Thinking About Having a Scottish Musket Made.

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Tacksman45

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Jumping into this discussion rather late so excuse me if I missed something above.

The English locks found on the handful of Scottish long guns are clearly replacements. Over their working lives -and their lives as collectibles as well- many of these guns went through repairs, using older or newer parts with mixed dates, and modifications such as the aforementioned locks, triggers and trigger guards to "update" them. When Whitelaw and Blair began to write about these guns their then owners sometimes "backdated" them to their previously documented condition. An especially ornate piece by William Smith is a prime example. It originally had no trigger guard, then it did, then it didn't, if you get my meaning. There is no indication that any of these guns, with the exception of the 18th c. Gwynn piece, had anything but the Scottish - made snaphaunce lock which which we are familiar.

This complicates things a bit in that TRS does not supply a Scottish snaphaunce lock and the English style simply isn't really appropriate, unless you build a long gun which is supposed to have had its lock replaced at some point.

MacRob,

I agree that all of the extant Scottish national longarms were originally snaphaunce weapons, and the two that are not were converted. I am not against having it made to be a snaphaunce, however the issue is it is just as you said there is not a readily available Scottish lock. I am currently trying to figure out if a firearm which has been converted to a more recent lock would be more appropriate for the beginning of the 1745 uprising that a snaphaunce?
 

Tacksman45

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Here is a question I have been wondering about concerning this project:

Would it be more or less likely for a weapon like this to have a been converted to a more recent lock by the time of the 1745 uprising, if it was used at the beginning of the conflict?


Here is another question:

Could part of the reason there are only two non snaphaunce Scottish longarms that are currently known to exist be because, they mostly came from noblemen's collections, and when new firearms technology came along, they had the means to purchase new firearms which were "conventional" like English and Dutch fowlers, rather than "updating" their old weapons. And since they were in noblemen's collections they were not destroyed by government forces after the uprising?


Just a thought.
 

MacRob46

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Well, in answer to your first question, re: conversion, most of the Scottish National Long Guns by the time of the '45, were at least in the neighborhood of 65 years old and older. It would seem that converting these to a standard flintlock configuration might have been a bit of a waste to the owner(s), since muskets and fowlers of foreign make were available. The British government, after the '15 and the '19, had tried to interdict the arms trade in Scotland but, while they had some measure of success in that, firearms continued to get through from Spain, France and other countries. They also passed a disarming act but many if not most Highlanders turned in old and broken weapons. The largest problem was that the average Highlander found it difficult to afford a high quality long gun and certainly did not have pistols or swords. But, they could justify the purchase of a fowler which could fire shot or ball, for hunting. That it could be used for home defense or serving in the Clan Regiment was a bonus. It is my opinion that these long guns, i.e. the Scottish National Long Guns, were mostly in the hands of the wealthy, who could obtain other arms and therefore probably did not think it necessary to convert existing pieces. That does not mean that it was not done and of course there are two examples which sport English locks. So, your idea that a kern might come to muster armed with one of these is entirely possible.

I think I have answered, or at least offered an opinion toward your second question in the first paragraph. The Grant Earl of Seafield's collection had either 13 or 14 of these guns if I am remembering correctly. The Grants stayed out of the '45, I believe which meant their stuff was less likely to be confiscated although the disarming act was universal.
Two Pistols Overview.jpg
 
