Antique and Obsolete Pistols
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Colt 1849 pocket Revolver .31"
A Colt Model 1849 Pocket Percussion Revolver in .31". These five shot revolvers were popular self defence weapons both in America and in Great Britain at its empire. This example is listed on the official Colt web site as being made in 1857, so it may well have seen service in the American Civil War. A legend has grown up around thee pistols with the story that both Union and Confederate Officers carried them and used them to prevent front line surgeons amputating their limbs. That many officers carried them is fact, and they must have been much easier to carry around that the larger framed pistols, but still give a good degree of protection should the enemy be encountered a close range. This example has matching serial numbers on the frame, lock, barrel, cylinder and back strap. The Stage Coach scene on the cylinder has been filed or polished off, but the numbers and lettering are still clear. The barrel top flat has the engraving "ADDRESS SAML COLT NEW YORK CITY". Three of the nipples are in good order and the remaining two have damaged cones. The pistol cocks and indexes well and has a strong spring. A relatively cheap way to own an original Colt which is "off ticket".
Massive Musket Bore Percussion Pistol .75"
A very large percussion pistol in Musket bore - 10 bore or .75". The 9 1/2" barrel is marked with Birmingham proof marks. There is no makers name on the lock. The metal work and the stock are all in good shape and the stock is free from splits or losses. The hammer cocks and holds properly and the spring is good and strong. A large pistol like this would have been a devastating weapon at close range and would likely have been a good choice for someone with access to the .75" musket ball. The Brown Bess muskets were kept in service for native and paramilitary troops well into what is normally regarded as the percussion era.