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Old 16th June 2017, 06:39 AM   #1
kahnjar1
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Default ALGERIAN KABYLE MUSKET for Comment

A recent addition to my collection is this Algerian Miquelet Kabyle Smoothbore Musket. Bore is approx .50. Probable age mid 19th century.
Profusely covered with nice inlaid very thin brass decoration and corals. Unfortunately some of the decoration has been lost over time, but the majority remains.
Comments welcome.
Stu
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Old 16th June 2017, 04:34 PM   #2
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Well well well it's a pure beauty.
The most typical Algerian rifle, in very good condition.
If you don't have the book Gold and Coral, you should buy it immediately.
You will see plenty of them, exactly like yours...
I think that the lock was decorated and some brass or silver is missing.
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Old 16th June 2017, 05:56 PM   #3
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Stunning gun Stu, congratulations.
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Old 16th June 2017, 11:48 PM   #4
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Another Algerian ... A toe Lock ...Perhaps someone can tell me the difference ?
Placed to emphasis the decorative coral technique (similar to the one above) on Algerian weapons...

Described as AN ALGERIAN SILVER-MOUNTED TOE-LOCK MUSKET, SECOND QUARTER OF THE 19TH CENTURY with engraved barrel retained by five silver bands repous,e with scrollwork, fitted with silver back-sight and with a further band of silver over the breech, iron lock inset with chased silver panels, cut with a brief numeric inscription beneath the cock (possibly including the date 1259 A.H. for circa 1843/44), retaining its embroidered silk hand-guard, figured hardwood three-quarter stock inlaid with a running pattern of silver foliage enriched with coral leaves over its full surface, three engraved silver flowerhead side-nail washers, engraved brass butt-plate inlaid with coral en suite, and wooden ramrod with large silver tip matching the barrel bands 92.4cm; 36Gin barrel. From http://www.thomasdelmar.com/Catalog...41205/page2.htm Auctioned more than 10 years ago.

On the subject of Coral Decoration please see http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=19669 at # 25.
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Last edited by Ibrahiim al Balooshi : 16th June 2017 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 17th June 2017, 03:16 AM   #5
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How wonderful! Zukran for posting this! (I just LOVE corals! )
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Old 17th June 2017, 05:45 AM   #6
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Default "toe" locks

The term "Algerian toe lock" is often applied by collectors to these mechanisms, but in actuality, this is something of a misnomer. For one thing, locks powered by an external mainspring that pushes DOWN on the "TOE" of the cock are not restricted to Algeria; the common "focile alla romana" of central Italy and the locks found on a number of 17th cent. French and Austrian breechloaders also share this characteristic.

Spain is the birthplace of the external-mechanism flintlock systems common to much of North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, the Caucasus, and Iran. In most places, it is the "patilla" (little foot) or "a la española" type that is characteristic; the mainspring pushes UP on the HEEL of the cock and the sear (linkage between trigger and cock) system is more direct and robust. These are commonly known to collectors as "miquelets", which arises from a 19th cent. neologism.

The Algerian lock, also of Spanish origin, is an interesting exception not only mechanically but developmentally. Its antecedent is a short-lived Spanish type called "agujeta" because the sear arrangement consisted of elongated pivoting bars with ends that went through holes in the lockplate and were thus likened to needles. (J D Lavin, "A History of Spanish Firearms" (1965) pp 170-172, also "Spanish Agujeta-lock Firearms" in ART, ARMS, AND ARMOUR (ed Robt Held, 1979). In Spain, the agujeta was in vogue only for the latter half of the 17th cent., disappearing by the early 18th, but enough of them must have made their way to al-Maghrib to become popular if not iconic in Algeria through the end of the 19th cent. Stylistic similarities, including elongated cock jaws, wing-shaped jaw screw finials, shape of priming pan bridle, outsized mainspring, and a dog catch safety hook are obvious. The Algerian version tends to be larger than the Spanish, and has a somewhat simplified sear which nonetheless does not make it more reliable since many existing specimens no longer function well.

Spanish authors of the period were not fond of this system, pointing to the weakness of the sear mechanism and the difficulty of maintenance and repair.

Mechanically-inclined readers can look at an exploded diagram of an agujeta sear linkage in Lavin, "History..." p 172, and compare it with the Algerian version in H Blackmore, "Guns and Rifles of the World"(1965), diagram p 115.
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Old 17th June 2017, 03:22 PM   #7
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Hi Stu.

