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Old 18th January 2021, 02:53 PM   #1
daggpil
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Default Hunting rifle from Finland

Hello!

I would like to presenta a smallbore rifle from Finland. I do believe that this type of weapons are seldome seen by most collectors.

I picked it up a few days ago in south Sweden (where I did not expect such a rifle either)

It has come by heritage to its former owner from a relative in Finland.

The looks and design makes it look really ancient almost like a 17th century rifle but it is in fact made in the 1880-s. It is made by Leander Grönfors in Högnabba Lappfors Finland. These rifles were made for hunting all kind of game, birds, rabbits, etc. They were know for very high precision over long distances.

It is 127 cm long and a heavy octagon barrel with 7 mm rifled bore. Lock is a "percussion-snap-lock" with only a few moving parts. Amazingly it seems to work perfect with distinct cocking and firing. Pictures are taken before a gentle cleanup and rust removal.

Condition is untouched and thankfully not "restored" a real sleeper so to say.

Best Regards/Ulrik Sjöberg, Sweden
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Old 19th January 2021, 05:16 AM   #2
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Thanks, Ulrik, for sharing such a rare and unusual gun! All the more amazing that it dates from the 1880s, when the rest of Europe had moved beyond muzzle-loading into breech-loading technology using brass cartridge cases. If it were not for the percussion-cap lock, which had only recently become obsolete in the West, the piece has a very archaic look, reminiscent of the 17th cent. in Scandinavia and somewhat later in Siberia.

This gun looks quite functional and in sound condition despite patina and surface rust. Do you plan on shooting it once you've finished cleaning?

Historically, it belongs in a class with other fascinating examples of extremely conservative firearms technology such as matchlocks in the Orient, and even the same in remote corners of mid-1800s Spanish America.
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Old 19th January 2021, 08:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
Thanks, Ulrik, for sharing such a rare and unusual gun! All the more amazing that it dates from the 1880s, when the rest of Europe had moved beyond muzzle-loading into breech-loading technology using brass cartridge cases. If it were not for the percussion-cap lock, which had only recently become obsolete in the West, the piece has a very archaic look, reminiscent of the 17th cent. in Scandinavia and somewhat later in Siberia.

This gun looks quite functional and in sound condition despite patina and surface rust. Do you plan on shooting it once you've finished cleaning?

Historically, it belongs in a class with other fascinating examples of extremely conservative firearms technology such as matchlocks in the Orient, and even the same in remote corners of mid-1800s Spanish America.


Archaic indeed it is..as you say it strongly reassembles scandinavian rifles that mostly noblemen used 1650-1720 so called "Lodbössor"

I find it fascinating that they were so conservative but also you have to know that these areas in Finland and northern Sweden were very poor and hardly got any visitors/influences from the outside world. Someone described that part of the world as "The capital of misery and destitution" in those days.

Nevertheless, the creator of this rifle had a real sense for minimalistic yet beautiful design. Just look at the modest carving on the opposite of the lock. Simple but elegant and understated.

I have not intended to shoot it but you never know. I have a lot of projects going on and I have removed the rust now with just oil and fine steel wool. I dont think the barrel has been off since it was new and I just dont want to undo it from the stock. I think that I will leave it to rest.
Best regards/Ulrik S
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Old 19th January 2021, 04:45 PM   #4
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Hi Ulrik

I concur with Philip. Thanks for posting. I must admit this is the first time I've seen such a specimen. Super interesting gun and location identification. And the accessories are equally of interest and would be considered a bonus - especially with the 1854 date. My guess is that the leather pouch would have been used to carry the lead balls, the larger flat horn to carry the powder for the main charge, and the smaller round horn to carry the percussion caps. Makes sense.
You mention the barrel is rifled, in a small 7mm (.28) caliber. I would venture this combination would be more for small game such as rabbits, squirrels, and the occasional goose LOL. It would be too impractical for wing shooting.

The lock is very interesting. If you have a photo of the inside of the lock - and the bore/muzzle of the barrel, please post.

