4.8 Italian Half Brothers

Chapter 4 – Fiction, Odds and Ends

4.8 Italian Half-Brothers of the Centaures in the U.S.A.















Italian Half-Brothers of the Centaures in the U.S.A.

Centennial Arms Corporation’s Other Percussion Revolvers

Research of Replica Percussion Revolver Collector’s Association (RPRCA)

Colt 1851 Navy Pattern Pistols – Steel Frame

Colt 1851 Navy Pattern Pistols – Brass Frame

Percussion Revolver Kits


Another Perspective

A Personal Note




Centennial Arms Corporation’s Other Percussion Revolvers


This page is to honor the fundamental studies of Dr. James L. Davis on the replica percussion revolvers and will hopefully add new facets to the history of the Centaure.


D:\Davis, Jim Dr\1-Jim Davis at Gun Museum.jpg

4.8.1_1 Dr. Jim L. Davis (*1934 – 2019) of RPRCA in front of a stocked Centaure Cavalry Model exhibit at the J. M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum in Claremore, OK


Our pards & pardettes on the western banks of the Atlantic are regularly reporting Centennial Arms Corp. marked percussion revolvers of patterns other than our favourite Centaure New Model Army. However, we know for fact that these pistols were not manufactured by Fabriques d’Arms Unies de Liège (F.A.U.L.), the maker of our Centaures. They are products of a number of Italian replica makers. Hence they are marked MADE IN ITALY.


D:\Ads Centennial Arms Corp\1-flyer.jpg

4.8.1_2 Flyer of Centennial Arms Corp. from 1961: Note „.36 cal. BRASS NAVY“ MADE IN ITALY lower right corner


This subject could not have been addressed any time earlier. Simply because these Italian guns marked CENTENNIAL, but particularly the percussion revolvers, did not and could not have surfaced in Europe. It is unlikely they ever will. Centennial Arms Corporation did not sell them to Europe, despite their deal from the mid-1960s with J. Roberts and Son in London, Great Britain, see chapter 2.6.3 for details. The fact of the matter remains, however, that we would have no Centaures without the vision and determination of William B. Edwards and Sigmund Shore of Centennial Arms Corporation fame. Not in the U.S.A., and certainly not in Europe. Hence, some studying of these other percussion revolvers marketed by Centennial Arms seems appropriate.

Research of Replica Percussion Revolver Collector’s Association


It after the many discussions with our mentor (good friend and FROCS #10 Dr. Jim aka Dr. Jim L. Davis of above cited Replica Percussion Revolver Collector’s Association (RPRCA) in Claremore, OK, U.S.A.) that Panhandle Paden and I finally took a fresh look at the subject, saw the light and added this page to our Centaure website. Thanks, Dr. Jim, for kicking our butts so patiently.

Hopefully, you will appreciate that this is not going to be an in-depth study like we did on the Centaures. Because these Italian made and CENTENNIAL marked C&B revolvers are of much greater relevance to the research program of Dr. Davis. We can never entirely come even close to his important research and findings of the replica percussion revolver story. Therefore, we will cover this subject only as a loose assembly of pictures and sketchy information as available.

Having said that, please consider the business environment Centennial Arms Corporation, Inc. was facing during the early 1960s. Thanks to the commemorating activities related to the centennial of the U.S. Civil War the market for period replica guns had been opened-up wide. Awareness and desire to own such guns was high among the American community of reenactors, shooters and to a limited extent also collectors.


D:\Ad CACC Flyer 1961\1-Centennial_Ad001.jpg Centennial Arms Corp. 1961 catalogue featuring three Centaure (upper segment) and 1st, 2nd and 3rd Model Dragoons (lower segment)


However, this situation must not be attributed solely to the two marketing geniuses of Centennial Arms Corp.’s Messrs. William B. Edwards and Sigmund Shore but also to their then friendly competition of other well-known U.S. replica distributors like Val Forgett’s Navy Arms from Ridgefield, NJ or Turner Kirkland’s Dixie Gun Works of Union City, TN to name just a few. Additional U.S. distributors like Replica Arms from El Paso, TX smelling the business opportunity of this emerging replica market were soon ready to jump on the bandwagon of black powder guns as well.

At the same time in northern Italy further small gunshops mushroomed in the cosy village of Gardone in Val Trompia near Brescia. These shops manufactured further historical American percussion revolver models or variants of existing models for the booming U.S. market. At that time Centennial Arms Corp. already offered a wide assortment of Fabriques d‘Armes Unies de Liège (F.A.U.L.) made black powder rifles, shotguns and single shot pistols. In addition to the Centaures these guns covered the Civil War and the American Revolution period. Some of these guns are pictured on above 1961 Centennial Arms flyer.