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Plus...in addition to the above, the nobility and gentry with enough funds to purchase arms tended to ape the trends and "best" of what was available. The traditional Scottish long gun simply went out of fashion as did the snaphaunce although it seemingly was retained for longer than technology can reasonably understand. As soon as arms from France and other sources became fashionable - not to mention better mechanically - these styles of weapons began to be predominate as verified by period portraiture, which is prolific from 1680 onwards. Personally, I think our interest in the "herron" or more properly actually "herring butt" long guns is romantic.(*) They look and "feel" Scottish and have an allure. Nothing wrong with this at all as long as we understand that if any were used during the Rebellion period, it would have been 1715 (or earlier) or very, very early in the 1745-46 adventure. As soon as more and plentiful weapons became available, these new weapons were used as would be expected and the old discarded. Would you rather have an old 1903 Springfield or a nice shiny new AK or M4? After Prestonpans, there was certainly an influx of 1730 model LLP muskets with unbridled hammers and transports from Franch brought in at least three shiploads of French presumably 1728 models and contemporaneous Spanish models. I also rather think there were some British long arms captured in the Netherlands during British defeats in the War of Austrian Succession that made there way to Scotland by way of France. There is one LLP musket engraved " Royal Welch Fusiliers" with a Rebellion pedigree that must have come from Fontenoy when that famous regiment surrendered its weapons and subsequently had to be restocked from the Board of Ordnance.

(*) Just a thought I've long had. I wonder if the "Herron" or "herring" butt guns actually refers to a fish belly style like we are discussing, or, more tempting, that we are all off-track and this term refers to a more traditional fish-butt like the Fusil de Bouchanier or later Hudson Bay fowler? These type guns were certainly long-barreled fowling and hunting pieces. Or maybe the fork-tail matchlock that really looks like herring rear fins? Just food for speculation!
 

Tacksman45

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Well, in answer to your first question, re: conversion, most of the Scottish National Long Guns by the time of the '45, were at least in the neighborhood of 65 years old and older. It would seem that converting these to a standard flintlock configuration might have been a bit of a waste to the owner(s), since muskets and fowlers of foreign make were available. The British government, after the '15 and the '19, had tried to interdict the arms trade in Scotland but, while they had some measure of success in that, firearms continued to get through from Spain, France and other countries. They also passed a disarming act but many if not most Highlanders turned in old and broken weapons. The largest problem was that the average Highlander found it difficult to afford a high quality long gun and certainly did not have pistols or swords. But, they could justify the purchase of a fowler which could fire shot or ball, for hunting. That it could be used for home defense or serving in the Clan Regiment was a bonus. It is my opinion that these long guns, i.e. the Scottish National Long Guns, were mostly in the hands of the wealthy, who could obtain other arms and therefore probably did not think it necessary to convert existing pieces. That does not mean that it was not done and of course there are two examples which sport English locks. So, your idea that a kern might come to muster armed with one of these is entirely possible.

I think I have answered, or at least offered an opinion toward your second question in the first paragraph. The Grant Earl of Seafield's collection had either 13 or 14 of these guns if I am remembering correctly. The Grants stayed out of the '45, I believe which meant their stuff was less likely to be confiscated although the disarming act was universal. View attachment 5024

Thanks for your input!
 

Tacksman45

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Plus...in addition to the above, the nobility and gentry with enough funds to purchase arms tended to ape the trends and "best" of what was available. The traditional Scottish long gun simply went out of fashion as did the snaphaunce although it seemingly was retained for longer than technology can reasonably understand. As soon as arms from France and other sources became fashionable - not to mention better mechanically - these styles of weapons began to be predominate as verified by period portraiture, which is prolific from 1680 onwards. Personally, I think our interest in the "herron" or more properly actually "herring butt" long guns is romantic.(*) They look and "feel" Scottish and have an allure. Nothing wrong with this at all as long as we understand that if any were used during the Rebellion period, it would have been 1715 (or earlier) or very, very early in the 1745-46 adventure. As soon as more and plentiful weapons became available, these new weapons were used as would be expected and the old discarded. Would you rather have an old 1903 Springfield or a nice shiny new AK or M4? After Prestonpans, there was certainly an influx of 1730 model LLP muskets with unbridled hammers and transports from Franch brought in at least three shiploads of French presumably 1728 models and contemporaneous Spanish models. I also rather think there were some British long arms captured in the Netherlands during British defeats in the War of Austrian Succession that made there way to Scotland by way of France. There is one LLP musket engraved " Royal Welch Fusiliers" with a Rebellion pedigree that must have come from Fontenoy when that famous regiment surrendered its weapons and subsequently had to be restocked from the Board of Ordnance.