When I viewed the first photo, a thought occurred: Hmmmm.....where have I seen a similar butt stock style ? Then it hit me. See attached photo of a gun in my collection. While it is a flintlock made somewhere in the Balkans in the 19th Century, notice the general shape of the butt stock. What a coincidence. LOL

Anyway, thanks again for posting this great rifle. Just when I think I've seen everything. LOL

Rick
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Old 19th January 2021, 04:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hmmmm.....where have I seen a similar butt stock style ? Then it hit me. See attached photo of a gun in my collection. While it is a flintlock made somewhere in the Balkans in the 19th Century, notice the general shape of the butt stock. What a coincidence. LOL

Anyway, thanks again for posting this great rifle. Just when I think I've seen everything. LOL

Rick


Rick,
True, the butts on both are of essentially triangular shape but... note that the Balkan gun is designed to be held against the shoulder when aimed, whereas this Finnish gun has a cheek-stock, in 16th-17th cent. Germanic / Scandinavian style.

If you can, in your mind's eye, overlay the outline of a 17th cent "tschinke" (Silesian hunting rifle, the kind with a wheellock with big external mainspring) onto the profile of Ulrik's gun, you'll see a similar pull length and the comb is in about the right position for the same kind of hold.

Both those guns are small-bore and rifled -- called birding pieces. During that era, birds were generally shot on ground or roost. Wingshooting was a sport originating in Italy or France with the development of shotguns with lighter barrels, late 17th cent. The English really carried the ball from there on with their magnificent double shotguns perfected in the late 18th cent.

Say, Rick, since you like making shootable copies of interesting old guns, how about this for your next project? I'm sure Ulrik would be glad to provide key measurements.

Philip
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Old 19th January 2021, 05:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daggpil

Pictures are taken before a gentle cleanup and rust removal.

Condition is untouched and thankfully not "restored" a real sleeper so to say.

Best Regards/Ulrik Sjöberg, Sweden


Truly remarkable that it got to your hands in "untouched" condition. If you do some more conservation work and light cleaning, please share pics of the result. Am especially interested in seeing what the inside of the lock looks like, how the trigger activates the sear.

I am researching the development of early snap flintlocks in Europe, and from what I see on the outside reflects a chain of technology extending from the Baltic to the Mediterranean (and ultimately to South Asia), linked to trade patterns and immigration. An interior view of your lock, which is clearly derived from flint antecedents, will be quite useful.
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Old 21st January 2021, 07:05 PM   #7
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Hello again,

I am on a business trip (believe it or not during this times) but I will provide pictures on inside of the lock and the trigger assembly as soon as gets home.

Meanwhile here are some pictures from a book by Bengt Lerviks from Finland. The depicted rifle hera are made by Johan Tarvonen and if I translate from Swedish "He was know for his ancient design of stock and lock"

My actual rifle is made by Leander Grönfors and he was trained in gunsmithing by Johan Tarvonen so they are almost identical.

I made contact with the author and bought all three books on this topic that he has published. I bought them directly from him for 60 euros.

The books are about hunting/seal hunting, life in general and of course the rifles and their makers. They are written in Swedish even though the author is from Finland.

For those of you that did not knew, Sweden and Finland were once one country for a span of 700 years, but we lost it to the russians in 1808. Therefor a quite big amount of Finns still speak Swedish especially in the coastal regions.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 01:40 PM   #8
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Hello,

See some more pictures from inside of the lock and the trigger mechanism. Very simple yet effective.

Took new measurements on the barrel and it near 8 mm in the bore.

Best regards/Ulrik S
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Old 23rd January 2021, 01:57 PM   #9
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I've never seen one of these, interesting way of holding it and not the usual shoulder hold. About 31 calibre sufficient for deer at close range, I've killed deer with buckshot of smaller diameter with only one hitting a vital spot.
The lock too is quite interesting in its simplicity.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 03:06 PM   #10
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Ulrik,

Thank you for showing this rifle!

I am very interested in this type, and find so very little in the way of photos or writings about them! (Finnish sealing and hunting guns/rifles)

That sear arrangement is incredibly Simple, but it is a Brilliant idea!

Could I ask to see a photo of the inside of the butt trap? and the inside of the lid?
Thank you again.
Must try and make one of these!
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Old 24th January 2021, 06:29 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daggpil
Hello,

See some more pictures from inside of the lock and the trigger mechanism. Very simple yet effective.



