Caucasian Miquelet "Cossack" Pistol & Locks

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Hi Cyten

Great display in that last photo. Here in the States, the rifles tend to bring twice what the pistols do. Even their blades tend to bring a premium over their Balkan made counterparts.

Persian Guns: Much agree. Almost all the remaining examples of Persian made muzzle loading guns from the period either have late-period Western type flintlocks, or converted to percussion. I've read that much of their antique gun arsenals were destroyed during World War 1, when the Russians, Turks, and British invaded. And maybe before. It's rather complicated. In any case, it left very few original examples from about the mid-1800's and earlier to study. While the guesstimate the the Caucasian/Circassian lock style are of Persian origin is not conclusive, I've never seen these two lock styles on any other Eastern type guns. There is a bit more evidence that the stock profile may be originally Persian. (I've seen one Afghan gun with this stock style, but decorated in traditional Afghan style). Genuine, all Persian made guns from this period are considered rare. I'm lucky to own one early one in original flint miquelet variation. I'll post some pics later.

Yes, much of their silver work is considered some of the best. Also, I have a pic of Caucasian warriors from the 1870's still wearing chain mail armour.

Rick
 

cyten

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It is interesting to note that several visitors to Persia in the late 19th/early 20th century mentioned specifically that though the breechloading M1873 Werndl had been adopted as the main infantry rifle, that only the royal guards had them and the majority of soldiers were armed with "firelocks at least a century old, with bits of wood instead of flints" (J. Ussher 1865) "the old brown bess" (E. Stack 1882) "the obsolete percussion cap musket" (G. Curzon 1892) "the useless Jezail" (J. Murray 1902).
Again, I've never seen a Persian gun with the miquelet lock, just Caucasian ones that were attributed as Persian because of some Arabic script on the barrel, which was very common among the devout muslim smiths of Dagestan. But i'm no expert, just an admirer.
I assume the chainmail wearing Caucasians you're referring to are the Khevsur people. Famous for their armor and bucklers so late in the game! They can also be set apart by the fact that they had their own kind of saber completely different from the standard Shashka. Here is a photo of some Khevsur warriors from 1918. Note the man on the far left with the chainmail shirt and on the far right with the chainmail headdress. Can't imagine being too confident with those on in the age of smokeless powder!

1918tbilisi.jpg
 
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Russ T Frizzen

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Thank you for sharing this. I hope others will continue to share their photos. I saw a number of ancient--and not so ancient--flintlock long guns in Viet Nam. Wish that I had more information on those. Dan
 

sportster73hp

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Are these locks available in the US? Either by import or by an American supplier? Would be something interesting for a build more likely a European or American style stock. I am not above mixing styles just to be different
 
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Here is a good photo showing the use of traditional flint rifles and pistols, and some still sporting chain mail armor and buckler shields. Supposedly taken during the 1870's. Amazing when you consider the decade was under way with the BPC period. Progress was very slow in this Region.

Rick
602902.jpg
 

cyten

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Are these locks available in the US? Either by import or by an American supplier? Would be something interesting for a build more likely a European or American style stock. I am not above mixing styles just to be different
There is a member here, Andrey22 who sells the plans to build them if you contact him, here is a thread he made on building one Making Circassian or Caucasian flintlock - miquelet
& one where he made an Ottoman Miquelet
31137-0f63820606013e9e23e07aa4e2bcee64.jpg


Cyten......great thread. Thanks for starting it and keeping it up!

I always enjoy your contributions over on GB.

Thank you, i appreciate the kind words!
 

cyten

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Of interest, it is noted in Chechnya in particular, blackpowder and lead were very scarce and that they often made bullets by covering stones and wooden balls with lead. Some villages would charge a toll of a measure of powder and a lead ball from a person to pass through their area.


More chainmail and Miquelets

33999-warriot-georgian-xxx.jpg
34001-circassian-sa-1280.jpg
34000-warrior-georgian-eeee.jpg


And some loading accessories, Gaziri are hollow wooden tubes with silver caps containing the charge for the rifle, much like the "12 apostles" of the matchlock shooters. They are worn in breast pockets on the coat called a Chokha
gaziri.jpg


And a rare photo of a gunsmith shop in Tbilisi (Georgia)
tbilisismith.jpg
 
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GREENSWLDE

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There is a Chain mail shirt locally,taken by a British Officer after the battle of Omdoman (1879??) that is of early European Crusader manufacture. Still 'angs in the 'all..Appears there is nothing new. O.D.
 
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"And some loading accessories, Gaziri are hollow wooden tubes with silver caps containing the charge for the rifle, much like the "12 apostles" of the matchlock shooters. They are worn in breast pockets on the coat called a Chokha"

It shows how their high quality silver work was extended to the shooting accessories also.

Great pic of that gun shop. Hard to believe they worked in such small confines.

Rick
 
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Here is a Circassian pistol variation. It now sports a Hoyt .50 caliber steel liner for shooting. What's unusual, is that the black stock is actually one piece of horn. From what, I know not. LOLThe lock appears to be a period replacement.

