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Old 3rd September 2017, 08:38 AM   #1
estcrh
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Default Persian percussion gun repair.

I bought this Persian percussion smooth bore, long gun at auction, it was wrongly described as being Caucasian and the stock had a noticeable crack or splice separation. I asked around in order to find someone who could repair the stock and I decided to contact Philip Tom as his work was highly recommended to me by a forum member I greatly respect.

Philip did a fantastic job, and fortunately the stock was just separated at a joint were two pieces had been spliced together. Persian guns are rather rare, in my opinion possibly due to the Persians early adoption of European firearms and this gun seems to be a very late model, possibly from the last phase of traditional Persian guns. I am really happy with the results, I have no plans to fire it and wanted as little work done on it as possible.

In Philip's words before repair....."there is one oblique crack crossing the point where the sling slot is. Disassembly will be needed to see if there are any related problems inside, and also need to see if I have to address any losses along the edge. I would need the whole gun to work on since the barrel has to be kept in place for proper alignment. The lock is a civilian version, possibly Eastern-made, of a mid-19th cent. Enfield percussion regulation pattern. The main difference being stylistic, a flat surfaced hammer, and a slightly different profile just on the front end of the plate."

After repair.
"As you can see from the differences in grain, this wasn't so much a stress break, but a separation of a diagonal joint in a two-piece stock. When scraping off the crud, there were traces of the original organic glue under the newer clear adhesive of the later amateur repair. The saw cuts on the mating surface weren't perfectly smooth so I had to dig the old stuff out of the crevices to make sure my repair had 100% contact.

The inlaid bone sling escutcheons have these pieces of brass inlaid in them, these are not original and were probably put in by the guy who did the last repair. Rawhide thongs once went through these, which were knotted through holes at the end of the wider leather belt that served as a sling. I decided to leave the brass in, even though not original, because taking them out might open another can of worms as far as stability of the inlays. If it can be done cheaply, a local gunsmith can install a bead type brass shotgun sight in the hole in the barrel. That's what it had originally since the barrel is off an English sporting gun.

Mechanical repair to the firing mechanism isn't any priority since you're not planning to shoot this. The percussion nipple is all munged up and needs to be drilled out and replaced with a new one -- too much money and the new nipple is going to stick out like a sore thumb. The gun looks great as is in an ethnographic collection. As you probably know, the style of stock inlay and the overall quality mark it as being a provincial piece, from one of the tribal areas, probably from southeast Iran since the decor is reminiscent of the circular motifs on the grips of chooras and other daggers from Afghanistan and the Sind."
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Old 3rd September 2017, 12:18 PM   #2
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Great stock repair! The hammer is out of alignment from viewing the damage to it. It is not aligned or is wobbly. Hammers can be removed and bent slightly to align them with the nipple. This hammer could be welded to replace the loss and then the depression milled out. Probably seen too much dry firing by previous owners.
It's a good looking piece and worth the effort.
You can add a front bead then use a wire brush and bluing on it to help age it.
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Old 3rd September 2017, 04:26 PM   #3
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Hi Estcrh.

I remember this gun. Philip did an outstanding job with the stock repair. Looks great !! Interestingly, I own a Caucasian rifle that needed the exact same repair. The mechanical work, lock repair/tuning, nipple replacement (tough job in this case), and front bead sight added could all be done. And I would tend to bend in that direction. But then, I tend to take restoration a bit further than many collectors would like. In this case, it's certainly not necessary to take the restoration any further. It's perfectly presentable as-is for an Ethno arms collection. And, as you mention, Persian made/assembled guns are usually considered quite rare in any condition, and seldom come up for sale.

Again, great job by Philip. A nice addition to your collection.

Rick
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Old 14th September 2017, 07:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Estcrh.

