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Old 8th February 2017, 06:53 PM   #1
BlacksmithingWitch
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Default Middle eastern musket ID help

First post here and its been a long time coming. I picked up this rifle at an antique show last fall and have been curious of it since, I got it for a price im alright with but id like to know more about it, possible age, origin etc, or if its just a fake. Its smooth bore with a flip sight which is my main concern it could be fake or the sight added later, however the barrel and cap lock are very pretty if it is. The item is at my parents house as of now so any further pictures than the ones i provide might be a while in coming. If anyone could help me decipher this thing I'd really appreciate it. (the wrap near the muzzle is a piece of cord to hold the metal cap at the end of the stock on, the tacks had wallowed out long ago and the gaffers tape that secured it when i bought it was not in any position to be put back after i removed it to examine the musket)
(edited so pictures will now hopefully appear)
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Old 9th February 2017, 08:06 AM   #2
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BlacksmithingWitch, welcome to the forum. As this is your first posting here I must ask that you please download your photos directly to the forum as explained here; http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13631 After you have done this I am sure that the members here will be able to answers your questions on this piece.

Best,
Robert
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Old 9th February 2017, 05:54 PM   #3
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here we go, hopefully they'll appear now
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Old 9th February 2017, 07:01 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forum BlacksmithingWitch.
Very nice and interesting gun......the sling swivel and ladder sight suggest a military background with maybe some (later??) carving to the stock. The lock plate and barrel however do not appear to have a military origin, and show some nice decoration which looks to be very well done.
As to origin?.... well the "rosette" on the stock is found in Japan and India, and probably other places also, but design of this carving might just be coincidental.
You say you do not have the item to hand, but when you get a chance it could be worth removing the barrel to see if there are any Proof Marks present. If there are, then it is likely that (at least) the country of manufacture will be revealed.
Stu
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Old 9th February 2017, 10:23 PM   #5
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the front of the wooden stock has a metal cover that covers the last few inches of the stock and a few foreward onto the barrel, and by the coloration there was a band there thats become lost over the decades. there is a plate on the butt of the stock as well, engraved with similar decoration as the piece on the muzzle end of the stock and as the lock of the gun. The rosette made me think Japan also but I dont know what a smooth bore gun of caplock style would be doing in japan, much less how it is covered in middle eastern or indian looking motifs and gold inlay Its really a mystery to me but then again, thats why ive brought it to this forum
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Old 10th February 2017, 07:25 AM   #6
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The rosettes on engraved additionally on such stocks were common in Anatolya, too.
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Old 10th February 2017, 08:11 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky
The rosettes on engraved additionally on such stocks were common in Anatolya, too.

the decorations other than that seemed turkish or from that vicinity, from what I know and have seen on hookah pipes and other items from the area.
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Old 10th February 2017, 09:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Lubojacky
The rosettes on engraved additionally on such stocks were common in Anatolya, too.


In North Africa too!
I bet this rifle is Persian/North Indian...
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Old 14th February 2017, 10:19 PM   #9
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any more ideas/ thoughts on it from what ive shown thus far? and any idea of a possible timeframe? the barrel is hexagonal at the chamber but that only goes for about two inches before tapering to round. Its such an interesting thing to me, to the point im looking for a barrel thats sold in modern muzzle loader kits to see if it would be possible to replicate this gun with a firable copy.
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Old 16th February 2017, 02:40 AM   #10
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Hi Blacksmith.

Welcome to the Forum. A very interesting gun. I'm out of town at the moment, but will offer some comments this weekend. An interesting gun that appears to be a compilation of various parts re-used with a (then) new made stock. The lock, trigger, and guard appear to be Europen surplus used to assemble the gun.
But I want to check a couple of my reference books this weekend.

Rick.
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Old 16th February 2017, 03:15 AM   #11
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If its not particularly historically important ive been toying with the idea of having a gunsmith putting the lock and barrel onto a new stock and making it serviceable again, as you say this may have been done before at a much earlier time
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Old 19th February 2017, 04:33 PM   #12
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Hi Blacksmith.

I think (?) the lock was from an 1859 French Service Musket, and engraved locally to suit the owner. See photos. And possibly the trigger, guard, and rear sight from the same musket. Maybe the Forum members from the European side can confirm this. The barrel and percussion bolster look to be locally made. And the stock made by a local gunsmith to suit regional/local taste. I'm thinking Indian or Afghan, and leaning to the latter. A tough call with this one. But also a very interesting gun.
It would be helpful if you could post some additional photos such as the trigger guard, butt plate, and that brass piece at the muzzle end. Also, the inside of the lock. There may be some ID on the inside of the lock plate, if originally a military lock.

