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Old 15th September 2019, 07:26 AM   #1
kahnjar1
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Default Miquelet Percussion Pistol for ID and Comment

Just acquired this nice little pistol. Barrel length approx 5" (13cm) with a smooth bore of approx 17mm. Overall approx 25cm.
There are no proof marks of any sort, but 17 is stamped on the underside of the barrel. The barrel bore has a definite chamber for powder and a "flange" above that, which would seat the ball. The miquelet lock is in good functioning order.
I am leaning towards Spanish origin but could be quite wrong.
All comments welcome.
Stu
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Old 15th September 2019, 05:01 PM   #2
Fernando K
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Hello

The third screw on the counter plate suggests that you must have had a belt hook. We would have to disassemble the counter plate and look where it threads and what sense it has. Is spanish

Affectionately
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Old 15th September 2019, 07:22 PM   #3
Jim McDougall
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Beautiful pistol !
As someone not well initiated in firearms, may I ask what is the definition or description of the term miguelet in these weapons? I know it has to do with the lock, but is it a certain characteristic or simply alternate term?
I had always thought they were flintlock as opposed to percussion.
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Old 15th September 2019, 09:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Beautiful pistol !
As someone not well initiated in firearms, may I ask what is the definition or description of the term miguelet in these weapons? I know it has to do with the lock, but is it a certain characteristic or simply alternate term?
I had always thought they were flintlock as opposed to percussion.

Hi Jim,
Miquelet refers to the style of lock and can be found in either flint or percussion.
Here is some info for you on various types/styles of locks.
Stu
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Old 15th September 2019, 11:22 PM   #5
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Thank you for this excellent explanation of the different gun lock types. Which has cleared up a detail that was bothering me about the gun at the top of the thread.
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Old 15th September 2019, 11:40 PM   #6
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Hello

In the description of the "fashionable Madrid" miquetete there are several errors. The chock C is not half-cock, but is for full-cock, and conversely, the front chock is the one that acts in half-cock. In addition, the firing is not achieved by means of the spring appendix, but by means of a bar

Affectionately
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Old 15th September 2019, 11:54 PM   #7
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Hi Jim

The miquelete is located in the Mediterranean area, it has had many variants, according to the country of construction, and all variants have been reciprocally influenced: the "agujeta" the Spanish miquelete, the Portuguese specimens, the Roman lock, the Arabian miquelete or "a la morlaca" and the "fashionable Madrid" lock and the "three fashion" lock.

Neal and Lavin have taken care of the Spanish miqueletes.
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Old 16th September 2019, 03:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando K
Hi Jim

The miquelete is located in the Mediterranean area, it has had many variants, according to the country of construction, and all variants have been reciprocally influenced: the "agujeta" the Spanish miquelete, the Portuguese specimens, the Roman lock, the Arabian miquelete or "a la morlaca" and the "fashionable Madrid" lock and the "three fashion" lock.

Neal and Lavin have taken care of the Spanish miqueletes.

Hi Fernando,
I have no doubt that the details shown do not cover all variants of a particular lock type. Just posted to show that there are many different types of lock in existence.
I have checked the third screw on the counter plate and can tell you it serves no purpose. I do agree though that there was probably a belt hook at some stage. I will have to see if I can find a suitable one to replace it.
Stu
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Old 16th September 2019, 11:04 AM   #9
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Default Yes, the conversions ...

With the invention of the percussion cap (Forsyth) in the first quarter XIX century, there has been an authentic race for flintlock to percussion conversion, both by military as by civilian, as the advantage was tremendous. The massive run must have been by the 1830's. A number of conversion methods were carried out, some ingenious and some clumsy, military being stronger and more perfect versions,
This to say that, when you see a Miquelete with a percussion system, you think twice before you assume whether it was born like that or was result of a conversion.
Here is one of mine which (to me) was born for percussion.

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Old 16th September 2019, 01:05 PM   #10
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Here is my flint to percussion conversion, on a gun posted here.
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Old 16th September 2019, 07:29 PM   #11
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Guys thank you so much for these great insights into my question on the miguelet lock on guns! and Stu, especially for that comprehensive entry from a fantastic resource.
It will take me a bit to fathom all of the details here, as even most of the nomenclature is entirely foreign to me. However, I very much admire the command of all this you guys clearly have.
Fernando, thank you for the very pertinent notes toward the conversion phenomenon which became profoundly important in the 19th c.

Fernando K, thank you for the observations on the keen details in these locks, which really add a lot of dimension to understanding more on them and their distinctions!

