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.

Note absence of cock screw holding cock to tumbler – its pinned inside – see below.

Nail secures tang from underneath.

The trigger guard looks a little flimsy although they were often  made of flat strip and screwed onto the wood at that date, not inset.  

The trigger has been curled in a later way – a mistake.

There is a plain brass side plate that covers the whole flat – possibly original ?

From W Keith Neil and Backs  ‘ Great British Gunmakers 1540 to 1740’.  Note straight trigger and flat strip trigger guard.   The three screws taht hold the lock are in the same places, but this one has a slightly later (?) cock fixing.

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.

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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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