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Discussion Starter #1
FIREARM #3 from fathers collection: Anybody have any opinions on the value of a muzzle loading pistol such as this? The pistol is 15 1/4" in length. It has no markings whatsoever on metal or the woodwork. The woodwork appears to be walnut and is in excellent shape. The metal is also in good shape. My late father's hobbies included woodworking, machining, and being a home grown gunsmith. I remember him working on this pistol as a child along with a muzzle loaded long rifle (I'm almost 58). I watched him fire this 4-5 times when I was around 5-6 years old. I do not know the caliber of the bore. The metal work has some nice engraving on the hammer side and below the trigger guard. Any opinions guys???? It hangs on my home office wall and I know nothing about it and would like to. Thanks for any info… Brad
 

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Your dad did some very nice work.
 

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A couple of very goods and a not-so-good for you. Your Dad did a great job in building this pistol. If I had a guess, I'd say it was a kit gun from the 1960s to the mid 1970s, and your father did a really good job of building it. He properly finshed the metal, and had some very good wood working and finishing skill on the stock. I've built a lot of these myself, and if it were a competition, the finish on this stock is as good or better than any I've done.

The not-so-good is that there isn't much in value if you compare it to an original pistol from the era that this one represents. If you were counting on a high dollar value, you'd be disappointed. For what it is - your dad's pistol that he made with his own hands, the value should be priceless to you and your family. Enjoy it!

If you don't remember these, they were usually made up from a kit on the order of a plastic model airplane. All of the parts were there to build it, and it usually included a lot of metal fileing, sanding and polishing, then blueing or browning. The wood was only roughly shaped and inletted, so all of that was left to the builder. I used to really enjoy building these kits. I've personally built two .44 Remington 1858 cap and ball revolvers, a .45 caliber Kentucky flintlock pistol, a .50 Hawken rifle and a .58 1861 Springfield kit. Each and every one turned out to be great shooters.
 

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It's all together possible that you Dad built this from scratch and not from a kit. Determinging if that lock was repurposed from an older gun or is of later vintage would help in identifying whether or not it is from a kit or from your Dad's imagination. I'm betting it is an older lock.
 

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From the pictures the fit and finish looks very good. If this is a kit gun form the 70"s I built two like this. Mine were ok but not as nice as this. Both of mine were stolen in 1981 with the rest of my guns. They are good shooters. I just bought one (not a kit) and paid around $250.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hey thanks guys for the input... I'm not looking to sell but was just wondering about this pistol. It is worth more to me to "have" then to sell. Maybe it was a kit...? I can't argue this point. But I did watch him build from scratch & parts other weapons. PLEASE check out in "Ask the pros" the black powder long rifle he did machine a lot of parts for and the woodwork on this weapon. It surpasses this pistol if seen in person. Thanks again guys....
 

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I'm still thinking it came from a kit, but it is very possible that your Dad made it from parts, too. Dixie Gun Works sells just about everything you'd need to build just about any pistol or rifle. The reason I'm saying a kit is that in about the time frame you mentioned, kits were very popular. Also, the 'engraving' on the lockplate and triggerguard looks familiar to me as the kind that CVA used to get on the kits that came in from Italy.
 

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Hey Jim.... stay tuned till tomorrow. I may have more info for you and others to help me. I'm not at ALL saying your wrong (your probably not). But I'm checking on something "new" I just discovered and from there we'll discuss. Jim... check out the long rifle he built from an old 2bbl shotgun and the woodwork and solid brass parts he machined. It's posted in "Ask the pros"... later... Thanks... Brad
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
UPDATE: Using a magnifying glass I discovered engraved in the metal (very small) the name "E. THOMAS". Using 1st picture above (top of thread) I found it directly in front of hammer (follow left edge of $1.00 bill upward). I tried to find on internet but failed. I know he (my dad) designed a black powder long rifle and used a "Janssen Sons & CO." lock from an old shotgun. So Jim (or anyone)... was their a kit that you remember with this name associated? The lock (hammer) on this pistol appears old with minor pits (good shape though). Did kits offer walnut wood? Thanks for any further insight guys... Brad
 

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I'm not the premier guy on this one to go to. All of the kits that I saw or built came from mostly Italy, and a few were Spanish. One was even Japanese. As far as the marking on that lock, I seriously doubt if that was an imported lock, at least that is way above the quality of locks sold as part of those kit guns.

