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Old 26th November 2006, 01:02 PM   #1
fernando
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Default Jezail rifle. Unusual version ?

Hello, please help.
I have this piece for quite some time. What intrigues me in it, is the octogonal flared barrel, impressively thick, and with a deep 7 groove rifled bore. Was this technique currently used in Jezail muskets ?
Another detail i can't explain, is the two suspension rings close from eachother, near the trigger guard. Some peculiar belt hanging system ?
Thanks for your coments.
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Old 26th November 2006, 02:43 PM   #2
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This rifle is from Sind typical barrell for them 1850-1900. Nice piece
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Old 26th November 2006, 04:53 PM   #3
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check Firearms of the Islamic World by Robert Elgood page 169. I have a similar example in my collection. If I get a chance will take pics
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Old 26th November 2006, 05:09 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot for your help, Ward.
I will love to see those pictures, whenever you post them.
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Old 26th November 2006, 06:17 PM   #5
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I'd like to se a square on shot of the muzzle, but from this angle, this looks like ratchet rifling.
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Old 26th November 2006, 07:16 PM   #6
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Thanks Double D
Will these do ?
Would this be some kind of ratchet system ?
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Old 26th November 2006, 07:19 PM   #7
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here is pics obviously the top one notice the distinct hook but and the immediate drop of the stock after the tang screw. afghan jezail tend to be more of a gentle slope. compare it to to the afghan jezail below it
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Old 26th November 2006, 07:58 PM   #8
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Thank you ever so much, Ward.
These pictures are an excelent point of reference for me.
Very nice pieces.
That barrel rifling is perfect.
Thanks again
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Old 27th November 2006, 03:30 AM   #9
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The slightly angled pictures do appear to be rachet rifling, but the straight on picture makes it very clear it's not. Each corner is more a trough than a groove.
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Old 30th November 2006, 11:58 PM   #10
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Default observations on lock and possibly damascus barrel

Hi, Fernando
Interesting piece. Indeed, this is a Sind rifle, the percussion lock indicates second half 19th cent. up to early 20th as previously noted. The shape of the lock is patterned after the style used on British Enfield rifle-muskets, which have seen combat in the Crimean War, the American Civil War, and so forth. Many of these guns were convered to breech-loading in the early 1870s (the Snider system) so they were widespread throughout the British Empire.

I suspect that the barrel on your gun is much older, with the breech altered to accept a percussion bolster and nipple. The configuration of your barrel could well indicate Persian manufacture. Without inscriptions it can be difficult to date these, but good quality ones remained in service for a long, long time.

Many of these old Persian (and Indian) barrels are of twist damascus steel. HAVE YOU TAKEN YOUR GUN APART? Often, the portion of the barrel covered by wood is less corroded and a damascus pattern might be visible.

The rifling is consistent with traditional rifled firearms of Iran and Turkey. You find this style also in the bores of rifles made in the Germanic countries prior to the 18th cent. The grooves are narrow troughs, almost always an odd number (generally 7 or 9).
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Old 1st December 2006, 06:29 PM   #11
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Thank you so much, Philip
I wouldn't dare to dismount this piece, as its remounting would be a problem ... barrel bands, stock ( repaired ) fore end, and so.
I only risked to dismount the lockplate and, in that visible part of the barrel, there looks to be no barrel twist or any other texture.
Maybe Ward can tell something about this, as its barrel is right the same and certainly in a better condition, considering the picture of its rifled bore.
I register your info on the lock shape, copied from the British pattern. But what intrigues me, is that extra steel "tab" welded to the barrel, right in front of the percussion bolster. Not certainly a reinforcement or, at least, i wouldn't see the reason, by myself.
I will be digesting all your other precious info.
Kind regards
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Old 2nd December 2006, 06:09 AM   #12
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Fernando,
I don't know what the functional purpose is for the elongated steel "tab" attached to the barrel ahead of the bolster. Ward's specimen has something similar. This is not a usual feature on percussion musket/rifle barrels from Europe. Looking at pictures of Sind guns fitted with flint- or matchlocks, I see no similar feature.

