Anyone shooting N. African snaphaunces?

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ajbennettnc

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Last week I bought a North African snaphaunce off an auction site. Seller says it's a. 56 bore. We'll see if I ended up with a real one or tourist junk. The lock looks functional, at least externally. I hope it will arrive soon, as I have plans to prank my Rev war reenactment unit's serjeant by showing up with it to our next muster, just to see the look upon his face.
Anyhow, I intend on having the barrel inspected by a professional, and will make sure the lock is in or gets into working order. I teach high school world history by day, so it will be a useful piece of conversation to make connections between my love of blackpowder and studying other cultures.
To get back on topic, does anybody out there have a Moukahla/mouhkala or Kabyle piece that they shoot? What is the likelihood of an antique one being usable? I would assume a light load of 50 grains behind an equal volume of shot or one .490 ball wouldn't be too strenuous, but of course I'll have it checked over and approve it safe long before any powder gets near that old bore.
I'll post more pictures as soon as I receive the gun in question.
Regards,
A.J.
 

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ajbennettnc

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Please post photos once you receive it. Should be a fun Thread. Here is one of mine that's been restored to shooting condition.

RickView attachment 163840

Rick,
That's a beautiful piece! I feel honored that you've commented on my post; I have enjoyed reading a lot of your posts and information on non-western muzzleloaders.
Is this one of the guns that you had the barrel lined by Bob Hoyt? I recall reading about that in a post of yours awhile back, and that gun looks familiar. Or, was the bore good enough without lining?
Thanks,
A.J.
 
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Hi A.J.

Thanks for your post and kind words. Yes, this is the one that has a liner from Bobby Hoyt. It also has a newer, taller front sight.

From the one photo you posted, I believe I can place the style. It's referred to as Afedali. It is likely from the Taroudant region and the Qued Sous valley reegion of Morocco. It is one of three general styles. Mine is from the same region/area. The lock on your gun replicates the English pattern. The lock on mine reflects the Dutch pattern. Both are very common.

The original bore on my gun was no better than fair condition. But I wasn't going to take any chances and sent it out for a liner. I suspected guns from this Region were never properly cleaned after firing. With rust developing causing potential thin spots in the barrel walls.
The potentially larger issue in getting these guns returned to shooting condition will be the lock. Most of these locks will not hold in the cock position (only one on a snaphaunce). And it's usually due to a worn sear that will no longer engage with the bevel on the inside of the hammer. It's worn down and too short. Sometimes a bit of filing and adjustment can remedy this. But usually either a new sear needs to be made, or a small tit of weld added to the tip of the sear and re-filed to shape (a tedious job). Also, often, the mainspring is too strong. Reducing the mainspring thickness or a new mainspring may be desirable. It seems that none of these locks had any hardening of primary working parts. It's as if parts were made large and heavy to partially off-set their lack of knowledge in spring tempering. So it will take some dedication to get this guns in safe shooting order again. If lock work is required, you need to locate someone that understands how snaphaunce locks are supposed to work. And someone that also has blacksmith skills is a BIG added plus, in case new parts are required. But don't expect the lock to work in the fashion of a new Chambers type of flintlock. LOL The design of the snaphaunce dates to the late 16th Century.

Looking forward to your photos.

