Old Flintlock Pistol Mystery

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Hi folks,
I would love to learn anything about this .62 cal (approx) flintlock pistol. It appears to be an original, antique piece from the 18th century.
Stock: It is stocked in Walnut (I believe) and in fine shape except for a crack at the lock nail above the plate. It is in remarkable condition if it is original as I think it is. I thought the stock may have been re-finished but looking carefully at it, it looks like original varnish. Where the wood has slightly split (such as around the barrel pin holes) there is no indication or sanding or smoothing and there is no varnish in the cracks. You can see how the stock was shaped by scrapers which is so interesting. Even under the lock pannels there are tiny molding groves that are almost invisible, but they are there and very well done!
I love the pommel and the simple, heavy engraved borders on it. It has a retaining cap rather than a simple screw at the bottom, making me wonder if it was a higher grade pistol?
Barrel: I don't see any markings on the 22 cm/ 8-5/8" barrel except at the breech/tang connection where it has a small incised line (indexing line I think?). The front sight was filed off with a faint outline and hump where it once was. The touch hole is really big, my guess is from heavy use. The barrel inside is very shiny but pitted. My guess is that someone recently cleaned it up(?). I don't have a bore light so I used a flashlight and my phone camera. You can see the touch-hole goes into a channel in the face of the breech plug.
Lock: No markings at all, and as I mentioned the frizzen is re-surfaced. The lock works great and is still a bit dirty. No fly. Also the pan is showing lots of pitting, again I think from heavy use. It measures 4- 1/2" long by almost 1" high. There are no markings on it as well except someone filed a series of tiny lines on the bolster and also the tumbler.
The ramrod is original apparently, and it fits perfectly and has the same aged look. My guess is that it had a tip of some type because there is a tiny hole at the tip and at the side neat the tip, plus it is about 3/8" short of the muzzle. If so, that's pretty remarkable.
The lock functions perfectly and sparks like crazy. The frizzen had been refaced and you can see some brass/bronze colored metal in spots between the old and newer parts.
I was looking at the trigger guard and noticed how nicely worn it is. Also the stylized acorn (?) finial is not symmetrical which is really interesting.
I am wondering if the unique looking side-plate and the other mountings give any clue as to age and origin.
Anyway, I am not a gun historian but know many here are so I am really hoping this pistol will spark some interest and perhaps get some info on it.
Here are some photos.
Thanks again,
Bob
 

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No marks so probably not military , certainly not English as they were well into proof marks at the time as were the Belgium's and Germans, and doesn't look Eastern . 62 was a common caliber at the time . As you say the side plate is unusual , and nice , and may give clues to someone . Most of my books have photos of the lock side only , some one may have carried as a pocket pistol and filed the sight off so it would not hang up on their coat pocket or maybe a holster . I would hesitate to assign a country of manufacture . It looks like so many pistols made it that period .
Have you tried to back track it to get more information ?
 
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No marks so probably not military , certainly not English as they were well into proof marks at the time as were the Belgium's and Germans, and doesn't look Eastern . 62 was a common caliber at the time . As you say the side plate is unusual , and nice , and may give clues to someone . Most of my books have photos of the lock side only , some one may have carried as a pocket pistol and filed the sight off so it would not hang up on their coat pocket or maybe a holster . I would hesitate to assign a country of manufacture . It looks like so many pistols made it that period .
Have you tried to back track it to get more information ?
I am told that the gun came from an estate sale in Texas, but no further info was known. I find no markings at all on the exposed barrel except for a small indexing line at the breech/tang joint. There may be some under the barrel but I am not confident of my skills to remove the barrel safely.
I also think it is not English in origin and was wondering about German or French(?). Someone thought perhaps it was made for export since those guns didn't require proofing marks.
The side plate is really interesting to me - it almost has a folk-art flavor to it and the butt cap shape with the retaining cap are not like any I have seen on the net. (Retaining caps are harder to install rather than the simpler, exposed screw-on method, so I don't think it was a cheep gun).
I had thought it was a military designated pistol from the heavy use it has had (the enlarged touch hole from use, the evidence of heavy use in the pitting on the pan and the re-faced frizzen). But the varnish seems to be original and it looks like it has been very carefully used with virtually no dents or wounds to the pretty walnut stock.
What is interesting as well is the barrel. The inside shows pitting but no rust build-up. The outside of the barrel is as smooth and polished as can be. It has a somewhat blue coloration to it.
Aside from it's frequent use, it has been very well cared for along the way
 
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Robby

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Pull the barrel. Probably nothing there but at least you will know. You can do it.
Robby
 

Loyalist Dave

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I am told that the gun came from an estate sale in Texas, but no further info was known. I find no markings at all on the exposed barrel except for a small indexing line at the breech/tang joint. There may be some under the barrel but I am not confident of my skills to remove the barrel safely.
I also think it is not English in origin and was wondering about German or French(?). Someone thought perhaps it was made for export since those guns didn't require proofing marks.
I'm not sure that's true. Most barrels from that time period were made at one location and then sent to the builder who finished the gun. I'm pretty sure whether or not for export, the proofing had to be done. Today it's different, but back then, I'm fairly certain that they were proofed, then shipped or shipped directly to the next country's proofing house and proofed before being vended. It's a little too fine to be something going to a native population that would accept it without proof marks.

