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Old 15th April 2019, 06:16 PM   #1
MacCathain
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Default Percussion pistol by Möst in Gernsbach, Baden-Württemberg

I recently acquired this attractive percussion pistol made circa 1840 by Möst in Gernsbach, just east of Baden-Baden in Baden-Württemberg. I'd estimate the rifled bore as approximately .40 calibre with the octagonal barrel measuring 7.75 inches/19.6 cm in length. All of the metal fittings are heavily engraved and the lock plate bears the gunsmith's name and location. There is a rectangular fitting behind the sight that I suspect allows one to adjust the trigger pull. The finely chequered grip terminates with a finial plate that opens to reveal a recess for bullets or patches, etc. But the very best feature of this pistol, in my opinion, is the wonderful carving on the forend of the walnut stock that depicts the head of a dog from whose mouth projects the ramrod.

I have found references to Möst in trade directories dating from the mid-1850s and later, but efforts to find his biography, much less his given name(s), have thus far met with no success. One source indicated that Möst was the designer of an innovative tree saw, and, given that Gernsbach is on the northern edge of the Black Forest, it must have done him some credit. Möst was also described as a gunsmith specializing in hunting weapons, which again is not surprising given his location.

Interestingly, I also learned that Möst's son was the noted German sculptor, Karl Friedrich Möst (born March 26, 1838, died August 14, 1923). Karl Friedrich's on-line biographies reveal that he learned drawing from his gunsmith father, and also etched copper and steel, learned engraving, made inlaid wood, and carved wood.

Does anyone have reference material on Möst? Failing that, I wonder if there are any fora that focus on antique German pistols where I could post an inquiry.

Thanks in advance for any assistance you can offer.
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Old 16th April 2019, 12:34 PM   #2
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I know the name of the maker of your pistol, Gabriel Moest, living and working as a gunmaker at Gernsbach in the northern Black Forest about 1850. Over that I think that your pistol is one of a pair out of a box with some tools like a powder flask, bullet mould etc.

As I am living nearby (distance ca 8 km), I tried to find out, wether there are some people in the area today with the name MOEST and I found one family living at Kuppenheim, ca. 10 km from Gernsbach. May be that this family might have relation contacts to Gabriel Moest. But after a telephone call I have to state that this family has unfortunately nothing to do with the Gernsbach branch.
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Old 16th April 2019, 12:48 PM   #3
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I contacted the city archive of Gernsbach and it is possible to visit them and search through their stock. The chance to find something usefull to Gabriel Moest should, as they told me, very good. So I'll arranged a meeting for me in the month of may.
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Old 16th April 2019, 01:04 PM   #4
fernando
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Excelent pistol, MacCathain
...and excellent support, Udo .
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Old 16th April 2019, 02:16 PM   #5
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Udo:

I can't thank you enough for your efforts. I was happy just to have his first name, much less what may come from your visit to Gernsbach on my behalf. It is very much appreciated.

M
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Old 20th April 2019, 04:28 PM   #6
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Beautiful pistol. Glad to see an ID. Interesting hidden cap storage in the butt cap.

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Old 20th April 2019, 09:22 PM   #7
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Thanks, Fernando and Rick. I wondered whether the storage space might also have contained the tool for adjusting the trigger pull. Likely as simple as a stubby square socket with a short crossbar, though it might have also had a place in the case with the other accoutrements and its sibling pistol.
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Old 20th April 2019, 10:04 PM   #8
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Hello

The owner can say how it works, but it seems to me that it is to adjust the aiming device, a movable height lift, that agrees with the striped barrel, that is a target shooting weapon or precise

Sorry for the translator

Affectionately
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Old 21st April 2019, 02:23 AM   #9
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Thanks, Fernando K . . . When I get really brave, I may try to rotate the square shaft to see what happens.

Anyone have other suggestions?
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Old 21st April 2019, 08:02 AM   #10
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Fernando K is probably right, as he is rather knowledgeable.
On the other hand, there seems to be some kind of tiny device behind the trigger.
Can you show us a close up of the trigger area ?
Definitely this intriguing adjusting 'cube' is my favorite part .
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Old 21st April 2019, 05:57 PM   #11
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Well spotted, Fernando. There is indeed a very small screw adjuster immediately behind the trigger that had eluded me. So a sight adjuster on the top and trigger adjuster below. I'll find something to confirm the sight adjuster later today.

Thanks all.
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Old 21st April 2019, 07:45 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCathain
.. So a sight adjuster on the top and trigger adjuster below...

Precisely; a fine target pistol .
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Old 4th June 2019, 03:57 PM   #13
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As promised some weeks ago I have been in the city archive of Gernsbach today where I found that Gabiel Moest is reported as a gunmaker between the years of 1823 to 1852. Unfortunately I couldn't find his birthdate and when he died. In 1823 Gernsbach has been a rather small town with only 2047 inhabitants and just one gunmaker.
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Old 4th June 2019, 04:06 PM   #14
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Thanks for the information, Udo, and for conducting the research on my behalf. It's much appreciated!
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Old 29th July 2019, 09:52 AM   #15
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Noting the trigger and adjustment screw prompts me to ask, does it have a 'set' trigger as sometimes found on target rifles of the period?
This style of trigger could be set by pushing it forward till it clicked into a pre set position, from which it could be released with the lightest of touch from a finger. The trigger could be used in the normal manner as well as being 'set'.
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Old 29th July 2019, 12:14 PM   #16
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Yes, this is a set trigger which was very often in use in France and in German regions next to the French border.
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Old 29th July 2019, 03:18 PM   #17
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I tried engaging the pre-set point that Mel describes, but there's no forward movement in the trigger that I can detect.
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Old 29th July 2019, 04:27 PM   #18
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Maybe the system works inside, directly applying (or not) tension to a vital place (spring), not having effect in the trigger position ...


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Old 29th July 2019, 06:04 PM   #19
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I have to say, of the ones that I've owned over the years, I can't remember having one that was any different to the one illustrated by Fernando, which has the adjusting screw incorporated in the trigger, but, knowing the ingenuity of those 19th C. gunsmiths I would not be surprised at any innovation presented.
Looking closely at the trigger in the original photo, there does look to be a gap in front of the trigger which may afford some forward movement if the screw was adjusted. I must add that I'm not encouraging anyone to fiddle and twiddle with things that may be better left alone

Update.
I've just had a better look at the photo (Moest) and realise that the screw is indeed part of the trigger, as Is normal, I thought that it was in the trigger plate. They are not normally screwed so far down.

Last edited by Mel H : 29th July 2019 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 29th July 2019, 08:09 PM   #20
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The whole of my ex-piece... just for the context.


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Old 29th July 2019, 09:37 PM   #21
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Nice pistol.
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Old 30th July 2019, 12:53 AM   #22
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Beautiful pistol from a beautiful city Baden Baden. I was there for a year on the Canadian base and regret not seeing more historical sites and searching out antique militaria. The art in their firearms reflects the area and its people.
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Old 30th July 2019, 12:21 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will M
I was there for a year on the Canadian base.


There is no more a Canadian base but a civilian airport and there are no more Canadian soldiers in the area. Obviously you missed to visit one of the leading military museums of Germany in the castle of Rastatt - just 5km from Basen-Baden.
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Old 31st July 2019, 01:43 AM   #24
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Unfortunately I did miss the museum in Rastatt. Yes the base is long gone from when I was there in 1988/89 just before the wall came down.
I did enjoy driving the autobahn in my Mercedes, 220 kmh I found was slow when someone passes you like you're standing still.
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