In Elgood's FIREARMS OF THE ISLAMIC WORLD, cited above, the photo of 3 guns on p 169 contains an example (the middle one, a matchlock) with a double sling swivel just as yours has. I am trying to figure out the purpose of this; a single one would seem to be perfectly adequate, unless one of the loops was for the attachment of a chain holding the touchhole pricker (which is usually housed in a conical metal receptacle attached to the right side of the stock ahead of the trigger).
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Old 2nd December 2006, 11:13 AM   #13
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I must disagree with a couple of points here. It very unlikely this is a damascus barrel...generally round barrels are damascus, octagon were not. That's not an "always" that's a "ususally" There are exceptions I suppose but a damascus octagon barrel is uncommon.

The Lock is not the P53 Pattern lock. The P53 style hammer is heavier and the front of the lock plate is rounded.

This lock looks like an indigenous made copy of an English Bar lock from mid 19th century. The lock pattern being mid 19th Century. I'm not saying this rifle is 19th century.

Odd number rifling is also normally associated with English patterns. But again that is not an always.
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Old 2nd December 2006, 02:17 PM   #14
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The barrel of my sind rifle is not watered and it sounds like fernando's rifle is not. I believe both barrels are from the same workshop. I beleive both locks are locally made. I do not think they are retrofits. but originally percusion.
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Old 2nd December 2006, 04:04 PM   #15
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Hi Philip
I have noticed that Ward's rifle also has the "tab" beyond the bolster, only that in its case the tab looks embodied with the bolster, like one only set, and mine looks like a loose piece, welded separately. Apparently this tab thing is a atandard procedure, and not an isolated option. Not to exclude that its utility wasn't exterior reinforcing, but of interior use . Its swelled bottom doesn't end with a flat edge, but in "v" grooved profile along its length ... at least in my specimen.
Its amazing, this double swivel hook near the trigger guard. Although they have different sizes, both are too wide to hold things like chains. Could they be a buckling system to adjust and stop the shoulder belt ?
Thank you Double D
Searching the Web after your coments, i see closest similarity between this and the British "two screw bar lock" ... both plate and mechanism. Naturally an indigenous version. Eventually my specimen is more crude made than Ward's, specially the hammer.
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Old 2nd December 2006, 04:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ward
The barrel of my sind rifle is not watered and it sounds like fernando's rifle is not. I believe both barrels are from the same workshop. I beleive both locks are locally made. I do not think they are retrofits. but originally percusion.

Hi Ward
I think that Philip's sugestion was that it was the barrel that was modifyed from flint to percussion ... the lock being the actual percussion one.
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Old 2nd December 2006, 05:34 PM   #17
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I can see a changeover from matchlock to percussian. Usually flintlock to percussian conversians are just modified lockplates and hammers.
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Old 2nd December 2006, 06:08 PM   #18
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Default JUST FOR CORRECTION

Quote:
Originally Posted by ward
I can see a changeover from matchlock to percussian. Usually flintlock to percussian conversians are just modified lockplates and hammers.

Well, actually Philip didn't say altered from flint to percussion, but altered do percussion.
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Old 2nd December 2006, 06:47 PM   #19
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your right I should have read it closer
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Old 2nd December 2006, 07:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ward
your right I should have read it closer

My fault. It was me who mentioned flint, by mistake.
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Old 2nd December 2006, 09:02 PM   #21
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The D Rings in front of the trigger guard are for rifle slings. There should be a second ring out on the fores tock ort barrel some where.

The one with the double rings may be one ring for the sling and one for a chest hook sling. But that is just a guess.

The flared muzzle by the way is exaggerated swamping. Created when the flats were filed in.
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Old 2nd December 2006, 10:11 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Double D
The flared muzzle by the way is exaggerated swamping. Created when the flats were filed in.

I am learning here. Can you explain this by other words, just to make sure i get what you mean? I understand that the barrel swells out with the pressure of the mandrill getting through to make the rifling. Is this the message ?
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Old 3rd December 2006, 05:30 AM   #23
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I just don't believe these rifle barrel was mandrel formed, I wasn't there when they were made it so can't be sure. Could have been but I just have my doubts. What makes me think these barrel was not formed on mandrel is the inner rifling appears to have a twist to it. It would be very difficult to hand forge a barrel with straight outer flats on a twisted mandrel. Can be done but difficult.