During the early 1960s Centennial Arms Corp. had only one exclusive C&B revolver line in their assortment, namely the New Model Army (aka Centaure) of Colt 1860 pattern. But they are sharing some indication of their future line extension strategy, look closely at the lower right corner of that 1961 flyer. There is this Italian made Colt 1851 Navy pattern pistol with brass frame and round barrel termed a replica of the confederate 1862 Griswold & Gunnison by today’s collectors.

A couple of months later their revolver program from Belgium was already extended to three models of their Centaure line, namely the Regular New Model Army (RNMA), the Civilian and the Cavalry Model. They had also added the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Colt 1848 Dragoon from an Italian maker, if we are to believe above page of their 1961 catalogue. The caveat here is this: Yes, they sold the 3 Centaure Models and more variants of the Belgian Colt Army in the years to come. But in August of 2022 (!) we still do not know if above Dragoons really existed for sale. And, if they were available for sale, we do not know for sure who made them.

According to Replica Percussion Revolver Collector’s Association (RPRCA), at that time the only maker of Colt replicas of 1847 Walkers, 1848 Dragoons, Baby Dragoons and 1849 Pocket percussion revolvers was Italian company Armi san Marco (ASM). Back then their U.S. distributor was Replica Arms from El Paso. We have no information that Replica Arms had an exclusive deal with ASM and, if so, for how many years.

We also do not know if Fabriques d‘Armes Unies de Liège (F.A.U.L.) themselves had possibly produced prototypes of these Walkers and Dragoons as U.S. FROCS #111 L&N Guy believes. He took pictures of these big horse pistols during a June 1962 visit of F.A.U.L., see chapter 2.7.5. On the other hand we know, saw, handled and pictured the other F.A.U.L. made prototype of a Colt Navy pattern revolver with steel frame and round barrel, namely the 1862 Leech &. Rigdon in the Shore Galleries Collection, see chapter So, this could just as well have been pictures of F.A.U.L. Dragoon prototypes on that flyer.


D:\Ad 1975 Centennial Guns & Ammo\1-Mail-C4890034.jpg Centennial Arms C&B revolver replica assortment in 1975: Italian Navy pattern 1851s with steel and brass frame in 2 barrel lengths, Remington Army and Navy, Remington Army with adjustable sights dubbed Remington Target Revolver, the Belgian Centaure right column 2nd from top


During the late 1959s and early 1960s Navy Arms introduced Gregorelli/Uberti (G./U.) made Colt 1851 Navy pattern revolvers with steel and brass frame plus the Remington New Model Army and Navy in various configurations in the U.S.A. market as their prime offerings. They were working hard with their Italian partner Aldo Uberti, once his partnership with Vittorio Gregorelli was dissolved, to extending that line, with their version of the Colt 1860 Army replica added in April 1963. Kirkland’s Dixie Gun Works focussed on Civil War and American Revolution rifles back then.

The Centennial Arms Corp’s visionaries Edwards and Shore elected to extend their line of percussion revolvers for the U.S. market, too. This was to take advantage of the market’s momentum and their own strong market position propel them into the major player they eventually were to become. They were looking for makers of unique and exclusive percussion revolver models that could not be had from their competitors. But they realized that successful competition required mainstream pistols like the venerable Colt 1851 Navies and/or the Remington family of percussion revolvers as well. As mentioned before we know that F.A.U.L. produced at least one prototype of the CSA Leech & Rigdon revolver for Centennial Arms. Corp.

To the best of our knowledge this Belgian 1862 Leech & Rigdon was never launched for sale. Bearing that in mind we cannot rule out that F.A.U.L. made prototypes of other percussion revolver models like Dragoons or Remingtons as well. None have surfaced, however.

It stands to reason that Centennial Arms Corp. charged Fabriques d‘Armes Unies de Liège (F.A.U.L.) during the early 1960s with the task of extending the “1960 NEW MODEL ARMY” line by Non-Colt 1860 Army pattern pistols. But Williams and Shore eventually looked elsewhere for other Civil War revolver replicas.

After this lengthy introduction we will now look at percussion revolvers with the CENTENNIAL mark as part of their marking. Here is what we got with the help of Dr. Davis from RPRCA.

Colt 1851 Navy Pattern Pistols – Steel Frame


D:\CACC ASP 1851 Steel Sheriff_2\2-1851 Navy Sheriff LtSd.jpg Armi san Paolo Colt 1851 Navy with 5″-barrel left side view, barrel marking 36 CAL SHERIFF MODEL


D:\CACC ASP 1851 Steel Sheriff_2\3-1851 Navy Sheriff RtSd 2.jpg Armi san Paolo Colt 1851 Navy Sheriff model right side view; no capping groove, barrel marking BLACK POWDER ONLY, proof marks on barrel lug



D:\CACC ASP 1851 Steel Sheriff_2\5-1851 Navy Sheriff Top Barrel.jpg Top of the barrel marking reads CENTENNIAL ARMS, CHICAGO ILL.