What do I have here?

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by JonasE, May 12, 2012.

  1. JonasE

    JonasE New Member

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    Hello, and thank you for taking your time to look at this post :)

    I, or my family, have a really old revolver we don't know anything about. It has been in our extended family for a long time, but changed hands in the early 90's and have been hanging on the wall ever since. There is some engraving/stamped writing on the barrel, but i can't read it because of my bad eyes... Someone helped me out with that a while ago, and it seemed to be in italian? I unfortunally can't remember what he thought it said, and my photos isn't the best, but it would make sense to me if it is italian since the original owner went to italy several times back in the day. It is in rough condition and miss some parts, but seems to be in "ok" condition otherwise.

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    If some of you could give me any information about this, it would be much appreciated! None of us knows anything about guns, but i'm really interested in history and generally old stuff :) Unfortunately this gun is at our cabin at the moment, so I can't get any more or better photos anytime soon.
  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

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    It's pinfire. That "star over the N' in the top picture, is a Belgian inspector's mark.

    That's all I can tell from the pictures.

    Ammo, nowadays, is usually rimfire (where the priming mixture is inside the hollow rim of the cartridge, and is squished between the hammer nose and the edge of the chamber, to fire it) or centerfire (where the primer is a separate thing in the center of the case head, and is struck with the firing pin). Pin-fire is an obsolete system, where the primer was inside the case, in the gunpowder, there was a rod sticking out of the case, and the hammer struck the rod (the pin) which in turn hit the primer.

    That's the reason for the slots in the back edge of they cylinder - to let the pin stick out.

    Attached Files:

  3. hrf

    hrf Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum Jonas.

    As Alpo lists, it's a pocket size Belgian proofed pinfire, and it is missing the folding trigger.

    Can you take better photos of the inscription that wraps around the cylinder, or copy and post what it reads?
  4. JonasE

    JonasE New Member

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    Thanks alot, Alpo! I had no idea that pinfire bullets even existed, and have never heard of it or guns that use it before :) Was this kind of guns popular, produced in great numbers, widely available, and nice to fire? And in what general time-period was it used?

    I really wish i could tell you more about the inscription, hrf, but i do not have the gun at hand right now... Same goes with more/better photos, but the next time i'm at our cabin i'll do a better job and give you all the info you need :)

    Is there something in particular you would want to see closeups of, besides the inscription?
  5. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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    Pin fire is one of the earliest forms of self contained cartridges. They were made from around the American Civil War (1860's or so) They were never very popular in the U.S. but quite common in Europe. I'm not sure just when they finally went obsolete but I have a catalog from 1911 was still is offering them.
    Your gun is also missing the extractor/ejector rod (Although the expended round could be picked out by the pin). It also appears that it may be missing the cylinder axis pin. I can't quite see if it is there or not.
  6. JonasE

    JonasE New Member

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    I read up on it at wikipedia just now, and it seems like its golden era was mid 1850 to 1890. It also seems to be mostly a european thing, wich makes sense.

    Looks alot like this, doesn't it? except from the grip? I'm dying to find out about the inscription now! :O

    As I now know more about this gun, it made it much easier for me to search the forums for pinfire-themed threads. I have alot of hours of reading now, and thank you all for guiding me to it! :)
    Last edited: May 12, 2012
  7. deadin

    deadin Well-Known Member

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  8. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

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    And now for some not so good news. Except for certain guns and makers, these guns do not have a high value factor. The one shown , because it is missing so many unattainable parts has a very low value, perhaps 25 to 35 dollars.
  9. AaronN322

    AaronN322 Member

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    JonasE

    Here is an image of a similar gun. This one does not have the folding trigger though:
    [​IMG]

    I believe your inscription says: THE GUARDIAN AMERICAN MODEL OF 1878 which was a marketing trademark that Charles Clement registered in Liege, Belgium on 27 Dec 1880. It would have been made sometime 1881 or after and these were sold all around the world.
  10. JonasE

    JonasE New Member

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    This does not matter at all, the history of this gun is worth much more than $ ;)
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