View Full Version : ? BP pistol origins/info

April 9, 2011, 08:06 AM
My nephew has asked me if i could help him find any information about this pistol given to his wife by her family. I told him that all i could tell from the pictures was that the pistol is a cap-fired side-lock single-shot BP pistol. It is heavily decorated and, for some reason, looks vaguely middle-eastern to me.

Any information or leads will be appreciated. They are considering selling the old pistol to help finance a moving truck rental, but they don't want to sell it ignorantly.






I have a few more pictures, but am limited on other information. I am not in the same state as the firearm.

April 9, 2011, 08:24 AM
Even though there are jillions of decorative non-firing eastern type guns out there, this one actually looks like a shooter.
Do get some better expert to examine before drawing judgement.
Outside my area of knowledge, wish I could help.
I do know it is interesting.

April 9, 2011, 08:33 AM
My first question would be, is it a gun or a decorative item? You'll need to verify that the barrel is drilled all the way, and that piston and barrel connect. Picture of the muzzle would also help.

Mike Irwin
April 9, 2011, 09:44 AM
Style wise it looks as if it came out of French North Africa.

I've seen similar styles from there.

April 9, 2011, 11:08 AM
The mention of north Africa and the middle east led me to investigate the far ranging influence of the Ottoman Empire. It controlled a portion of Europe, Africa and the middle east. The empire's European boundaries weren't reorganized until the Congress of Berlin in 1878 and they didn't finally lose most all of Europe until 1912 in the first Balkan War.

The Congress of Berlin returned to the Ottoman Empire territories that the previous treaty had given to the Principality of Bulgaria, most notably Macedonia, thus setting up a strong revanchist demand in Bulgaria that in 1912 led to the First Balkan War in which the Ottomans were defeated and lost nearly all of Europe.

Below is a map of the entire Ottoman Empire in 1856. If the pistol does have an Ottoman connection then it could be very difficult to tell where it could have originated from anywhere within its boundaries.


April 9, 2011, 12:10 PM
I'm thinking the "French-North Africa" is maybe correct. It has all the appearnces of what you see form firearms from that area but if you look at the way the grip is carved/shaped - that is a very typical "French" influence. It's a nice looking piece - whether it's a decorator wall hanger, shooter or a wallhanger shooter. Good luck with your journey on finding more about it and if you come up with anything solid on it - I hope you'll share it with us! Thanks! :)

April 9, 2011, 12:54 PM
It looks more Mediterranean to me. It also looks to be converted to percussion with a new lockplate. The style of plate is wrong for a percussion and it doesn't fit the inlet as well as all the other metal work.

April 9, 2011, 01:34 PM
Thanks guys! I am awaiting a muzzle picture & information on bore depth & the nipple appearance & such.

James K
April 9, 2011, 10:08 PM
I hope they are not moving too far. Even when made as pistols and not as decorators, those North African/Middle East pistols don't bring big bucks. There is minimal collector interest and they are generally treated mostly as curiosities. My WAG (if it is a working gun, and I think it is) would be $200, maybe a little more. If it is a decorator, around $50-75.

Frankly, guns, even desireable ones, are not easy to sell on a "need money now" basis without taking a beating on the price.


April 10, 2011, 09:18 AM
Well, luckily they brought in some cash with their garage sale to help finance the move back to south MS.

I still haven't gotten the rest of the pictures, yet.

June 15, 2011, 04:31 PM
Well, i finally got to take a hands-on look at this piece. It appears to have been a shooter at some point, some point a long time and a lot of missed cleanings ago. The barrel wall thickness at the muzzle was scary, like two or three credit cards thick :eek: . The barrel is very crudded out inside. I offered to try to clean out the barrel if they decide not to sell it as a "collectable or antique". I also offered to pop a cap on the nipple, very carefully, left-handed, heavily-gloved; i predict a large cloud of dust will erupt.

I like the feel of the wood, but the pistol feels MUCH lighter than my similarly-sized modern-produced & purchased sidelock pistol from Traditions, so much so as to make it seem toy-like in comparison.