(*) Just a thought I've long had. I wonder if the "Herron" or "herring" butt guns actually refers to a fish belly style like we are discussing, or, more tempting, that we are all off-track and this term refers to a more traditional fish-butt like the Fusil de Bouchanier or later Hudson Bay fowler? These type guns were certainly long-barreled fowling and hunting pieces. Or maybe the fork-tail matchlock that really looks like herring rear fins? Just food for speculation!

Glenn,

First let me say thanks for your time and input! Secondly I agree with everything you have stated. If I do decide to pursue this project, it will be for the propose of displaying a Scottish National longarm, and as a conversation piece, not as an example of a weapon that was carried through out the '45 Uprising. I was simply wondering if a converted lock would make it more appropriate or plausible for the time period of the '45 since that is my specific area of focus, as well as the focus of the group I am a member of. I also completely agree that the weapons referred to in the accounts of men with really long guns could have been referring to French Fusil de Bouchanier, or Dutch club butt fowlers with long barrels. In fact I have considered having one of these made rather than a Scottish National longarm. However If I am going to spend the money on a project like this, I am going to spend it on a Scottish longarm, since Scottish history is my area of interest and study, and not just on a really long gun that looks cool (not that there is anything wrong with that however.)

Thanks as always Glenn!
 

Pukka Bundook

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Buckskinner,

The Scottish Snaphaunce would be very much out of date by the '45. Maybe OK for the 1690's but better a bit earlier.
The pistol I have (Belonging to one of the Chiefs of Grant) from the time period, is a normal London made piece by James Lowe.
As the Grants, (both Sir James and his son, Ludovick Grant, (lewie)) were MP's for their home ridings, they spent a lot of time in London, so a London gun makes sense.
The Grants were always staunch Government supporters, and offered to bring out their men in support of the Government, But, Only on the condition that they were given muskets to arm them, as muskets and even flints were in very short supply.
(Info from "The Chiefs of Grant, Personal Correspondence". Very Enlightening read!)
 
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Glenn,

First let me say thanks for your time and input! Secondly I agree with everything you have stated. If I do decide to pursue this project, it will be for the propose of displaying a Scottish National longarm, and as a conversation piece, not as an example of a weapon that was carried through out the '45 Uprising. I was simply wondering if a converted lock would make it more appropriate or plausible for the time period of the '45 since that is my specific area of focus, as well as the focus of the group I am a member of. I also completely agree that the weapons referred to in the accounts of men with really long guns could have been referring to French Fusil de Bouchanier, or Dutch club butt fowlers with long barrels. In fact I have considered having one of these made rather than a Scottish National longarm. However If I am going to spend the money on a project like this, I am going to spend it on a Scottish longarm, since Scottish history is my area of interest and study, and not just on a really long gun that looks cool (not that there is anything wrong with that however.)

Thanks as always Glenn!
Hey! Wasn’t trying to lecture just sharing some thoughts and trying to stir up a little discussion!
 

Tacksman45

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Hey! Wasn’t trying to lecture just sharing some thoughts and trying to stir up a little discussion!

Glenn,

I assure you I never though anything otherwise! I was not offended by anything you or anyone else has posted during the discussion. I can see that my poor choice of words it my last message could lead you to think so, but I fully value your advice and input to this discussion. I should not have used the phrase "I was simply" when I was attempting to restate my question in clearer terms. I do not know why I phrased it that way, and I am very sorry if it sounded like I was offended by your response to my question, and I apologize if I have offended you. I am very glad that you have taken your valuable time to give me advice on this subject, which I consider to be invaluable.

Thanks so much!
 
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Entirely my fault. When reading my response, I can see it was very poorly worded. I have thoroughly enjoyed this thread and hope we can keep it going. Here’s a for example: I have had two heart Butt steel pistols made by my friend ELJay Erickson who is a genius with metal crafting. His basket hilt swords are hotly sought by collections. These two pistols are wonderfully made and I will post some pics soon. Right now I am suffering the agonies of the damned following my wife around the Atlanta Ikea!
 
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MacRob: Those are wonderful looking pistols !! The early form of one piece frizzen and pan cover, but still retaining the arching frizzen arm, along with the pan flash guard. Carry-overs from the snaphaunce. Us arcane lock enthusiasts really like these transitional type locks. There seems to have been a lot of experimentation especially from about 1590 to 1650.
Anyway, great Thread. Very interesting.

Rick
 

MacRob46

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Thanks Rick...

These pistols were subjects of a longer post on this forum some time ago. The top one was made by my friend Steve Krolick. The bottom was came from the Musket Mart. The Krolick gun is a masterpiece while the other one, well I don't to be harsh so I will not say exactly what I think about it. It is not my favorite. Both locks have pan covers welded to the base of the frizzen, effectively making them flintlocks. However, the lock on the Krolick gun has details such as non-functioning pan cover and a plugged opening where the sear would have protruded to engage the dog on the cock. The buffer for the cock is still there, of course and, as you pointed out, the fence on the pan is in place. This is Steve's interpretation of a pistol with a snaphaunce lock which has been "updated" at some point. There were snaphaunce pistols which actually did have those modifications and the builder sent me some information about them. The bottom pistol is John Buck's interpretation of an actual pistol with a brass barrel, believed to be of Scottish origin, which was found at the bottom of a well in Jamestown, VA. The wood was still in tact since there was no O2 in the water and therefore the usual destructive organisms did not eat it up. I have been to Jamestown twice hoping to see the conserved pistol on display only to get blank looks from the staff of the museum when I ask about it.
 
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Thanks for the information on the pistols! I too asked John Buck to make a copy of that pistol and he was never able to comply....which turned out to be a good thing in the long run. It tuned out that the pistol found in the well at Jamestowne was NOT a Scottish pistol after all! Once it was stabilized and conserved, it turned out to be even ore unusual. It was a variation of a miqulet lock called a "Roman lock." I had never heard of it before and had to do some research and then (of all things) found that TRS actually makes a parts kit for that type lock. Once the pistol was conserved, you can clearly see the outside main spring and miqulet styling as opposed to anything remotely Scottish, I think what had everyone stymied was the style of the butt when the lock was still obscured by all the accretions. So a bust of sorts to find out the pistol had no Scottish antecedents at all. John's pistols were his interpretation of what he thought he was seeing, not an actual copy of the recovered gun...sorry to say. The Jamestowne Rediscovery website did have pictures of the pistol at one time but they seem to update photos frequently. As for Steve Krolick's work, I have one of his Scottish carbines that has the sort of lock you describe so I know exactly what you are speaking about. Unfortunately, in conversation with Steve several years ago, he told me that he either did not want to try and make a true snaphaunce lock or couldn't...can't remember which...but the salient point is that his lock has no historical antecedents and is just his attempts to create a lock that appears to be Scottish in style but is actually not authentic. In fact, I have only found two sources for snaphaunce locks, TRS and one outfit in the UK which I absolutely cannot recommend because of a very bad transaction with them where I lost a fair amount of money due to their inability to deliver and refusal to refund my money. When I had my Scottish long gun built, we used the Elizabethan snaphaunce lock from TRS which is close but not absolutely "right." When it comes to reproducing these guns, you basically have a choice of commissioning someone to make it from scratch (very expensive!) or make do and come as close as possible. For example, I had ELJay Erickson (anyone who collects basket hilt swords knows of ELJay) make two all-steel heart-butt pistols and he had to heavily modify two of the TRS steel pistol lock kits. So, it's a real challenge for us who love that period but some good results can be had if you have the patience and can find the right partner.
 

MacRob46

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Well...you learn something every day. No wonder I got blank looks when I asked about the "Scottish Pistol!" Well that does reduce my affection for the gun even further. The stock architecture is weird as well and it looks more like an escopeta than a fishtail butt pistol.

Steve told me very early on, I guess thirteen or more years ago, that he had made a couple of snaphaunce locks and was not happy with them. His comments were that it was very difficult and time-consuming and they tended to malfunction and break. Looking at details of antique locks, where the operating rod which attaches to the tumbler is bent and not straight, and given the metallurgy of the day, they could be problematic, especially with the introduction of heavy fouling. As far as what he produced, and I have six of them mounted on various long guns and the pistol, it is absolutely correct that locks modified in this way have not appeared on Scottish-made weapons but there have been a very few found on some made elsewhere. It is interesting to note that Scottish gunmakers clung to the snaphaunce system long after the true flintlock was invented and adopted by most every other country in Europe. The reason for this has never been determined with any accuracy but I think that Claude Blair may have wrapped it up when he wrote that the Scots were a "conservative and frugal race," which meant using old parts to rebuild guns and long lead time in embracing new technology were the watchword.
 

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FWIW the Moroccan market stuck with the snaphaunce lock into the 20th century despite being well aware of the Spanish, Italian and French flintlock types. One might theorise on why but I know of no certain reason. I personally (and without rigorous research) suspect that the safety option of leaving the hammer swung away from the works and a linked pan cover to the cock allowed the gun to be carried loaded with the pan full and covered, with the hammer swung away from the works. Pull the hammer into position and engage full cock and you are ready to fire. Once they had some English and Dutch muskets from Tangiers to copy the snaphaunce locks they had no truck with matchlocks thereafter if they could afford a snaphaunce. They used to be fond of Spanish barrels and were certainly not an isolated backwater even in the mountains.
 
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Interesting posts re Scotts Snaphance pieces I have made just 8 & of these, four being lemon butt pistols ' Snapis' . One being Steel issue pattern ramshorn type a late Form Scots flint lock . Made one 'after' Petcairn Or Corbett . From examples in the Glenbow museum . There where three lemon butt . And the four longarms a 45 rifled piece ,a 24 bore rifled late style, and a' Mary Rose' Snap match lock ' intepretation plus one long common locked Match lock .Both last pure conjecture since they survive only in references . . Of the snaphance true I made but one the others I went with updated Battery & pan cover lock . Which happened of course . As to the merits I don't think they give any better or any worse in performance than the fully made snaphances or common flintlocks . Though the pool of survivers is very small like 28 or so My pieces are just ' living history' and add nothing to the study of course . But don't hurt it any either . That said currently I have such orders as I don't seek more for awhile .. Regards Rudyard
 

MacRob46

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Interesting posts re Scotts Snaphance pieces I have made just 8 & of these, four being lemon butt pistols ' Snapis' . One being Steel issue pattern ramshorn type a late Form Scots flint lock . Made one 'after' Petcairn Or Corbett . From examples in the Glenbow museum . There where three lemon butt . And the four longarms a 45 rifled piece ,a 24 bore rifled late style, and a' Mary Rose' Snap match lock ' intepretation plus one long common locked Match lock .Both last pure conjecture since they survive only in references . . Of the snaphance true I made but one the others I went with updated Battery & pan cover lock . Which happened of course . As to the merits I don't think they give any better or any worse in performance than the fully made snaphances or common flintlocks . Though the pool of survivers is very small like 28 or so My pieces are just ' living history' and add nothing to the study of course . But don't hurt it any either . That said currently I have such orders as I don't seek more for awhile .. Regards Rudyard
Do you have photos to share of any of these guns? Would love to see them.
 
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I will endeavour to transmit pics of thee pieces but I am not adept at e machines so must prevail on others but watch this space . Some appear on' British Militaria Forums ' if you look them up . Regards Rudyard .
 
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Well been a struggle but with Yulzaris help I an trying to show pictures of Scottish arms probably intermixed with various other guns of my make . So ile post these & if they pop up Ile explain better Regards Rudyard
well big zero didn't work. Why are these E gagets so complicated
 
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