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Author Topic: Any weapons experts out there? Mystery flintlock!  (Read 1978 times)
D.Oakes
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« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2014, 11:16:28 pm »

Carbon dating is far too expensive.  Considering a lot of Jezails, even decent ones are only worth about $250, if that....I sadly walked away from a great Afghan one because I didn't ask how much the guy wanted. ($50  Embarrassed )  The best to do is plenty of research on the designs, type of wood, etc.  If I lived nearby I'd gladly check it out.  Sadly...nope.

Also dry firing can be bad for the gun and on the case of weapons with exposed mechanisms....your eyeballs.  If the springs check out, then use something to buffer the impact.  Even then, that does not mean anything.  The non-firing flintlock I have has a vent hole and a functioning lock.  

By the looks around the metal work, I have a BAD feeling that somebody cleaned the wood.  Dirt is often one of the best ways to date something.  It is recommended when selling at an auction to never clean silver as it makes it look brand new which will turn off buyers not familiar with the specific brand. 
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 11:18:08 pm by D.Oakes » Logged

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« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2014, 11:20:05 pm »

Radiocarbon dating is unlikely to be very helpful in this situation. Since this particular item can't possibly be more than a few hundred years old it wouldn't;t necessarily give enough precision to be useful.

The other issue is that carbon dating only works on organic material and only tells you the age of the material itself, not when a particular object was manufactured from it so even if the wood is old there is no way of telling is the whole weapon has been modified or assembled from an old stock with a recent barrel and lock or just cobbled together from scrap parts. The stock could even have been made recently from old wood form something entirely different.

Also carbon dating doesn't work on metal.


The best bet for dating and origin would be to have an expert look at it in person.

My general feeling is that it has, at some point, been modified from something else, either as a tourist piece or to suit local taste. This type of lock persisted in use in places like Afghanistan and North Africa for hundreds of years after they became obsolete in Europe, often as heirlooms and status symbols as much as practical weapons.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 11:29:10 pm by Narsil » Logged







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« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2014, 11:32:29 pm »

But to find an expert, drive to them, and have them look at it, is probably going to very expensive in itself, I'm going with finding of it HAS fired, not if it still does. That's what they do to trace bullets in ballistics labs.
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« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2014, 12:38:05 am »

Thank you all for this: brilliant hive mind that you are!

Very interesting information indeed: I also had the feeling that the barrel was a trifle on the short side.
The stock and butt is unusual: it is weighted very well for being held like a large pistol rather than a rifle. I don't know if that helps at all. It fits the hand very well (well, my hand anyway), and feels like a rather oversized pistol.
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D.Oakes
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« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2014, 12:40:41 am »

Thank you all for this: brilliant hive mind that you are!

Very interesting information indeed: I also had the feeling that the barrel was a trifle on the short side.
The stock and butt is unusual: it is weighted very well for being held like a large pistol rather than a rifle. I don't know if that helps at all. It fits the hand very well (well, my hand anyway), and feels like a rather oversized pistol.

Many Jezails lack a "proper" buttstock.  They were not fired in quite the same position many of us in the West are used to, so that feeling of fitting well is actually VERY VERY GOOD.  The weight is another good sign. 

Do you have any idea if anybody has cleaned it? 
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« Reply #30 on: January 14, 2014, 12:48:00 am »

It doesn't look like it has been cleaned: the metal looks very old, the wood doesn't appear to be too dirty - I'd say it looked in rather good condition actually.

Based on all of your wonderful information, I came across this little fella, which looks fairly similar to my untrained eyes, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

http://armsandantiques.com/19th-c-turkish-ottoman-flintlock-blunderbuss-pistol-mf431
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D.Oakes
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« Reply #31 on: January 14, 2014, 12:49:36 am »

It doesn't look like it has been cleaned: the metal looks very old, the wood doesn't appear to be too dirty - I'd say it looked in rather good condition actually.

Based on all of your wonderful information, I came across this little fella, which looks fairly similar to my untrained eyes, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

http://armsandantiques.com/19th-c-turkish-ottoman-flintlock-blunderbuss-pistol-mf431


No, you are right on the money. 

The fact the wood doesn't appear too dirty makes me think it was cleaned.  Even my 1887 Martini-Henry has dirty in the wood. 
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« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2014, 12:54:45 am »

It doesn't look like it has been cleaned: the metal looks very old, the wood doesn't appear to be too dirty - I'd say it looked in rather good condition actually.

Based on all of your wonderful information, I came across this little fella, which looks fairly similar to my untrained eyes, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

http://armsandantiques.com/19th-c-turkish-ottoman-flintlock-blunderbuss-pistol-mf431


The lock is wrong though...