Congratulations!! What a nice, representative example of these Algerian long guns. Both decorative and typical of the style. The lock has an interesting, sort of cross-hatch decoration. Don't recall seeing this before. As Kubur mentioned, it may have had some additional brass overlay at one time. But this overlay does tend to wear thin over time and can eventually almost disappear.
You might find a maker's mark and even a date on the lock somewhere? Take a look. Sometimes on the bottom of the mainspring, but could be anywhere.
The barrel looks to be the most common tapered octagon. Although I've seen some that are tapered octagon to round. All of the stocks I've seen are made this 2/3 length. Often the exposed portion of the ramrod would be completally wrapped in brass. Again, really nice piece Stu. Will the lock hold on full cock?

Rick
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Old 17th June 2017, 03:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
The term "Algerian toe lock" is often applied by collectors to these mechanisms, but in actuality, this is something of a misnomer. For one thing, locks powered by an external mainspring that pushes DOWN on the "TOE" of the cock are not restricted to Algeria; the common "focile alla romana" of central Italy and the locks found on a number of 17th cent. French and Austrian breechloaders also share this characteristic.

Spain is the birthplace of the external-mechanism flintlock systems common to much of North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, the Caucasus, and Iran. In most places, it is the "patilla" (little foot) or "a la española" type that is characteristic; the mainspring pushes UP on the HEEL of the cock and the sear (linkage between trigger and cock) system is more direct and robust. These are commonly known to collectors as "miquelets", which arises from a 19th cent. neologism.

The Algerian lock, also of Spanish origin, is an interesting exception not only mechanically but developmentally. Its antecedent is a short-lived Spanish type called "agujeta" because the sear arrangement consisted of elongated pivoting bars with ends that went through holes in the lockplate and were thus likened to needles. (J D Lavin, "A History of Spanish Firearms" (1965) pp 170-172, also "Spanish Agujeta-lock Firearms" in ART, ARMS, AND ARMOUR (ed Robt Held, 1979). In Spain, the agujeta was in vogue only for the latter half of the 17th cent., disappearing by the early 18th, but enough of them must have made their way to al-Maghrib to become popular if not iconic in Algeria through the end of the 19th cent. Stylistic similarities, including elongated cock jaws, wing-shaped jaw screw finials, shape of priming pan bridle, outsized mainspring, and a dog catch safety hook are obvious. The Algerian version tends to be larger than the Spanish, and has a somewhat simplified sear which nonetheless does not make it more reliable since many existing specimens no longer function well.

Spanish authors of the period were not fond of this system, pointing to the weakness of the sear mechanism and the difficulty of maintenance and repair.

Mechanically-inclined readers can look at an exploded diagram of an agujeta sear linkage in Lavin, "History..." p 172, and compare it with the Algerian version in H Blackmore, "Guns and Rifles of the World"(1965), diagram p 115.

Hi Philip !!! How have you been?
That's a wonderful explanation of the "toe" vesus the "heel" lock on the miquelet. It's really curious that this early style of miquelet, like the snaphaunce, continued in use in Algeria and Morocco for such a long period of time. One thing you will notice about this Algerian style of miquelet lock as well as the Moroccan snaphaunce is that both were made very large. I believe this was because it is easier to forge/manufacture larger parts versus smaller parts. And would make it easier to maintenance/repair. But just my guess.

Rick
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Old 18th June 2017, 12:47 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Stu.

Congratulations!! What a nice, representative example of these Algerian long guns. Both decorative and typical of the style. The lock has an interesting, sort of cross-hatch decoration. Don't recall seeing this before. As Kubur mentioned, it may have had some additional brass overlay at one time. But this overlay does tend to wear thin over time and can eventually almost disappear.
You might find a maker's mark and even a date on the lock somewhere? Take a look. Sometimes on the bottom of the mainspring, but could be anywhere.
The barrel looks to be the most common tapered octagon. Although I've seen some that are tapered octagon to round. All of the stocks I've seen are made this 2/3 length. Often the exposed portion of the ramrod would be completally wrapped in brass. Again, really nice piece Stu. Will the lock hold on full cock?