Very much appreciated,

Jim (a sword guy trying to learn about guns)
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Old 18th September 2019, 05:38 PM   #12
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Hi Stu

Nice little pocket pistol find. I'll post here what I originally sent you in a private email:

That is a cute little pistol. Agreed, that was a fair price. It's in pretty decent condition. And you're right. It's what many collectors call a traveling/overcoat/pocket pistol. Likely from the 1840-1860 period. This size/style of pistol were very popular throughout Europe during the Mid-18th Century and were made by the thousands, before eventually falling out of favor for revolvers. The percussion miquelet lock appears to be a genuine non-converted lock. And the long iron backstrap on the grip is a typical Spanish feature from pistols of this period. The barrel looks to be a two-piece with a bolster type breech plug (like a percussion British Enfield) which was also very typical of barrels during this period. What you see as a powder chamber and ridge (like some Torador barrels) is probably a slight hollowing out of the breech plug face just giving that impression. I've seen this before on bolster type breech plugs. Never really understood the purpose. The two numbers 17 on the bottom would likely be assembly (or re-assembly) numbers so the breech plug face and threads would match and not get lost/mixed up with other barrels/breeches.
All and all, a nice Spanish percussion pistol, carried for personal protection, and styled very typical to this time period. Congratulations. Nice find. Will be interesting to see what others on the European Forum think. And if they agree with me.

Miquelet is often "loosely" used to describe a gun lock with the mainspring mounted on the outside of the lock plate versus inside as in more traditional flintlocks.

That third screw on the side plate likely was for a belt hook at some time. In fact, judging by original examples, there seem to have been more Spanish origin pistols made with belt hooks versus not. LOL Both civilian and military.

Again, nice find. Rick
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Old 18th September 2019, 08:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
... The percussion miquelet lock appears to be a genuine non-converted lock...

Are you sure, Rick ? .


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Old 18th September 2019, 11:25 PM   #14
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The screw on breech-nipple is also typical of conversions from flint, and in my experience British Enfield barrels were one piece, it being the replicas that had the added breech-nipple section. I will accept that some of the earliest might have had a screw on section, but when fluid cast steel barrels came in the "snail" was made in one with the tube. NB, breech plugs are a different matter.
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Old 19th September 2019, 05:19 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickystl
Hi Stu

The percussion miquelet lock appears to be a genuine non-converted lock. And the long iron backstrap on the grip is a typical Spanish feature from pistols of this period.

Again, nice find. Rick


Hi, Rick and Nando

A couple of comments regarding your posts.

1. I agree that this lock is not a conversion, it was made as perc. If it was converted from flint, I would expect to see two plugged mortises below where the pan used to be. One was for the tenon of the vanished frizzen-spring. The other (which could be a simple hole rather than a squared mortise) would be to hold the stabilizing peg on the priming pan / frizzen bridle (the other point of support being of course the frizzen pivot screw, whose mounting hole has disappeared when the lockplate was cut out to fit the contour of the percussion bolster).

2. The iron backstrap is not, strictly speaking, a "typical Spanish feature" although it is seen on a number of examples from the period. It was characteristic only of pistols made in the Pyrenees foothills region of Eibar, facing the Bay of Biscay. And it, along with the metal-shod "birdshead" pommel also seen, appears to be derived from French patterns of the late 18th-beginning 19th centuries.

It is interesting to note that the barrel of this pistol has ornamentation on its top flat, the flourishes being also common on Eibar guns.

Eibar became pre-eminent as the gunmaking center of Spain in the 19th cent., after Madrid had become focused on luxe products for the Royal Court before the demise of the system of commissioned palace artisans , and after the once-prolific gun industry of Ripoll was devastated by repeated French incursions at the turn of the 19th century, and its total destruction in 1839.

Eibar guns became known for technical refinement (gold-lined touchholes and pans, along with anti-friction rollers on locks) and visual elegance (such as Frenchified touches like birds head stocks). These elements graced firearms of otherwise quintessential Spanish design --an aesthetic that Madrid gunmakers probably sneered at as "provincial", yet notable for superb build quality and an honest, un-showy presentation.

And thankfully, the tradition lives on today. Eibar is the seat of Spain's sporting arms industry, and some very fine double-barrelled skeet and field shotguns are still being built there.
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Old 19th September 2019, 05:45 AM   #16
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Default Example of Eibar miq pistol

Here is one of those Eibar pistols with steel backstrap and birds head pommel, stocked à la française, on a gun made by José Aguirre, first decade 19th cent. The gun has a gold lined touchhole, a barrel forged "de (h)erraduras" (from horseshoes of Biscay iron), and a lock that operates with silky smoothness.
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Old 19th September 2019, 05:59 AM   #17
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Default Barrel details, unconverted Eibar pistol

Here is the top flat of the breech of the Aguirre pistol, showing the traditional Spanish octagonal-to-round stages with chiseled "wedding band" transition (here detailed with inset gold foil), along with the maker's punzón and the silver-inlaid notation of horseshoe-iron used for the forging of the barrel.

(the use of this amazingly ductile and tough material was pioneered by the almost legendary Spanish smith Nicolás Bis about a century earlier and made Spanish barrels the envy of gunsmiths and a "must-have" among well heeled sportsmen all over Europe during the 18th-19th centuries, gaining a reputation equal to the several generations of Brescia's Cominazzo family, which by then was no longer active in the trade.)
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Old 19th September 2019, 02:42 PM   #18
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Guys, i don't pretend to be a brain picker but ... i see (?) signs that this pistol was born with a flintlock system. I don't know, the atypical plate cut out, as if pretending to vanish with previous screw holes, the pronounced backside of nipple bolster, the funny hammer fixation screw. Alright, alright; you can take me to the whipping post .


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Last edited by fernando : 20th September 2019 at 08:06 AM.
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