Inlaid Enigma

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In the heyday of the pinfire cartridge, gunmakers built elaborate exhibition pieces that were intended to demonstrate their highest levels of craftsmanship. One little-known Belgian maker brought forth an amazing 12mm revolver literally sculpted from a block of steel and fitted with carved ebony grip panels. Fluted arabesques and curved casehardened surfaces competed with gold and platinum floral inlays to create a masterpiece in revolving arms.

This Colard revolver was once owned by American ballistician Calvin Goddard, an ex-Army officer who created the first forensic laboratory to investigate the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Despite years of investigation, Goddard was unable to learn much about this enigmatic piece and is reputed to have kept it on his desk for inspiration. Later donated by his widow, this Colard revolver now is part of the National Firearms Museum collection.

Reprinted from America's 1st Freedom, July 2005.