Aug 142017
 

I dug out an interesting pistol from the recesses of the collection I inherited from my father.   It’s French, by the well known Paris gunmaker Le Page and is a large bore percussion pistol firing superimposed charges – it has two cocks and a single bore into which two loads are placed, one after the other.  The right hand nipple leads to the front charge, and the left hand nipple leads directly to the rear charge.  It has a single trigger that releases one cock at a time – if both cocks are at full cock, the first pull fires the front charge, and the second pull the rear charge, but if only the left cock is at full cock it fires that one (corresponding to the rear charge, so it would be a bit unfortunate if it was double loaded and you accidentally cocked the left cock and didn’t cock the right!   Maybe I will take the locks out and have a look at the mechanism that achieves this and put it on the site- I’d like to see how it shoots one day, its a big bore (a 20 bore cartridge just fits into the muzzle) for a relatively light pistol and must have used a pretty small charge.  Obviously you need to get the loading dead right to make sure the flame channels line up with the charges  – I can feel a dummy loading coming on………

Typical French etched decoration – almost never seen on English guns or pistols.

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Jul 212017
 

Here is a gun I borrowed from Dick to put on the website – its a fairly early French double 16 bore  made as a dual pinfire ( the notches in the barrel for the pins have been filled)/centrefire gun  (possibly a later conversion?) by ‘Le Faucheux a Paris’ according to the engraving on the locks – I don’t know if that is the same as Lefaucheux as its written in all the books, but it certainly looks right!    It has ejectors but, as one would expect on an early gun, the locks are non-rebounding so you have to put the cocks on half cock to open and  close the barrels.   The date(?) 1853 is stamped under the barrel, along with the barrel maker’s name and two numbers and several stamps with LF in an oval (Le Faucheux?)- the action flat is stamped 1854 and  LF in an oval and there are different numbers on  the barrel( 7688 & 1103  and on the flat (225).   Taking the barrels off involves opening the underlever and unscrewing a very large-headed screw that holds the front part of the metal fore- end in place.  This then lifts off the screw boss and a loose ‘packing piece’ that forms the front face of the hinge bearing falls off – the gun can then be opened and the barrels unhooked from the hinge pin at the front of the action flat.  You wouldn’t want to do that in the field as you would almost certainly loose the loose piece in the undergrowth! ( actually if you do it with the butt down it doesn’t fall off as its on a dovetail.)  The pictures speak for themselves:

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Jul 122017
 

Ordinary hammerless boxlock non ejector ?

Here is a gun I bought back from Dick’s today to photograph – its been in his store for donkey’s years – the owner has long since forgotten he gave it to Dick for some repair of other but Dick seems to know who each gun belongs to from memory, which is quite a feat given most have been in store for well over ten years.  Open the gun in the normal toplever way and you are in for a surprise….

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Jul 112017
 

 

Since posting this it has been identified as a Teshner/Collath of Frankfurt gun that takes a special cartridge – as I understand it these guns seem to have been manufactured up to about 1906 and the ammunition was available up to about 1911 – it is now unavailable, making this a Section 58 firearm rather than a Section 2 shotgun. (see end of post and comment)

Here is a  German breechloader without any identification.  Its a 16 bore hammerless double gun with damasus barrels with an underlever that initially moves the barrels forward away from the breech faces while leaving the extractors behind.  Once the underlever has opened 90 degrees, further motion moves the barrel further and causes  the bolt that is attached to the underside of the barrel flat to disengage from the slot beneath the breech face, allowing the barrels to fall on a small hingepin at the front of the fore-end. Dropping the barrels disengages the pin that has been holding the extractors in the backward position. The process of opening the gun also cocks it.   There is a strange safety catch in the form of a butterfly nut on the top of the breech – when it is aligned fore and aft it is in the safe position and it obstructs the sight line down the barrel – when in the fire position at right angles to the sight line you can see across the middle of it, so it is immediately obvious when you come to shoot that the safety is still on – although it would be difficult to move it from one position to the other while it was anywhere near mounted. The safety is interesting in that it disconnects the triggers rather than blocks them – I haven’t stripped it as it isn’t mine, so I don’t know the details of the action, although I am now tempted.  It has the usual continental decoration of raised design against a punched background – possibly etched before punching – rather fine when viewed under the microscope. It has a horn triggerguard and horn facing on the underlever.   The gun has sling swivels as was common on continental shotguns, and the chambers appear to be highly tapered for the first 1.5 cm, loosing at least  .5mm in diameter – I don’t have a 16 bore snap cap or cartridges to try but I’m sure it won’t fit safely. There are no marks on the gun except a London proof mark and a serial number 6525.  The various labels attached to the gun say that it was bought at auction in 1989.  There is one label that says Bolath (?) ( p.s. actually Collath) .

