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Wheellock lock comparison - Spanish Mendi vs. Indian X model

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Dec 30, 2004
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New England
Mendi - Spain - Sold various muzzleloaders in the 70s.

X - India - [Note, I was told this is an 'Indian' lock ... but I'm not so sure ... ] But arms makers in India did sell wheellock pistols through various US vendors going back about a decade ago or so. I also do know, from talking on the phone with the late Leonard Day Sr. (before he passed) that he had been experimenting with buying Indian-built W-L pistols and scavanging the locks to make carbines. But I never asked him where they got their locks.

If not mistaken, some of those used coil spring to power the locks, but I'll add the comment that I've yet to see a functioning 'wheellock' using coil springs (they have a long power curve, but are weak in the torque department). Now there are Japanese Tanegashima locks using coil springs of brass, but that is only powering a snap serpentine lock to drop it into the pan, and not rotating a heavy steel wheel, never mind against a pyrite bearing on it.

In both pictures below the Mendi lock is on top. For my comparison, plus when testing the springs for pressure and 'feel' (yes, albeit very subjective) they were compared to hand made wheellocks made by Brian Anderson of VT and Bolek Maciaszczyk who hails from Poland. I do not have a W-L lock from Rafal Ziółko (who also hails from Poland) to compare to.

Just thoughts that jump to mind, no real order, using 'S' for the Spanish Mendi lock and 'I' for the other:
  • They appear identical, no idea which came first, but my guesstimates are that the Mendi came 1st and then Indian craftsmen either (a) copied the lock, or (2) bought out the supply on hand of the W-L locks whenever Mendi closed it's doors.
  • Typically any lock originating from India is highly polished - but this 'I' lock is not, whether by a previous Owner (prior to our own RickyStl taking possesion) or if shpped that way (doubtful).
  • Fit & Finish - I'd rate them as a tie. Please ignore the rust on the Mendi, this one is at the back of my bench with quite a few projects ahead of it.
  • Parts - Again identical, and they'll even interchange, which leads me to the conclusion that Mendi made them both
  • Dog - The 'I' lock actually functions better, as the toe on 'S' lock at the strirrup for the most forward position (puts the dog jaws parallel to the bore axis) was not hand fit, and the dog won't rotate to the right (as shown below) any further to the safe position.
  • Dog Spring - Both rate as a tie, both well formed/shaped/polished prior to heat-treating and tempering to make a spring; impressed actually!
  • Main Spring - Wow, very impressed here too! Excellent form/shape/polish, with ample torque on both, they wind easily, yet with stored power.
  • Action - Very positive and both use the hardened ball bearing to trap the wheel. Note both locks were disassembled and greased/lubes prior to any function testing. This step I strongly advise to do to any new-to-you wheellock lock!
  • Now to the most important function ... the Spark Test- Another tie! I tried 3 forms of pyrite in each; sawn cut cubes, raw nodules with a chiseled tip, and my infamous 'crumblies', which look like a large M&M-sized glob of rough beach sand glued together in a matrix (I've a post about such 'crumbly' pyrite pieces on here ... ) ... and they both sparked like a house a'fire with all 3 pyrite forms! Leaves me speechless ...
Well ... looking back up ... there's not much of a comparison there, is there? LOL! Which leads me to again surmise that they indeed came out of the SAME factory. And I don't think it was in India.
Summary - There's just no way i'd ever compare them to a lock from a reknown custom lock builder, however, if you're yearning to build or get into wheellocks and get the opportunity to buy one that looks EXACTLY like these locks ... then I'd go for it!


Hi Flint

WOW!! I'm sure glad I sent you the lock from my India pistol for your analysis. That and the Mendi lock look like two twins. AND THANK YOU FOR THE TUNING AND TESTING. Good to hear the lock performs well. The usual high polish on the lock was reduced using gun blue and back rubbed. Same with the barrel. Earl Kathan did this when I sent him the pistol for stock reduction and a different trigger guard.

I purchased the gun (actually two of them) from Middlesex many years ago when they were the first (and only at that time) India gun distributor to offer a wheellock pistol. None of the India gun distributors appear to offer this pistol now. (?) They were priced at $600.00 each at the time. Then I recall they went up to $700.00 each - and there after disappeared. I shot one pistol a couple dozen times and sold it at a profit to a guy driving me crazy to buy it. So the other pistol I had Earl do custom work on is the one you have the lock from. That's the back story. LOL I've never fired this gun yet. So you are the first for test sparking. I knew you would be a better judge with wheellocks than I. Thank You again.
But it appears BOTH locks are from Mendi. Strange. The rest of the pistol was surly made in India. Wonder how the distributor or factory was able to get the Mendi locks ? Or was able to use one for a pattern ? The workmanship on the lock appears to be better than what normally comes from India. The owner of Middlesex probably has the answer. Maybe I should ask him (?)

