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GeneStoner

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Hi, 1st post newbie here, and first foray into muzzleloaders...

Can someone help me identify what this pistol is? Barrel is Liege-marked but the side has Arabic numbers "264."

Is there a good source of knowledge (book) for this relic?

Belgian Conversion1.jpg
Belgian Conversion2.jpg
Belgian Conversion3.jpg
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GeneStoner

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I see this pistol commonly referred to as a "Sea Service" pistol, though its unclear which sea service used them in general. The modification of the lock to percussion is interesting. Ottoman perhaps?
 

GeneStoner

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OK then... It's a "Barbary Pirate" converted pistol, once owned by Pasha Yusuf Karamanli of Tripoli, brought back by Commodore Richard Dale himself and presented to President Jefferson upon victorious return...

How does that sound?
 
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Hi Gene. And welcome.

As mentioned above your pistol started life as a flintlock. And converted to percussion probably during the 1840's to 1850's. The conversion on your pistol is one of two types I've seen, and would be less expensive then a new bolster welded/forged to the breech. The breech of the barrels on these Belgium pistols are very thick and would easily accept a simple hole drilled and tapped for a nipple. These so-called Belgium Naval Pistols were likely made by the thousands and shipped all over Europe, and probably North America during the earlier 19th Century.
As for the Arabic numbers: This has always been a mystery. The numbers may represent a reference for batch assembly latter during the conversion process being contracted out to an Arabic speaking shop (?) But only the conversions seem to show up with these Arabic numbers.

I own a British East India Company pistol that was converted to percussion during the same period. It has an extra number on the barrel and inside the lock mortice area - both in Arabic. Strange. Again, maybe some of these conversions were handled by Arabic workers (?)
Just my best guess.
I have seen two of the Belgium pistols with marking on the lock and barrel (original flintlock) showing they were government property at some point of an Arabic speaking country. But that would not be too unusual since again, these Belgium pistols were sold/shipped everywhere it seems.

Here is a pic of your Belgium pistol in it's original flintlock configuration. And a couple of pics of the converted, East India pistol with the Arabic numbers and bolster type conversion.

Rick
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