Antique Cane Gun - No Markings

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by northernva, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. northernva

    northernva New Member

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    I recently acquired the below antique cane gun. I do not have the barrel, just the handle. It appears that it would be cocked using a key of some sort. I have searched and can't find anything like it. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

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  2. raven818

    raven818 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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  3. northernva

    northernva New Member

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  4. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Need for a separate key to arm the gun (?) seems odd. Is there a firing pin or striker visible inside? Have you tried turning the square shaft to see if it's under spring pressure or "cocks"?
  5. northernva

    northernva New Member

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    Looking down the barrel their appears to be a hole where a pin would extrude. The button as shown in the second pic is spring loaded, and appears operable. I havnt tried to turn the square peg. It does appear to be under tension
  6. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    A lot of confusing questions come to mind on that one. What is inside the "barrel" stub? If there is an inside hammer what does it strike? Or could it be an air gun or possibly one with the powder charge ignited by compressed air? If so, what is the hole in the side for?

    Jim
  7. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    Curious, ingenious construction, asymetrical 'frame', a metal plate both sides, wood scales of different thickness. Looks like the grip 'frame' may be separate from the breech (threaded) piece, may attache a-la hook breech method seen on perc rifle-pistols, what looks like a screw from the bottom to hold the periphery 'frame' to the breech. Hard to be sure what are parting surfaces and what are not. The pictures, good as they are, could show more views and better lighted, a shot into the breech, for example. Imagination tends to run riot.

    Looking at the screw heads on the right side vs. the other side, they don't seem to align. Seems the right side screws probably screw into metal. If I had it I would take the screws out and get a look inside.

    Having conjured up a few weird designs myself, I'm intrigued by this one.
  8. dustydog

    dustydog New Member

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    Have seen a couple of these before.If the groove on the top gives access to a nipple,they were produced by a gunsmith in the Richmond,Va. area around 1850.One had traces of brown lacquer remaining on the barrel(smoothbore).Did up a barrel for one for a fellow out towards Hopewell out of DOM tubing,and he shots it with 20 grns. FFG and a .310 round ball.
  9. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    If a key required to cock it, not very practical for self defense and must have been a "poacher's" gun?
  10. northernva

    northernva New Member

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    I will take some more pics tonight. Very interesting about the Richmond connection. The Kane gun was obtained from a long time Richmond area family. Do you have a name of the gunsmith by any chance?
  11. northernva

    northernva New Member

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    Below are some new pictures of the cane gun. I opened it up and there is definitely a working cocking mechanism. The square peg cocks the hammer, and it looks like, when triggered it would hit a nipple. It almost looks like someone would open the gun up, put a cap on the nipple and then screw it back together.

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    Gun opened

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    Cover

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    Both cover and gun – no markings

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    Gun cocked

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    Looks like a nipple to me

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    Screw barrel 1

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    Screw barrel 2

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  12. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    I suspect the grooved piece at top is meant to swivel aside to access the nipple, but maybe rusted in place now?
  13. northernva

    northernva New Member

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    No that part is solid. The only way to access the nipple is to unscrew the cover
  14. northernva

    northernva New Member

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    I suspect someone would put a cap on the nipple and close the cover. The mechanism does have a half cock position. I suspect the cane would be carried in half cocked.
  15. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    So the user had to carry both a key to cock it and a screwdriver to cap it??

    We need more input from dustydog, who's the only one so far that's seen other examples.
  16. northernva

    northernva New Member

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    One thing for sure, it doesn't seem like an ideal defensive weapon.
  17. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    Since a Gun Cane is a last ditch weapon I believe it would be carried with a cap in place and at half cock, I believe there was a lever attached to the square key { see the wear marks ? } . All that would have to be done is push down on the lever to bring it to full cock and POW.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  18. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

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    A good Kroil bath and further investigation may disclose a means of pivoting or removing the grip/lock module to give access to the nipple without removing the grip plate.

    Hard to believe someone able to build this complex mechanism would depend on such a clumsy capping method as having to remove the grip.

    OTOH ?
  19. Buffalochip

    Buffalochip Active Member

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    Maybe somebody already pointed this out, but I suspect the hole in the thread is where the powder charge is poured. Because a cane in use would cause any type of patched projectile to migrate down the barrel, leaving a dangerous air gap, this must work much like a screw barrel pistol with a constriction at the breech end holding the ball in place.
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