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Old 8th April 2012, 05:15 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default A Very Rare Nuremberg Arquebus 'Bronze'/Brass Barrel, ca. 1500-10

In excavated condition, the forward section secondarily bent.

Octagonal throughout, the swamped rear end with integral back sight, the breech section struck with an indistinct mark, possibly a Gothic majuscule or minuscule letter, the short octagonal reinforced muzzle section with integral blade fore sight. The right-hand side priming pan retaining its riveted swiveling cover. Two quadral loops for stock pins on the underside.
Overall length 83 cm, which is unusually long for average period arquebus barrels which measured between ca. 52 and 65 cm;
bore 18 mm, which again is unusually large compared to the period average bore of ca. 11 to 16 mm.

The piece and images are not mine.

A similar Nuremberg arquebus brass barrel was sold Sotheby's, 23 May 1978, lot 212, length 80.65 cm, of evidently more advanced/later staging and form, interestingly also bent, dated 1516 and cast in high refief with the arms of a bishop from the Prussian family von Schlaberndorf; it is now preserved in the museum of Castelnaud, France.

We know quite exactly what the complete original early-16th century Landsknecht snap-matchlock arquebus fitted with such a barrel looked like:
- in Theuerdank (printed in 1517), the Emperor Maximilian I is depicted aiming a similar but shorter type of arquebus also mounted with a brass barrel;
- it the Ermitage arsenal in St. Petersburg, Russia - best greetings to our forum member and my personal friend Alexender, who lives there! - , a complete and very short Nuremberg snap-matchlock arquebus with a brass barrel of slightly more advanced sectioning is preserved, ca. 1512-15, the butt stock painted with the coat-of-arms of the Nuremberg patrician (Patrizier) family of Behaim, of characteristic overall length of 78.2 cm, barrel 52.1 cm, bore 10.9 mm, inv.-no. 5054)

Best,
Michael
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