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Please help identify and value a pair antique pistols

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by dmerz2, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. Jim K

    Jim K New Member

    Dec 6, 2009
    I have heard good things about Rock Island, but have no personal experience.

    A note just to say that a case (casing) is always good to have with any antique pistol, but cased pairs are common and not necessarily indicative of duelling pistols. Just FWIW, here are a few things to look for on duellers. Not all will apply and there are regional and national variations:

    1. Dull appearance; no shiny surfaces that could reflect light into the eyes of either the holder or his oppponent (remember, the principals did not know which one would have which pistol).
    2. Natural pointing from the raise pistol position. There was no time to aim and most versions of the code banned guns with sights, or at least rear sights.
    3. Large caliber, .45 or over. Small calibers are usually target pistols.
    4. No rifling. Again, there were variants to the code, but in general rifling was prohibited. (A few guns were made with rifling that ended short of the muzzle and was invisible; needless to say the use of such a trick was considered contemptible.)
    5. Very well made. Those who participated in formal duels were usually wealthy and their pistols reflected that. Needless to say, reliability was paramount.

    Duelling pistols were not always the property of one of the participants. Seconds could provide the weapons, and gun makers frequently rented pairs of pistols. ("Hurts Rent-a-Duel - Ten Dollars a Day and 10 Cents a Shot.")

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