Question: Why would you need a new stock for shooting ?

Rick
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Old 19th February 2017, 07:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlacksmithingWitch
If its not particularly historically important ive been toying with the idea of having a gunsmith putting the lock and barrel onto a new stock and making it serviceable again, as you say this may have been done before at a much earlier time

I am confused here. Why would you replace the stock to make the item fireable? The important part (if you plan to shoot it) is the barrel. However if the barrel is in good order, why ruin a beautiful and interesting gun, simply so you can shoot it. I have over the years safely shot many old and antique weapons, none of which have had a new barrel, or a liner to the old one.
BUT first have a COMPETENT Gunsmith check the barrel inside and out before you fire it. Also do not be tempted to use modern nitro powder as the burning characteristics are VERY different from Black Powder. Probably you are aware of this already, but a word of caution is never out of place.
One final comment......What a shame to ruin a very nice and unusual piece......but it is yours to do with what you wish I guess.
Stu
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Old 21st February 2017, 02:52 AM   #14
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the only reason i consider a new stock would be this one has had a hole wallowed through where the front strap should go. however any looseness i notice is likely due to the fact that the bands are completely missing to secure the stock and barrel. however theres enough of a discoloration on the barrel and wood in-person to tell what they looked like so i can fabricate new ones. I wouldnt dream of doing anything to alter something more than what it would take to keep it alive as a weapon and art piece. There just so happens to be a gunsmith specializing in flint and caplock pieces near me and I suppose I'll be calling them very soon. Ive never seen a gun quite like this and im really happy i spent the money to acquire it when I did. Is there any special trick to removing the lock? or should it just unscrew? I ask because there is a round area that looks like a bolt head but has two small holes instead of a slot for a screwdriver, I may need to get a cheap screwdriver and modify it to fit into those divots if that indeed is what it is.
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Old 22nd February 2017, 07:33 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlacksmithingWitch
the only reason i consider a new stock would be this one has had a hole wallowed through where the front strap should go. however any looseness i notice is likely due to the fact that the bands are completely missing to secure the stock and barrel. however theres enough of a discoloration on the barrel and wood in-person to tell what they looked like so i can fabricate new ones. I wouldnt dream of doing anything to alter something more than what it would take to keep it alive as a weapon and art piece. There just so happens to be a gunsmith specializing in flint and caplock pieces near me and I suppose I'll be calling them very soon. Ive never seen a gun quite like this and im really happy i spent the money to acquire it when I did. Is there any special trick to removing the lock? or should it just unscrew? I ask because there is a round area that looks like a bolt head but has two small holes instead of a slot for a screwdriver, I may need to get a cheap screwdriver and modify it to fit into those divots if that indeed is what it is.

Your gunsmith should have a "key" to remove the lock screw, or you can easily make one as you describe.
Stu
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Old 25th February 2017, 04:04 PM   #16
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Hi Blacksmith.

This is what is generally termed a back-action lock. What looks to be a screw with two little holes at the rear is likely not a screw, but just a positioning post. (don't recall the proper name) to help keep the lock in place. If you just put the hammer in half-cock position and remove the one large screw, the lock should just lift out at a slight angle. You will notice the reat of the lockplate will have a slot vs. a hole for a screw. Give it a try. Are there any screws on the left side of the stock ?

Rick
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Old 27th February 2017, 03:13 AM   #17
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Long awaited pictures, and in reply to the statement about the lock lifting out, you were correct! it popped out. I cleaned it only slightly with a bit of 0000 steel wool, wiped wet, and then a wipe of oil, and im amazed at the beauty of this old rifle after just simply wiping way the surface rust and the crud that had accumulated over the very deep patina. the stock got a similar treatment with superfine sanding of the outer layer of dirt, and a good wipedown with oil. Its amazing seeing the dark patterns of use where the hands and cheek rested. There arent any screws on the left of the stock, however there is a roughly triangular lobed piece of metal recessed into the piece that serves as something solid for the bolt securing the lock to screw into. After it fell out while removing the lock, and knocking off a bit of dried something-or-other, there was a small hallmark of a crown with a W beneath it on that small metal piece.