Check for oxidation and metal fragments, this will determine if it has been fired.
Also, check if there is rifling, as this could narrow a time period, and if you can tell us the thread of the rifling, this can determine even greater the time period.
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« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2014, 01:16:36 am »

It doesn't look like it has been cleaned: the metal looks very old, the wood doesn't appear to be too dirty - I'd say it looked in rather good condition actually.

Based on all of your wonderful information, I came across this little fella, which looks fairly similar to my untrained eyes, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

http://armsandantiques.com/19th-c-turkish-ottoman-flintlock-blunderbuss-pistol-mf431


I suspect that the weapon in the link is broadly similar, and looks a lot like it's based on a cut down musket with a lot of additional decoration.

I think we can safely say that your example is a locally modified weapon and, be it's nature this makes it quite difficult to date as there isn't a lot to differentiate between something made in the 18th C and something knocked up last week from a few scrap weapons. It's certainly not unheard of for stockpiles of old muskets and rifles to turn up in varying degrees of preservation in odd parts of the world. 

without fairly sophisticated forensic analysis it's not easy to tell whether or not it has ever been fired and the grime and oxidation of the centuries are likely to have erased any casual evidence that there might be and given that you are at least supposed to clean weapons after firing there may not be much to find unless you have access to a fairly sophisticated lab.

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« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2014, 01:22:40 am »

Well wouldn't the oxidation help at least?
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« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2014, 01:35:55 am »

Brilliant, well chaps I am once again knocked for six by all the knowledge that Steampunks can contain and freely offer. Thank you so much! I shall inform the lady what you have pieced together, and move on to her rather interesting axe...

Thank you all!
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« Reply #36 on: January 14, 2014, 01:40:12 am »

Well wouldn't the oxidation help at least?

Not really, the inside of a barrel will oxidise whether it is fired or not. I'm not saying that sufficiently detailed analysis won;t tell if a weapon has been fired or not, but getting an antique firearms expert to have  a look at it seems a more cost effective approach
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« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2014, 01:55:45 am »

True...I'm going to focus on the lock style, as the gun is similar to the llink, except for the lock.
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« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2014, 02:21:56 am »

This thing is that these sorts of weapons is that they were often made by local craftsmen, sometime using stock parts from whatever factory-made weapons were available with modifications and embellishments to suit the local taste.

Often the lock is stripped from a mass-produced  military weapon as this is the most difficult part to make, sometimes the barrel is cut down from a military weapon, although forge welded barrels are not uncommon. In the earlier link, for example, the quality of the decoration on the barrel is noticeably finer that  the brass overlay on the stock and certainly a cut above what you would expect from a standard military weapon,  and the fitting of the metal parts to the stock looks a bit rough.

So a tentative analysis would be that there are at least three different manufacturing processes involved. The barrel has been eitehr made from scratch or substantially modified by a highly skilled craftsman. The lock looks to be of fairly ordinary factory made (probably western) origin...note that compared to the rest of the weapon it has no guiding, engraving or other decoration and the whole thing has been married together onto a stock which, I suspect is a cut down musket, which may or may not go with the lock or barrel and has has brass overlay added with moderate but not exceptional skill.


We can also say that the metalwork, at least has been heavily restored at some point as there is evidence of quite severe pitting from corrosion on most of teh metal surfaces but the metalwork of the lock and brass overlay is now quite shiney, there is also evidence of engraved or etched detail on the brass which has been mostly polished out. In contrast the relatively fragile filigree on the barrel seems failry untouched and teh underlying steel has a substatial layer of oxidation
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D.Oakes
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« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2014, 04:51:06 am »

This thing is that these sorts of weapons is that they were often made by local craftsmen, sometime using stock parts from whatever factory-made weapons were available with modifications and embellishments to suit the local taste.

Often the lock is stripped from a mass-produced  military weapon as this is the most difficult part to make, sometimes the barrel is cut down from a military weapon, although forge welded barrels are not uncommon. In the earlier link, for example, the quality of the decoration on the barrel is noticeably finer that  the brass overlay on the stock and certainly a cut above what you would expect from a standard military weapon,  and the fitting of the metal parts to the stock looks a bit rough.

So a tentative analysis would be that there are at least three different manufacturing processes involved. The barrel has been eitehr made from scratch or substantially modified by a highly skilled craftsman. The lock looks to be of fairly ordinary factory made (probably western) origin...note that compared to the rest of the weapon it has no guiding, engraving or other decoration and the whole thing has been married together onto a stock which, I suspect is a cut down musket, which may or may not go with the lock or barrel and has has brass overlay added with moderate but not exceptional skill.