Rick

Hi Rick,
No marks on the lock that I can see, and yes it does hold at full cock. The barrel is tapered octagon.
Stu
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Old 18th June 2017, 03:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Philip !!! How have you been?
. One thing you will notice about this Algerian style of miquelet lock as well as the Moroccan snaphaunce is that both were made very large. I believe this was because it is easier to forge/manufacture larger parts versus smaller parts. And would make it easier to maintenance/repair. But just my guess.

Rick


Hey Rick, you raise an interesting observation that's spot on. It's especially applicable to the comparison with the original Spanish version of the agujeta which tends to be on the diminutive side. Your explanation is as good as any as it makes perfect sense from an engineering standpoint.

You may have noticed the opposite tendency, however, with the Spanish "patilla" lock as copied in the Ottoman Empire and the Caucasus. Eastern versions of these locks tend to be noticeably smaller than their European prototypes. But the stiffness and hence power of the mainsprings on most of these imitations is something to behold. Many Ottoman, Balkan, and Caucasian locks are in fact more difficult to cock and their trigger letoff is coarse, with the cock jaws slamming into the frizzen with a very jarring impact. What do you think about the availability of gunflints as explanation for these monster springs, and also for the larger size of the North African locks that you pointed out? Flints of poorer quality, or those not as skilfully knapped as the best from Britain and France, would need all the help possible to generate a good shower of sparks, and a stiffer mainspring is one solution. Unfortunately, available documentation of gunflint manufacture outside of Western Europe is scant so this conclusion is tentative at best. I'm sure you have a copy of the article "The Manufacture of Gunflints" by Stephen W. White, published in the previously-cited ART, ARMS, AND ARMOUR and possibly elsewhere.

There is an interesting literary reference to the quality of Caucasian miquelets in the writings of M. Yu. Lermontov, in "A Hero of Our Time", written in the 19th cent. His protagonist expresses a low opinion of the mechanical performance of guns from the Caucasus, on account of their inferior locks -- not trusted to work efficiently at all unless kept well-greased.
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Old 18th June 2017, 03:00 PM   #11
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Hi Philip.

Thanks for your reply. Yes, it's an interesting and curious subject, without much historical information outside of Europe. It is a known fact that the flint from the mines in the Eastern countries was simply sub-standard to the English black or French amber. This is probably why the English would ship barrels of pre-knapped flints to the Eastern market for use of their troops stationed there.
And probably could not (at least officially) be sold or traded to the locals. Also, if my memory serves me, the optimum beveled flint as we know it was not in general use till about the second quarter of the 18th Century (?). Previous to that, some collectors/shooters call it a flint "pawl". Just a more crudely knapped flint without the optimum beveled shape. Sort of like a chip of flint and steel used for starting a fire. This combination, I believe is the primary reason for the extra strong mainsprings in the Eastern lock copies.
Maybe a lesser knowledge of optimum spring hardness and hardening of primary wear points could also be a contributing factor (?).
I can say, from a shooter's perspective, that the Algerian lock as above does eat up beveled flints very quicky! And the trigger pull is very stiff.
Another good example which I believe adds further evidence to the poor flint quality in the Eastern region are the English TRADE locks that were traded all over the East and North America around the turn of the 19th Century. These were basically an ENGLISH MADE copy of the locks used on the British 3rd Model Brown Bess musket. What I have noticed is the same locks sent to the Eastern markets have this stronger mainspring versus the same locks sent to North America. (Not to be confused with the LOCALLY made copies of this lock, that are of far lesser quality of found on some of the Afghan Jazails). There are lock makers here in the States that have over time noticed the same thing as respects the mainsprings. But generally, I believe the quality of flint available in the Region accounts for these heavy mainsprings.

Rick
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Old 19th June 2017, 02:09 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
The term "Algerian toe lock" is often applied by collectors to these mechanisms, but in actuality, this is something of a misnomer. For one thing, locks powered by an external mainspring that pushes DOWN on the "TOE" of the cock are not restricted to Algeria; the common "focile alla romana" of central Italy and the locks found on a number of 17th cent. French and Austrian breechloaders also share this characteristic.

Spain is the birthplace of the external-mechanism flintlock systems common to much of North Africa, the Ottoman Empire, the Caucasus, and Iran. In most places, it is the "patilla" (little foot) or "a la española" type that is characteristic; the mainspring pushes UP on the HEEL of the cock and the sear (linkage between trigger and cock) system is more direct and robust. These are commonly known to collectors as "miquelets", which arises from a 19th cent. neologism.