I remember this gun. Philip did an outstanding job with the stock repair. Looks great !! Interestingly, I own a Caucasian rifle that needed the exact same repair. The mechanical work, lock repair/tuning, nipple replacement (tough job in this case), and front bead sight added could all be done. And I would tend to bend in that direction. But then, I tend to take restoration a bit further than many collectors would like. In this case, it's certainly not necessary to take the restoration any further. It's perfectly presentable as-is for an Ethno arms collection. And, as you mention, Persian made/assembled guns are usually considered quite rare in any condition, and seldom come up for sale.

Again, great job by Philip. A nice addition to your collection.

Rick
Rick, I admire the extra steps you take with your guns as far as restoring them, here is a better image of the split before repair.
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Old 16th September 2017, 04:18 PM   #5
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Hi Estcrh.

Yes, I see what you mean. That was a real break in the stock. Philip did a great job.

For comparison, here is a very similar stock break in my Caucasian rifle. I had hoped the repair would have turned out a bit better on mine. But that's just the way it had to be in this case.

Rick
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Old 16th September 2017, 05:02 PM   #6
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I'm not sure these are 'breaks' as such, but rather a form of scarf joint that has come apart.
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Old 17th September 2017, 10:41 PM   #7
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I agree, Richard. The stocks were made in two pieces, the original glue joints just happened to separate at some time in the past. This sort of joint, somewhere along the forestock, is common on many types of Eastern guns. You see it on Indian toreadors on occasion. Persian and Caucasian gunmakers liked to use fiddleback-grain woods. and apparently had trouble finding single pieces long enough for a one-piece stock. I once had a very fine Caucasian smothbore gun, this was a class act with really good damascus barrel and a Persian-made miquelet rivalling European locks in fit and finish. But the maker had to make the stock out of 3 pieces, he was obviously cherry-picking to maximize the grain contrast from end to end. Unfortunately I sold the piece years ago and didn't save any images. What's nice is that Caucasian long guns tend to have wide silver sleeves as barrel-bands, and proper positioning of these can really give the impression that you're looking at a single piece of wood unless you examine closely and see a bit of the joint, or the unavoidable slight mismatch in grain.
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Old 19th September 2017, 04:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Estcrh.

Yes, I see what you mean. That was a real break in the stock. Philip did a great job.

For comparison, here is a very similar stock break in my Caucasian rifle. I had hoped the repair would have turned out a bit better on mine. But that's just the way it had to be in this case.

Rick
Rick its not bad really, I have seen much worse, in my case there was an inlay that had to be worked around.
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Old 23rd September 2017, 02:13 PM   #9
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Hi Estcrh

I'm sure Richard and Philip are correct. They do indeed look more like a splice that came unglued. Glue does age.
In my case, a novice had attempted to glue the two pieces back together (using white Elmers glue or some such). Not only did it look horrible, they glued it together WITH THE ORIGINAL WOOD RAMROD STILL IN PLACE !! Took the gunsmith a whole day to get it apart. @#$%^&*

In your case, it is rather curious that the original maker installed an inlay so close to the spliced area. Also, is that a barrel wedge in both those slots ? Usually these would be left open to tie a leather sling through. The barrel bands holding the barrel in place.

Rick
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Old 23rd September 2017, 05:33 PM   #10
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These are not barrel wedges, just pieces of brass stuck in there probably by the guy who first tried to reglue the stock. The barrel is not fitted with tenons that would retain any wedged. The only attachment are the tang screw and the bands.
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Old 23rd September 2017, 09:43 PM   #11
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I know nothing about firearms and do not even search for them. I am into swords.
From what I see here, there might be different criteria for desireability between bladed and firearms.

This gun is not in usable condition at all , with firing mechanism broken, barrel not securely attached, gunstock unlikely to withstand repeat recoils etc, and still it is considered collectible and worthy of cosmetic repair.

A somewhat similar situation with a sword would be rusted through blade, broken handle and mangled guard. Few of us would invest money, time and effort to bring it up to a condition suitable only for wall hanging and devoid of any fighting potential. Such situation might be appropriate for a extremely rare excavated 1,000 - 2,000 years-old sword, but this is not a case with this gun.