And now for the big event, some photos of various items. If all goes in order, the following show: the butt plate top. The plate itself is simple metal held by small nails around the perimeter of the butt of the stock, this piece folded over the top is the decorated bit.
Next is the trigger guard decorations. If it helps to ID the gun, the guard removes by removing a screw in front of the trigger and the back of the guard swings out of a slot once the front is free.
Next is a decoration on the grip area of the stock behind where the barrel screws on.
Following that is a view of the breach area itself,
and finally there is an up close view of the metal sheath tht covers the front end of the stock and helps hold the ramrod in place
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Old 27th February 2017, 03:23 AM   #18
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here are some more pictures, this time of barrel markings. The first two are on the underside approximately 2 and 8 inches from the breech end of the barrel respectively. the third one is right at the breach on the underside, the next one is right on the back of the breech plug. theres also a small mark of a letter, maybe an E, in a circle on the left side opposite of the nipple, and a small hallmark inside the lock of an F under a crown.
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Old 1st March 2017, 01:24 AM   #19
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another update as I wait for thoughts on this, I was cleaning and oiling the barrel bore as i didnt like the look of the rust forming inside, and as I was cleaning down near the breach, there came a rattling noise and out plonked a few dozen roughly hexagonal lead bits, packed in a honeycomb form 3 layers thick, that had at one point been wrapped in greased paper. There strangely enough didnt seem to be any powder behind the projectile however, thankful for that as i dont want anything corrossive down where it cant be kept stable. overall the barrel seems to be in ok shape albeit a bit dull inside, i plan to take it to a gunsmith soon to get the twice-over and their opinion on the origin as well.
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Old 4th March 2017, 04:58 PM   #20
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Hi Blacksmith.
Thanks for all the additional photos. Don't know where to start. LOL Here are some additional observations:
LOCK: The lock, trigger, trigger guard, rear sight, and rear sling swival all appear to be from the French musket posted above. The trigger guard just engraved to suit local tastes. The lock even uses European pan head screws.
STOCK: That decorative wrist plate looks very similar to ones you see on Ottoman/Balkan style horse pistols, just larger. That long, brass muzzle cap is also something more likely to appear on Ottoman/Balkan style guns. Again, to suit local tastes. The brass butt plate being a locally made item.
BARREL: I believe this barrel started life as a European made item for use with a flintlock. The barrel being recycled with a locally made percussion bolster added. You can see the weld thread. The engraved brass overlays being added to the barrel, again for local tastes. The breech plug and breech look robust, and of European manufacture. I'm not sure about the barrel marks. The E with a circle around it may be a Belgium proof mark (?) It might be worth posting the barrel mark photos on the European Forum to see if anyone can identify them.
Overall, it is a very neat and interesting gun. Nice find.

SHOOTING THE GUN: If you decide you would like to shoot the gun, I would recommend you have the barrel inspected by an experienced muzzle loading, black powder (not modern) gunsmith for his opinion. I would have him remove the breech plug and check for plug to breech thread integrity. While the plug is out you can do a good cleaning and inspect the breech. As long as there is no deep pitting, the barrel (since it's smoothbore) can be burnished out smooth again. Also, get his opinion of the percussion bolster strength and the threads for the nipple. You will probably need a new musket size nipple. If the bolster threads for the nipple appear too worn or loose, the gunsmith can insert a new heli coil.

Rick
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Old 5th March 2017, 01:20 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Blacksmith.

BARREL: I believe this barrel started life as a European made item for use with a flintlock. The barrel being recycled with a locally made percussion bolster added. You can see the weld thread.

Rick


With respect, im not sure i agree. The barrel profile seems to match that of the french musket pictured earlier too closely, and Im not sure what you mean by weld lines on the bolster. There is a very shallow rifling in the barrel upon cleaning, not super deep but enough of a twist that it cant be considered a random scratch pattern inside. If the lock, trigger guard and strap hardware are from a french musket and the barrel of that musket resembles mine in available calibers, shape and details such as the size of the "tang" that secures the breech to the stock, as well as the size and shape of the percussion bolster, then im more inclined to believe that the barrel too is of one such french gun that had been put into a new stock and decorated with gold and carving as per some owner's taste. I am suspecting heavily ottoman/balkan inspired origins, partially from the gold, partially from the rosette decoration on the stock and a smaller spiral rosette on the breach tang, and also for the fact that there was a charge of what I found out to be cut lead inside the barrel, oddly without powder (thankfully) and that sort of ammo was often used in ottoman areas in a bind. The butt plate, muzzle shield and other stock accents are all steel or iron, btw, although I do suppose one could confuse them for brass because they arent very clean in the photos and there was a rather impressive film of gunky oil on top of them making them appear yellow. And on the subject of metal, the inlays on the barrel seem to be gold, as theyre too soft and nonreactive to be brass. they werent tarnished the day i got it, albiet covered in gunk, and even after cleaning where one would see brass objects at the least start to take on a slightly deeper or darker appearance, it remains shiny. I even wiped a q-tip of strong vinegar on an unoiled section of decoration to be certain, and this is the solution i use to deliberately patinate brass. still nothing. So by my count that rules out most things except gold as being able to fit the bill. (plus it is VERY soft)