The Algerian lock, also of Spanish origin, is an interesting exception not only mechanically but developmentally. Its antecedent is a short-lived Spanish type called "agujeta" because the sear arrangement consisted of elongated pivoting bars with ends that went through holes in the lockplate and were thus likened to needles. (J D Lavin, "A History of Spanish Firearms" (1965) pp 170-172, also "Spanish Agujeta-lock Firearms" in ART, ARMS, AND ARMOUR (ed Robt Held, 1979). In Spain, the agujeta was in vogue only for the latter half of the 17th cent., disappearing by the early 18th, but enough of them must have made their way to al-Maghrib to become popular if not iconic in Algeria through the end of the 19th cent. Stylistic similarities, including elongated cock jaws, wing-shaped jaw screw finials, shape of priming pan bridle, outsized mainspring, and a dog catch safety hook are obvious. The Algerian version tends to be larger than the Spanish, and has a somewhat simplified sear which nonetheless does not make it more reliable since many existing specimens no longer function well.

Spanish authors of the period were not fond of this system, pointing to the weakness of the sear mechanism and the difficulty of maintenance and repair.

Mechanically-inclined readers can look at an exploded diagram of an agujeta sear linkage in Lavin, "History..." p 172, and compare it with the Algerian version in H Blackmore, "Guns and Rifles of the World"(1965), diagram p 115.


Salaams Philip, Thank you for the detailed explanation of what a Toe Lock entails... Great explanation thank you.
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Old 19th June 2017, 04:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Philip.

I can say, from a shooter's perspective, that the Algerian lock as above does eat up beveled flints very quicky! And the trigger pull is very stiff.
Another good example which I believe adds further evidence to the poor flint quality in the Eastern region are the English TRADE locks that were traded all over the East and North America around the turn of the 19th Century. These were basically an ENGLISH MADE copy of the locks used on the British 3rd Model Brown Bess musket. What I have noticed is the same locks sent to the Eastern markets have this stronger mainspring versus the same locks sent to North America. But generally, I believe the quality of flint available in the Region accounts for these heavy mainsprings.

Rick


Thanks for a very interesting observation as re mainsprings on "Brown Bess pattern" locks made for different markets. My limited experience with British regulation-style weapons makes this revelation news to me and despite this specific area being a tad off-topic from this thread, the gist of it may certainly apply to the current discussion.

The overall robust proportions, heavier mainsprings, and the emphasis on durability over mechanical refinement on North African firearms would come across as advantages of sort in a milieu in which the shooters tended to be nomads having to carry on in a state of material deprivation, far from access to skilled gunsmiths for maintenance and repairs. And perhaps being chronically short of good flints!

What is perhaps less obvious to us is why, despite the great skill exhibited in some Islamic cultures in making twist-forged and "damascus" barrels, and the love of showy ornamentation for the better pieces in practically all areas, that the overall standard of lock-making even on the luxe weapons of the pampered elite tended to be noticeably below what a European would consider even middling-good. It speaks volumes when you examine those war-trophy Ottoman guns of the 17th cent. converted to sporting weapons in Europe-- the only component considered worth saving was the barrel.
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Old 20th June 2017, 03:53 AM   #14
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HI STU
HERE IS MY KABYLE MUSKET WHICH I HAD POSTED SOMETIME BACK ,HAS LESS CORAL DECORATIONS THAN YOURS BUT ITS VERY LONG ,REGARDS
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Old 24th June 2017, 05:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
Thanks for a very interesting observation as re mainsprings on "Brown Bess pattern" locks made for different markets. My limited experience with British regulation-style weapons makes this revelation news to me and despite this specific area being a tad off-topic from this thread, the gist of it may certainly apply to the current discussion.

The overall robust proportions, heavier mainsprings, and the emphasis on durability over mechanical refinement on North African firearms would come across as advantages of sort in a milieu in which the shooters tended to be nomads having to carry on in a state of material deprivation, far from access to skilled gunsmiths for maintenance and repairs. And perhaps being chronically short of good flints!

