HERO cap percusion Pistol

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by Zane71464, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Zane71464

    Zane71464 Well-Known Member

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    I have a (muzzel loading/ cap) pistol. The only markings on it is on the left top side of it, and it is punched into it first:
    A.S.T Co. and below that is punched:

    HERO When I bought it at a yard sale, the gentleman said it was a 32 cal. ball size. And that is all I know about it other then what some dealers have half heartedly told me. I'm going to try and post a pic with this.
    Any info on the gun would be greatly apperciated!
    Thank you.
    Ps: That is the only markings on the pistol, and I have never taken off the wooden grips because it has been what appears to have been replaced and I didnt want to mess it up trying to take them off looking for a number/markings.

    Attached Files:

  2. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    man thats a neat lookin lil piece. what did you give for it?
  3. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    The frame appears to be zinc alloy (aka pot metal). It may be safe to load and fire but I would not want to find out with it in my hand.

    Take a magnifying glass and examine the barrel closely for anything like the letters "PN". If there it is an Italian post WW II repro.
  4. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    I find an A.S.T. Co. as American Standard Tool Company. They made revolvers in Newark NJ in the mid-late 1800s.
  5. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Alpo has an excellent reference library and is almost always right.
  6. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    See page 131, current Flayderman's Guide: Manhattan/American Standard Hero S.S. Pistol ... .34 caliber, screw off barrel ... made ca. 1868-73 (possibly earlier) ... marked A.S.T.Co/HERO ... values Good $225, Fine $450
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  7. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    Thanks to hrf. One learns something new daily.

    I am knd of surprised to see a frame that old being apparently made of high zinc content alloy.

    Perhaps Zane71464 would take a small magnet and run it over areas of the frame where there appears to be little or no steel underneath and report his findings relative to the magnet's attraction for the frame.
  8. Zane71464

    Zane71464 Well-Known Member

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    Hey want to thank you all on the info!
    What research I did do on this hero pistol I found that it was made in 1870-71 and it had a brass finish...and on this one when looking closely, you can see that it indeed was once brass finished because in low used places on the gun, there is brass still remaining. It looks to be so worn off (as if someone buffed it way to much) trying to clean it or simply wear since 1870. But it definatly "did" have the brass finish originally for the finish. And to answer johnlives4christ, well I was having a yard sell and some elderly gentleman stoped by and made small talk with him and he said "hey" I have a pistol for sell...he got this one out (wrapped up in fine cloth and oiled up) and wanted $250 for it and I told him $225...like pulling teeth from him.....he got mad at 1st and reluctently said take it for $225..and here it is!

    And to answer Hammerslagger; I did run a magnet over it and it did not stick on what appears to be the alloy looking grip and whatnot...but one guy a long time back did tell me that on this model that that was the last year 1870-71 that the made this gun and that it was made with the brass finish....thats why when I sent him (a poorly) taken pic that he said he never saw one with what appeared to be nickle or silver finish.

    And thank you hrf....I will look that up...thank you for the info.
    Thank you all for the comments and info....any more info would be apperciated!
    Zane
  9. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Flayderman says "Blued with brass frame left bright, case hardened hammer" - I guess this means blued barrel and brass frame, which would account for magnet not sticking to frame, and maybe they plated some.
  10. Hammerslagger

    Hammerslagger New Member

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    This is metallurgically interesting.

    From the photos, the frame of this pistol was once brass plated. It appears to have been die cast. The alloy from its patina appears to have a significant Zinc content but not much copper..

    Modern Zinc die cast alloys like Zamak #2 (aka Kirksite or SAE 902) did not come on the scene until about 1907, because of the cost of alumimum (more than platinum in the late 19th century). This would lead me to believe this frame (if it dates around 1860-80) contains lead, zinc and tin. It is a valuable antique, Your hands and eyes are very valuable, also. Zinc alloys change (weaken) with aging. I WOULD NOT CONSIDER LOADING AND FIRING IT!

    God luck.
  11. Zane71464

    Zane71464 Well-Known Member

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    Wow....that's a lot of info Hammerslagger, and I honestly appricate what you have told me on that...it's amazing the info that you just told me on the gun! Just the few times I have been on here I'm learing very valuable information from alot of people.

    And thanks for the heads up on not fireing the gun...which didn't really think about that anyways....but I would like to ask you if I may (as a valuable antique), would you have any idea or could put a $ amount with this gun to and antique gun collector...I know thats alot to ask, but I really don't think I would ever part with it just for the simple reason when I come accros a rare gun, I hang on to them and hope to pass them on to my son one day. But it would be good to know for insurance purposes to know all values of all guns.
    Once again, I really appricate all ya'lls information and input!
    Zane
  12. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    if it was mine, i would take it to the gunsmith and ask if he thought it was okay to shoot it, and recommend a powder charge and i'd have that bad boy warmed up by dinner time. but then again. i love to shoot guns of all types, and to me, firing an old gun like that is more fun than firing a new gun. think about all the would be muggers and robbers that some old lady shoved that thing into their faces.... or about how some late cowboy carried it as a back up for his back up.
  13. Langmore7

    Langmore7 New Member

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    Based on information from an excellent website on Manhattan / AST Co. HERO pistols, your pistol seems to be an AST Co. Second Model HERO, given its zinc-plated brass frame, flat hammer shape, hammer thumb ridges (barelyvisible in your photo) and pressed-on grips. See the following website for details:

    http://www.manhattanfirearms.com/Hero.html
  14. Danny

    Danny Member

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    :)I had one of these a long time back & it was chambered for a 44cal connical bullet. U unscrewed the barrel, lubed the bullet and ran it in the throat about 3/8 inch. Then filled the cavity with fffg powder and screwed the barrel back one. It had a big chip in the grip & I sold it for 125. Nice little boot pistols. One shot, one kill.
    Fond Regards
    Danny
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