More likely they were bored on a lathe then the flats of the rifling were scraped in. I don't want call them lands because they aren't lands in the modern sense. After the flats were scraped in the grooves we scraped in. It would be relatively simple to give bore twist when scraping in.

After the bore was made then the flats were draw filed in on the barrel. Swamping is draw filing the center section to a small diameter than either end, or in this case at least the back of the barrel smaller than the front.

These two rifles barrels appear to have been made by two different people. Fernando's barrel grooves are a different shape than Wards. This might be from erosion/corrosion from shooting. Fernando's gun appears to have been used quite a bit, Wards very little. I can only wonder what they drove down Fernando's bore to shoot. What ever it was, it looks like they used a rock to drive it! They beat the devil out of the muzzle!!

By the way you both need to run a rod down the bore and make sure they are not still loaded. The rod should reach all the way down to where the nipple is. Both bores could also do with a good cleaning and oiling. They look dry but dusty, a trap for moisture.

Have you shot them?
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Old 3rd December 2006, 07:27 AM   #24
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Default disagreement on barrels

There are a couple points on which I tend to differ.

"...generally, round barrels are damascus, octagonal ones were not."

In my experience as a collector, octagonal barrels of twist damascus steel are not uncommon in the Muslim world. They were in fact widely made in the the Ottoman Empire as well as Persia. Three Sind guns of superlative quality (two flint, one with a percussion lock roughly similar to Fernando's and Ward's examples), are in the Nasser D. Khalili collection of Islamic art and are published in THE ART OF WAR, by David Alexander (Oxford/Nour Foundation, 1992), cat. nos. 136-38. All of these guns have slender octagonal barrels with swamped muzzles and are of beautiful damascus steel.

"...don't believe that these rifle barrels were mandrel-formed"

The use of a mandrel in forging Indian twist barrels is clearly mentioned in the detailed description of barrel manufacture on page 61 of Wilbrahim Egerton's AN ILLUSTRATED HANDBOOK OF INDIAN ARMS... Bangkok: White Orchid Press, 1981 (facsimile repr of original London edn of 1880).

Lastly, I would like to add a comment to Double D's useful explanation of the manufacture of octagonal barrels. Although mastery of draw-filing technique has been a part of the gunsmith's repertoire of skills for centuries, artisans have learned long ago that preliminary shaping of the flats by forging saves considerable time and effort on the filing-bench. This is analogous to the cutlery trade as well : a knife- and swordmaker specializing in pattern welded blades once explained to me that he does as much of the basic contour and bevel shaping as possible by hammer, this also being amply illustrated on p 83 of Kapp/Yoshihara THE CRAFT OF THE JAPANESE SWORD.


Be that as it may, and returning to the world of guns, I would like to share a very interesting reference from Fernando's homeland, a rare Portuguese gunmaker's manual entitled ESPINGARDA PERFEYTA, e REGRAS PARA A SUA OPERACAO, com CIRCUNSTANCIAS NECESSARIAS PARA O SEU ARTIFICIO, e DOUTRINAS PARA O MELHOR ACERTO (The Perfect Gun, and rules for its use, together with necessary instructions for its construction and precepts for good shooting), written by Cesar Fiosconi and Jordao Guserio in 1718 (facsimile edn, trans by Rainer Daehnhardt, London: Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications Ltd., 1974). The authors devote an entire chapter (XIX) to the art of forging and finishing barrels by hammer without need for filing.

I have never encountered one of these Portuguese masterwork barrels whose surfaces were precisely shaped without need for any stock-removal whatsoever. However, I have seen a few rudely-made jezails from Afghanistan or Central Asia whose octagonal barrels clearly showed the imprint of the hammer throughout their surfaces, particularly on the side and bottom flats.
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Old 3rd December 2006, 04:24 PM   #25
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"By the way you both need to run a rod down the bore and make sure they are not still loaded. The rod should reach all the way down to where the nipple is. Both bores could also do with a good cleaning and oiling. They look dry but dusty, a trap for moisture.