Rick
Caucasian Pistol 001 (Medium).jpg
Caucasian Pistol 002 (Medium).jpg
Caucasian Pistol 007 (Medium).jpg
DSC00661 (Medium).JPG
DSC00657 (Medium).JPG
 

cyten

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That is quite the work put in to make a stock from one horn! Is it hollow in the handle or filled with wood? The "X" markings coincide with some of the examples in my book. I have made a little progress on translating the book, I will share this info here.

miqueletpistoldecor.jpg


It is noted by Charles de Paysonel, a French diplomat in Circassia, that between 1750-1760 that 1000 barrels were brought to the Caucasus from Bakhchysarai, a city in the Crimea via the Taman peninsula. Calibers of rifles in general have been noted to be as small as .45 up to .60
The Crimean barrels were usually marked with a proof stamp at the side of the breech saying "imtikhan" which means tried or tested along with dates (apparently some of the most common are 1784, 1789, & 1790), religious inscriptions and makers name. Here is a photo showing typical Crimean barrel markings used in the Caucasus.

caucasianmiqueletbarrel.jpg

After the Crimea became part of the Russian Empire, barrel production supposedly dwindled to near non-existant, since early 19th century dates are rare. There was however, a local barrel making trade as well in the Caucasus (particularly in Kabardino-Balkaria), and they were imported from Persia and Turkey.

Here are a couple rare silver stocked pistols
caucpistol.jpg
 
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cyten

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Well despite their extreme scarcity, apparently there were smoothbore long guns. This example is marked with the barrel maker "Haji Mustafa", dated 1822 (1238 Hijri) on the barrel along with "Masha'ala" and "Master of Hikri(?) Muhammed Son Ali" on the tang. The lock has the maker "Master Ibrahim" engraved on the side and "Host Adil Khan" on the bottom. Adil Khan was a ruler in Dagestan who fought against the Russians during the Caucasian War. If my understanding of "host" is correct, this gun was made for his army. However, Adil Khan died in 1822 as well.

1822smoothbore.jpg


And an interesting pistol with a donkey leather covered stock (which apparently is a strictly Circassian feature) with an Italian "Lazari" marked barrel, though I doubt it being the famous 17th century maker. And a leather finger protector on the lock that I have never seen, but read about.

lazari1.jpg
lazari.jpg
leatherfingerprotection.jpg

leatherfingerprotection1.jpg
 
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"That is quite the work put in to make a stock from one horn! Is it hollow in the handle or filled with wood? The "X" markings coincide with some of the examples in my book. I have made a little progress on translating the book, I will share this info here."

I thought I had some photos of the pistol with the barrel and lock off the stock. Guess I didn't take any. The core, inside the horn was never removed. The carving for the barrel channel looked like it once had some type of thin tar/glue applied. Not sure. Same with the lock inlet. But it is one piece of horn. The stock remains sturdy. Never seen another like it. Nor have other collectors.

I also have seen those "X" makings on other of their guns. Thanks for the history. Explains a few questions.

Rick
 
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"Well despite their extreme scarcity, apparently there were smoothbore long guns. This example is marked with the barrel maker "Haji Mustafa", dated 1822 (1238 Hijri) on the barrel along with "Masha'ala" and "Master of Hikri(?) Muhammed Son Ali" on the tang. The lock has the maker "Master Ibrahim" engraved on the side and "Host Adil Khan" on the bottom. Adil Khan was a ruler in Dagestan who fought against the Russians during the Caucasian War. If my understanding of "host" is correct, this gun was made for his army. However, Adil Khan died in 1822 as well."

Thanks for those last photos. And there's the proof. I've always thought that some of their shoulder guns would have been made in smooth bore as it would be considered an advantage for some shooters for a variety of reasons. I've just never personally seen one. Now I have. LOL
Interesting that this example can be so fully documented. Not often the case. Very cool.

Rick
 

cyten

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Thanks for those last photos. And there's the proof. I've always thought that some of their shoulder guns would have been made in smooth bore as it would be considered an advantage for some shooters for a variety of reasons. I've just never personally seen one. Now I have. LOL
Interesting that this example can be so fully documented. Not often the case. Very cool.

Rick

A lucky case of the engravings and markings being legible! It is never mentioned in my book (so far) that smoothbore barrels were made. Just that they were always 7 or 8 groove rifling with range of calibers from 45 to 60. This is based on the authors study of guns in museums and traveling to remote villages as well as some private collections, so smoothbore really is rare.
 
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There is a rifle available on lodgewood that someone made in the vein of the Cossack rifles
View attachment 148408
Very interesting amalgamation of ideas. Similar to the officially issued Russian M1832 Cossack rifle
View attachment 148409

and to some original pieces that did have Flintlock mechanisms
View attachment 148410

You sir, are an enabler. I just ordered that Cossack rifle from Lodgewood. :)

I don't post much on MLF but I'll do a thread about this one for sure.
 
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