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Old 11th March 2007, 02:24 PM   #1
Freddy
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Question Congo rifle

I know this forum deals mainly with bladed weapons, but I thought this gun would fit in quite nicely.

This morning I found this (very old) gun in an antique shop in my town. The seller could not tell me where it was from. He only knew it came together with some African weapons. I saw (and bought) one other piece of this collection. It's a fine Tutsi (or Hutu) sickle knife from the border region of Congo and Ruanda.
So I think this gun comes from the same area.

The gun is a homemade piece, or at least a homemade converted piece. I guess at one time a barrel of a matchlock gun was available. Someone made a new stock and trigger. Also the metal plates for keeping the piece together were 'newly' made.
The barrel has some decoration, especially towards the top (see pic).
Nice thing about this piece is that it still functions. When you press the trigger, the hook (which used to hold the burning cord), goes to the small 'pan' where the powder is ignited.
The maker also used some rattan and cord to fasten the barrel to the stock.

I tried to find some info on the internet, but I wasn't very succesfull. Perhaps another forum member could help me out.

Total length of this piece is 115 cm.











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Old 11th March 2007, 03:14 PM   #2
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It is Indian. look under torador. The firing mechanism is standard for this type and is period for the barell
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Old 11th March 2007, 07:21 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info, Ward. You're quite right.

Could it be possible that this gun travelled from India to Africa ? Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there a big trade between India and the East Coast of Africa ? Anyway, it was found in an African weapons collection.

Have you any idea of the age of such a weapon ? I believe matchlock guns are the oldest type, no ?
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Old 11th March 2007, 08:40 PM   #4
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Indian matchlocks were still being used in India thru 1960's. The mechanism is simple and does not break often. I would guess 19th century. The style did not change for a couple of hundred years. I doubt the Indians were exporting these to africa but anything is possible
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Old 12th March 2007, 03:05 AM   #5
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These rifles are very common in the arabian penninsula, Yemen and Oman. Both countries that traded with Africa. I have one from Yemen with a Leapord skin wrap on the butt. I have seen photos of the in use in the 1920's.
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Old 12th March 2007, 12:22 PM   #6
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Matchlocks yes are common in yemen and a few other places but not in this form. The Omani and Yemeni form is different
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Old 10th April 2007, 07:47 PM   #7
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Arrow

Yesterday, I was looking for some info in Christopher Spring's book : African Arms and Armour. And look what I found :



This first image shows an array of weapons used in Ethiopia during the 19th century. Both guns look very similar to the one I obtained some time ago.

The second picture shows some Ethiopian warriors from that same period. The one on the right carries a similar gun.
In his book Spring relates that the Ethiopian musketmen relied for their effectiveness as much upon the noise their weapons made as upon the casualties they inflicted.
It seems that loading such a gun took several minutes.

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Old 10th April 2007, 07:55 PM   #8
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Freddy as we know the Arabs had an outpost by the lakes more or less on the edge of the Congo so the trade of guns was widespread.
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Old 13th April 2007, 06:11 PM   #9
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look at the stock totally different form. yes they are all matchlocks pick up a stone's glossary it has pics of various forms of stocks. Not the end all but gives a good starting point
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