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Old 12th February 2019, 06:09 PM   #1
JamesKelly
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Default Flint pistol - Nationality?

I generally like flint lock pistols, but don't know much about those from Europe. Picked this up in Michigan on Groundhog Day. Was told it was "German, circa 1750"
I saw that Fernando in a Jan 1 post showed a more elaborate pistol which he identified as Hungarian.
Any thoughts on this one? No markings visible, I am uneasy about removing the barrel to look for proofs.
Dimensions 425mm overall, 265mm barrel about 1/3 length fluted, balance round. About 12mm caliber, with file work at muzzle to imitate 7-groove rifling. Brass mounted, the thumb piece is reddish brass, meaning a bit lower zinc content. Ram rod replaced, stock has some repairs.

The forend cap is, I think, some distinctive style. Side plate is cut from sheet, not cast. It is hammered sheet, rather than rolled, about 0.86 – 0.91 mm thick.

What type of wood is approprate for a more correct ramrod?
In the USA we would of course use hickory, but I do not believe that hickory has been common in Europe since the last ice age. Might cow horn be authentic for the tip?
Is this muzzle “decoration/fake rifling” common to some particular area?
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Old 12th February 2019, 06:35 PM   #2
Fernando K
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Old 12th February 2019, 06:37 PM   #3
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Couldn't figure ourt how to add more than 4 photos

OK, at last moment guessed which buttons to press
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Old 12th February 2019, 06:53 PM   #4
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesKelly
Couldn't figure ourt how to add more than 4 photos

OK, at last moment guessed which buttons to press

Do i understand your question James ?
You can either fill in the attachments grid with six pictures, or upload one by one up to twelve.
... or you can submit a new reply and upload another lot.

PS
I see i was too late .
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Old 13th February 2019, 10:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesKelly
Is this muzzle “decoration/fake rifling” common to some particular area?


Why do you think this is a fake rifling?
As the back of the barrel is fluted at its surface I think this pistol has been made in Italy.
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Old 13th February 2019, 11:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
... Why do you think this is a fake rifling? ...

The darkness of the picture doesn't let us check the barrel interior but, James is in a better condition to see that there is no rifling continuity inside.
Just like in the pistol that Fernando K has linked, that 'crenelation' in the muzzle is only a fantasy.
Besides, if actual rifling would have its grooves carved so deep, the barrel wall thickness would become critical.
Am i correct ?



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Old 13th February 2019, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Besides, if actual rifling would have its grooves carved so deep, the barrel wall thickness would become critical.
Am i correct ?



.


There are lots of military guns - not rifles - with a rather thin wall thickness. These have mostly been fusilier-guns which could be loaded either quickly with a simple roll bullet or if there was a liitle more time with a plaster(?) bullet which has been more precise. As the wall thickness of the barrels normaly increases from the muzzle to the end there never have been problems because of the powder pressure especially since this pressure decreases on its way to the muzzle.
Rifling onlyt at the muzzle is mostly to be found at pistols with unscrewable barrels to put in a fitting key in order to turn off the barrel. At a pistol with a fixed barrel such grooves make no sense at all.
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Old 13th February 2019, 12:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
...There are lots of military guns - not rifles - with a rather thin wall thickness...

Maybe not that thin, i would say .


Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
... Rifling only at the muzzle is mostly to be found at pistols with "unscrewable" barrels to put in a fitting key in order to turn off the barrel.

You mean "screwable", Udo; yes, but not with so many dents, that i know of ... and with a different configuration .

Definitely James can tell us why he called it fake.


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Old 13th February 2019, 02:12 PM   #9
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Ok, my mistake, screwable is the expression.

Here is a pistol of my collection made by Andreas Erttel gunmaker to the court of Saxony with a rifled barrel. The twisted grooves go down the barrel until the powder chamber and as you can see the thickness of the barrel's wall is not that much though there is a muzzle ring that increases the thickness remarkably.
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Old 13th February 2019, 02:39 PM   #10
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I agree with Corrado that the pistol in the opening post appears to have an Italian fluted barrel. This does not mean the pistol Is Italian, as this type of barrel was used over Europe and the UK.

In Corrado's post above, he shows a pistol with a turn-off barrel. This is a very different thing, as the barrel was unscrewed for loading. In the pistol in the opening post, the muzzle decoration is just that, decoration.
It is a nice pistol, and I would have Guessed Italian, or Germanic or somewhere between the two!

Very best wishes,
Richard.
Corrado,
I was presuming when I wrote the above, that your pistol used the rifling at the muzzle to take a spanner for turning off the barrel.
Is this so?...Or, is there a lug on the barrel we can not see in the photos, that a wrench fits over? (This would be just in front of the stock towards the breech of the barrel.)
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Old 13th February 2019, 02:42 PM   #11
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That's an error, the barrel does not turn off! And as I wrote before, the grooves are twisted what would not make any sense if these grooves would have been just for a key.
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Old 13th February 2019, 02:49 PM   #12
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Dear Corrado,

I do not mind being in error, as I always wish to learn.
After I posted my reply above, I noticed that your pistol was rifled all the way, and not merely made to take a key in the muzzle. Please see my edited post above.
It seems unusual to me, to not have a barrel that unscrews, as the stock being made short, is Usually made this way so the barrel Can unscrew.
I do not pretend to know more about your pistol than you do, but it Is most unusual!

Thank you for correcting me!

Very best wishes,
Richard.