Thanks for your opinions on this piece im still trying to get to the bottom of it as its been very puzzling to me. I appreciate your theories
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Old 5th March 2017, 07:11 AM   #22
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Default Barrel Marks

http://damascus-barrels.com/Belgian_All_Proofmarks.html
Refer here. The barrel Proof Marks are Belgian so at least you now know where (at least) the barrel was made. See #2 and 3 above for the ELG mark.
Stu
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Old 5th March 2017, 08:55 AM   #23
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so Belgian seems like a given, could the lock be as well and based of of french counterparts? as it does seem a dead ringer for the sort of lock on the french musket posted above. Oddly enough, the lock has a proof mark with an F and crown, the plate opposite the lock for the bolt to anchor into has one with a crown and a very obvious W. I know virtually nothing as to the anthropology of firearms but could that indicate its two different guns brought together in a new stock? As far as the date, could the CH 43 on the breech plug be referring to 1843? Im sorry for all the questions im just a bit out of my familiar zone and trying to get to the bottom of this interesting piece.
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Old 5th March 2017, 04:07 PM   #24
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OK. Since the barrel shows shallow-groove rifling (possibly 3-groove?) I stand corrected. The caliber should measure about .69 (18mm). The French and Belgium muskets of the period were very similar. Parts coming from the same arsenals.
The latter photo showing the bolster seemed to look very different than the earlier photos. I guess that was because I was looking at it with the barrel out of the stock versus in the stock. And with the additional information on the barrel being shallow rifled, I would disgard my earlier theory of the barrel, and agree with you. The barrel was designed to shoot the .69 minnie ball of the period.
So, it appears the entire service musket was utilized and re-stocked (possibly due to a broken stock?) somewhere to suit Ottoman tastes. Possibly at one of the many gun making centers in the Balkans (?). The decoration and engraving seem to be done in a generic fashion. So it's difficult to tell wheather it was made for a specific individual, or just re-stocked in a shop for resale to anyone interested. This re-use of parts was very common throughout the Empire. The gun could have been assembled in India, Afghanistan, or any number of different locations. It's almost impossible to tell for sure. And most of these guns were never marked as to their final maker. But the utilization of Europen parts would likely have put a percieved increase in value to the purchaser. This re-use of parts was very common throughout the Empire.
Again, it's a very neat gun I would not mind having in my collection.

Rick
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Old 5th March 2017, 07:19 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlacksmithingWitch
so Belgian seems like a given, could the lock be as well and based of of french counterparts? as it does seem a dead ringer for the sort of lock on the french musket posted above. Oddly enough, the lock has a proof mark with an F and crown, the plate opposite the lock for the bolt to anchor into has one with a crown and a very obvious W. I know virtually nothing as to the anthropology of firearms but could that indicate its two different guns brought together in a new stock? As far as the date, could the CH 43 on the breech plug be referring to 1843? Im sorry for all the questions im just a bit out of my familiar zone and trying to get to the bottom of this interesting piece.

No need to apologise. This is what the Forum is all about, and how we all learn about our interests.
The letters surmounted by a crown are INSPECTORS MARKS. See #10 on the chart I gave you. Different Inspectors would likely be used for different parts as per their individual expertise. Note also that this mark was used between 1853 and 1877, so now you have a date span in which this gun, or at least the parts were made.
The other numbers are unlikely to be anything to do with dates. Simply (maybe) batch numbers. Remember that we are still talking INDIVIDUAL PARTS for individual guns, hand fitted. COLT was the only maker of the period to my knowledge,who made parts which would fit all guns of the same type without any further adjustment. In other words he could be regarded as one of the first "true mass producers" of guns.
Your comment regarding similarity to French locks is well founded. The 2 countries are side by side, and in fact many French guns were proved at the Liege Proof House. This one however, was not, as the Inspector Marks are not French.
Stu
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Old 5th March 2017, 11:12 PM   #26
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to remove any rust inside the barrel, would a plan of first plugging the barrel and carefully filling it with a vinegar solution, then wipe down with a fine copper bore brush, neutralize and then oil it to protect it work? ive often used vinegar to remove rust on parts though I wouldnt want to be too aggressive, and I certainly wouldnt use it on the outside of the barrel out of fear id strip patina away. its just the inside hasnt seen a good cleaning in years and im concerned about letting the rust in there continue to build up, and vinegar in my experience eats it away quickly without being strong enough to seriously affect the "healthy" metal. Ive tried a "patch" of steel wool and a normal solvent for gun bores which has helped but not to much extent.
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Old 6th March 2017, 10:48 AM   #27
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I've had good luck soaking the inside of the barrel with Kroil Oil and letting it sit for a week. And won't hurt the outside of the barrel.

Rick
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