We can also say that the metalwork, at least has been heavily restored at some point as there is evidence of quite severe pitting from corrosion on most of teh metal surfaces but the metalwork of the lock and brass overlay is now quite shiney, there is also evidence of engraved or etched detail on the brass which has been mostly polished out. In contrast the relatively fragile filigree on the barrel seems failry untouched and teh underlying steel has a substatial layer of oxidation

I disagree on the lock. Blow it up and zoom. There is some VERY fine engraving. It looks worn down more than the rest of the gun, so I am still thinking the lock is older. (possibly from a different country as the engraving style is different from the rest of the gun)
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 01:53:39 pm by D.Oakes » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2014, 01:41:06 pm »

It is possible it is just a very unique gun, as parts were not standard until Eli Whitney made interchangeable parts, and that was in the early 1800's, and even then it took a few years to catch on.
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D.Oakes
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« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2014, 02:01:43 pm »

Yes, but although they may not be 100% interchangeable, a Brown Bess is a Brown Bess.  One jezail on the other hand is an entirely different animal than another.  I would love to start collecting these to be honest. 

That is the beauty of Jezails, they often would take locks from European guns (such as the Brown Bess) and do their own thing with them.  Or they would manufacture their own lock if they had the facilities.  Jezails are the Eastern European/North African/Middle Eastern/Central Asian/Indian equivalent of the PA or Kentucky Rifle.  Every region has its own forms and designs, but every gun is different.  The tradition has modernized and continued in some areas: http://www.martinihenry.com/khyberpage.html
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« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2014, 02:38:42 pm »

So it could possibly be a family heirloom someone had to sell because of bad events.
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D.Oakes
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« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2014, 03:00:34 pm »

So it could possibly be a family heirloom someone had to sell because of bad events.

Or it was a battlefield capture, or somebody just sold it.  The fact that it is not ENTIRELY engraved hints that it may have been a day-to-day weapon.  If not a quick put-together job for the tourists.  And when we say tourists, the tourism market has been around since Roman times. (an probably before)  I have Victorian era African masks that were most likely bought in a shop for tourists.  There is nothing wrong with a tourist piece, sometimes you can luck out and get something quite impressive.  In the era before plastics, a lot of the stuff was locally made.  

Consider that jezails started appearing once locking mechanisms (matchlock on up) reached the region.  (there was a big industry in Europe of selling locks and barrels to Middle Eastern buyers, with the blunderbuss being popular in Turkey...hence my feeling that the length of this example is nothing to worry about)  Some of these guns are quite old.  In Afghanistan especially have seen service since the 1700s and have been reworked from flintlock to percussion lock and back to flintlock.  I really want to get a father and son set from the Caucasus.  They would actually make scaled down copies for their kids.  The tradition actually continued with Czar Nicholas II giving a scaled down Mosin Nagant to Alexei.  (Jezails are thought of as being "Middle East" but the style was used in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, India, etc.)  

The big thing I think that causes people to look down on these weapons is that they are cheap right now.  10 years ago, I could not have touched those African masks I just mentioned, but the market on African art has dropped.  (I paid $3-$5 each...used to be $100-$200)  Asian art recently picked up.  Right before it boomed I managed to pick up a PRISTINE porcelain tea, Saki, and rice bowl set for $25.  Now, many places, I'd be unlucky if I got $50 or $80 for it retail.  
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 03:02:08 pm by D.Oakes » Logged
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« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2014, 03:13:12 pm »

We can all agree its impressive cant we?
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« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2014, 03:36:43 pm »

The stock looks English....but the rest looks Indian in my opinion.
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« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2014, 03:57:55 pm »

The stock looks English....but the rest looks Indian in my opinion.

I pulled up a few Indian examples.  The Turks used "Western" stocks a lot more than the rest of the region, you will find Indian examples, but many of these were complete guns that were simply modified with artwork.  The metal work on Indian examples features MUCH finer engraving.   

Also Indian examples tend to use matchlocks or English (or copies of English) locks. 
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« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2014, 04:10:00 pm »

That lock is not English, its to bulky and the frizzen spring is different, also the clamp for the actual striking head is different.
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« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2014, 11:58:23 pm »

Hmmm... Yes, the Turkish Dag in the link above is exactly right for the stock; the engraving on the lock-plate, once zoomed, looks more NorAf, though.  Of course, the Ottomans owned most of the North African littoral by the end of the 17th century, and had a strong influence in the area long after the empire began to shrink.

I didn't realize the pictures could be zoomed in so well - nice detail there.  Perhaps it has been together longer than I thought at first; on closer inspection it might be more easily determined.  If it isn't a tourist job from fifty or sixty years ago, I would have to put it as "Ottoman Miquelet-lock Dag, with typical North African/Near Eastern decoration, probable mid-nineteenth century."

Hope all this helps.



Chas.
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« Reply #49 on: January 17, 2014, 12:37:06 am »

I wouldn't say mid-19th, because cap locks would have been in the miquelet by that time.
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