Best regards/Ulrik S


Thanks, Ulrik. The essentials of this mechanism, i.e the action of an external spring on the hammer and the means of release from cocked position, can be traced to Central Europe, possibly south Germany or Bohemia of the second half of the 15th cent. First the primitive snap matchlock later refined by the Portuguese in India and carried to the Far East and Indochina / Malay Archipelago (where used until the 19th cent.) Then adapted to the first flint snaplocks such as used in Scandinavia and Russia, later the various "miquelet" locks of the Mediterranean countries whose design was introduced to places like Algeria and Ceylon.

From what I see there does not appear to be a safety (half-cock) position on the sear (the device that releases the hammer during firing). The sear and its long leaf spring on your lock are identical to the arrangement of the full-cock (primary) sear on the Spanish miquelet lock. But this Finnish one stands out as being even more elegant in its simplicity - just two parts, no need for a pivot pin, or a mounting bracket affixed to the lockplate as is the case with the Mediterranean counterpart. Very ingenious!
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Old 24th January 2021, 06:35 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Will M
I've never seen one of these, interesting way of holding it and not the usual shoulder hold. About 31 calibre sufficient for deer at close range, I've killed deer with buckshot of smaller diameter with only one hitting a vital spot.
The lock too is quite interesting in its simplicity.


The stock designed to rest against the cheek, not shoulder. Just like on German wheellocks, and most Far Eastern / Malay matchlocks.

The polygonal rifling is useful in a smaller bore like this. Considering the tendency for black powder combustion to foul a bore, cleaning should be a bit easier than with land-and-groove rifling which on early muzzle-loaders tends to be fairly deep and feature anywhere from 5 to 7 grooves.
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Old 24th January 2021, 02:03 PM   #13
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Philip,

Although this lock has the same horizontal sear as the locks you mention, I have never (in my sheltered life!) seen one so simply constructed!
Even on the earliest locks, like snapping tinderlocks, the sear has always been mounted using a pivot pin.
This one is really New to me.
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Old 24th January 2021, 04:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
Philip,


Even on the earliest locks, like snapping tinderlocks, the sear has always been mounted using a pivot pin.
This one is really New to me.


Here is an example of a very early (for a Spanish patilla-style miquelet), ca 1630, made in Brescia, Italy. It has both half- and full-cock sears but getting back to your comment, note that it is designed to work without needing a pivot pin. A stabilizing bracket on the lockplate is still necessary, though -- this is eliminated in the Finnish design.
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Old 25th January 2021, 06:18 AM   #15
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Thank you for the photos, Philip.
Not seen that type either. It Is a simple design, and probably as good as the pinned type. As you say though, the Finnish model takes this design a step further. It is quite brilliant really.
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Old 27th January 2021, 07:55 AM   #16
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Here is the inside of the patch box.
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Old 27th January 2021, 10:47 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
Philip,

Although this lock has the same horizontal sear as the locks you mention, I have never (in my sheltered life!) seen one so simply constructed!
Even on the earliest locks, like snapping tinderlocks, the sear has always been mounted using a pivot pin.
This one is really New to me.


Just for the record here is another percussion lock with the same archaic sear mechanism.
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Old 27th January 2021, 02:26 PM   #18
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Raf,

Thank you for these photos!
a few days ago I'd never seen one, now I've seen two with this simple sear !


Can you tell me where this lock is from?

Best,
Richard.
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Old 28th January 2021, 11:30 AM   #19
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Sorry no idea. Just stumbled across it on the Net while researching snaplocks. Something about the shape of the cock makes me think Malasia
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Old 28th January 2021, 01:43 PM   #20
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Thank you for the reply, Raf.
Yes, possibly Malasia.

It also reminds me of the snaplock serpent, seen on some of Tipu Sultan's guns.
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Old 28th January 2021, 09:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raf
Something about the shape of the cock makes me think Malasia


Yes, the profile of the serpentine is reminiscent but the lockplate outline is not. The lockplate on the example you posted has a profile somewhat like a European flintlock of the 17th cent. onward. The materials are also different, here it is iron whereas virtually all Malay Archipelago snapping matchlocks are entirely of brass (like their Japanese and Korean counterparts) down to the mainspring, and not to mention having more decoration.
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