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Making a British Officer's Pistol

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fjrdoc

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Thanks for taking the time to write and photograph the process. I'm subscribed!
 

dave_person

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Hi,
Moving forward pretty fast. Before I start, I want to say how delightful making this pistol is. I needed a break from long guns and this fits the bill nicely. Bill Kennedy designed this and several other pistol kits that are probably the best you could ever buy and as historically accurate as anyone could produce without resorting totally to customized parts. He knew his business. There are a few minor details that I will make even more historically correct but I don't have to do much. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy building pistols, particularly real British duelers. I have most parts for 2 pairs of duelers but I need to find or recreate the right locks. There are none commercially made that even come close. I have the mahogany and oak lumber, hardware, and woolen baize fabric for proper cases. I also have parts for a late 17th century English pistol, and 18th century turn off pistol, and an all metal stocked Scottish pistol. I think after I am done with my current queue of work for other folks, I am going to take a sabbatical and get some of those pistols built. I guess I need to get a move on.

It was time to solder on the barrel lugs, inlet them, and drill for the barrel pins. On this pistol the barrel is pinned. If you examine British pistols or guns from this period, you will notice that those with barrel keys almost always have hook breeches and those with pins do not. Lugs came with the kit and they were very easy to solder in place. One goes about 1.25" back from the muzzle and the other 3.5" from the breech. I use sturdy 3/32" pins for barrels. Next up were the ramrod pipes and here I found a problem. The cast pipes were very nice but the tube walls were so thin that I could deform the pipe just by pressing them into to the mortices. I decided that was too fragile so I used 0.04" sheet brass to make a front pipe with raised collar ends. Then I cut off the tang on the rear pipe, made a new tube with a short extension and soldered on the cast tang. I do this all the time for cast English fowler rear pipes. Cutting the mortices was easy and the pipes came out really nicely.

These photos show how I make them but are from a different thread:






Time for the trigger guard. Here was another issue. The nice cast guard only has a forward lug for a cross pin. I suspect the intent was to use a screw through the guard for the rear extension. The problem is that you rarely find good quality civilian pistols that use a screw. It is common on ordnance issued military pistols but not on civilian or private purchase guns. There is usually a lug and cross pin or on really high-end pistols, the lug if filed into a hook that catches a screw head imbedded in the trigger guard mortice. That way no pin shows. I opted for a lug and pin so I made a lug and threaded the bottom.

Then I drilled and tapped the trigger guard, screwed in the lug and soldered it in place. I had countersunk the outside of the hole so could peen the excess threaded post into the countersink. Once the excess is filed away, the hole mostly disappears.



I inlet the front of the guard first. Then I work to the rear, gradually inletting the rear extension until I get to the end. Once in, I drilled the pin holes and inserted the pins. I use 5/64" pins.




Finally, I installed the end cap. I put the cap in place, then used a tiny drill to make an exploratory hole from the trigger guard mortice. It is an awkward job because the stock limits the angle I can drill. My drill hit the tab on the end cap to one side but the height was right. So I drilled for a wood screw but angled the hole a little to the other side. It came out great.

Next, I took a wood screw and screwed it in place to thread the wood, then I filed the tip of the screw so it would go through the tab on the end cap.

I counter sunk the hole, installed the end cap, and threaded the screw back in and it pulled the cap up nice and tight.



More to come.

dave
 

Brokennock

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Thank you for sharing all this.

While great to see and learn, it is making me even more disgusted with the construction issues I am finding on my flintlock pistol.
 

old ugly

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this is an awsum thread! thanks Dave.
I have a question re the pin through the lug at the front of the trigger guard, is it hidden behind the left side plate, or is it visible for removable without taking off the side plate? it looks like removing the side plate maybe tricky without marking wood or the plate.

thanks tom
ou
 

dave_person

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Hi OU,
That is a great question and something that has gotten me in trouble on other guns. Fortunately, the side plate removes easily but it is not required. If you look at the bottom of the plate directly under the rear lock bolt, you will see the hole for the guard cross pin. Sometimes the trigger pin also gets hidden.

dave
 

dave_person

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Hi,

I inlet the wrist plate and fitted the screw through the wrist that anchors it. The screw is hidden under the trigger plate and guard. I took a lot of wood off the stock and shaped the lock panels. I also mounted and adjusted the trigger. I have to carve the lock panel moldings and around the barrel tang and final shape the stock. Then stain it, finish the wood, tune and polish the lock and hardware, and make the ramrod. However, I have to put it aside for a while and move on with other work. More to come.
dave




 

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