The side plate is really interesting to me - it almost has a folk-art flavor to it and the butt cap shape with the retaining cap are not like any I have seen on the net. (Retaining caps are harder to install rather than the simpler, exposed screw-on method, so I don't think it was a cheep gun).
I had thought it was a military designated pistol from the heavy use it has had (the enlarged touch hole from use, the evidence of heavy use in the pitting on the pan and the re-faced frizzen). But the varnish seems to be original and it looks like it has been very carefully used with virtually no dents or wounds to the pretty walnut stock.
What is interesting as well is the barrel. The inside shows pitting but no rust build-up. The outside of the barrel is as smooth and polished as can be. It has a somewhat blue coloration to it.
Aside from it's frequent use, it has been very well cared for along the way

The lock screws are very pristine, compared to the lock, and the barrel is in much better shape than the lock, plus no rust on barrel or lock. This is suspect.

I'm thinking the lock is antique, and perhaps the barrel too, but the pistol's origin is a restocking of old parts combined with some new parts contemporary to the rebuilding. On the other hand, the lock may have been "antiqued" since I see good pitting on the pan, but not so much on the rest of the lock.

While the touch hole is large, now, it may have started out large, and some corrosion has removed the evidence of how large it was when drilled. The heavy pitting but lack of rust on the lock scream "rust removal solution" sometime within the life of the lock, and I'm thinking it was done before it was incorporated into the pistol.

On the other hand, it might have been well used and an original and there are no proofing houses in America, so what I'm seeing in the photos would be different if seen in person, and if so if that is the case..., it has been "cleaned up" quite well, and then likely stuck in a collection or display after cleaning and rust removal. It might just be a well made early 19th century American pistol...

LD
 
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I'm not sure that's true. Most barrels from that time period were made at one location and then sent to the builder who finished the gun. I'm pretty sure whether or not for export, the proofing had to be done. Today it's different, but back then, I'm fairly certain that they were proofed, then shipped or shipped directly to the next country's proofing house and proofed before being vended. It's a little too fine to be something going to a native population that would accept it without proof marks.



The lock screws are very pristine, compared to the lock, and the barrel is in much better shape than the lock, plus no rust on barrel or lock. This is suspect.

I'm thinking the lock is antique, and perhaps the barrel too, but the pistol's origin is a restocking of old parts combined with some new parts contemporary to the rebuilding. On the other hand, the lock may have been "antiqued" since I see good pitting on the pan, but not so much on the rest of the lock.

While the touch hole is large, now, it may have started out large, and some corrosion has removed the evidence of how large it was when drilled. The heavy pitting but lack of rust on the lock scream "rust removal solution" sometime within the life of the lock, and I'm thinking it was done before it was incorporated into the pistol.

On the other hand, it might have been well used and an original and there are no proofing houses in America, so what I'm seeing in the photos would be different if seen in person, and if so if that is the case..., it has been "cleaned up" quite well, and then likely stuck in a collection or display after cleaning and rust removal. It might just be a well made early 19th century American pistol...

LD
Thanks for your close attention to the various aspects of this pistol. I am intrigued by it. The whole of it appears to be in good condition and I well cared for, but used. If it was a compilation of pre-existing parts, it was re-stocked well as time as the parts are all well fitted to the stock, and used subsequently, given the various signs of wear and cracking. I just wish there was more info on it's history other than coming from an estate sale in Texas.
I enjoy looking closely at the piece. The stock is shaped by scraping rather than sanding (a technique that I want to try on my next build). The crude shape of the trigger guard is also novel. It's not symmetrically made but the acorn finial is really skewed in shape (see picture below).
The thought of it being an American made pistol never entered my mind but is exciting to consider. (The stock identification could help but I cant tell if its American or some European Walnut.)
I really need to get this thing examined in person by someone knowledgeable, but haven't any leads. (Maybe Jim Chambers since he's not that far away?)
Thanks again LD.
Here are some more close-ups.
~Bob
 

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