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Jun 012017
 

Here is an interesting and very old blunderbuss – if it is as it seems it may be as early as the English Civil War (1642 – 1651) – certainly it is of a design that was current from about 1640 to 1670 at the latest as far as I can see – there can’t be many guns about from that date, so it may be something of a rarity and of significant historical importance – enough to keep one from ANY conjectural restoration work and anything but the most sensitive repairs !       Features that signify an early date are the general shape of the stock, the dog lock with flat plate and ‘teat’ tail, the sear pivoting on a vertical shaft, the barrel tang secured by a ‘nail’ from underneath, the ramrod pipe made from sheet and opened out to fix it and probably the key early feature – the cock secured by a post passing through the tumbler and pinned on the inside.  I’m not sure about the proof marks – London was using standard marks at that period but Birmingham was still 150 years from opening its first ordinance proof house – anything made in Commonwealth controlled parts   e.g London, would have used the Parliamentarian proof marks of a shield – I suspect that this has a private Birmingham proof mark along with the barrrel stamp E I T and another mark I cannot read.

Here are some photos ( taken with my travelling camera so not quite up to normal standard!)  – I’d welcome any ideas, particularly on the initials on the barrel stamp – they look like E I I or perhaps  E I T with a sun above.   One possibility for the maker is Edmund Truelocke (working 1660 – 1680?) with a shop in London.

The lock is held  in by 3 screws – an early feature.

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Feb 202017
 

This gun is a rare example of a Jackson design for a method of speeding up combustion in percussion guns by directing the fire from the cap straight into the centre of the breech block. I haven’t yet found a patent, nor do I know if one exists for this design.  Given that the patent breech by Henry Nock added a secondary chamber in order to speed up ignition by setting up a small primary explosion to set off the main charge, its not clear that going straight into the breech would actually achieve what Jackson intended.  One can see why he might have thought it would, because Nock’s design is counter intuitive.  i look forward to trying it out – I wonder if an ordinary video camera is fast enough to capture small differences in ignition speed – I rather doubt it.   Judging purely by the style, the wood and the engraving I would put this latish in the percussion era – very probably post 1840.

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Feb 132017
 

This is a most unusual gun that I inherited from my father’s collection – I have no idea where he got it from, I have never seen another gun even vaguely like it, and although I  have shown it to many collectors and experts I haven’t met anyone who has a clue about it – and that includes Holt’s valuer and old gun guru Robert, who must have had most things through his hands at some time or another.    So any information or comments would be valued!

Stock shape and barrel are early features – may be a case of re-use?

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Nov 092016
 

I bought a Samuel Nock Heavy Rifle of about 16 bore for restoration, I think it was made as a big game rifle, although it has been used recently as a target rifle.  12 lbs is a not unusual weight for a dangerous game rifle and the bore is appropriate, but larger than was popular as a target rifle.

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Here are its specifications;-

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Oct 272016
 

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Urbanus Sartoris ( Sartorius) patented his breechloading system in 1817 ( Patent 4107) and 1819 ( improvements Patent 4336) around the time that Durs Egg was also producing his breechloading flintlock.  Sartorius’s main contribution appears to have been the handle and  opening mechanism, which seems to be ingenious and well made, but like most of the attempts to fit a breechloading mechanism into a flintlock or percussion gun, doomed to relative obscurity by the problems of gas leaks and fouling.  Sartorius had sporting guns and rifles  (total number unknown)  made by Anthony Biven, and a number of the military carbines were made, although the total  number is not known,  Biven also made these.  Biven was in business from 1822 to 1825 at No. 16 Regent Street London.

