Antique and Obsolete Calibre
The antique guns, pistols and rifles offered in the Antiques section are covered by Section 58 (2) of the Firearms Act and may be owned without a Firearms Licence or Shotgun Certificate as long as there is no attempt or intention to use them. If they are to be used, even occasionally, they must be held on the appropriate licence.
The deactivated firearms may be purchased and held without a licence.
A percussion blunderbuss - a likely conversion from a shotgun. The 13" barrel has been swaged out from 12 bore to a final muzzle opening of 1.1" . The muzzle is ringed with a brass sleeve which is decorated with engraving. The barrel is retained by a wedge with white metal escutcheons and has Birmingham proof marks. The lock is engraved with a foliate design and has the name "Bentley" faintly visible. This would appear to be a later addition and may be the person who converted it from a shotgun, or the retailer of the gun. The lock has a strong spring and actions correctly. The stock is free for splits or significant damage and is generally in good condition with decently clean chequering and a good colour. The ram road is present, but is a likely replacement, but possibly of some vintage. A percussion blunderbuss may have been used anytime from the first half of the 19th century through to the start of the 20th. The simplicity of design, reliability with percussion ignition and the low cost kept them as favourable weapons for self defence and for protection of goods in transit. The devastating effectiveness of a 12 bore blunderbuss needs no explanation.
Snider 3 Band Rifle
A London Armoury Company (LAC) Snider Mark11** rifle. The adoption of the Enfield percussion rifles during the middle of the nineteenth century gave the British army the most up to date and most effective infantry weapon in the world. However, the concept of an arms race is no a new one and the development and use, of early breech loaders by others threatened the security of the nation. An army armed with muzzle loaders jusy could not expect to win against an army armed with breech loaders. The War Office responded to this very real threat with the urgency and energy our government department are famous for; they formed a committee. The upshot, a little over two years later, was that the first Snider rifles were approved for issue to the army. The Snider was a clever modification of the Enfield Pattern 53 Rifle, where the breech end of the barrel was cut away and a new breed, with a pivoting block was screwed onto the end of the barrel. The invention of Jacob Snider, the new breech loading mechanism gave a cheap and very effective solution; the strength, accuracy and familiarity of the Enfield Rifle was maintained, and the speed of breech loading was facilitated. This rifle has a London Armoury roundel stamped on the butt and the LAC stamp on the block along with the words "Sniders patent". The lock plate is plain. The barrel is in remarkable condition internally and externally. It has the best bore I have seen on a Snider. The rifle was a conversion from a third model Enfield 1853 Rifle Musket. It has a recessed cupped hammer face and the exposed pre Baddeley pattern bands. The wood is in good condition. It is missing it's cleaning rod.
16 bore Pinfire Single Barrel Shotgun
A single barrel pinfire shotgun. This gun is in a straight and honest condition and has not been mucked abut with. It has much of it's original finish on the barrel and action. There are Leige proof marks. The side thumb lever catch to open the action works as it should, as does the hammer, holding at full and half cock. An original gun from the early days of breech loading.
Rare .58" Percussion Rifle Musket
This percussion rifle is very similar to the 1857 French Light Infantry Musket, but is made with a .58" bore, not the larger .70 used by the French Minie` rifles. The rifle would appear to have been produced in one of the many factories and workshops in Belgium and the move to the more modern smaller calibre had sound financial reasoning. The American Civil War generated huge demand for rifles, and many thousands were produced in Belgium and shipped over the Atlantic. A .58" bore rifle would be classified by the Union Army as being a 1st Class weapon, and the older .70" bore rifles were relegated to 2nd or 3rd class weapons. The 1st class weapons commanded a price of over twice that of 2nd or 3rd class weapons. The Belgian arms industry made rifles in .58" bore specifically for the Americans, and an exporter by the name of John Pondir delivered over 3000 of this type of rifle to the US Government between January 10 and March 28 of 1863 He charged between $20.16 and $24.96 per rifle, clearly classing them in the 1st class weapon bracket. Sometimes referred to as the "French Rifle Musket" these rifle have an interesting history. There is no information on this rifle as to wether it was sold across the Atlantic and came back to europe, but the more likely explanation is that it was a part of a cancelled order, or did not get exported for some other reason. The bore has 3 groove rifling of the Enfield type, and interestingly a Enfield type rear ladder sight. The bore is reasonable with some pitting towards the muzzle end. Externally the finish is good and there is no significant pitting. The stock is in good condition and has an as yet unidentified roundel stamp. A rare and interesting percussion rifle musket with an association with the American Civil War.