Edited again to attach a photo of a little pistol I have, with stock very similar to yours, and the tab for unscrewing the barrel to load.
This is how I Presumed your pistol was meant to work. Thank you again for putting me right!
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Old 13th February 2019, 03:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
There are lots of military guns - not rifles - with a rather thin wall thickness. These have mostly been fusilier-guns which could be loaded either quickly with a simple roll bullet or if there was a liitle more time with a plaster(?) bullet which has been more precise. As the wall thickness of the barrels normaly increases from the muzzle to the end there never have been problems because of the powder pressure especially since this pressure decreases on its way to the muzzle.
Rifling onlyt at the muzzle is mostly to be found at pistols with unscrewable barrels to put in a fitting key in order to turn off the barrel. At a pistol with a fixed barrel such grooves make no sense at all.
corrado26




Thank you so much for this fascinating insight Corrado!!!!!

As someone wo has always studied edged weapons, it is amazing to learn more on the dynamics of these firearms.Your explanations are well worded so that a lay person in this field such as myself can easily follow.
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Old 13th February 2019, 03:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
Corrado,
I was presuming when I wrote the above, that your pistol used the rifling at the muzzle to take a spanner for turning off the barrel.
Is this so?...Or, is there a lug on the barrel we can not see in the photos, that a wrench fits over? (This would be just in front of the stock towards the breech of the barrel.)


Dear Pukka Bandook,

sorry no, the barrel of my pistol has no lug to set a wrench, but you are right, it is very unusual that there is such a short stock. But in the collection of the Ruestkammer at Dresden there is a very similar pair also made by Erttel with the same stocks and barrels.
Regards
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Old 13th February 2019, 05:19 PM   #15
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Red face Help me get this straight ...

The popularization of barrel rifling brough a great advantage; while in the smooth bore one has to load a bullet with a diameter sligthly narrower than the barrel interior, such gap called “windage”, in which pressure gases are wasted, reducing the accuracy and effective range (distance) of the shot, with the rifling one loads a bullet slightly larger than the barrel bore, reducing the gases escape, thus increasing accuracy and effective range performance.
One handicap with the (muzzle loading) rifling system is that it takes a “lot” more time to load, as the bullet doesn’t ‘fall’ into the barrel, having instead to be thoroughly & firmly rammed with the rod. Such difference in loading cadence was well noted during the Peninsular War, where the first Riflemen appeared with the Baker gun.
With the turn off barrel this brought a distinct procedure as, the wider bullet was placed right in the chamber, the gunpowder being poured directly in place, thus its portion more rationalized, the result being optimum. We call this system "forced bullet" in my neck of the woods.
I gather that these barrels may not need to be so long, due to achieved performance with such system, but longer ones may also be seen.
(Photos courtesy John W. Burgoyne)

Am i talking nonsense ?


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Old 13th February 2019, 06:27 PM   #16
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Oh my was I wrong. And glad to be so
Yes, the rifling is real, extending all the way to the breech as it should. 7 grooves, flat lands.
One minor point is the numeral eleven neatly cut into the stock.

In the USA we are intensely interested in mid-18th to early 19th century American made rifles. We call them "Kentucky rifles", possiblly bsed on an old song celebrating how our last spat with the UK turned out. Most were made in Pennsylvania. Since 1928 there have been countless books on the subject.
My point is, over here I can look at an 18th cnetury American rifle and by the style alone have a good idea where an unmarked rifle made, the state and even the county. Are there detailed books written on German flintlock pistols? I have one on Jaeger rifles written a few years ago, with English translation. Although - Ich habe nur paar worten Deutsch - I am willing to struggle through German text where flintlocks are concerned.

I thank you all for your comments. And I am happy to have a real rifled pistol. Our American "Kentucky" rifles were made by German gunsmiths in Pennsylvania, based on Germanic styling with a longer barrel. So this is the nearest I can afford to an American pistol, usually rifled.
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Old 13th February 2019, 07:34 PM   #17
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Glad to hear that, James .
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Old 13th February 2019, 08:11 PM   #18
Fernando K
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Hello James

Although I live very far, I have seen photographed some copies of pistols "Kentucky", manufactured by the American gunsmiths, and they differ a lot from the first post. Particularly, by the barrel, generally octagonal and ochavado, lacking in moldings and a simple lock, lacking in decoration

Affectionately
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Old 14th February 2019, 02:10 PM   #19
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James,

Regarding the rammer for your very nice pistol, Hickory is all right, as it looks very close to ash, which was used commonly in Europe and the UK.
For better pieces, both ebony and wood died to look like ebony were used, plus Rosewood and Purple Heart.

Purple-Heart is a very strong wood and was used by some of the best makers. Also, whale baleen was used.

All the best,
Richard.
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Old 14th February 2019, 06:02 PM   #20
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Thank you, Ricard. Back in the late '60's I used to shoot muzzle loading rifles with a group in Cincinnati, Ohio.
One guy shot very well using an original pistol.
Said it shot so well because it had a whalebone ramrod. I couldn't beat him, having only a hickory rod.
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Old 14th February 2019, 09:10 PM   #21
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Fernando – with respect to American made flint lock guns I am sad to say that a great deal of art and craftmanship was lost during those voyages across the Atlantic to the New World. American flint rifles and pistols are highly prized over here because they are American made. Personally, I think most “Kentucky” pistols are not so attractive. I like this German pistol

You might log on to kentucky rifle association dot org to sample our enthusiasm for this American style rifle.
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