Help ID antique flintlock pistol

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Soft Squeeze, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. Soft Squeeze

    Soft Squeeze New Member

    Dec 25, 2011
    Hi All,
    Recently I acted on a desire to start collecting antique flintlock and matchlock weapons. Although I have been shooting for many years, and have always admired the handy-work of old weapons, I have very little knowledge about the subject. Any helpful directions as to what books, websites, museums to look into for back ground knowledge and education would be greatly appreciated.

    Proceeding blindly, I started the pistol collection with a small pistol that has had some rough usage and loving repair work. I know that a pristine piece would probably have a greater market value, but the work that some craftsman put into salvaging this weapon struck a cord with me - it's something I would have done. Also, the unit has front and rear sights - which I have not seen on many flintlocks.

    Here is what I have:
    Maker: Unknown Year: Unknown Markings: No visible markings
    Barrel Length: 5 3/8” outside, 4 15/16” inside
    Barrel Shape: Octagon to round, “ring” at transition
    Bore: Approx 11/16” ( .6875 caliber / 16 gauge)
    Length Overall: 10 5/8”

    Unique Features / Markings:
    Front & Rear Sights
    Handle is seamed at rear of trigger guard.
    Trigger guard extension cracked & repaired
    Stock scratches (carvings?) filled near muzzle.
    Octagon Butt & Butt Plate
    Brass Flash Pan.
    Ramrod present – no tip.

    General Comments & Condition
    This pistol has apparently seen some rough usage. Although the hardware is in good shape with minimal abusive wear, it appears that at some point the stock was fractured or broken at the grip. There is a layer of fill in wood strip (approx 5/8” thick) at the grip – more obvious on the left side, but in general, very finely done. A nice piece of joinery work!
    The trigger guard flange running down the grip is fractured – indicative of and in keeping with a violent breaking of the stock at that location. This also has been very well repaired. There is no play at any point, the grip is quite solid, and the pistol is very serviceable.
    The hammer to lower jaw connection is a structural and esthetic heart shaped component, with the top jaw screw being threaded into the rear chamber. The top of the jaw screw is a hollow eye.

    Right Side [​IMG]

    Left Side [​IMG]

    Bottom [​IMG]

    Sights [​IMG]

    Flash Pan [​IMG]

    Any informed help on age, country of origin, etc would be greatly appreciated.
  2. BETH

    BETH Well-Known Member

    Jul 10, 2009
    wow nice looking i am sure someone will be along to help you and welcome to the forum
  3. StoneChimney

    StoneChimney New Member

    Nov 27, 2010
    The lock looks French, from the An XIII flintlock pistol:

  4. rhmc24

    rhmc24 Member

    Dec 1, 2010
    Ardmore, OK
    Very likely French. Not military. The lock looks much like one of 1816 shown in Brooker's book on French pistols. The style of lock dates from around 1800 which have a longer sharper tail from hammer back, later getting shorter. The flared butt begins to show up a little after 1800 and is widely flared by around 1810. The full forestock is typical of private gunmakers. The lack of markings on the lock might indicate it was military and had the markings removed when the pistol was made, likely in France. It is worth noting that US military pistols (the lock) of the period were close to the French but the flared butt is decidedly non American.
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2011
  5. Soft Squeeze

    Soft Squeeze New Member

    Dec 25, 2011
    Thanks Stone Chimney for that photo. Yes, the lock looks identical.

    RHMC24, your insight is very helpful. At least I now have a starting point and some good basic knowledge to work from. You have given me some great historical information in a few concise sentences. Very much appreciated!

    In your opinions, would there be any benefit to either removing the hammer or the entire lock mechanism in a hope of finding any marking that would help further with the ID - that is if doing so would happen easily without effecting the appearance or value of the piece.

    BTW, any idea on the value of this pistol? Don't have an exact price paid for it, as it was purchased along with other items - my guess is about $750 - $800 (paid).

    Again, thank you for your help.
  6. Soft Squeeze

    Soft Squeeze New Member

    Dec 25, 2011
    Any thoughts on the sights? Not that I have looked at enough flintlock pistols to be sure, but it seems that front & rear sights are not common. Anything that the inclusion of these might tell us?

    Thanks for the help.
  7. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

    Mar 23, 2011
    I'd say the hardware came from another gun or guns and the stock was a custom creation.
  8. Soft Squeeze

    Soft Squeeze New Member

    Dec 25, 2011
    So far with the leads supplied by StoneChimney & rhmc24 I have been able to find visuals that would indicate it is indeed a French mechanism. Based upon trigger guard and trigger photos of a pistol on display at the Vevy History Museum, Switzerland, the mecanism is identical to the An IX French calvery pistol produced from 1801-1808, of which 80,000 were made. Also learned that this model was produced with the blade front and rear v - notch sights.

    Yes, definitely not the stock configuration as produced for the French military. But did learn that many of the St. Etienne flintlocks made their way to America. Also found that variations of the St. Etienne Model AN IX were carried by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their famous 1804-1806 trek to explore and map the country to the Pacific coast.

    Who knows, perhaps the stock on this one was broken in that monumental first trip across the continent. Now I am more tempted to a very controled disassembly to look for other markings on the interior.

    More thoughts or info is always welcome.

    There is an amazing amount of information available on the internet - including this site! Thanks so much for the getting me looking in the right direction!
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
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