What is perhaps less obvious to us is why, despite the great skill exhibited in some Islamic cultures in making twist-forged and "damascus" barrels, and the love of showy ornamentation for the better pieces in practically all areas, that the overall standard of lock-making even on the luxe weapons of the pampered elite tended to be noticeably below what a European would consider even middling-good. It speaks volumes when you examine those war-trophy Ottoman guns of the 17th cent. converted to sporting weapons in Europe-- the only component considered worth saving was the barrel.

Hi Philip.

I believe your theory of "durability over mechanical refinement" is spot on. And all the physical evidence I've seen leads in that direction. And for the reasons you mention.
Yes, it does speak volumes that in the case of the Ottoman guns the barrel was considered the only item of value in the later use of sporing arms. Curious. Of course. the English and French have always prefered the use of the true flintlock over the miquelet. So this was probably also a factor. But you would think that with all the many years of lock use in the Ottomas and North Africa there would have been improvements in the mechanical refinements. But I guess things changed very slowly in that Region.

This lock refinement my be a subject for a new Thread? Don't know how many would be interested ? LOL. What do you think?

Rick
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Old 24th June 2017, 09:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Philip.

Yes, it does speak volumes that in the case of the Ottoman guns the barrel was considered the only item of value in the later use of sporing arms. Curious. Of course. the English and French have always prefered the use of the true flintlock over the miquelet.

This lock refinement my be a subject for a new Thread? Don't know how many would be interested ? LOL. What do you think?

Rick


Hi, Rick
True, although let's consider the perhaps greater number of remounted Ottoman barrels that are encountered on Austrian, German, and Italian sporting guns. And the surprising popularity of the Spanish-style patilla lock in all these areas. In the case of Italy it's obvious since the southern half of the peninsula was long tied to Spain for political reasons through the 18th cent. But I've also noticed, in large collections of 17th-early 18th cent. sporting guns sold at auction in Europe, that German- or Austrian-made miquelets show up more frequently than you'd expect. (the piece that I shared pics with you privately was by no means an anomaly). Look closely at the locks on these guns and you see stylistic elements that are purely Germanic, such as acorn-shaped jaw screw finials replacing the familiar ring, and also rearward extensions of the top jaw that serve as thumb rests to make cocking easier. It's obvious on all these that although you occasionally find recycled Ottoman barrels, no Turkish locks were similarly reused.

Let's also not neglect the connection between south Germany and Spain in terms of gunmaking technology and talent. The wheellock most likely came to Iberia via immigrant German gunmakers like the Marcuartes (Markwardt). One of the most outstanding Spanish smiths during the miquelet era was Nicholás Bamproyssen y Bis, who was half-German. (During his career as gunsmith to Felipe V, he devised the technique of forging barrels from the extremely ductile iron of Viscayan horseshoes).

Lastly, I'd like to point out the appearance of the miquelet-type external spring and transverse sears on French and Austrian locks made for breechloading guns; the system was apparently favored over the "true" flintlock in these applications because minimal wood had to be inletted for the mechanism in a design whose stock was already compromised to make room for the pivoting barrel.

Re your suggestion, yes! a discussion on refinements and improvements to miquelet locks would be most welcome, perhaps on the European Armoury board.
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Old 25th June 2017, 10:33 AM   #17
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The lock of a moukhala has details that give me reason to ask some questions:

When the battery is closed there is a remarkable gap between pan and the battery what is not explainable for me. As far as I know there have no parts of the lock been replaced so that I am convinced that the battery is the original one. But why this big gap? In my foto archive I have some more pictures of locks of the same type that show the same gap. Does anyone know the reason for this gap?

When the battery is closed one can see a small hole with a diameter of ca. 2mm and a depth down to the screw that fixes the battery. What is this hole made for?
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Old 25th June 2017, 06:40 PM   #18
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Hi Corrado.