Turn Off Percussion Pistol
A turn off percussion pistol of .40" bore with a folding trigger. Birmingham proof marked, but with no makers name these little pistols, of relatively large bore, were popular self defence weapons during the middle of the 19th century. Loaded by unscrewing the barrel, pouring powder into the exposed dish, the slightly oversized ball was then seated on top of the powder. The barrel is then placed over the ball and screwed into place. This example is fully working, with the trigger popping down when the hammer is pulled back, and the turn off barrel unscrewing freely - many are seized.
Rigby Double hammer Rifle .360 Express
A Jno Rigby and Co. Double hammer Rifle in .360 Express. This rifle is a beautifully proportioned example of a Victorian deer or Park Rifle. The .360 Express round has a 2 1/4" case and would have produced a muzzle energy of around 1000 Ft.lbs with a 190 grain bullet and was ideal for use on deer across the Empire. The small rounded action has the strong Jones Rotary Grip and is scroll engraved and has some surface corrosion. The bolted locks have non rebounding hammers and function properly. A very pretty double rifle from one of the famous names in the trade.
Robert Adams 14 bore Double Percussion Shotgun
Robert Adams is best known for his revolvers, but made some fine guns as well. This double 14 bore is in presentable condition. The well engraved actions do show wear and the signs of light surface corrosion having been cleaned off. The likely cause is the gun having been wrapped in a cloth which then became damp. the barrels are fine and have very presentable bores. The locks are engraved with "Robert Adams" and the rib is faintly engraved with the same name and King William Street address in London.
12 Bore Blunderbuss Dust London
A London made flintlock Blunderbuss from the early 19th century. John Dust is recorded as trading from Queen Street, London from 1802 to 1805 and again from two addresses in the Stand from 1805 to 1820. The blunderbuss is a 16 bore, opening out to 1 1/2" at the flared muzzle. The octagonal to round barrel is 14" long and has a broadly banded muzzle. The bore is in good condition much better then usually encountered. The lock plate is engraved with "Dust", and the top of the barrel with "London". The barrel has the stamp of the Birmingham Proof House and view mark from the same. These two stamps were introduced in 1813, so put the date of manufacture after that date. To see Birmingham proof marks on a London gun is by no means uncommon. Many commentators have observed that many (some say most) London guns were made, or at least partly made, in Birmingham. There was also a known movement of Birmingham or even Belgian made barrels to London to receive a London proof mark. The lock has a sliding safety to hold the cock at half cock, and the frizzen spring is fitted with a roller bearing; both indicators of a high quality blunderbuss made up to a standard and not down to a price. The roller reduced friction and allowed for a faster lock time and stronger spark. The furniture is brass and the barrel retained by two wedges. The back of the action has been fitted with an iron plate. This was probably fitted to strengthen a crack to the woodwork, but is an old bit of work done to a high standard, and was very likely to have been dome during the working life of the gun. A good quality Blunderbuss of a larger than average bore.
Large Flintlock Blunderbuss
This is a big and heavy Blunderbuss. The 10 bore barrel is 18" long and flares to a 2" muzzle. The lock is from an early Brown Bess and has faint but readable markings - the "heart" Balemark of the Honourable East India Company and the date 17 95. There are some crude additional stamps, possibly obscuring other original marks on the lock. The octagonal to round barrel is from cast iron and is crudely stamped "OLD"and "218". Weapons such as this were used over a long period of time. Flintlocks were popular in remote areas long after percussion ignition was introduced as it was always possible to find a flint, thus giving some measure of independence from traders supplying percussion caps. The East India Co. Balemark was replaced by the familiar Lion Rampant in the early 19th Century. It is likely the blunderbuss was made somewhere in the Indian sub continent using the lock from from a captured or lost Brown Bess. The Blunderbuss is a famous weapon and it is always worth dispelling the myth that they fired bits of broken glass and the flared muzzle made the shot spread out. A muzzle loader can be loaded with anything which will fit down the muzzle. The 66th Foot famously used their tunic buttons when the ran out of ball, but lead buck shot is what they were intended to fire, and performed their best with. The flared muzzle does not, and cannot spread the shot. It does make reloading much easier if on a stage coach, small boat or on horseback. It must also have had a very intimidating effect on anyone at whom it was pointed. The East India Company has a history which largely defined both the British Empire and the Indian continent. This Blunderbuss ties in a lot of history.