Can You Help Identify a Caplock Pistol?

Discussion in 'Firearm Identification' started by waarp8nt, Aug 21, 2018.

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  1. Aug 21, 2018 #1

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

    32 Cal.

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    I've had this pistol for awhile, purchased it from a friend a few years ago. I'm not certain the history, however I'm very curious. It appears to be Birmingham Proof marked when compared to the charts on the NRA website. Approximately .62 Caliber and about 14 inches overall in length. The mainspring was cracked when I got it, so I ordered the appropriate size spring stock from Dixie, fired up the band saw and cutting torch to build a new spring. Annealed it back some and like magic, the hammer and trigger assembly work properly. Any help in the identification would be greatly appreciated.

    Sized next to a Lyman Plains Pistol for comparison;

    [​IMG]

    Breech Plug area view;

    [​IMG]

    Trigger Guard view;

    [​IMG]

    Proof Markings;

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Aug 25, 2018 #2

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

    32 Cal.

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  3. Feb 24, 2019 #3

    jimhallam

    jimhallam

    jimhallam

    Pilgrim

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    Definitely a Birmingham-made "overcoat" or "travelling" pistol -- of the type made to be sold by local ironmongers. (That's why so many people believe that there must have been a "gunsmith" in every small town.)
    There really is NO such thing as an "Officer's Pistol", as they bought what they wanted -- albeit that many of them were in about 16-bore so they could utilise some issue ammunition. The VAST majority of this type of pistol were bought as personal protection by the "middle class" -- farmers, merchants etc. Of course there were even more pocket pistols bought, as these were cheaper ;-)
     
  4. Feb 24, 2019 #4

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

    32 Cal.

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    I suppose it would have demanded more attention at Christie's Auction by calling it a "Officer's Pistol" than saying it belonged to some random farmer or merchant ;)

    Still though, I love the feel of it. Much better feel and natural point than the Lyman. I may attempt to recreate it someday.

    Thank you for your reply!
     
  5. Feb 24, 2019 #5

    TFoley

    TFoley

    TFoley

    62 Cal.

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    Certainly, upper grade versions of this pistol of yours, usually sold in pairs as 'travelling pistols' were commonplace among the so-called gentry in the flintlock era. However, the percussion lock and its back-action design put this pistol firmly in the post-1830 time-frame. Indeed, while it might have been Proofed in Birmingham, it may not have been MADE in Birmingham, but in Belgium as a stock-in-trade pistol for the British market. It is very plain, with its pinned in barrel and lack of ramrod - often a captive-style to prevent loss...

    It's a nice piece, though, and it would be a hoot to shoot.

    Perhaps we have a different interpretation of the word 'merchant' over here. Such a person in Victorian England would be very unlikely to actually own ANY kind of gun like this one. Travelling around the UK by train, rather than stagecoach, was more the method of getting around by the late 1830s and early 1840s. Far more likely would be a pocket pistol of some kind, if it was really thought necessary at all.

    No Indians attacking trains over here, doncha know?
     
  6. Feb 27, 2019 #6

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

    waarp8nt

    32 Cal.

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    I really didn't think of a merchant as travelling salesman, more of an entrepreneur or store owner, but that could easily just be me. It would be very interesting to know the back story behind the pistol and how it made its way here. Something we could only speculate upon...

    Thanks for your reply, sending you a PM regarding other matters.
     
  7. Feb 27, 2019 #7

    TFoley

    TFoley

    TFoley

    62 Cal.

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    Store hold-ups were NEVER a part of the yUK scene. Burglars, on the other hand, are a different matter.
     

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