View Full Version : Identify a Howdah pistol?

March 25, 2011, 09:24 PM
A friend has asked me to hopefully identify this old Howdah pistol. The only markings on it is the number 6 on the bottom of the barrels, same 6 on the frame and inside the wooden grips. It is obviously chambered for a metallic cartridge and the bore measures .500. The barrels are rifled and a curious thing is that the barrels don't appear to be seperate and soldered together to the upper and lower ribs, rather, everything (barrels and ribs) all appear to be one casting and then the surfaces machined. Another thing that makes me think they are cast is that there are several tiny holes into the material (almost like tiny worm holes) like I have seen in some cast iron. No proof marks of any kind. My thinking at this point is that it's probably late 1800's (metallic cartridge and boxlock) possibly India or Pakistan. Can anyone share any more insight or opinions on this old curio?

March 26, 2011, 07:47 AM
It looks very much more like a "garrucha", a pistol built in South America, or a Belgian design than a true "Howdah" pistol; can you see anything at all on the bottoms of the chambers or the water-table when you open the pistol up or take the barrels off? If you can take a chamber cast, that might help to narrow it down a little bit.

March 26, 2011, 07:51 AM
While it's possible that the gun's barrel unit was machined from a single forging, I don't think that was cast. Cast iron of that time period was very weak in tension, and brittle to boot, so it could not be used for gun barrels.
Do you have any more info on the chambering? Length of the chamber and diameters would be very interesting, and maybe a picture down the barrel.

March 26, 2011, 12:45 PM
I'm betting there's a Belgian "ELG" stamped into the gunmetal somewhere.



March 27, 2011, 09:05 PM
Gentlemen, thank you. That's what I like about the Firing Line, knowledgeable people and knowledgeable answers. I've been a certified gun nut for almost 70 years and do not remember ever hearing of a garrucha pistol.
I've gone back over the gun and there are no other marks. I don't have the material to do a chamber cast but I did do some chamber measurements.
The rim of the case would be appx .580, the base of the case just above the rim is .530, the mouth of the slightley tapered case just before the rifleing is .515 and the overall length of the case would be roughly 1.450. All measurements in inches. Does this equate to any cartridge of the day? What time frame were these pistols produced?

March 28, 2011, 12:06 PM
Looking through all my various listings of old cartridges the rim diameter is the tricky part. I first thought "cut down NE type" but all of those had rims around .65 or so. Same for a shortened 32 gauge, they just didn't make cartridges with such narrow rims early on.

Charles Ellis
March 29, 2011, 10:27 AM
I can nothing in my copy of"Cartridges of the World"that even comes close.If it was some type of short shotgun shell(unlikely IMHO)it would be about a 36 Ga.Sorry I couldn't help.