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Old 19th September 2019, 04:19 AM   #15
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: California
Posts: 650

Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Stu

The percussion miquelet lock appears to be a genuine non-converted lock. And the long iron backstrap on the grip is a typical Spanish feature from pistols of this period.

Again, nice find. Rick

Hi, Rick and Nando

A couple of comments regarding your posts.

1. I agree that this lock is not a conversion, it was made as perc. If it was converted from flint, I would expect to see two plugged mortises below where the pan used to be. One was for the tenon of the vanished frizzen-spring. The other (which could be a simple hole rather than a squared mortise) would be to hold the stabilizing peg on the priming pan / frizzen bridle (the other point of support being of course the frizzen pivot screw, whose mounting hole has disappeared when the lockplate was cut out to fit the contour of the percussion bolster).

2. The iron backstrap is not, strictly speaking, a "typical Spanish feature" although it is seen on a number of examples from the period. It was characteristic only of pistols made in the Pyrenees foothills region of Eibar, facing the Bay of Biscay. And it, along with the metal-shod "birdshead" pommel also seen, appears to be derived from French patterns of the late 18th-beginning 19th centuries.

It is interesting to note that the barrel of this pistol has ornamentation on its top flat, the flourishes being also common on Eibar guns.

Eibar became pre-eminent as the gunmaking center of Spain in the 19th cent., after Madrid had become focused on luxe products for the Royal Court before the demise of the system of commissioned palace artisans , and after the once-prolific gun industry of Ripoll was devastated by repeated French incursions at the turn of the 19th century, and its total destruction in 1839.

Eibar guns became known for technical refinement (gold-lined touchholes and pans, along with anti-friction rollers on locks) and visual elegance (such as Frenchified touches like birds head stocks). These elements graced firearms of otherwise quintessential Spanish design --an aesthetic that Madrid gunmakers probably sneered at as "provincial", yet notable for superb build quality and an honest, un-showy presentation.

And thankfully, the tradition lives on today. Eibar is the seat of Spain's sporting arms industry, and some very fine double-barrelled skeet and field shotguns are still being built there.
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