Antique British SUTHERLAND Percussion Pistol Question

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by laptopps, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. laptopps

    laptopps New Member

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    Hi! I am new here to thefirearmsforum.com and have a couple of questions about a British Sutherland pistol that I bought today. Today, I was perusing through Craigslist.com and was able to buy this for $520. Yea! :D

    That being said, my wife and I LOVE collecting antiques and this gun is one that I want to cherish for a long long time. The seller didn't have much history, other than she bought it from a 35 year-old guy about 4 years ago who inherited it from his dad. That guy just knew that his dad had it all his life, but didn't know the history beyond that.

    I know NOTHING about pistols (like before today, I would have identified this as a "flintlock" pistol...how wrong I am!) What can you guys tell me about this gun in terms of age, caliber, maker history, price I SHOULD have paid, and any other interesting information that you might be able to add.

    I sincerely appreciate your time and thank you, in advance, for your replies!

    Have a GREAT day!

    Jeff Jones
    jnpjones@msn.com

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    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  2. BETH

    BETH Well-Known Member

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    welcome to the forum i can't help u on this but i am sure someone will
  3. laptopps

    laptopps New Member

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    Hey Beth...thanks...I have done a lot of reading on these forums and all the posters seem great. Thanks!
  4. BETH

    BETH Well-Known Member

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    everyone is out to help if they can, i know they helped me a lot nice bunch of people. Nice pictures u sent now i am waiting with u to see what that pistol is
  5. 22shot

    22shot New Member

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    Laptopps

    Welcome to TFF.

    I wish more people would post pictures with their questions!
    Yours are excellent.

    I believe you have a British pocket precussion (Cap lock; not Flintlock) pistol; .41 or .44 caliber; about 1840-1850.
    It loks like it has a bronze/brass frame; and there is what appears to be a "proof" mark on the bottom of the barrel; repeated on the frame (pic with you holding unto The grip).

    My screen resolution isn't that great; but I think these marks represent a "proof" house of the period.

    Check them out under magnification; and you will know a bit more about it's history.

    You did good with the purchase price; although I'm suprised that a "firearm" was on Craigs List!
  6. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    22 Shot is pretty spot on
  7. laptopps

    laptopps New Member

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    Now that you mention it, I don't think that the word "gun" was anywhere on the Craigslist ad and that may be how it passed the sensors. I hadn't even thought about the fact that CL doesn't allow any guns at all. I am just really glad that I was able to purchase it for that price!

    :)

    I have posted two up-close pictures of the "proof" marks on the bottom of the pistol. What is a "proof" house and what could that tell me about the history??

    Thanks again for the time!

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  8. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    Proof marks..

    http://www.gunaccessory.com/Proof_Marks/proofmarks.htm

    http://www.phoenixinvestmentarms.com/archives/Proofmarks.pdf

    hope this helps...

    if you wish to go further in research , this is the research facility of the proof house ...
    http://www.gunproof.com/Museums/research.htm


    from the Pic i think the proof is this one

    and matches what we already know about the pistol


    this one is in the catalougue now at 750 GBP ( 1800 USD ?? )

    http://www.gunstar.co.uk/Pistol-Han...utherland-of-London-gun-for-sale-gs16890.aspx

    and nowhere as nice as yours may i say ..

    fun fact for you , in the day they where called a muff pistol as you often carried them in a muff ( fur wrap to keep your hands warm)

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    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  9. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

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    I was looking through and I got nuttin but the same proof Jack has got, Try this, take a pice of clay, simple clay like playdough, or even bubble gum, Press into the proof mark that way the details can be raised. It will give you a mold of what the proof looks like, Hold it in front of a mirror and that might give you enough details to see if it is the same proof Jack has showed you. You want to get real creative, if you have an ink stamp, dip the mold in it, or even dip the clay (Or Gum) in a dark colored fingernail polish and stamp it LIGHTLY on a piece of paper. You Just might get enough detail to get a real ID on the Proof Stamp
  10. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    Bluetac!!!! the put in the freezer for a few minutes to make it harder ( playdough has a acid added to make it antibacterial and will eat gun metal !!!)

    post # 7 first pic the mark on the bronze ? you can see the "C" of the proof
  11. laptopps

    laptopps New Member

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    You guys are stinkin' amazing with your knowledge! I should have some wax around here that I could use, but I did a VERY upclose picture/comparison and I think you are SPOT ON!!

    http://www.phoenixinvestmentarms.com...Proofmarks.pdf seems to say that this mark was between 1868-1925...didn't think that this gun was as late as 1868?!? Could it be??

