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Old 10th May 2013, 12:29 AM   #1
machinist
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Default A miquelet escopeta for comments

I recently bought this escopeta at auction and was hoping to learn more about it as this is my first flintlock. One of my areas of interest is the weapons used by Spanish colonists in the south western U.S. and this seems like a slightly fancy version of the sort of carbines that would have been used in that era and area.
What I know so far is that it has a miquelet lock, a Catalan stock, a belt hook and that is about it.
There is a signature of Castano with the last letter partly obscured by the mainspring and several gold lined markings on the barrel breach. One of the marks has lettering that is mostly obscured by the gold being a bit rough and thick but it seems to be three lines of letters with the second and third letters of the first line being NT.
The buttplate is a plain piece of steel that goes about three centimeters down the back of the buttstock. The caliber is .75 and the bore is smooth, there is no rear sight.
I will use the sellers Pics as my camera and camera skill are both pretty bad.
Any information that anyone has, especially about where and when it may have been made as well as how such a thing might have been used, hunting? Defense? Any opinion is welcome.
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Old 11th May 2013, 03:20 PM   #2
Cerjak
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Hi Machinist
Very nice Escopeta you have !
I already post last year 2 from my collection and guess that Fernando & Fernando K could help you as they did with me..
This is the link from my old thread
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=14820
Regards

Cerjak
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Old 11th May 2013, 06:59 PM   #3
fernando
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Nice gun you got there, machinist ... expensive too .
Probably a hunting escopeta, being half stocked; Fernando K knows better. Maybe he also has a record on Castaño, who doesn't come in Lavin's work. Apparently this is only the lock maker, once the golden mark on barrel is signed by someone else, probably a more well know smith. The two letters you discern will most probably be those of Antonio, but this is a name rather popular and is not enough to ID the owner.
Maybe you have a friend with photograph facilities and post a close up picture of the mark; maybe Fernando K or other member will be ble to ID it.
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Old 11th May 2013, 11:25 PM   #4
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Cerjak, Nice looking piece there also, I have looked through that thread a bit and it is informative.

Fernando, A little expensive but I think it is worth it. Were you following that auction? One of the marks on the breach looks like a cross with a bifurcated, fishtail base, it seems common on such guns and I wonder what is it's meaning?

Yay, I am off newbie probation

Last edited by machinist : 12th May 2013 at 12:01 AM.
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Old 11th May 2013, 11:28 PM   #5
Fernando K
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Hello:

I agree with Fernando, I think it's a shotgun. The name on the key (lock) I think it is Italian, if a key (lock) produced in Spain have the punch Manufacturer gold.

It would be interesting a photograph of the punch in the barrel (barrel) to see who produced it.

In short: I think it is a weapon produced in Italy, perhaps in Naples (under Spanish rule) and used a gun / barrel) produced in Spain

Affectionately. Fernando K
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Old 12th May 2013, 12:00 AM   #6
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Hello Fernando K, This is interesting information, I was wondering why some guns where stamped on the lock, trigger guard, barrel, and mine was not.
I was wondering about it being used as a shotgun, it seems like it would be useful against deer with a load of buckshot.
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Old 12th May 2013, 11:41 AM   #7
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machinist
... Were you following that auction?

Coincidence; i saw it while browsing the net for CASTAÑO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by machinist
... One of the marks on the breach looks like a cross with a bifurcated, fishtail base, it seems common on such guns and I wonder what is it's meaning?...

Apparently they call them crosses ... Latin cross, Greek cross, depending on their style. They actually appear in the majority of barrel marks, i suppose for decoration purposes. I ignore the origin of this custom.
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Old 12th July 2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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I'm pretty sure this is a Spanish trabuco, a type of blunderbuss, which is a shotgun. I have a source that says the Spanish military did in fact use them, and they were also used by Spanish explorers of the Americas. Trabuco Canyon, an area in Southern California, is actually named after this type of gun.
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Old 12th July 2013, 10:48 PM   #9
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Hello:

I differ with Aptheo. The blunderbuss has a bell mouth, usually, generally, is of greater caliber than a shotgun. The fact that it has the same system ignción (miquelet, pin, Catalan or Spanish) and that his head is "Catalan" as the copy attached to the post, not meant to be a blunderbuss.

