View Full Version : Antique percussion pistol
August 2, 2011, 07:50 PM
I am curious as to wether anyone can identify this pistol. There is a proof mark on the left side of the barrel. it maybe a crown, or it may be the letter u perhaps with 45 stamped underneath. there are no other markings in the pistol. Any information or "leads" would be great.
August 2, 2011, 08:39 PM
I think we'd need a clearer picture of the proofmark to have a guess at this one; the style is normally called a "boot pistol", but they were made all over the place, so that proofmark is probably going to be the only solid lead.
August 3, 2011, 06:09 AM
If you are using a digital camera, many have a macro setting for close ups like this. The icon for it is typically a flower.
August 3, 2011, 01:11 PM
I have seen a few of these on GunBroker, resently. Go in and do a search on all open and closed items with the term; Boot Pistol. Many were .41 caliber. Good luck and;
Be Safe !!!
August 3, 2011, 06:45 PM
Hey guys thank you much for the replies. below is a better photo of the proof mark as taken through a magnifying glass. I believe it is a "w" a "u", or a crown, over the number 45. the proof mark is on the barrel, just above the screw in the photos
thank you for your time and input
August 3, 2011, 07:18 PM
No gun comments but camera comments. Your camera is focusing on the background and not the foreground where the gun is. A macro setting would solve that
August 4, 2011, 06:37 AM
A professoinal photographer I am not. Hopefully though the proof mark can be seen in this photo. I used a magnifying glass and my close up setting. camera is a Nikon coolpix camera
August 4, 2011, 09:09 AM
I don't recognize that as any sort of a proofmark, but it might be part of a lot or jobber number; the bag grip and stepped half-octagonal barrel are typical for an American pistol of the type, but I'd expect to see something engraved along the top of the barrel if it was American. If it was European, it would certainly have a recognizable proofmark somewhere on the metal. Does it look as if there was once a trigger-guard attached?
August 4, 2011, 04:56 PM
I do not see anything stamped on the barrel. I do not believe that this pistol had a trigger gaurd. Then again I am no expert. the photos are of the top and bottom of the pistol. Would you know an aproximate age for this pistol?
August 4, 2011, 06:37 PM
The vast majority of these pistols would have been made during the 1840s and 1850s, as the advent of the revolver during the Civil War essentially made them obsolete; this could also conceivably be a modern reproduction with the proper markings removed, but that would take a partial disassembly and closer examination of things like screws and springs.
August 4, 2011, 06:59 PM
thank you SDC,
I would have to believe your assesment of age. There is nothing on the pistol that would make me believe it was a "modern" component. You are correct, the revolver would have made it obsolete. Do people still shoot these?
August 4, 2011, 07:15 PM
Here are some photos of the pistol "disassembled"
August 4, 2011, 08:35 PM
There aren't any coil springs, which would be an immediate give-away that this is modern, but I'm wondering if the screws might have been replaced? They look too clean and machine-made to be original to something that old. Can you see anything stamped along the sides of the grip frame, in the area that would normally be covered by the grips? There are certainly reenactors today that shoot pistols like these, but they usually prefer to shoot modern reproductions, so they don't need to worry about damaging an original.
I should also have asked earlier; is there a chance this pistol might be loaded? You would be surprised at how many original old guns like this were simply left loaded years ago, and all it would take is a random spark to fire it again. The way to check is with a ramrod that will fit down the barrel, and it has to fit all the way to where the nipple goes in to meet the powder chamber; if it doesn't, treat it as if it was loaded, and you might need to get some hands-on help to clear it if it is.
August 4, 2011, 11:02 PM
It looks to be an authentic 1830's to 1870's firearm. I agree that screws look to be a modern replacement. Value on these old no name hand guns is not high, If i had to guess I would say 100 to 125 to some one who wants it. Thats just a WAG so I could be high or low.
August 5, 2011, 07:05 AM
This pistol would probably not be sold. I have plenty of firearms, but i dont believe any of them are 150 years old. I find it to be neat. the pistol does function. I never thought that it could still be loaded.....I will certainly look into that. thank you for everything, I will check internal markings and let you know
August 5, 2011, 07:12 AM
I'm wondering if the screws might have been replaced? They look too clean and machine-made to be original to something that old
Why shouldn't they be machine made?
August 5, 2011, 07:28 AM
These have the appearance of being made on modern machinery, with fully-formed cut threads along the complete shank; the machinery to do that didn't exist until relatively recently, and before that, mass-produced screws and bolts were usually made by either threading and heading round stock, or by rolling.
August 5, 2011, 09:51 AM
These have the appearance of being made on modern machinery, with fully-formed cut threads along the complete shank; the machinery to do that didn't exist until relatively recently,
You need to take apart some antique guns is all I can say.
August 5, 2011, 10:04 AM
I've taken apart PLENTY of old guns, but the only ones I've seen with precision-made modern-style bolts and screws like these are those that were made by or for the military (because they were the only ones that cared enough about standardization for it to matter). Small-scale builders also didn't want to put an extra penny into a product that they could produce as cheaply as possible, so why would they use a full-length-threaded bolt when only a short-threaded bolt would do everything asked of it, more cheaply?
August 5, 2011, 11:38 PM
Wasn't arguing the full length threads just the machined screws.
August 6, 2011, 09:27 AM
I did not see anything stamped in the gun when taken apart. the pistol was very dirty though. what would be the best way to preserve / clean up this pistol. I wouldn't want to ruin anything. modern screws are bad enough right.
August 6, 2011, 09:54 AM
A light wipe with an oily cloth would be all that's necessary to keep this in the best condition; trying to take off any of the signs of aging makes it worth much less. If you just want to hang onto it as a keepsake, a nice presentation is one of those picture-frame-style "shadow boxes" that you can hang up on a wall.
August 6, 2011, 12:53 PM
Put it in a glass topped Riker box with a few coins from the mid 1800's. That would be a nice display.
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