Flint: Again, thank you for the comprehensive comparison - and the work.

Here is the before and after photos of the pistol. The first photo shows the pistol as received but the blueing added. The second photo shows the slight stock reduction, trigger look improvement, and different hand-made trigger guard from Earl.
DSC00067 (Medium).JPG
DSC00244 (Medium).JPG

The workmanship on this lock appears to be better than what normally comes from India. The owner of Middlesex probably has the answer. Maybe I should ask him (?)
@rickystl - My please to help you, for all you've done for me!

Yes, I would ask MVT.

LOVE that spanner! Why the 7 holes? Is that a loading block for a mini Nock Volley Gun :ghostly: ?
The owner of middlesex muskets must be in the witness protection program…..he fell off the radar.🤣
The owner of middlesex muskets must be in the witness protection program…..he fell off the radar.🤣
Well, I did ask via email. Here is my question and his basically non-response. LOL By the way, the Loyalist Arms website shows this gun for sale. Maybe ask them ?

We don't carry a wheellock pistol.




From: Rick Russell <[email protected]>
Sent: Thursday, February 8, 2024 4:00 PM
To: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Subject: Middlesex Wheellock Pistol Question

Hi Pete

Hope all is well with You and Yours. A curious question you might be able to answer:

Years ago I purchased one of those wheellock pistols from you when you first introduced them. Recently, a friend acquired one of the old wheellock pistols from Medi back in the 1960’s/70’s. I’m old enough (73) to remember those pistols.

Anyway, we just happened to do a lock comparison between the two pistol locks. The lock on my India pistol I bought from you is a dead-ringer for the Mendi lock. The parts will even interchange. Both locks are very good quality – especially for a wheellock. So our guess was that my pistol came from your factory in India, but utilizing a Mendi lock. Can you confirm this for us ? Just a matter of curiosity. I thought Mendi was long out of business. Thanks for any help.

Best regards,

Rick Russell

[email protected]
@rickystl - My please to help you, for all you've done for me!

Yes, I would ask MVT.

LOVE that spanner! Why the 7 holes? Is that a loading block for a mini Nock Volley Gun :ghostly: ?
Hi all! I just bought a Nock Volley gun made by The Rifle Shoppe. Have not fired it yet but making a loading block is something I probably need to do!
Just sent an email off to Loyalist Arms. Hope to hear back.

Based on Flint's analysis it's almost certain the lock on the India gun is the same as on the old Mendi. Strange that the Mendi locks disappeared for some 3-4 decades, and all of a sudden reappear on an India made pistol. Is Mendi still in business ? Maybe someone bought out the tooling, etc. for the locks ?
Loyalist is showing this pistol for sale on their website. Someone in the India gun distribution business knows the answer. Would be nice to be able to buy just the locks and spanners at a reasonable cost for builders. Especially since we now know the locks function well - thanks to Flint.

Here is the email I received back from Loyalist Arms. Apparently, they receive the wheellock pistols from their supplier with the locks already installed. Would be interesting to know who their supplier/wholesaler is for the pistol. It would seem that someone here in the U.S./Canada must have bought out the tooling from Mendi to make these locks, and has the pistols built in India utilizing same. (?) Still a mystery.

Hello Rick, thanks for your email.

I am not familiar with a Mendi lock. Our suppliers Wheelock is supposed to be copied from an original.

Currently we do not have any spare Wheelock assemblies & spanners on hand.

We can let you know when we receive an order of spare Wheelock assemblies & spanners , if interested.

Hope this is of some help. Have a nice evening.

Linda Higgins

Loyalist Arms & Repairs Ltd.

10 Brunt Rd. Harrietsfield.

Nova Scotia. Canada. B3V 1B1

Tel. 902-479-0967. Fax. 902-479-0032
I can shed some light on this for you all.

I aquired one of the Spanish pistols back in about 2006 or 07 and I sent this Spanish origional to a friend in India who runs one of the biggest factories there .
He came back with a sample for me in 2008 and I commissioned a batch of ten pistols.

All of the ones in Canada and the US came from the one that I supplied whatever they may say.

Mystery cleared up guys.
Hi Cossack

Thanks so much for your email. That does clear up the mystery of the lock on the India made pistol's origin. Most interesting.

A question: The wood stock and other hardware for the India made pistol is different from the Mendi. Do you know where the pattern/idea for the rest of the stock and hardware came from for the India pistol ?

I remember purchasing (actually two of them) my India made pistol from Middlesex Village Trading Co. many years ago. At the time, they were the only retailer offering this pistol. It was long enough ago that possibly my pistol(s) came from one of the early offerings. Anyway, I was just curious where the idea for the stock and hardware came from.

Hi Rickytl

As far as I know they used a combination of the big English lock horse pistol that the Indians make and some pictures of the Spanish made stock I sent to them.