Can you explain to me whether there is a difference of "collectability" criteria and tolerance margins between bladed and fire arms?
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Old 24th September 2017, 12:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
I know nothing about firearms and do not even search for them. I am into swords.
From what I see here, there might be different criteria for desireability between bladed and firearms.

This gun is not in usable condition at all , with firing mechanism broken, barrel not securely attached, gunstock unlikely to withstand repeat recoils etc, and still it is considered collectible and worthy of cosmetic repair.

A somewhat similar situation with a sword would be rusted through blade, broken handle and mangled guard. Few of us would invest money, time and effort to bring it up to a condition suitable only for wall hanging and devoid of any fighting potential. Such situation might be appropriate for a extremely rare excavated 1,000 - 2,000 years-old sword, but this is not a case with this gun.

Can you explain to me whether there is a difference of "collectability" criteria and tolerance margins between bladed and fire arms?
Ariel, people spend plenty of money restoring Japanese, Persian, Ottoman, Indian, Chinese swords etc but Philip might be able to inform us more about this.

As for the particular gun...Persian firearms in any condition are extremely rare. For me it is a thing of beauty, I am sure not everyone will agree.
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Old 24th September 2017, 01:40 AM   #13
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Eric,
That was not my question. I do not doubt the rarity of this gun and do not question your decision to buy it.
I just wanted to learn and understand the criteria by which firearms are judged and why those are so different from bladed weapons. If you maintain that the conditions do not matter, this is a partial answer to my question.
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Old 24th September 2017, 01:50 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Eric,
That was not my question. I do not doubt the rarity of this gun and do not question your decision to buy it.
I just wanted to learn and understand the criteria by which firearms are judged and why those are so different from bladed weapons. If you maintain that the conditions do not matter, this is a partial answer to my question.
There is no difference, if you like something enough and you have the money and a person who can do the work.....take Japanese swords for example, $100 an inch to polish, and thats just the start, there are mounts, fittings, storage mounts. People pay thousands for restorations. Sometimes it is due the the rarity or value of the sword, sometimes it is just something a person wants to do. Guns are no different.
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Old 24th September 2017, 01:44 PM   #15
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I definitely agree: restorations can be expensive. But it is the goal of restoration that is important: what does the new owner try to end up with?

A patinated katana with battle scars and absent or mutilated koshirae subjected to extensive restoration will in large measure lose its historical aroma , but gain its former functionality of a full-fledged battle ready status. Minimum history, maximum functionality.

Excavated bladed weapons are just stabilized, with pitting and rust preserved and some parts ( handles mostly) minimalistically fashioned from translucent materiel to expose the tang ( see Khazar swords in the Furussia collection). Maximum history, minimum functionality.

With heavily damaged weapons these two are mutually exclusive.

What was your vision for the gun?
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Old 24th September 2017, 02:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
These are not barrel wedges, just pieces of brass stuck in there probably by the guy who first tried to reglue the stock. The barrel is not fitted with tenons that would retain any wedged. The only attachment are the tang screw and the bands.

Hi Philip

OK. So someone just installed those brass wedge pieces not knowing the purpose of the slots. That's what I was guessing, and you just confirmed it. Thanks.

Rick
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Old 24th September 2017, 04:23 PM   #17
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Not knowing diddly-squat about guns, I am asking about the tenons: any evidence that this gun was originally made for service? How good ( or bad) was the original repair? Is it serviceable now?

I know I sound stupid, but please bear with me.
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Old 24th September 2017, 04:23 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
I definitely agree: restorations can be expensive. But it is the goal of restoration that is important: what does the new owner try to end up with?

A patinated katana with battle scars and absent or mutilated koshirae subjected to extensive restoration will in large measure lose its historical aroma , but gain its former functionality of a full-fledged battle ready status. Minimum history, maximum functionality.

Excavated bladed weapons are just stabilized, with pitting and rust preserved and some parts ( handles mostly) minimalistically fashioned from translucent materiel to expose the tang ( see Khazar swords in the Furussia collection). Maximum history, minimum functionality.