Rick
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Last week I bought a North African snaphaunce off an auction site. Seller says it's a. 56 bore. We'll see if I ended up with a real one or tourist junk. The lock looks functional, at least externally. I hope it will arrive soon, as I have plans to prank my Rev war reenactment unit's serjeant by showing up with it to our next muster, just to see the look upon his face.
Anyhow, I intend on having the barrel inspected by a professional, and will make sure the lock is in or gets into working order. I teach high school world history by day, so it will be a useful piece of conversation to make connections between my love of blackpowder and studying other cultures.
To get back on topic, does anybody out there have a Moukahla/mouhkala or Kabyle piece that they shoot? What is the likelihood of an antique one being usable? I would assume a light load of 50 grains behind an equal volume of shot or one .490 ball wouldn't be too strenuous, but of course I'll have it checked over and approve it safe long before any powder gets near that old bore.
I'll post more pictures as soon as I receive the gun in question.
Regards,
A.J.
Yours is a curious request Only the gun its self will tell you how sound it is .These muskets might in some cases be' got up' as 'Tourist junk' But a great many where simply worked to death your photoe is too vaigue to asses but it at the glance looks well enough . There are regional Styles They where in use up to modern times I visited an Oasis in Central Algeria in 1965 the owner kept the lock coverered no doubt to try keep out the all pervadeing dust His dwelling like something out of the Biblical 'Nazareth' roof timbers riven date palm. dunes covered a near by house ..On his wall was a poorly stuff Gazelle head my noticing it had the old boy go through the mime of spotting getting the gun primeing it 'and stalking up then' Boom'! excited dance as he harvested the' Beesh.' I stayed two days invited to some sort of Wedding ? ceromonly where the women danced while the men fired of muzzle loaders .Carpet on a sand floor trays of Goat & Kuss Kuss followed by Sticky dates & endless rounds of mint tea sweetend by breaking off pieces of sugar loaf in blue wrapper . The tourist shops in Casablanca offered such guns & horns calling them 'Berber' .Some just botched up affairs others looked worn but probably servicable .many likley fit to fire but useually regarded as'wall docor' Camel Guns ' & other ignorant observations . May I suggest you run it by a MUZZLE loading gun smith not the nitro sort who wouldnt have a clue .and they would be bold to OK them for fireing .Incidentally these sorts of guns are still made as the ceremonies call for riders rushing about & fireing the guns.I Watched one such ceremony in Agadir when the King of Morrocco Hassan the Second visited so many visitors came the roof they sat on collapsed ( Agadir had a huge earth quake just a few years earlier only the Medina walls stood) .Worn as they might be but they where made to use . I have hunted with a flint gun square fishtail butt .& I have a Mukalla but its ill-suited for these forests .. At least today thanks in great part to such a Ricksie they are recognized & not just derisively dismissed as' Camel Guns ' You might obtain the Book' Islamic Arms' By Robert Elsworth a usefull reference incidentally I gave the old boy a musket flint I carried them & powder plus a postcard with a ship on it He was pleased , He had no English or French I scant Arabic or Berber but we managed quite well.. trust that helps .
Regards Rudyard
 
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ajbennettnc

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Rick, thanks for the advice and pictures! There's so many parts to a snaphaunce! So many springs, and that push rod and pan cover arrangement does look tricky to work with if needing repair. From a photo I saw of the lock from the seller, it looked like my gun's pan cover might be stuck over the pan, or missing, which leads me to anticipate a broken push rod since the cock is lowered in the same photo. It is supposed to get to me this coming Tuesday, so I'll start finding out then.
Rudyard, thanks for sharing your tales of travel. Your posts are like something out of a vintage issue of National Geographic, but even better because of muzzleloaders! I'll hunt for that book you mentioned.

I look forward to sharing pictures of this gun once it arrives and seeing what thoughts y'all on it. Rick, is Afedali the name for this gun type in general or is that a style under the broader term of Moukahla or Kabyle? How should I best refer to this? Lol.
Thanks!
A.J.
 
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I would call the Moroccan style' Kabyls' And 'the Algerian Toe locks a' Moukalla ' however its spelt . When you get it let us see pics . whatever the mindset of the makers they evidently found them suitable from their angle some large numbers of locks where sent from Europe to redeem captives the locks a preffered option to gold it seems yet exellent locks where also made in the regions concerned(.never heard of afidelas) Much depending on date & regionals I expect . Ime amused to be compared to vintage Nation Geographic !
Regards Rudyard
 
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Hi A.J.

