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Old 18th January 2018, 06:44 PM   #1
Victrix
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Default Another Afghan Jezail?

This is an antique rifle given to me as a gift 20 years ago, and I always wondered what it was. It was purchased from an antiques shop on Eton High Street (Berkshire, England). The seller said it ďwas used by British troops in the Sudan.Ē Recently I saw pictures of similar objects identified as Afghan jezail. It has a functioning percussion lock stamped with a British crown and "Tower 1870." It has a scrolled hexagon barrel with a detachable ramrod stuck in underneath. There's still some black gunpowder in the barrel. The rifle is 141cm long and weighs just over 3kg. The rifle has real patina in my view, and must be old. It has been used, as there are still traces of gunpowder in the barrel and the wood behind the nipple has been burnt away by the mercury used in percussion caps. The ramrod goes all the way down the barrel with a couple of inches left at the top to hold. The nipple is hollow as it should be. I did some reading on Jezails, and the lock may or may not be British made. The trigger and trigger guard look like crude replacements, or suggest local production.

The question is whether this is likely an Afghan Jezail, or were they also made and used in other areas like India and North Africa (Sudan)? Could it have been used by muslim Indian troops in the British Army?
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Old 18th January 2018, 08:25 PM   #2
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Is it a Whitworth rifle that has been "localised"?

Roy
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Old 19th January 2018, 05:59 AM   #3
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Hi Victrix,

this video might be interesting for you and a rifled barrel is a good sign.

Afghan Jezail on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-aEWZrTibE


Roland
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Old 19th January 2018, 03:08 PM   #4
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Thanks for your comments. Interesting video, Roland. These are interesting guns from both historical and ethnical perspectives. Itís a pity they seem fairly unappreciated by collectors when they are handmade and apparently fairly effective in use.

I post some more photos below.
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Old 20th January 2018, 10:48 AM   #5
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I might try this bedouin dance. It looks fun!
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Last edited by Victrix : 20th January 2018 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 20th January 2018, 01:42 PM   #6
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Hello Victrix,

I saw these dance photos a while ago. I think it will be very hard on the carpet!

Your rifle looks a good and very solid piece!, and it Is unusual to see a rifled bore. Many of these seem to have round barrels as well, so nice to see something a little different for a change.
There is a possibility that an arm of this type May have been used by irregular troops attached to British forces, (In the same way as many irregulars in India still carried their matchlocks)
Native troops in EIC or British Regular regiments would be armed with British made arms.
I see the ticket has it down as a hexagonal barrel,..... :-)
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Old 20th January 2018, 04:47 PM   #7
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Hi Victrix

In my view this is an Afghan made Jezail. And a nice unmolested example that shows definate field use, yet still very solid as Richard mentions.
These Jazails were locally made utilizing a combination of surplus and locally made parts as you surmised. They were probably used by the locals all the way to at least the 1880's. And you will find them in any combination of flintlock or percussion and rifled or smooth bore barrels.
The Jazails have a colorful history and must have been very popular in the Region as there are so many examples still available today. If you search the Forum you can find previous discussions as to the reasons for the unusual butt stock design.
Again, a nice piece.

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Old 20th January 2018, 07:50 PM   #8
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Many thanks for your comments, Pukka Bundook and Rick.

The maker of this rifle knew what he was doing. The absence of decorations indicates a military purpose. Despite this, it has an aestetic appeal which is further enhanced by the patina.

Iím more of a sword than gun collector, but think this rifle deserves to be kept. I probably had it now for closer to 30 years than the 20 previously stated. Will probably look to mount it on the wall.

Someone told me muskets are smooth bored and canít have rifled barrels, so I guess this one is properly called a rifle. Itís octagonal in shape, and not hexagonal as stated on the original shop ticker. One strange thing is that it doesnít have attachements for a sling to hang over the shoulder. Maybe it would have been carried in a holster or something else instead.
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Old 21st January 2018, 02:53 PM   #9
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Hi Victrix

"Generally" the term rifle is used to describe a shoulder gun with a rifled barrel.
And barrels with smooth bores are often referred to as muskets, or long guns. Of course the term long gun could be used to describe any type of shoulder gun. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

That your's lacks any sling swivals is not that unusual. Many of these Jazails were made without trigger guards. The quality of barrels, locks, and decoration (if any) varied greatly as can be seen from surviving specimens. Often these guns utilized a minimum of parts just assembled or cobbled together to make something that would shoot. While others had more attention to their build quality.
Your's appears to be built as a simple, solid "work" rifle that's definately seen plenty of action, but not abused. I notice the forged ramrod with the somewhat squared/flattened end with a slot for a cleaning patch. Looks very sturdy like the rest of the gun. Often these ramrods are missing.
So yes, this should make a nice, authentic display with your collection.