With heavily damaged weapons these two are mutually exclusive.

What was your vision for the gun?

Hi Ariel.

I tend to agree with Estcrh. While I am a novice with blades, I don't see much difference in the criteria of wheather or not to restore, and if so, to what degree being much different for guns than blades.
In the case of this gun, I would have done exactly what Estcrh did, and nothing further. The splice in the stock (which was originally there) was re-glued back together. No "alteration" or further restoration was done, or desired in this case. The historical/collector value of the gun far out weighing any potential for returning the gun to full shooting condition. History trumps functionality in this case.

I'll post two guns with oposite criteria here to give you a better idea.

Rick
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Old 24th September 2017, 04:54 PM   #19
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Here is an Afghan Jezail. There are many, many Jezail specimens available today. There are exceptions of course, but for the most part these guns do not have major collector value. No dought due to the many remaining specimens, and the fact there are not as many collectors for the Eastern guns like there are for the blades and armour.
And this one was no exception. It was in poor condition when I received it. It's only real value being the genuine English trade lock versus a locally made copy.
I bought this gun with the intent purpose to have it restored to full, safe shooting condition. It's historical value (if any) was of minor importance in this case. Functionality over historical value. A full restoration was done including a new steel, rifled barrel liner inside the original barrel. The gun now has a new life and is much fun to shoot. And that was the goal in this case. Before and after pics:


Rick
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Old 24th September 2017, 05:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
any evidence that this gun was originally made for service?
Ariel, do you mean military service?
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Old 24th September 2017, 05:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Here is an Afghan Jezail. There are many, many Jezail specimens available today. There are exceptions of course, but for the most part these guns do not have major collector value. No dought due to the many remaining specimens, and the fact there are not as many collectors for the Eastern guns like there are for the blades and armour.
And this one was no exception. It was in poor condition when I received it. It's only real value being the genuine English trade lock versus a locally made copy.
I bought this gun with the intent purpose to have it restored to full, safe shooting condition. It's historical value (if any) was of minor importance in this case. Functionality over historical value. A full restoration was done including a new steel, rifled barrel liner inside the original barrel. The gun now has a new life and is much fun to shoot. And that was the goal in this case. Before and after pics:


Rick
Rick, the lengths you go amaze me!!! As for the relative lack of interest in Afghan firearms...this tends to extend to all Afghan military items except maybe some types of swords and daggers, rather unfortunate in my opinion.
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Old 24th September 2017, 05:24 PM   #22
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Hopefully, the Moderator will allow a couple pics of a Europen gun here just for comparison purposes.

Here are a couple pics of what is generally termed by collectors as a Northwest Trade gun (Fusil). These guns were made primarily in England for sale/trade to North America. Especially during the say 1790-1850 period. And most were probably traded to the North American Indians. Even though they were likely made by the thousands, there are relitively few survivors remaining, and are rare in any condition, and very desirous for collectors of this period. In the case of this gun, it is actually an original Belgium made copy of the English guns. Which adds further to it's rarity, but not necessarily to it's value.
It's condition is no better than Fair, converted from flintlock to percussion back in the period, as most were. It has seen heavy usage, and was probably used all the way till it's tumbler/sear broke. Even the barrel is held to the stock with two pieces of (later) wire, having it's barrel lugs coming unsoldered sometime in the past. But it's historical significance, and collector desire/value are such that no attempt at restoration would even be considered. A case of history over function. I'm simply the next caretaker for this gun. So this gun is the exact opposite of the Jazail on my previous post. Hope this gives you a better idea.

Rick
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Old 24th September 2017, 08:59 PM   #23
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Thanks Rick!

Your position is noted and it clarifies a lot . End justifies the means, in a positive sense.

Again, thanks for the lesson.
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Old 25th September 2017, 02:10 AM   #24
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Sind percussion long gun, 63 inches, converted from matchlock. This has two stock splices, they do not appear to have been glued at all, how common was this, I have seen this before on Indian matchlocks.
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