I agree with Rudyard. For ease of reference, While the two terms are often used interchangeably, most collectors refer to the Moroccan style snaphaunce long gun as a Kabyl. With the Algerian style long gun, with it's miquelet lock as a Moukahla. Here is a pic of the Algerian gun just for comparison..

Rick
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Rick, thanks for the advice and pictures! There's so many parts to a snaphaunce! So many springs, and that push rod and pan cover arrangement does look tricky to work with if needing repair. From a photo I saw of the lock from the seller, it looked like my gun's pan cover might be stuck over the pan, or missing, which leads me to anticipate a broken push rod since the cock is lowered in the same photo. It is supposed to get to me this coming Tuesday, so I'll start finding out then.
Rudyard, thanks for sharing your tales of travel. Your posts are like something out of a vintage issue of National Geographic, but even better because of muzzleloaders! I'll hunt for that book you mentioned.

I look forward to sharing pictures of this gun once it arrives and seeing what thoughts y'all on it. Rick, is Afedali the name for this gun type in general or is that a style under the broader term of Moukahla or Kabyle? How should I best refer to this? Lol.
Thanks!
A.J.
Sometimes the snaphaunce locks on these guns have been cannibalized for use on another gun that's missing parts. Usually, the push rod for the pan cover. Once you get the gun and are taking pictures, remove the lock and take pics of the inside and outside. These locks use the early, horizontal type sear mechanism. Different than a standard type flintlock with it's vertical sear. It's difficult to show this operation in photos. But I can explain once you receive the gun.

Rick
 
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What a fine example of a Mukalla couldn't Get more ' mint ' than that . Mine is a rejected stock wedded to a barrel of the right sort with a lock I picked up on a blanket at the First Shawne R vous in 1981 & I had to make the battery & its bridle & the what I call its 'feather spring' & plus only two rude bone inlays remained so made befitting replacements . So its a complete 'Bitzer' but I love it anyway & its an 'example '.

Two very fine examples are housed in the Glenbow Muesum Calgary that had belonged to a Bay or tribal leader who quite reasonably apposed French Annexation of his country So was exiled & lived with ageing General Soult from memory & he being a Moorish gentleman & just a' political prisoner' naturally had his retinue and battery of sporting arms probably his wives, hawks ,& porkupines ?. If your really interested I have my notes written at the time I worked as Arms consultant for Glenbow Though the guns where not at that time part of that work. My eyes stuck out like Chaple hat pegs looking at the entire collections ( Ide have paid them to work there ! )like most museums they rarely show more than one 8th of what is stored like ice bergs ( only not as unpleasant ) & like them I seem to be drifting . Hopefully Pics.later
Regards Rudyard
 

ajbennettnc

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My Kabyl snaphaunce arrived a couple days ago. Just got around to checking it over last night. The push rod is missing from the lock, but the Steeles face shows signs of firing. The springs seem ok; I worked them very gently. The sear is worn off, and on the inside is either broken or was designed in two parts. See the pic of that below. I tried picking the touch hole but it seems to be rusted shut. Ran a rod down and it seems to be unloaded but has something, dirt or fouling or old powder perhaps, just a centimeter or so ahead of the touch hole. Y'all please advise as you see fit.
 

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ajbennettnc

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More pics.
 

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ajbennettnc

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More. Notice the sear issue here.
 

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ajbennettnc

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I assume this was built for firing, but have there been non-operational display "guns" found that were built over there with proof marks, touch holes, and real locks? Also, the ramrod appears integral to the stock, because it won't budge. Maybe the barrel bands were hammered on too tightly by some previous owner.
 
