This page is still under construction, and some pistols still be found on the Antiques and Obsolete page.
Antique and Obsolete Pistols
A fine Turn Over Percussion Pocket pistol by Clarborough of Lincoln
A good quality turn over percussion pocket pistol by Clarborough of Lincoln. The over/under barrels turn manually and they rotate freely with a positive click as each lines up. The Birmingham proofed turn off barrels are of .36" bore and both are free. The muzzles have what is sometimes called "false rifling" but are in fact straight grooves to give a square section spanner grip when inserted into the muzzles when tightening the barrels during loading. The trigger is folding, and drops down when the engraved dolphin hammer is pulled back to full cock. The pistol has a well engraved lock and is in good condition. There is a vacant escutcheon on the grip. A Peter Clarborough is recorded as a gunsmith trading from High Street Lincoln in 1821 and a Jane Clarborough was at the same address in 1840.
W Mansell Silver inlayed Flintlock Pistol
A 50 bore ( .45") flintlock pistol with barrel of just under 3". The over all length is 8 1/2". The pistol has the pre 1813 London proof marks, which were the first marks used by the London Proof House. This style of pistol with the central hammer and boxlock construction was first seen in the 17th century but became popular in the mid 18th century. The central hammer permits fewer parts than the side hammer design and also makes for a more compact pistol. The side of the lock is engraved with "W Mansell". My records to not show such a name at a suitable time, and it is quite likely that Mansell was a retailer rather then a maker of pistols, and had his name put on the pistol. This was common at the time, and indeed continues today with modern shotguns. The butt is inlayed with decorative silver wire - with some losses on the right side. The cap has a splendid grotesque mask which is in super condition. The spring is strong on both the cock and the frizzen - which sparks well. A very attractive, good quality pistol from the 1700s.
Continental Percussion (from Flintlock) Pistol
A pistol which has been converted from flintlock to percussion. Of continental manufacture, and probably French it is typical of the style of the late 1700s and would have likely been converted to the more reliable percussion pistol during the middle half of the 19th century. The overall style is of the military type, with a prominent brass pommel and long brass "ears" running up the side of the butt, however it is a scaled down version of a military pistol. It would have been carried as a self defence coat pistol. The pistol is a little over 11" long with a 6 1/2" barrel. The brass furniture is decorated with patterned engraving and the back of the butt has decorative sliver wire inlayed. It has a ramrod in place, but this is a later replacement. The octagonal to round barrel is for a .500" ball, so the pistol would have made a formidable weapon for close range defence. The barrel has a flared muzzle and a tidy bore. The mainspring is strong and the action cocks and holds correctly.
Westley Richards Double Howdah Pistol
A large double barrelled percussion Howdah pistol by Westley Richards. This large and heavy pistol has 7 1/2" barrels and will take a .65" patched ball. It has an overall length of 14" and weighs 3lb 1oz. The term Howdah Pistol was given to pistols of this type after they became a favoured close range weapon while hunting in India. The Howdah being the covered saddle or box on top of an elephant. An injured tiger may well try and assault its elephant mounted attackers. A short barrelled weapon firing a large ball with a heavy charge was what was needed to repel such a powerful boarder. Some commentators suggest the massive double barrelled pistols were deliberately weighted to shoot down hill, but it is likely suspect the thick barrels made to take the heavy charge would achieve this anyway. A double dose of large calibre ball would lend itself to self defence against almost anything and pistols of this type were used by hunters and adventurers throughout the empire during the middle of the nineteenth century. Westley Richards is one of the best known and highly regarded names in the gun trade. The son of William Richards, Westley was born in 1814 who joined the family business of gun making, which had evolved from being silversmiths and cutlers. Westley had large taken the business over by 1840. The unexpected death of his wife shortly after their marriage affected Westley severely and he then dedicated himself solely to his work. He became and innovative and pioneering engineer and took out numerous important patents. The company still trades in Birmingham today. Large calibre double pistols do not often come up for sale. this one is a excellent mechanical order. the barrels are an attractive brown, but do have some external marks and pitting which is shown in the photos. The bores are good, bit not perfect. The lock plates are engraved with the name"Westley Richards" and foliate patterns. the captive swivel ram rod is present . There is a vacant white metal escutcheon on the butt, to the rear of the tang.
.700 Light Dragoon Flintlock Pistol Collis
A large flintlock pistol with an impressive calibre which will take a .700" patched ball. The action is smooth and it hold correctly. The mainspring is good and strong and it gives a very good spark against the frizzen. The pistol is likely a private purchase and is in the fashion and style of the Napoleonic Light Dragoon Cavalry Pistol. The 9" barrel is octagonal to round and has been cleaned at some point in the past, leaving it without any original finish. The brass furniture is in good condition and the butt has a pronounced cap which would severely damage any skull it connected with. There are small losses on the wood work around the barrel pins and some brown filler has been used, but not to the detriment pf the pistol. The lock is marked Colllis and has the Royal Crown over GR. An inexpensive flintlock a a price much lower than an ordnance issue pistol of the same period.
Flintlock 40 bore Turn off Muff Pistol by John Jones.
John Jones and Co are recorded as gun wholesalers at 116 Minories, London from 1826 to 1829. They were trading in Birmingham from 1811, and this ties in with the Birmingham proof marks on the pistol. One side of the lock is marked JNo Jones and Co, and the other London. The pistol has a aged patina and light pitting to the surface but is in proper working order. The turn off barrel is free and the drop down trigger is tight and crisp. The cock has a sliding safety which locks the frizzen in place - useful on what is a self defence weapon which would be carried loaded if it were to be of any use in an emergency. The box, although an old one, is not original - pistols of this type would not be likely to be sold cased. It does make an attractive way to display the pistol. The trade label of Issac Hollis is a reproduction, but looks the part anyway.