That's a nice looking Algerian lock. I think I may be able to help. At least partially. I looked at all of my Algerian locks. And all have this hole, but with a tiny pin in the hole. I've never really noticed this until now. There is also a smaller hole on the bottom of the frizzen screw area opposite the hole on top.
Here is a "parts" lock I have. It appears what we call a frizzen "screw" is not really a screw. Even though the screw on the outside has a slot for a screwdriver, there are no threads in the hole where the frizzen screw seats on the inside of the lock.The one pic below explains it better. So for this conversation we will call the frizzen screw a frizzen "pin". LOL It appears that the tiny pin on yours is missing. Look close and see if there is a smaller hole on your lock below the frizzen pin area like the photo below. I'm guessing that if the frizzen pin is removed there would be another hole in the pin itself. Honestly, I've never taken on apart at this area to find out. That would be three holes total. My guess is that once the frizzen pin was inserted, a hole was drilled all the way through the top, pin, and lower area, and a tiny pin inserted what is now three holes, to keep the frizzen pin itself from working it's way out. So, if your tiny pin is missing, you can probably take a punch and small ball peen hammer and knock the frizzen pin out.
You would think it it would be much easier to simply thread the end of the frizzen pin and the hole in the lockplate, like the hammer screw. I can only speculate the reason for doing it in this matter. It seems they avoided making "threaded" screws or holes whenever possible, especially small screws. But the frizzen pin is not really small. Curious.
The last photo you posted, it does seem that the frizzen is sitting just a bit high in the cradle. Hmmm. Maybe the frizzen pin is slightly bent (?). This, possibly due to the tiny support pin missing (?).
If the tiny pin is missing, and the frizzen pin slightly bent, that could account for this gap between the frizzen cover and the pan. Actually, an easy fix - by the right gunsmith. All the frizzens on my Algerian locks close as normal. But they also all have the pin still in them.
Hope this helps. Let me know.

Rick
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Old 25th June 2017, 06:42 PM   #19
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Woops. Somehow the pics didn't post. We'll try again here........
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Old 26th June 2017, 12:12 PM   #20
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Hi rickystl,
your theory is quite good and I tried to get out the bolt that holds the battery but it was not possible. The "screw" is not turnable because of rust but I think it is as you said. There has been a pin that secured the bolt.
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Old 28th June 2017, 05:05 AM   #21
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Default retaining pins (fieles)

The little hole was indeed intended to receive a locking-pin ("fiel" , in Spanish) intended to keep both the pan-cover and cock pivot bolts secure once they were tightened during assembly. Alonzo Martínez de Espinar, in his 1644 treatise ARTE DE BALLESTERÍA Y MONTERÍA, wrote:
"Fieles...are similar to headless nails, that notwithstanding the fact that the threaded screw retains and adjusts the cock, and battery, to the [lock]plate, after being adjusted the screw is drilled through its very threads, and being in place... the fiel is inserted in order that it always remain secure, and adjusted."

James D. Lavin, in A HISTORY OF SPANISH FIREARMS (1965), notes that on early miquelets other screws were secured with fieles as well. The use of these pins began to disappear (in Europe) during the 18th cent., probably because of more precise thread-cutting on screws, and, as Lavin points out, the tremendous pressure of the mainspring against the cock was sufficient to prevent its screw from rotating or backing out. The lighter spring providing tension on the pan-cover/battery made the fiel more necessary and it was the last to disappear.

So, it would not be unusual to find the used of these retaining pins on Algerian locks, considering that they derive from 17th cent. Spanish (Catalan, to be more precise) antecedents. Their continued use on these locks probably speaks to technical conservatism and the relatively poor quality of thread-cutting often found in locks made in the Islamic world.

The complete lack of threads on the battery pivot-bolt of the lock under discussion is an interesting manufacturing shortcut. With a fiel holding it in place, there is no reason why it shouldn't perform as well as a threaded screw. Interesting to note that pre-modern cultures in the East have shown an aversion to threaded screws in mechanical assembly despite their generally high level of metalworking skills. Indian firearms in general don't tend to use them, and an extreme absence of screws is encountered in guns from Japan, Korea, and the Malay Archipelago -- everything is held together with mortises, unthreaded bolts retained by fieles, and by sheer friction. Firearms from China and Vietnam are an in-between, with the better examples containing screwed components as early as the 18th cent., but this may well be the result of Jesuit technical influence (Peking, 17th-18th cent.) and French and Portuguese expat artisans (Annam, 18th cent.).
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Old 28th June 2017, 05:18 AM   #22
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Default trouble-shooting gap between pan and cover

This seems to be an anomaly, the space is pretty big, it almost negates the purpose of the pan-cover as a means of retaining the fine-grained priming powder in the pan!