Rick
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Old 21st January 2018, 04:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Many thanks for your comments, Pukka Bundook and Rick.
Someone told me muskets are smooth bored and canít have rifled barrels, so I guess this one is properly called a rifle.


It's true, but in fact a musket is an old matchlock or wheelock long gun.
The musketeers are originally soldiers with these long guns.
Later they became famous with another kind of weapon... the rapier...
Some people call a musket any rifle before the 19th c. percussion lock...
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Old 22nd January 2018, 09:39 PM   #11
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Hi Victrix
Am posting my Jezail which has similar butt like your Rifle, but mine is made for non military use and has mother of pearl decoration on the butt and behind lock
Regards Rajesh
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Old 23rd January 2018, 08:03 AM   #12
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Hi Rajesh,

Thanks for posting pics of your Jezail. Itís a flintlock is it not? The butt is similar shape as you note. I plan to attach my Jezail to the wall in a similar way.

I had the idea that my Jezail could have been ordered locally in India/Pakistan/Afghanistan by a British Army officer stationed there and brought home to England with him? Windsor Caste is within walking distance of Eton and there are troops stationed there. That could explain the solid look of functionality and lack of decorations, i.e. more in Northern European taste?

Regards,

Last edited by Victrix : 23rd January 2018 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 23rd January 2018, 12:25 PM   #13
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Victrix,

Rather than ordered by an officer, many were simply picked up after campaigns and brought back as keepsakes.
England seemed to be half full of ethnic stuff when I was a boy!
Vast amounts came home with returning soldiers.
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Old 23rd January 2018, 01:47 PM   #14
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Hello

Just to say that the lock is not a regulatory lock, the word TOWER and the date, 1870 do not correspond to any regulatory weapon, and has been set for propaganda. The same for the royal crown. that has no figure of the ruling monarch. The same happened in many copies of the Enfield, produced by English and Belgian gunsmiths, to be sold, for example, to both contenders in the American War of Secession, and then sold to the South American countries in the Paraguay War.

Affectionately. Fernando K
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Old 23rd January 2018, 09:12 PM   #15
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Many thanks, Fernando. Nice to get some facts in after all the speculations!
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Old 25th January 2018, 09:14 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Hi Rajesh,

Thanks for posting pics of your Jezail. Itís a flintlock is it not? The butt is similar shape as you note. I plan to attach my Jezail to the wall in a similar way.

I had the idea that my Jezail could have been ordered locally in India/Pakistan/Afghanistan by a British Army officer stationed there and brought home to England with him? Windsor Caste is within walking distance of Eton and there are troops stationed there. That could explain the solid look of functionality and lack of decorations, i.e. more in Northern European taste?

Regards,

Hi Victrix
I bought my jezail for England,Regards Rajesh
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Old 25th January 2018, 04:36 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BANDOOK
Hi Victrix
I bought my jezail for England,Regards Rajesh

Hi Victrix,
To answer the question that you posed to Bandook....yes his is a flintlock, but with the top jaw missing from the cock.
Rick mentions above that these were often made without trigger guards. Here are a couple of pics of one I have made without a guard.
Stu
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Old 25th January 2018, 04:59 PM   #18
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Hi Stu,

Nice one! I prefer flintlocks before percussion myself. In terms of collectible items at least .

What confuses me somewhat is that I feel my Jezail looks quite European apart from the butt. Yours look quite oriental just about everywhere. It could be that with the flintlocks your Jezails might be older and have more native appearance because foreign influences were yet to make inroads. Or as I suggested before, a local gunsmith might have customized my Jezail for a British Army client on order? If he wanted to take one back home to England with him he might have asked them to leave the traditional decorations off?
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Old 26th January 2018, 06:05 PM   #19
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Hi Victrix,
IMHO the only part of your Jezail which COULD be European is the barrel. The rest appears to be typically Afghan/Northern India. The area was called the Northwest Frontier by the Brits.
As has been stated above, these guns were often made up from parts obtained from, and stolen from, the particular Colonial Power which held sway in the region. Also local gunmakers were (and are still) very much able to reproduce copies of guns. There are many good copies of Martini Henry and much more modern rifles (AKs) around which have been made in the back streets of general area.
I am of the opinion that if a British Serviceman was to want to take a "souvenir" home, he would not go to the trouble of have a gun custom made, but would rather just "acquire" one from a local Tribesman.
The lock on yours also appears to be a copy rather than the genuine item. Although the strikings are good, the letters TOWER are slightly out of line, which would be unlikely on the real thing. Perhaps you could detach the lock and post some pics of the inside?
Your Jezail IMHO is a good representation of the type, and the fact that it is likely a "local" gun, no way detracts from it's interest (or likely value).
As an aside, the lock on my Jezail without the trigger guard was the subject of discussion here http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=23563
Hope the above helps.
Stu
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Old 26th January 2018, 10:42 PM   #20
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Many thanks for that Stu. Interesting link.