He may very well have has access to original blackpowder parts and may have used antique parts in his builds. When I started doing this I was just a working young family man in my early 20s, so I didn't have a lot of extra dough-ray-me to spend from the rather limited family funds. Saying that - even a $125 percussion revolver kit was an extravagance rarely afforded but greatly appreciated when it came.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hey thanks Jim... The stamped "E. Thomas" wasn't on the lock/hammer itself but on the flat metal surrounding the lock within the engraved scroll work attached flat which is embedded within the woodwork. So, maybe I misunderstood you... but just wanted to clear "that" up if you thought it was on the hammer/lock itself. Very curious to figure this out. I would love to see another like pistol if from kit or otherwise if it exist. I am truly trying to figure out if (like you think it's a kit) or he took parts and "made" his own.... I'm just curious. Thank you very much for your time... any further ideas PLEASE let me know.... Brad
 

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Just to clarify. The hammer is not the lock. The lock consists of the flat plate the hammer is mounted to (lock plate)and all the internal works attached to the plate.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks Hawg... Sorry...I admit I do not know my "parts" concerning weapons. I'm trying to learn just exactly what I have here now in my possession. So.... I guess the "E. THOMAS" is engraved in front of the hammer on the lock plate. But is very small. And on the left side bottom "corner" there appears to be 2 birds of unknown type which are also very small (pheasants?). I really would like to learn more about this pistol.
 

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Don't know where this is going, but the hammer is affixed to the LOCK PLATE.
As an assembly, the lockplate, hammer, sear and mainspring comprise what I've always known as the 'lock'. Remember the phrase that described the entire weapon - 'Lock, stock and barrel' - the main components of a firearm. I suppose that we could 'split hairs' (I don't know where that one originated).
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Ok Jim.... You make a great point "lock, stock & barrel" (very good). But all I'm trying to do is describe from a REAL LAYMENS (me) viewpoint (verbiage) what the hell I see. You and all the other experts can debate till "the cows come home" (don't know where that came from) the proper verbiage of black powder weapons. Ok... Jim, that was fun. QUESTION: Do you know of a website where kit weapons are displayed from that era 50, 60, or 70's??? Or, anyone... do the markings I mentioned above on lock plate give any clues... to anyone??? That was fun Jim.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
QUESTION: If this pistol came from a kit would the lock plate encompass the nipple area also? The ones I've been looking at (assuming, not kits) are not surrounded by wood. Just an observation... but again I admit I know NOTHING about these weapons.
 

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The one 'Kentucky" flintlock kit that I built required the drilling of the flash hole (where the flash from the primer pan ignited the charge within the barrel), but I recall my brother building a percussion kit from Lyman, and that one had the threaded hole for the nipple already done. The lock plate fitted the area around and under the nipple when the work was done..

I hope one of our Blackpowder Gurus happens upon this post, because it's going to take a true expert to help you out with any markings. As far as I'm aware, the markings you have described are decorative. The "E.Thomas" would be the maker of your lock, but I know nothing about who he/they are.

Don't worry about verbage or being too technical. There aren't a lot of snobs here - mostly just folks like you and me who learn and share information about exactly like what you have brought up. I used to visit another Forum, but I ended going there because there were waaaay too many 'If you don't see it my way you're ignorant' types there. TFF isn't like that. Mostly folks here will ask you to post pictures (like you've done) to be better able to help answer questions.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks again guys for the interest and input. Maybe someone will be able to tell me soon more about the marking. But I greatly appreciate you folks helping me. It's fun... I'm going to post some the rifle pictures soon so you guys can see the long rifle my dad made. Thanks everyone.... Brad
 

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Thanks Hawg... Sorry...I admit I do not know my "parts" concerning weapons. I'm trying to learn just exactly what I have here now in my possession. So.... I guess the "E. THOMAS" is engraved in front of the hammer on the lock plate. But is very small. And on the left side bottom "corner" there appears to be 2 birds of unknown type which are also very small (pheasants?). I really would like to learn more about this pistol.
My Dear Watson, the presence of birds, possibly pheasants, engraved on the lock lends credence to my first impression of the lock--it came off of an old doublebarrel shotgun and has been repurposed. And it just looks like an old shotgun lock. So, I'm pretty sure your dad built this gun from scratch. In fact, if you Google "E. Thomas shotgun", you will find one of the more popular gun auction sites has pictures of an E. Thomas shotgun with E. Thomas engraved in small letters on the lock plate.
 
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