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Well looks fine to me nothing fake about it just rust & neglect. Not surprizeing the rods stuck but it wasn't planned . bend at front of rod suggest a blow so made a long' nail' out of it .Bands never meant to loosen, Scears looks as they aught .Only carefull cleaning nothing drastic seems required Re link well most such guns don't have any provision to cover the pan like European ones could have. But by removeing the link you might put the cock at rest & still cover the prime . Your gun looks particularly nice. A sleeper.
Regards Rudyard
 
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Hi AJ

Thanks for the great pics. As Rudyard mentions. a good, careful cleaning is all that it appears to require for a good display piece. The gun is the real thing, not an earlier tourist piece. The barrel has a cannon style muzzle which is common with these guns. Often the barrel bands do not match exactly as they were added/changed over the years. The stock looks to be the typical hardwood from the region and stained and decorated with bone inlays, all typical. I'll attempted to answer your questions separately in my next posts.

Rick
 
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FYI, here’s the one I bought recently @ auction, that I’ll restore to shootable condition ‘someday’. The lock works and I just need the barrel checked out abd the wood strengthened (I use penetrating epoxy where it won’t show … ).

Besides some flintlocks and matchlock builds I’m working on, there’s a jezail, a Toradar and another snaphaunce already ahead of it …

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LOCK: As you mentioned, the only missing piece I can see is the push rod for the pan cover. But it's fairly easy to make a new one using some strong, stiff wire from the hardware store. Just bend it to shape so it looks like the one in my photo above. You can flatten the wire with a heavy hammer on an anvil, but not necessary. I believe they make flat wire, but seem to recall it was too soft to use. Maybe you can locate it.
Your sear is NOT broke in two pieces. It's correct. It is a separate sear and trigger bar. It's just a matter of understanding how this snaphaunce lock is supposed to work. It's difficult to do this in writing. And difficult to photo. But I'll give it a try. LOL Holding the lock in your hand while reading this next part will help.

That small V-shaped sear spring keeps pressure on the sear even in the un-cocked position. There is a bevel on the inside of the hammer. When the hammer is cocked (no half cock was used), the front of the sear engages through a hole (usually square) in the lock plate and catches on to the bevel. At the same time, the flat, rear of the sear meets flush with the flat of the trigger bar. When the trigger bar is pulled backward (when firing) the sear spring is compressed even further releasing all tension from the front of the sear and bevel section.
So as the hammer moves forward, the sear simply slides off the bevel and back into the recess hole in the lock plate.

Unfortunately about 90% of these locks/guns you encounter today have the nose of the sear worn down from use in the past. Even just 2-4mm's short will not allow the sear to reach the bevel section of the hammer. Since these parts were likely never hardened, coupled with the lock design dating to the late 16th Century, these locks weere probably in a constant state of maintenance and repair. You can add a small "tit" of arc weld to the nose of the sear to make it longer again and file to fit. A tedious job for sure. But the nose of the sear has to be filed in a way that allows it to "slide" off the bevel section. Even a new sear would have to have this file work done. That's why, if you want the lock fixed, to have it done by someone that understands how snaphaunce locks are supposed to work. Hope this helps.

Rick
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RAMROD: It's sometimes difficult to find these guns that haven't been "monkeyied" with later on. Yes, looks like someone just tried to hammer a a piece of rod into it with whatever was lying around. LOL
If you take the barrel off you will see there is crudely cut groove that runs the length of the fore stock. Towards the rear 1/4 or 1/3 this groove is cut at a very slight curve. This curve allows a thin, iron ramrod to be held snug (not tight) in the stock and not fall forward. I thought I had a photo of this, but can't locate it now. But while the barrel is still on the gun, and the lock is off, see if the ramrod hole protrudes into the lock mortise area. If so, put the gun in a vise, and get a piece of rod about the same diameter, and try to lightly hammer the rod out from the back end.
 
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FYI, here’s the one I bought recently @ auction, that I’ll restore to shootable condition ‘someday’. The lock works and I just need the barrel checked out abd the wood strengthened (I use penetrating epoxy where it won’t show … ).

Besides some flintlocks and matchlock builds I’m working on, there’s a jezail, a Toradar and another snaphaunce already ahead of it …

View attachment 165692
Hi Flint

When you get around to working on this one: If it's missing a trigger guard, let me know. I probably have an original.

Rick
 
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