Affectionately. Fernando K
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Old 13th July 2013, 05:52 AM   #10
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Hi Fernando K,

I know that most blunderbusses can be instantly recognized by their trademark flared muzzles, but from what I've read (and seen), the 18th century Spanish take on the weapon either did not have a belled muzzle at all, or it was tapered only very slightly. From the same source in my comment above:

"...whereas the ordinary blunderbuss had a definite flare toward the muzzle, resulting in a rather large mouth, the true trabuco had a more graceful tapering barrel ending in a much smaller-belled muzzle."
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Old 13th July 2013, 10:19 AM   #11
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Hi Machinist, great piece, congratulations.
I was wondering about the belt hook and whether it was fitted later, or is it common with these firearms - presumably for a long gun a belt hook was for fitting to a saddle rather than the person? Does it indicate a cavalry carbine or just a convenient fitting for hunting or travelling?
Regards, CC.
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Old 13th July 2013, 07:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aptheo
... "...whereas the ordinary blunderbuss had a definite flare toward the muzzle, resulting in a rather large mouth, the true trabuco had a more graceful tapering barrel ending in a much smaller-belled muzzle."

Not necessarily so, i am afraid
Look at these Catalunian trabuqueros ready for party
... They must have some knowledge of these things .

-
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Last edited by fernando : 13th July 2013 at 07:40 PM. Reason: Spell
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Old 13th July 2013, 07:42 PM   #13
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Hello Aptheo, I am pretty sure it is just an escopeta but language is a fluid thing. It was interesting to hear about Trabuco canyon, there are a lot of these names that most folks just do not notice or know the origin of.

Hello CutlassCollector, The engraving seems to flow around the hook so I imagine it was original equipment. I have no real knowledge about how it was carried but it seems clumsy to have it on the belt on horse back so I imagine it would be hung from the saddle and perhaps hung from a belt or sash if you needed both hands for something but wanted the gun close by.

A few weeks after I got this I was setting a gopher trap in my vegetable garden and found a flint for it. Most European flints are uni-facially percussion flaked but this one is bi-facially pressure flaked much like an arrowhead so I believe that this is either a broken native American knife blade that just happens to match the size and shape of a flintlock flint or a native made flint for a Spanish weapon. I tried it and it sparks but not impressively.
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Old 13th July 2013, 07:54 PM   #14
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Trabucos at the Madrid Navy Museum

.
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Old 13th July 2013, 11:35 PM   #15
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Fernando, great shot of blunderbusses. Third one down looks to be the same as several at the old Royal Armouries at the Tower of London. I have a 35mm shot of them, somewhere amongst my albums.

For what it's worth, Herschel Logan was a very skilled illustrator who sometimes dabbled in guns. I can remember back in the '60s seeing his exploded view drawings in the American Rifleman, I believe.
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Old 14th July 2013, 07:47 PM   #16
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Awesome pictures everybody! I'm glad to learn that trabucos actually can have that flared muzzle, it helps with some other research I'm doing. Details about that story are in another post I made here though. Thanks! I'm learning a lot here since I joined.
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Old 15th July 2013, 12:59 PM   #17
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We all know that the term trabuco comes from the Provençal "trabuc" and was originaly attributed to stone throwing siege war machines.
I have for me that the later use of the term in Spain for firearms was applied to the same typology as the blunderbuss in english, the specific design of each variant being independent from the generic name.
Athough the term trabuco is familiar to the portuguese, we more often use "bacamarte", which also has its etymologic roots.
The flare of the muzzle depending either in artistic freedom, mechanical possibilities or arsenal design, often connotated with better projectile spread and or more impressive look towards the (human) target, serves basicaly the purpose of facilitating the loading, be it single ball or lots of varied junk.
While arsenal barrels may have a more elaborated design ... bell, trumpet, duck beak ... home made examples, those often made of salvaged musket barrels shortened for the purpose, are restrained to the simple swelling of the muzzle ending. I was once told that the (one) system used, is heating the barrel muzzle and expand it by hammering in a spinning top.

.
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Old 13th September 2013, 07:58 PM   #18
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Wonderful find machinist! I too am intrigued by the belt hook and the overall length of your escopeta.

I wish we could see a photo of the other side of the Trabucos at the Madrid's Navy Museum. (thanks for the photo fernando).
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