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    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  12. Big ugly

    Big ugly New Member

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    I know you can see the "C" the proof Jack. I was tryin to make it a difinitive answer here for the Nay Sayers LOL. I did not know about the Acid in the Play dough though. Glad you caught that Jack.
  13. 22shot

    22shot New Member

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    laptopss

    Can you post a closeup pic or two of that "thing" on top of the grip; behind the frame tang?

    I can see parts of it in some of the pics; but where it shows completely; it is in the dark.

    I would like to identify this (if I could)...I've never seen anything like it.

    There are some great people on this site!
  14. laptopps

    laptopps New Member

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    Hey 22...you got it. If you are talking about what I think you are it might be a safety. It slides forward and backward about 1/4 of an inch and when it is slid totally forward, it keeps you from cocking the pistol ALL the way back. (there are 2 levels for it to cock). I may be totally off base, but that was my getting-more-educated thought.

    Also, from these posted pics, you can see inside that the hammer is a bit broken ("hammer"?? - I don't know if this is the right term for that part). The gun will cock to both positions, but will not dry fire as it is not spring loaded to make it go forward.

    I know, I know...a newbie that doesn't know the names of the parts to the pistol, but I love to learn and thanks again for your time! :rolleyes:

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    Last edited: Feb 27, 2011
  15. 22shot

    22shot New Member

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    Laptopp

    Thanks!
    Did't have a clue as to what that gizmo was; never saw a "safety" on a 1880's pocket pistol ( usually; the "half cock" posistion of the hammer is the "safety'). Learned something new.

    This little gun has that; plus the tang mounted one. Neat (and VERY rare).

    As to the hammer flopping around; it's probably due to a broken mainspring (not a "cocking lever").

    If you care to; you could (could being the key word) remove the hammer and upper to expose the problem in the frame. You may be able to match it up with a mainspring availible from Dixie Gun Works; call them; they are very knowledgeble.

    As I posted; you did very good; The seller thought he had a busted piece of junk!
    His loss; your gain.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  16. BullShoot

    BullShoot New Member

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    As a suggestion - if you really want to see the insides, don't try to remove the hammer. If you don't object to the risk of further messing up the screws, you can remove the wood - which will expose the mechanism.

    Yes, as noted that is a safety, but it is quite common on these little muff pistols. Not rare at all.

    It is a nice piece, a box-lock percussion muff pistol in decent condition, from a respected maker. It is however, considerably earlier than 1880's - perhaps by 40 or so years.

    BullShoot
  17. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    OK i took a look at the pheonix document again , fact it incorrect .. checked again the master proof register ( a book) and its incorrect

    Birmingham
    view mark

    1813-1904
    From Notes on the proof of shotguns & other small arms

    this is the correct usage of that stamp on pistols and small arm's but was used later for SHOTGUNS between that dates the Pheonix document quotes , sorry i've been told it was incorrect before ..

    http://www.dave-cushman.net/shot/proofmarks.html this has the correct dates for all weapons
  18. jack404

    jack404 Former Guest

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    and a bit of furher reaseach shows that style of box lock was stopped production by Sutherland in 1847 so it predates 1847 for sure ,

    the pattern bocloxh there is to the 2-1 configuration ( or close to 2-1) after 47 a new design came through and they used that which was closer to 3-2 ratio of size

    ( explaining here ... the older box locks where twice as long as they where high to look at or 2-1 , later they worked out how to make them shorter or about 3-2 ratio) this predates that change by sutherland which came in 1847 so my guess and only a guess its a post mid 20's peice as the butt is plain, but pre 1840's as it is still highly ornate , people became more austeer or things not as fancy around then, dunno why)

    so my guess 1825-1840 ..
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
  19. laptopps

    laptopps New Member

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    Yesterday, I had done a VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY careful teardown so that there would be no marks of any kind that I did it. The hammer was broke (as you can see inside the pistol in post #14), but other than that, everything else looks great.

    Would it help guys on here (and be interesting to you too) if I did another CAREFUL teardown and showed pictures step by step??
  20. 22shot

    22shot New Member

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    Laptopps

    If I had the gun I would try to restore it's function; but then that's the way I am.
    (and I am pleased with the results).

    In this case; I'm just working a keyboard; and that's it: no way will I know what little supprises may pop up. The little gun has value; I'd feel really bad if things messed up along the way; I couldn't fix ithat with a keystroke.

    Although I'm currious about the "fix"; it's your gun, time and money.

    And your decission...
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2011
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