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Old 16th December 2017, 04:59 PM   #1
Norman McCormick
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Default Flintlock Musket Advice Required

Hi Guys,
This flintlock is puzzling me. Apart from somebody thinking it would be a good idea to paint the stock orange the font of the word London on the lock seems to be more modern than the gun would suggest? Although I'm not clued up on that sort of thing. The barrel has proof marks on the top, have not looked underneath yet as lots of pins to extract, looks to be a crown over BP and a crown over BV along with the number 22. The inside of the lock has an S and a V and what looks to be CC as well. It is approx six feet long and fully stocked with the correct length of ramrod. The keepers for the ramrod are also pinned through the stock. It looks overall to be a reasonably well made thing but definitely utilitarian. Any help would be great.
Regards,
Norman.
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Old 16th December 2017, 05:14 PM   #2
colin henshaw
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Looks like a "trade musket", made for the African colonies and similar. Nice piece. Don't know much more about them, but I think they were made even into the late 19th/early 20th centuries ??

I am sure others can tell more...
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Old 16th December 2017, 05:27 PM   #3
fernando
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Youv'e got a riddle there, Norman.
I may be completely off track but, this lock being flint, the barrel has the marks of Birmingham Proof house and inspection Viewed, implemented as 1904 .
Then the LONDON font would be consistent .
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Old 16th December 2017, 06:54 PM   #4
Norman McCormick
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Hi Colin and Fernando,
Thanks for your replies.The BP and the BV certainly point to 1904 and onwards. I am surprised that trade firearms may have been flintlocks and not percussion locks at that late date but I guess that not having to have percussion caps would be a plus when you can't just pop into the local gunsmith for supplies. Thanks again,
My Regards,
Norman.

P.S. A better close up of marks inside the lock.
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Old 16th December 2017, 07:22 PM   #5
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norman McCormick
...but I guess that not having to have percussion caps would be a plus when you can't just pop into the local gunsmith for supplies...

Yes, the idea of not depending from things you can't make yourself. They say that Samuel Colt was resistant to change production of his revolvers from cap & ball to complete cartridges because, down in the prairie, one could always get hold of some lead and cast his own bullets, whereas he couldn't cast his cartridges.
Not so much of an analogy, but i felt like telling this (true) story .
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Old 16th December 2017, 10:15 PM   #6
Norman McCormick
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Hi Fernando,
Yeh, I suppose that's why Indian and Arabian muskets of the 19thC were still matchlocks, nothing really to go wrong with them mechanically and if it did it was easy to repair. I have looked at trade muskets and the form hasn't really changed for a long time, even the Hudson's Bay Company trade muskets of the late 17th early 18thC don't look that dissimilar to this one. I suppose if you have something that works why change it.
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 17th December 2017, 03:33 AM   #7
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Hi Norman.

Now that is an interesting gun. And as Fernando mentions, a bit of a riddle.
The overall profile and hardware of this gun look very similar to the English made trade guns exported to North America by the thousands, and sold by companies such as Hudson Bay and others, as you noted. Sometimes referred to as a "hardware store" gun. Plain and rugged for the early North American frontier. Your's looks very similar to ones from the late 18th to the first half of the 19th Century that were so popular during the North American fur trade period. And as you noted, there was little change in these guns for a long period. It seems most were traded to the North American Indians. The Indians would even paint the stocks, usually blue or red. Sometimes even painting a decoration on top of that in a vine pattern. I thought of this when you mentioned the "orange" stock. LOL The locks were usually English made and the barrels (made in various lengths) were often of Belgium make.

Now the Riddle: The 1904 and latter proof date on the barrel paints a different picture than above. While the gun shows definate use, it appears to be in reasonable condition. This could be one of the earlier variations of the trade guns sent to South Africa during the first half of the 20th Century, utilizing surplus parts - as was often the case. If so, it does not surprise me it ended up in your neck of the woods. LOl The orange-ish stock stain is a mystery to me. But all of the original South African trade guns I've seen look different. The stocks look more like European or North American 1860's. This gun looks like a knock off of the early 19th Century. Curious.

Rick
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Old 20th December 2017, 05:27 PM   #8
Norman McCormick
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Hi Rick,
The barrel is 52 inches long, excluding the tang, and I have attached the photos you requested. The barrel does indeed go from hex to round. I have discovered that the proof marks are from 1904 to 1925, I suspect that in this case it would probably have been prior to 1914 if for no other reason than there was a huge surplus of modern arms after this date and if indeed this is an African trade item I doubt if they would continue to be happy with the antiquated technology of the musket. Thanks again for you help with this piece.
My Regards,
Norman.

P.S. The photo of the muzzle end is indicative of the found condition of all the metal parts of the musket.
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Old 22nd December 2017, 02:53 PM   #9
rickystl
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Hi Norman.

Thanks for the additional barrel photos. OK. Octagon fading to round. The most common style. The most common barrel lengths on these "Trade" guns are usually 36" to 42". The longer ones such as your's are more rare. And more desired among collectors.
I'm wondering, even at the turn of the 20th Century, if all gun barrels wheather muzzle loading or modern (for the time), old or new, had to be proof-marked ? Even for civilian use in the Kingdom ? Possibly your barrel is older and re-stamped latter ? But it doesn't look that way. Hmmmm. Don't know.
One other thing I do notice. The wood, at the inletting of the lock mortise looks old. But not old enough to be first half of the 19th Century.
The lock looks to be of good, plain trade gun quality of the original period. As well as the style of iron butt plate and trigger guard. I can't imagine their would be enough of these locks/parts surplus to build some type of production for African trade guns.
So, at this moment, my best guess is that this gun was built sometime after 1914 for civilan sporting use, utilizing an older lock, butt plate, and trigger guard, with a later barrel.
In any case, it's sure an interesting piece.

Rick
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Old 22nd December 2017, 05:09 PM   #10
Norman McCormick
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Hi Rick,
Thanks for the further input. I reckon I'll just label this one a bit of an enigma and enjoy it for what it is. It may be an African trade item as Colin theorised or a bitsa wildfowler I think we will never know. Thanks again.
My Regards,
Norman.
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