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.
Maufacture D Armes Model 1866-74 M80 Gras Artillery Carbine
French national pride took a big hit in the Franco Prussian War and the nation was determined not to be humiliated again. To this end the breach loading Cassepot Rifle, with it's self consuming linen round was converted into a modern centrefire bolt action rifle - The Model 1874 deigned by Captain Basile Gras. The design saw much service in the French empire, particularly in North Africa as well as in second line units in the First World War. This single shot bolt action rifle fired an 11 x 59mm round and came into service around the same time as the British Martini Henry. Both rifles had very similar rounds and ballistic performance. Some Gras rifles were built from scratch but the Model 1866-74 designation on this carbine length example shows it was a conversion from the earlier Chassepot. The M80 markings show it has the groves cut in the receiver to permit gas to escape in the event of a ruptured primer. Carbine length weapons were issued to the cavalry, but those with a bayonet lug would have been artillery or Gendarmerie issue - the cavalry still preferring the sabre. This example is an artillery issue with the 20.05" barrel. The carbine is in presentable order. There are some small repairs to the fore end where the wood had been replaced. This has been carried out to a good standard but a bit of work could match the colour more closely. The barrel has a decent bore with it's 4 groove rifling still reasonably sharp. It comes with an 1881 St Etienne engraved bayonet. This has a 20 1/2" "T" section blade, an iron hooked quillon, and wood handle with brass fitments.
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.
Percussion Walking stick gun 28 Bore
A percussion Walking Stick gun. This 28 bore gun is well painted with a grained wood effect and certainly looks like a wooden walking stick. The under hammer action pulls down and a folding trigger drops down as the hammer is pulled down. The 28 bore barrel is unscrewed and the gun loaded in the same manner as a turn off pistol. This would allow the user to reload without the need for a separate loading rod. The action is of the Days patent type. The barrel has a good bore and is marked with Birmingham proof marks. The gun also has it's detachable wooden shoulder stock - a rarity. Walking stick guns have an interesting. They are often referred to as being poachers guns, but many have fine finishing details, often in silver, which really makes it most unlikely that a typical poacher could ever acquire one. This example is much better suited to a discrete (and illegal) user with its grained wood paint finish. Whether it was ever used to get meat for a hard pressed rural family during the mid 19th century or was a gentleman's traveling gun for bird collecting is unknown. It is however a good example of its type and an interesting gun.
Coaching Double Carbine Percussion Converted from Flintlock
An interesting gun with a lot of history. This 20 bore double barrel gun started life as a full length flintlock somewhere around 1790. At some point in the the middle of the 19th Century it was converted to percussion and cut down to form a Coaching Carbine. These short handy weapons were a common alternative to the Blunderbuss and performed the same role: guarding coaches - both private or official. They were also very likely to be used for home or self defence. The percussion ignition system would be a welcome improvement for a gun which may be loaded and remain loaded and unfired for a long time, often in exposed or wet conditions. The option of having a second barrel with which to engage highwaymen or footpads would be equally welcomed - either two barrels for two targets, or a second chance in the event of a mis-fire. This example is marked with "KIL HOLLIT AM WIEN" on the locks, suggesting manufacture in Vienna. The rib on the barrels is inscribed in gold "UPPERSROURG STRASBOURG" suggesting French manufacture or at least French service. The barrels are just over 10" and are of 20 bore. The locks have bevelled edges and good quality border engraving. The trigger guard is an elaborate wooden affair with a brass strengthening strip down the centre. Such guards are a common feature on continental guns, with either wood or horn being used. The top of the wrist has a vacant brass shield, and the wrist chequering is clean and clear. The stock has a raised cheek piece which shows the guns sporting history. The butt plate is brass and has a protruding top edge for positive mounting. An interesting gun, with plenty of history and one worthy of further research.
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.
Huge 6 Bore Rampart Gun
Rampart, or Wall Guns were a bridge between infantry weapons and artillery. Their typical used would be providing defensive fire from a fortified position at a greater range than normal infantry weapons were capable of. The long barrels would give good accuracy with a heavy slug. In offensive actions it could be mounted on a large wheeled trolley. This example is thought to be continental and has an impressive 6 bore barrel which is over 72" - that is over 6 feet long! The damascus twist barrel is very heavy and has tremendously thick walls, measuring .375" at the muzzle. The bore is remarkably tidy for an old military weapon, but using a normal bore light is ambitious! The second picture shows a conventional 12 bore game gun by way of comparison. This really is a two man weapon and such is it's size that I would not post it out. It does fit in a large car with the seats down, and I may be able to deliver it myself. It would look very impressive if you have a wall big enough on which to hang it.