Need help identifying percussion pistol, thanks

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by usmctanker, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    This has been in my family for at least a few generations but I have absolutely no idea what it is or its period of origin. It has no visible proofs or markings whatsoever. It seems to be serviceable and the hammer locks in two positions. If anyone has any possible ideas I'd be more than grateful. Thanks

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  2. BETH

    BETH Well-Known Member

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    welcome to the forum i am sure someone will be along to help u because i know i can't never have seen a pistol like that
  3. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    One more image. Not sure exactly what 5/16" is. .3125 cal. ? If its not 5.56, 7.62, .50, or 120mm I don't know anything about it. Thanks again for helping a novice.

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  4. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum. Very timely, as you have a "4th of July" pistol! This one in the 1888-89 J. H. Johnston catalog lacks the octagon breech of yours, so you may have the "fancy" one listed as $1.25. *While these could be loaded with a ball, I doubt they often were. The current Flayderman's Guide shows two examples on page 403 as "Unidentified Center Hammer Percussion Pocket Pistols," one of them identical to yours, and lists value as $75 for Good Condition.

    *But just in case, stick a pencil down the barrel to see if it's still loaded, as is sometimes found!

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  5. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    It's a screw barrel pocket pistol. The barrel screws off for loading.
  6. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Hawg, I'm not sure the barrels screwed off on all of these very cheap "boy's" types, and he might damage it if he attempts to. Iver Johnson's (then Johnson & Bye) first firearms were the similar Uncle Sam and Prince percussion derringers: The Uncle Sam had barrel and frame made as one piece, while barrel of the deluxe Prince model could be unscrewed for loading.
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  7. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    It appears that it does screw off and these type pistols have been around since the 1830's in percussion and from the 1700's in flint as self defense weapons, not as toys.
  8. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    I agree, but most were better quality, and didn't have frames cast in two pieces and grips secured with a wood screw. His type was offered in most 1870-80s catalogs with text directed toward youngsters, and Flayderman quotes a Bown & Co. adv: "Boys, this is the best and cheapest pistol you ever saw for the money, Only cost you 80, 90 cents and $1.00"

    Added: And you are correct: An identical one in better condition that just sold online for $180 is shown with barrel removed (G.B #236362821 - URL not allowed here)
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2011
  9. Hawg

    Hawg Active Member

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    OK, cool:cool:
  10. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    Thanks fellas for all the input. So is it a Johnston or some other type; or will I never know?The barrel does not seem to be removable although I may be wrong. There is certainly no visible separation between it and the rest of the body. Thanks again
  11. Gabob

    Gabob Well-Known Member

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    I appears to be a screw barrel to me also. Notice the joint behind the hammer and nipple. The hex area was for a wrench to unscrew the barrel for loading
  12. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    It's not the one Iver Johnson sold, which had a spur trigger and not a separate trigger guard. PM me your email address and I'll send link to the one like yours that sold this week. But if you try to unscrew barrel of yours, I'd soak it in penetrating oil first, and use a padded vise and wrench.
  13. Willie

    Willie Active Member

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    So.......if a lady carried one of these....where would she carry it?
  14. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

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    These were often called "Muff Pistols" women carried hand warmers called Muffs. These small handguns fit in these hand warmers.:eek:
  15. usmctanker

    usmctanker New Member

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    HRF, sent you a pm so thanks in advance for the link. I do not intend on attempting to unscrew the barrel. It appears to be seamless but I'm guessing age could have that effect. Looking down the barrel, its obvious it wasn't centered accurately on the rest of the body. Looking straight down at it, the barrel is off to the left side. Anyway, I'm still pretty sure this was the gun abraham lincoln used to kill stonewall jackson and alexander hamilton so if anyone is interested in a piece of great american history, let me know, i have a wedding to pay for. Thanks again guys, your wisdom is incredible
  16. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Link sent, congrats on the wedding! Best place to sell is probably the auction the one sent sold on.
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