View Full Version : Horse pistol barrel...

October 12, 2002, 09:02 AM
I stumbled onto a percussion .58 pistol barrel fitted with the ramrod swivel and about 12" long; slot for the wedge is about 3-4 inches from the muzzle. It has the 3-leaf rear sight and is in pretty good shape overall; rifling is still pretty good & the finish color is more a plum brown than anything else. I couldn't find a proof mark anywhere, & the sight makes me wonder if it isn't from the 1855 pistol-carbine.

I always wanted a hunting pistol of this sort, and am torn between trying to build on this barrel, or just sell it & put the money towards a plains pistol. I don't have it to where I can get a digital photo right at the moment but if anyone here has an idea about where to get lock, stock etc & about what it'd cost I'd like to hear from you.

Thanks folks-

Alex Johnson
October 12, 2002, 08:46 PM
Track of the Wolf has a separate catalog called Special Projects that deals with castings for rare arms. I'm certain they would have the rest of the parts you need in the form of castings. Including new barrels manufactured by a custom maker at very reasonable prices. However, I would be skeptical to use the barrel that you describe for this purpose. If it is an original and in the condition you describe it would certainly be worth the price of the Lyman pistol you desire and it would be well worth selling it to a collector at that point. Another consideration is the strength of the barrel, steels in the last century were not as strong as current alloys and well I would not say that this barrel would necessarily dangerous to use, it would be somthing to consider.

October 12, 2002, 11:17 PM
I'll check in there later and see what they have. I am giving due consideration to the things you mentioned and yes, potential barrel strength is most assuredly among them. This will be a huntin' iron, and needs to be able to stand a stiff load. I'll get it home later this week and give it a good going over again, see if I can find some proof marks or import stamps on it. I do appreciate your response and your opinion. If not suitable for my purposes it'll be for sale..

Alex Johnson
October 13, 2002, 01:40 AM
Check out www.trackofthewolf.com and you can contact them about the special projects catalog. If you give me a bit more information about the model your looking for I can check my catalog and see if it's in there.

October 13, 2002, 07:48 AM
that what I'm dealing with is an 1855 Harper's Ferry, and the three-leaf sight leads me to believe the barrel may have been from a pistol-carbine. IF I were to build instead of by I would be looking for basic kit components for the pistol. A cursory summary may be found at


and I thank you again for your interest and assistance.

Alex Johnson
October 13, 2002, 08:50 AM
I checked the Rifle Shoppe (Special Projects) catalog and they do not list an 1855 Harper's Ferry pistol, they do show the 1855 U.S. pistol carbine manufactured by Springfield Armory. This pistol has the ramrod swivel that you describe. Everything needed to build a replica of this pistol, including the shoulder stock is available through them. The catch is that most parts are unfinished castings made from the original parts. The barrel would be complete and breeched when you received it, but the lock would have to be assembled completely and properly heat treated and all the metal parts would need to be finished. A precarved stock is available that would require final fitting and finishing. I haven't added up all the components, but I figure you would be looking at around $400 for total cost and several hundred more in labor if you couldn't do the work yourself. It is an interesting pistol and there have been reproductions made in the past. You might be able to find one of these if you look hard enough, your other option would be to buy the currently available Harpers Fairy pistol made by Pedersoli, this is of course a flintlock, but would certainly fill your need for a horse pistol. I believe the Rifle Shoppe is online, though I don't know the address. You can email them at [email protected]

October 14, 2002, 10:19 PM
I recently happened onto a barrel from some type of US martial-style pistol, typical of the 1855 Springfield or Harper's Ferry 'horse pistol'. Due to the absence of importer's marks, and the apparent age and patina of the metal I am inclined to believe it is very old, rather than being a reproduction.


The only markings evident on this barrel are an upper-case "B" centered over the number "39", located on the side of the barrel about a half-inch behind and below the rear sight. The configuration of the letters and numerals appear typical for 1800's stampings.


The front sight is also typical of the 'horse pistol' design, and the rear sight is of the three-leaf graduated variety.


The barrel is .58 caliber and mikes .595 in the grooves, of which there are five; the rifling is what I would call 'fair to good condition' and the lands, while not crisp like a new barrel are intact down the length of the bore.


The drum was obviously manufactured for percussion ignition and is not a flinlock conversion.


I originally bought this to build a 'shooter' on, but in retrospect I think it unwise to load this with the type of hunting charges I would employ. I would appreciate any information regarding it's age, origin, and potential value. Like anything else that passes through my hands, if it ain't a shooter it's for sale to finance something that is one. I just need to somewhere to start.

All responses and opinions are appreciated, and thank you in advance for your input.