Have you shot them?"

regarding the rifles being loaded. It is the first thing I check when I buy one. quick check is done by cleaning the toach hole with a tooth pick and blowing down the barrell. If it does not blow clean then I take a long wood rod run it down barrell and check it against length. If it is loaded as about 35% are that I get in. I have a long metal rod with a wood screw welded on it. I fill the barrell with some water and screw the rod in and pull the ball or more likely a shot mix with black powder out. Aferwards dump water and put in oil.
Many years ago I did shoot a indian matchlock I had when I was a lot stupider. Not knowing the corrosian or forging flaws inside a barrell it is not a good idea to put chamber pressure into these guns.Afghan rifles expecially often have used glass rocks or anything else handy instead of lead shot
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Old 3rd December 2006, 05:28 PM   #26
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Here is one blacksmith's way of making barrells. Not saying all methods were used on this rifle but just gives a very basic idea of how a barrell could be constructed.
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Old 4th December 2006, 01:23 AM   #27
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Default rifling methods / cleaning antique gun bores

Ward,
Thanks for posting the pics of the rifling process used in pre-industrial America. One would suspect that similar methods were used in the Ottoman Empire (the majority of Turkish "shishhane" guns are rifled) since both the Turks and the rifle-makers of colonial Pennsylvania looked to the same ancestral source for the rifle concept: the German-speaking world.

As far as taking the pains to check and clear the barrels of old guns, you are spot-on. I have a couple of other tips, given me by veteran shooters of black-powder guns, which I've used for years and that you might find useful.

1. Besides removing any old charges, an important part of cleaning is removal of any layers of powder fouling from previous shots. Most modern shooters mistakenly use some of the commercial petro-based solvents such as Hoppes No. 9, but although these work fine to remove lead deposits and the fouling from nitro powders and mercuric primers, it doesn't do much for the "glaze" of old black powder combusion residue which is itself a moisture trap. BOILING HOT WATER WITH LYE SOAP is a tried-and-true old time black powder solvent. Dismount the barrel from the gun (or else be very careful not to wet the stock), and use an old metal teakettle to pour the hot stuff down the muzzle to flush thoroughly, then work on it with your brush-on-rod tool until the water spritzing from the touch-hole is clean.

2. Stubborn scales of rust clinging to the bore can be attacked with penetrating oil (Break Free is a good product). Plug the touch hole, fill the bore with the stuff, stand the gun in a corner and forget about it for several days, then work on it with your bore tools. Repeat as necessary. In the pre-Break-Free era, one guy told me that he had good luck with Coca Cola (the old classick formula). He learned that after reading a report about how the stuff could free up seized engine cylinders and dissolve things like typewriter keys and the galvanizing off of nails that were soaked long enough in it. ( BTW just think of what this infernal bevridge can do to your stomach lining under such circumstances. I got religion after hearing about this and immediately gave up Coke in favor of beer )

After cleaning, make sure bore is dry and you can oil with your favorite lubricant; a guy on another forum uses Ballistol and I can vouch for the durable protection it provides.
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Old 4th December 2006, 04:32 AM   #28
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Boy I'm glad I didn't say "definitely". I'm not all that familiar with Indo- Persian Guns...that's obvious.

Be very careful with that hot lye solution it will burn flesh and eat wood.
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Old 5th December 2006, 04:53 AM   #29
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Default caution!

Note that in my prior post I said "lye SOAP", please do not use straight lye! Lye soap is the old-fashioned stuff in the huge yellow brick that people used for hand laundry back in the days of washtubs and corrugated washboards. (It was a real OLD-timer that passed this tip on to me, I'm just repeating it verbatim. The essential is hot, soapy water. I use a heavy duty dish detergent, it works well enough for the porpoise).
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Old 8th December 2006, 08:10 PM   #30
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Gentlemen, i am "swamped" with so much information.
Philip, i am glad that you have ( another ) Portuguese book, Espingarda Perfeyta, an unique gun treatise from the early XVIII century. It looks like the drawing of the "square reamer" shown here by Ward, corresponds to the description of chapter XXI, for the barrel drilling, in that Portuguese work.
I still think both Ward's barrel and mine were made with the same technique, only mine went through a certain endurance and the lands were much worn with the intense shooting of whatever projectile material. Besides it could be that these barrels were a little flared at the muzzle section originally, which seems to be a rule on barrel making, according to Espingarda Pefeyta.
After inumerous tryals, i managed to get a couple pictures on the barrel exterior finishing. It sure looks like filing ... or doesn't it ?
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