Like Rick, I've handled my share of Algerian locks, varying from masterful to crude, and on all of them, the pan cover fit was adequate. Could it be that the problem here might be a pivot bolt (or its corresponding hole in the pan-cover) having suffered excessive wear so that the upward pressure of the battery-spring would tend to lift it clear of the pan? If you applied pressure to the pan-cover when the unit was closed, and it moved downward to meet the pan, that might be the problem.

In general, I find that the overall fit and finish of these Algerian agujetas is pretty darned good. At least when you compare their build quality to most of the Moroccan snaphaunces. The mechanical failings of the agujeta seem to be more a matter of engineering and perhaps premature wear from dicey heat treating. The criticisms of 17th cent. Spanish writers (mentioned in a prior post) point to a problem with the design that was apparent centuries ago.
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Old 1st July 2017, 03:09 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by corrado26
Hi rickystl,
your theory is quite good and I tried to get out the bolt that holds the battery but it was not possible. The "screw" is not turnable because of rust but I think it is as you said. There has been a pin that secured the bolt.
Best regards
corrado26

Hi Corrado.

Your lock appears in otherwise good condition. So I don't think it is a case of rust. It seems at some point the fiel (thanks Philip) broke. While the upper half of the fiel is missing, the lower half may still be intact. This, combined with the frizzen pin itself being slightly bent is probably why the pin won't remove. Hmmm. You could take a tiny 1/16" (1.5875mm) drill bit and try drilling where the existing hole is and see if if will drill all the way through. Then you may be able to remove the frizzen pin (?).
Meantime, I'll try this myself on one of my parts locks. Would be interesting to see what the end of the frizzen pin looks like. LOL

Rick
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Old 1st July 2017, 03:37 PM   #24
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Hi Philip.

Thanks so much for the information and insight. I always learn something from your comments. LOL
Yes, it's interesting the Eastern gunmakers aversion to using threads whenever possible. The Indian and Japanese matchlocks come to mind. The entire gun was built without using a single screw. And when you do find threads, they are not done as well as their European counterparts. As you mention, it's curious considering their otherwise high level of skill in metal working.
And as you mention, the Algerian locks seem to have design cues from the mid-17th Century. Unless marked, the lock could have been made in 1650 or 1850. LOL Hard to believe they were still being made and used for this long.
And the Moroccan snaphaunce design dates from the late 16th to early 17th Century. Change came very slowly in this part of the World.

Algerian Lock: I believe the screwdriver slot on the frizzen pin is so the three holes could be re-aligned should the frizzen need replaced or other maintenance to the lock.

Rick
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Old 3rd July 2017, 12:14 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Philip.

Change came very slowly in this part of the World.

.

Rick


So true. Consider the use of the Indo-Portuguese snap matchlock in China and Japan as one example. Introduced in the first half of the 16th cent, still being made as late as the 1870s. A colleague who is an expert on historical archery (both research and shooting) pointed out that those Oriental cultures with highly developed composite-recurved bows in their shooting culture were understandably slow in making a total commitment to firearms because their bows could outshoot just about any smoothbore musket in terms of:
1. rate of fire
2. effective range (a strong Turkish bow can cast an arrow in excess of 800 yd)
3. projectile speed (arrows shot from Korean flight bows have been clocked at around 1000 fps)
4. projectile energy (an arrow weighing about 800 g shot from a Manchu bow of about 100# pull weight (medium for one of these) or more could penetrate most chain mail.
5. field accuracy -- LtGen Wm Warre, observing Portuguese and French cavalry skirmishing during the Peninsular War, wrote: "...Our people and theirs were constantly within 30 yd of one another firing with no effect, ...neither party had any idea of fear." The weapons of course were flintlock carbines and pistols. Officer candidates in the Chinese military exams were expected to hit targets at a gallop within that range with their bows. Up to 20-25 yards, it apparently made little difference in accuracy if you were using a smoothbore, or a strong bow if you're shooting from a moving horse.

The big strikes against archery were
1. Bows of this performance level, and arrows of sufficient quality, were expensive to produce and not amenable to mechanized production.
2. An inordinate amount of training was needed for proficiency -- in these cultures, archers learned in childhood and practiced through their teens in order to be ready for military service in the mounted units. Recruits in basic training can be taught to use a smoothbore flintlock to the limits of its performance capability in a week or so.

