. This indicates that 2nd sub-variations of the 2nd variation Cavalry could be had without shoulder stock back then. As was to be expected after the tests Chain-Fire’s performed shoulder stock #F400 of 1stvariation Cavalry #F490 could not be attached to this 2nd variation #F11103.
As you will note on the pics below the butt of #F11103 has the two line HARLOS importer mark B. HARLOS RIEDEN stamped over the MADE IN BELGIUM. This is another unexpected discovery. Because here is now proof that this variant was not only sold in the USA as was our belief until April 7, 2011, but also imported from Belgium and sold in Germany during the early 1970s.
Pricing & Serial Number Ranges: back in 1962 Centennials Arms Corporation would have charged you US $ 139.95 for a Cavalry Model complete with detachable shoulder stock. During the same period just the pistol would have been 89.95, the stock only 59.95. 1964 the cost for the complete set would have been 144.50!
Your friendly German importer or dealer would have sold you a 2rd variation Cavalry Model 1st sub-variation with centaur logo inlaid into the grip 1972 at DM 337,50.
Serial Number Ranges
|lowest serial number – year||highest serial number – year||Total||%|
|# 1st sub-variation||#F 1: 1960||#F1000: 1963||814||69,2|
|# 2nd sub-variation||#F126: 1961||#F 946: 1963||167||14,2|
|# 3rd sub-variation||#F620: 1962||#F 620: 1962||19||1,6|
|# 1st sub-variation||#F11117: 1971||#F11295: 1971||16||1,4|
|# 2nd sub-variation||#F11072: 1971||#F11272: 1971||156||13,2|
|“Colterized”||#888: 1961||#8890: 1963||5||0,4|
Adds Peter Harlos of then exclusive German Centaure importer and dealer Bärbel Harlos in December 2010: “FAUL had always problems having the shoulder stocks made in sufficient numbers”. This might explain the launch of this 2nd variation, 1st sub-variation of the Cavalry Model with its pair of 4thscrews almost flush with the frame … or the availability of the 2nd variation, 2nd sub-variation without shoulder stock, see above cased specimen #F11103.
Another Rumor: Got a phone call during September 2010 from a German speaking gun collector who just returned from some vacation in France. You should know here that C&B type revolving pistols or rifles can be purchased and owned in France without a gun license whereas you need one for such guns in Germany. He told me he purchased a Centaure Cavalry Model with 8” barrel, matching stock and matching 5,5” barrel (Marshal barrel) in high gloss polish/”in the white” finish. As a serial number he mentioned #12002 – he did not mention a “F” prefix – which indicates 1972 production. Unfortunately he did not dare to provide pictures or other proof of his purchase! So, he might have liberated another one of the Harlos deals of the 1972/1973 period when they sold 3-screws RNMA 6th variations 2nd sub-variations with Marshal barrels stamped with matching numbers … and some previous owner added a (Italian?) shoulder stock and embossed #12002 on the butt plate.
However, if it can be substantiated that this is really a 4 screw Cavalry we will have to amend the Coppell classification of the Centaures to include a 2ndvariation Cavalry Model, 3rd sub-variation. Stay tuned, w’ll keep you posted.
WDN/June 27, 2013
© 2007 Wolf D. Niederastroth