Pin Fire Double Barrel Pin Fire Pistol
A double barrel pistol in 11mm pinfire. Pistols of this type were a popular choice as self defence weapons. The large 11mm round would be formidable at the close ranges this pistol was intended to be used at. The folding trigger drop down when the hammers are cocked. These folding triggers made the pistol much easier to carry and along with the sliding safety catch - which kept the hammers clear of the pins - allowed the easy carriage of the pistol in some safety. One of the four legs of the safety catch has broken off, but this is not obvious and does not detract from the operation of the catch. This type of firearm was produced by the famous Leige gunmakers of Belgium and were exported over much of the world. Engraving and fancy finishing were kept to a minimum and they were very much a working weapon. Pin Fire bridged the gap from the muzzle loading percussion system and the breech loading centre fire rounds we use today. The pin fire era was quite short - from the early 1850s to the early 1860s for shotguns, but through to the 1880s for pistols. A nice example of a large calibre self defence weapon in an obsolete calibre.
Percussion Turn off Pistol
A percussion turn off pistol with a cannon barrel. There is no makers name, but it does have Birmingham proof marks. In good working order with a crisp trigger release and an attractively engraved hammer. The nipple is straight and in good condition. The barrel unscrews freely. What looks to be an old attempt to improve the pistol by chequering the grips is the only fault with tis pistol. There is a vacant esctucheon on the back of the grip.
Percussion Turn Off Muff PIstol
A classic mid 1800s percussion muff pistol. The bore is .500" which would make a very effective close range calibre. Designed as a self defence weapon intended to give the user an advantage over a knife or cudgel wielding assailant at close range. The turn off barrel is free and the action all works properly. The barrel is marked with Birmingham proof marks, but there is no name on the lock.
English Flintlock Muff Pistol
A flintlock muff pistol marked London. Popular self defence weapons during the latter part of the 18th and early 19th Century, these large calibre weapons were easily carried. The sliding safety locks the hammer at half cock and also locks the frizzen in a closed position. The pistol was then safe to carry - in theory at least - and the powder charge in the pan was also secure. This pistil is in good working order and the barrel unscrews. The method of loading these pistols, by unscrewing the barrel and placing a slightly oversize ball on top of the powder in the chamber, and then screwing the barrel on over the ball, meant the ball was a tight fit in the bore. This improved the power of the shot, but also meant the ball stayed in place - important in a self defence weapon which may be carried for a long time before being called upon.
Sykes Turn Off Muff Pistol in poor condition
A percussion turn off muff pistol which would take a ball of just over .40" calibre or 60 bore. The side of the action is marked with the name of the maker, or more likely, the retailer, in this case "SYKES". The action and the barrel are both worn and have surface pitting. The action does not hold on full or half cock, but the sliding safety does move back and forth as it should. It inserts a block under the hammer preventing the hammer from contacting the capon the nipple. The 2" barrel is frozen and does not turn off as it should for loading. The slab sided butt is in reasonable condition but could do with a clean and polish. A typical self defence weapon from the middle of the 19th century, and one which can be displayed as it is, or subject to repair.
Tomlinson of Dublin Brass Flintlock Pocket Pistol
Turn off pocket pistol by Tomlinson of Dublin with a brass lock and barrel. All brass turn off or muff pistols are rare, and being an Irish example makes it rarer still. The 54 bore ( .42") barrel is free - and has an external lug which would have gripped the spanner to tighten the barrel up when it was loaded. A slightly oversized ball would pinch up tightly and would stay in place even if the pistol were carried for some time while loaded. The mainspring, and the frizzen spring are good and strong and the cock holds properly. The pistol has an overall length of 7 1/2" and so is somewhat larger than most muff pistols. Robert Tomlinson was a well known and well regarded Dublin gunmaker. He traded from 11 Liffey Street and then 123 Capel Street in Dublin in the 1790s. He is known as a maker for brass pistols.
Starr Double Action Percussion Revolver
A Starr 1858 double action percussion revolver. The pistol is marked " Starr Arms & Co New York" and " Starr's Patent Jan 1856". The pistol and the cylinder have matching serial numbers. The pistol is in full working order and actions correctly and smoothly. The nipples on the fitted cylinder are in good order. Starr introduced this double action revolver in 1858, with a well engineered an unique cocking action. This design was used a large numbers by the Union Army in the American Civil War and was considered by many to be superior to other available at the time, such as the Colt. It was perhaps ahead of its time. The hammer cocked as the trigger was pulled, and then if the trigger pressure was released the hammer remained cocked and a second stage on the trigger pull would release the hammer and fire the pistol. It was a good system, giving the speed of fire of the self cocking action, and the greater accuracy of the single action. In 1863 Starr changed, at the request of the Union Army, from the double action to a single action mechanism. Some sources suggest this was because the fine double action system was too complicated for the Union cavalry troopers in the heat of a mounted charge, but a lower production cost probably featured in the request as well. This is one of the last double action models. The change to single action came at around a sequential serial number of 23 000. This one has a serial number of 22 130, suggesting production in mid 1863, and almost certain war time use by the Union Army. The Starr was one of the most used pistols of the American Civil War, and has seen recent exposure in the hands of Kevin Costner in Wyatt Earp and in those of Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven.