Belgian Pinfire Help required

Discussion in 'Curio & Relics Forum' started by 53catalina, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. 53catalina

    53catalina New Member

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    Hi all

    i am new to this forum but from what i have read on other posts I feel you may be able to help me with some info.

    I have attached photos of a Belgian Pinfire Folding Trigger Revolver. This belonged to my grandfather who fought at both Ypres and The Somme, he was wounded in both battles and buried to his neck on one occassion. Although he was injured twice he returned to the trenches on a third occasion to continue the battle for his country. The stories of his life in the trenches was never told, as he refused to ever talk about what he witnessed.
    So this little item is something that may know more than we ever will.

    It has the Belgian mark of ELG over a star on the revolving chamber, and a letter 'R' under a star. The Barrel also has a letter 'R' stamped at the end nearest the chamber.
    Would anyome be able to identify a maker from this letter, or does it narrow down the age of the pistol?
    From other posts, would this have been made in Liege?

    I have also seen mention of single and double action pistols. What does this refer to?

    The trigger only pulls backwards, and has to be pulled forward manually so that the pistol can be refired. Is this a case of some broken springs?

    Why does the trigger fold?

    I hope you dont mind all the questions about this family heirloom, and I look forward to your replies.

    Kind regards
    Dan

    [​IMG]

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  2. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    Star over a alpha letter is the inspectors mark. The EIG looks to be an ELG in an oval over a star, which was in use for handguns from 1866 until 1893. Single action versus double action. On a revolver, if you pull the hammer back and it stays and then be released to fire with a pull of the trigger, that is the single action mode, by using the trigger to pull the hammer back until it releases to fire is called the double action mode. If the gun is fitted to do both it is called a double action revolver. Some revolvers can only be fired by using the trigger, some only by cocking the hammer and pulling the trigger. I don't know how yours is set up with out examining it in person. Belgium had a vast cottage industry before and right after WWI. In 1909 alone, 1,500,000 firearms were proofed in Liege. Many of them unmarked as to maker. Indeed the maker may have been several shops. One shop would make the barrels and frame, another would fit the action parts and yet another would fit the grips or stocks. At that time I believe there were only three large makers that were able to turn out a firearm wholly within their own shops. Most of the listed so called makers were in reality , retailers, who purchased their firearms from the small shops. The actual maker may never be known. BTW the trigger folds to make the gun more compact for pocket carry. Now if your not confused then you have not been paying attention. Others may have more or more valid information. Hope this helps.:) ADDED: The R on the barrel means the barrel failed proof and was sent back for rework.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  3. Gabob

    Gabob Active Member

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    Having to push the trigger forward to reset it is normal for folding trigger firearms
  4. AaronN322

    AaronN322 Member

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    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  5. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Pushing the trigger forward to fold it for carry is normal, but when the gun has been fired, the trigger should return under spring tension. Since it does not, the trigger return spring appears to be broken.

    While the gun may have belonged to a WWI veteran and possibly even was carried by him as a personal weapon during the war, it is not military issue.

    Jim
  6. 53catalina

    53catalina New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the information.

    I am intrigued that this was not Military Issue as we had always believed that was where my grandfather obtained it from. More mysteries!!
  7. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    About the time of the U.S. Civil War, there was some military interest in the pinfire system; Belgium tested a pinfire revolver in 1859, but did not adopt it. But by WWI, the pinfire system was quite obsolete, although enough were in circulation that ammunition was made almost up to the outbreak of WWII. One problem is that like rimfire, the inherent weakness of the case precludes increasing the power of the cartridge.

    Jim
  8. gunship

    gunship New Member

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    I recently received the same pistol about 2 years ago. It is a 7mm. Have you taken off the grips? I found a 73 stamped along with several other markings which are unknown. I think the 73 means it was made in 1873, just a guess. Let me know if you find anything. Mine has a L marking on the barrel for leiged proof.
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  9. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

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    Serial numbers and dates are rarely found on older guns, especially the less expensive ones. Most numbers found on old pistols are batch numbers. Gun parts were made, then fitted and finished in batches of (usually) 100 guns. When an assembler had fitted the parts, using selected parts or filing to fit, he numbered the parts of the gun that went together. When a certain number of guns were fitted, they were taken apart to be finished (blued, plated, whatever) and then reassembled, using the batch numbers to make sure the parts were put back in the right gun.

    Jim
  10. lefaucheux 54

    lefaucheux 54 Member

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    We can roughly date the revolver.
    ELG in an oval corresponds to the proof house of the city of Liege in Belgium before July 1893.
    The letter R with a star is the punch of the controller effective from January 1877.
    So the gun was manufactured in Liege between January 1877 and July 1893.

    The number 73 that you found under the grips is by no means the year of manufacture !!

    Lefaucheux

    www.lefaucheux.net
  11. gunship

    gunship New Member

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    Thanks for the info.
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