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Oct 062016
 

Here is an amazing pistol Dick bought for £20 – he tells me he  will accept offers in three figures (not including the pence)!

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Elegant inlaid aluminium !

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Ingenious – coil spring for the sear – I somehow don’t think its a shooter!  I’ll derust it anyway.

In many ways it has to be said that this is a masterpiece of the gunmaker’s art – somehow that sear, tumbler and cock function as they should!   Its difficult to guess the age, but the spur of the cock is clearly welded on – a possible repair or original?.  And how is a flint fixed in with the cock screw going through the middle of it?   Clearly made for display – I decided that the patina of rust is actually part of the charm, and that it would be vandalism to clean it!

 Posted by at 5:24 pm
May 162016
 

I bought this in the last Holts sale.  It is a very carefully restored William Powell 12 bore hammer gun No 7748  made sometime in the 1870s (?) to Westley Richards patent single bite top lever design patented in 1871 – many features of the gun are shared with Westley Richards, including the distinctive ‘Crab Knuckle’ joint.

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Apr 252016
 

I thought I’d put up some photos of the single barreled flint gun that I got from Holts some time ago as a puzzle for you to see how many odd things about it you can spot, and what sort of date you would put on it –  you might find some clues from my Black Powder articles and elsewhere on this site, and W Keith Neil’s book on Great British Gunmakers has clues.    The gun was cataloged and sold as an antique Twigg shotgun – I bought it on its value to me as a shooting gun – the bore is very good, and in fact it has turned out to be a very reliable shooter – of the 30 or 40 shots I’ve fired with it, I haven’t had a hesitant ignition, and only one failed to fire, due to the wind having blown all the priming powder out of the pan, and I haven’t yet changed the flint!  It won’t be the fastest gun in the East as it doesn’t have the refinements that came into  flintlocks from about 1780 onwards such as roller on frizzen or frizzen spring, link on mainspring and Nock’s patent breech or Joe Manton’s stepped breech that speeded up the ignition process.

stock

What do you think?  Here are some photos   I’ve put a few questions under each to help the less experienced……..

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Jul 062015
 

We’re off to Rugby for our muzzle loading Helice shoot on the 18th of July, which should be great fun.  I’m trying to decide what gun I will shoot.  Last Sunday I did much better than usual with my (possibly spuriously signed)  D. Egg double 15 bore with back action locks and rather nice Stubb Twist barrels stamped TW with Birmingham proof marks .  It’s a typical late percussion gun, probably mostly of Birmingham manufacture despite the D EGG LONDON barrel engraving – to me it has the feel of a Birmingham gun rather than a London gun.  By the time this gun was (probably) made Durs Egg had died ( in 1831) and his son Joseph was running the business but still trading as Durs Egg so he may have simply retailed this gun or quite possibly it was made after 1834 when that trading name ceased to be used, in which case it is one of many spuriously named guns.  It is of a decent standard – what I would call a good gentleman’s gun – in good condition with a reasonable bore – a very good bet for shooting.  I picked it up at Holts in the sealed bid sale earlier this year – I hadn’t intended to look at it as at the time I disregarded anything with back action locks, but it seemed to fit well so I bought it after a slight haggle and I now quite like back action locks – less mess to clean after shooting!  Being quite late in the evolution of muzzle loaders many good back action lock percussion shotguns had a relatively short working life. All I’ve had to do is replace the nipples with the ‘correct’ shape to avoid misfires. Here are some pictures of it;

 

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Jun 142015
 

Last week my friend Dick passed a heap of rust to me to see if my derusting technique ( see below) would reveal anything.  He was a little concerned that it might turn out to be a Section 5 heap of rust, but I figured that anyone who described it as a firearm would be sectioned under the mental health act themselves!

Anyway after two or three days in the derusting tank, here it is;-

tranter rust 2

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