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Old 1st July 2010, 09:10 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 Beautiful Mid-14th Century Handgonne

Now this one is especially to both you, Alexander and Fernando (in alphabetical order) but of course to all the others as well.

It is an extremely rare German wrought iron handgonne (German Handrohr) datable to ca. 1350-60. Its rarity is based on its special form, with the smaller breech to receive just the powder (German Pulverkammer) and the wider section for the ball (German Flug), both copied from bigger cannon. The small touchhole, placed near the rear end of the breech, and the fact that the whole barrel is wound of band iron give further evidence that we have here one of the earliest iron handguns ever made.

I do not trust the stock though it doubtlessly is a piece of old wood (so it makes an optimal replacement anyways) and the "hook" obviously is just a long nail which would never have successfully acted as a recoil stop. Apart from that, and as I have pointed out before, hooks on barrels do not seem to have appeared any earlier than ca. 1430. The "barrel band" is of course just a ridiculous piece of modern iron wire and there seems to be some clearance between the barrel and the forestock, according to which the barrel has slipped to the right a bit; the touchhole originally would have been on top of the breech.

This fine High Gothic hand cannon was in an Italian auction in 2004, and I am sorry not to have any measurements but on the basis of my experience I would estimate the length of the barrel to be ca. 30 cm all over. I remember the sale estimate was 3,000 euro (which I sadly did not have at that time) but it failed to sell and has never come my way again.

Best,
Michael
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