I was not suggesting my Jezail was made in Europe, I only think it looks more designed for European tastes. But this may be because itís a local attempt to imitate a foreign (at the time viewed as prestige) imported rifle. Also with the percussion lock itís probably not as old as your flintlocks so British inflence had probably grown stronger by then. Also, Rajesh suggests that his rifle is more decorated because it might have been intended for more civilian use. I like the rifle for what it is. It looks really great!
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Old 26th January 2018, 11:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victrix
Many thanks for that Stu. Interesting link.

I was not suggesting my Jezail was made in Europe, I only think it looks more designed for European tastes. But this may be because itís a local attempt to imitate a foreign (at the time viewed as prestige) imported rifle. Also with the percussion lock itís probably not as old as your flintlocks so British inflence had probably grown stronger by then. Also, Rajesh suggests that his rifle is more decorated because it might have been intended for more civilian use. I like the rifle for what it is. It looks really great!

I agree with your comments. You have nice original gun there.
Stu
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Old 27th January 2018, 11:28 AM   #22
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Hello

Just to say that the lock is European. Here I upload a lock of a rifle, a copy of the Enfield 1853, produced by English or Belgian armourers, and sold to the contenders in the American War of Secession, in this case to the southern states. As you can see, it has the word TOWER, the date, 1863, but placed inversely and a crown, but without figures of the reigning monarch. It also does not have the "wide arrow", which would denote property of the crown
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Old 27th January 2018, 04:29 PM   #23
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Bingo! Spot on, Fernando K. Itís a copy of the Pattern Enfield 1853 which was the AK47 of the Victorian era and produced in many locations around the world. It was the second most used rifle in the US Civil War after Springfield. I attach a picture of an Enfield used in the US CW. They imported 900,000 Enfield rifles! You clearly recognize the lock and the stock design, although mine is obviously for the oriental market with that kind of butt and octagonal rifled barrel and no strap fasteners. No wonder I thought it looked European. Now I like it even more! . Thanks Fernando K!
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Old 27th January 2018, 06:05 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando K
Hello

Just to say that the lock is European. Here I upload a lock of a rifle, a copy of the Enfield 1853, produced by English or Belgian armourers, and sold to the contenders in the American War of Secession, in this case to the southern states. As you can see, it has the word TOWER, the date, 1863, but placed inversely and a crown, but without figures of the reigning monarch. It also does not have the "wide arrow", which would denote property of the crown

Thank you Fernando K for posting the pic of the "1863" lock. This supports my comment exactly, that the letters "TOWER" are out of line on the lock on the Victrix Jezail. Compare the 2 pics and you will see what I mean.
By the way the letters L A Co on the other lock likely stand for London Armoury Company.
Stu
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Old 27th January 2018, 08:01 PM   #25
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hello, Kanhjar1


the fact that the punch with the word TOWER a little inclined (since it was put to hand) is not enough to deny the nationality of the lock. Note the elaboration of the punch with the crown, the sherif of the letters and the thickening of the numbers, where it corresponds, the profile of the plate and the perfection of the hammer.

Affectionately. Fernando K
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Old 27th January 2018, 09:07 PM   #26
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Stu, you are absolutely right regarding the L A Co. Itís for London Armoury Company which is still operating. Interesting to note the V R initials under the crown on the L A Co rifle.

Also interesting to see that the L A Co rifle doesnít have a border line going all around the lock plate.

Last edited by Victrix : 27th January 2018 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 26th February 2018, 05:59 PM   #27
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I found this charming article about restoration work on an old rifle made in Nepal:

http://www.shootingtimes.com/gunsmi...10steps_200912/
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