Here is a rather ratty New Land pattern pistol with Birmingham proof marks on the barrel and a safety catch I haven’t seen before – which is not surprising as I haven’t really got into military stuff, although I seem to have few by accident! Obviously the breech block was made for the percussion conversion, but were New Land patterns made with Birmingham barrels or was the barrel new with the breech block at the time of conversion?
See later on in the post for full details – this was one of a number of flintlock New Land pistols taken to Hanover after Waterloo in 1815 when George III’s Kings German Legion was disbanded and transferred to the Hanoverian military. the pistols were used and stored until 1838 when they were converted to percussion and issued to the Hanoverian Artilliery
This New Land pattern has a clever safety bolt – the main purpose of the bolt is that it blocks the cock very securely from hitting the nipple but holds it fairly close so that a cap on the nipple cannot come off but cannot be fired, even if the pistol is dropped on the cock, until the pistol is put on half cock – some way back from the bolted position – and the bolt withdrawn. The bolt has a spring fixed within the false breech acting in one of two grooves in the underside of the bolt so that it is firmly held in the lock or the free position. This means the pistol can be carried with a cap on the nipple and the cock let down onto the bolt in complete safety – it can then be fired without having to fumble for a cap – put it on half cock, move bolt to left, full cock fire…… Clever and safe!
See later in post for the full history, and for restoration details…….