As breechloading rifles and revolvers spread via trade and colonization in the 19th cent., and new national armies built of conscription became more important than a hereditary military caste (or slave-soldiers as in the case of the Mamluks and Janissaries), only then did the armies of the East fall into line with Western equipment and training standards.
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Old 3rd July 2017, 12:40 AM   #26
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Here is one that has not been seen before as far as I know.
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Old 3rd July 2017, 06:36 AM   #27
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what a wonderful piece
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Old 3rd July 2017, 04:37 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Philip
So true. Consider the use of the Indo-Portuguese snap matchlock in China and Japan as one example. Introduced in the first half of the 16th cent, still being made as late as the 1870s. A colleague who is an expert on historical archery (both research and shooting) pointed out that those Oriental cultures with highly developed composite-recurved bows in their shooting culture were understandably slow in making a total commitment to firearms because their bows could outshoot just about any smoothbore musket in terms of:
1. rate of fire
2. effective range (a strong Turkish bow can cast an arrow in excess of 800 yd)
3. projectile speed (arrows shot from Korean flight bows have been clocked at around 1000 fps)
4. projectile energy (an arrow weighing about 800 g shot from a Manchu bow of about 100# pull weight (medium for one of these) or more could penetrate most chain mail.
5. field accuracy -- LtGen Wm Warre, observing Portuguese and French cavalry skirmishing during the Peninsular War, wrote: "...Our people and theirs were constantly within 30 yd of one another firing with no effect, ...neither party had any idea of fear." The weapons of course were flintlock carbines and pistols. Officer candidates in the Chinese military exams were expected to hit targets at a gallop within that range with their bows. Up to 20-25 yards, it apparently made little difference in accuracy if you were using a smoothbore, or a strong bow if you're shooting from a moving horse.

The big strikes against archery were
1. Bows of this performance level, and arrows of sufficient quality, were expensive to produce and not amenable to mechanized production.
2. An inordinate amount of training was needed for proficiency -- in these cultures, archers learned in childhood and practiced through their teens in order to be ready for military service in the mounted units. Recruits in basic training can be taught to use a smoothbore flintlock to the limits of its performance capability in a week or so.

As breechloading rifles and revolvers spread via trade and colonization in the 19th cent., and new national armies built of conscription became more important than a hereditary military caste (or slave-soldiers as in the case of the Mamluks and Janissaries), only then did the armies of the East fall into line with Western equipment and training standards.

Hi Philip.

Now that's an interesting bit of history. Thanks for posting. I'll save that.

Rick
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Old 3rd July 2017, 04:43 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by corrado26
what a wonderful piece

I second that comment!! Wonderful piece. I especially like the decorated IRON ramrod. Obviously made with the gun. Usually the ramrods are wood. Often with the fron third wrapped in brass.
A couple other interesting items on these Algerian long guns. The stocks are made only 2/3rds length, and the lock plates are only about half way inlet into the stocks. And every one I've seen are built this way.

Rick
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Old 4th July 2017, 05:22 AM   #30
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Default ramrods / assembly of lock to gun

Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
I second that comment!! Wonderful piece. I especially like the decorated IRON ramrod. Obviously made with the gun. Usually the ramrods are wood. Often with the fron third wrapped in brass.
A couple other interesting items on these Algerian long guns. The stocks are made only 2/3rds length, and the lock plates are only about half way inlet into the stocks. And every one I've seen are built this way.

Rick


Rick, on a lot of these better-grade Algerian guns, the front of the ramrod is sheathed in silver as well, worked in the same designs.

I've also wondered about the 2/3 length stock on these. Actually it's a very practical design. Notice that the wood is more substantial in front than, say, the forestocks on Moroccan and Indian guns so less prone to cracking and splintering. Better insulation for your hand, too, if you're shooting repeated volleys and the barrel starts heating up in the desert sun! And a shorter forestock means slightly less weight up front so the gun has a nicer balance.

As re the lock plates (and notice that these are very thick to handle the forces generated by the massive spring), I'm looking at James D Lavin's "Spanish Agujeta-lock Firearms" and the 17th cent. Catalán predecessors to these Algerian locks all have similar thick beveled-edge plates, and on the guns they definitely sit proud of the surrounding wood. More interestingly, this element seems to be directly carried over from the earlier wheellocks made in the same area of Spain.
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