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Joined: Nov 2005
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PeteM Offline OP
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I have never seen this before:

http://merzantique.com/item.php?id=P1181_0_2_0_C

It really is an interesting little accessory. I wonder if it is period or modern?



Pete

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What a fascinating piece which I have never seen the like of before. I would however question if the gun is actually a pin fire with a conversion to a percussion cartridge. It would appear to be a backward step in the evolution of the gun. Whilst I know very little of the evolution of the gun I do know at this time there was a great deal of experimentation and innovation taking place. If you look at the photos on the link it would appear that the flash tubes actually sit back in the breach face, not through a notch in the top of the barrels, where the pin of a pin fire cartridges would be. The flash tube also appears to be much thicker than a pin fire pin would be, which would make it rather useless as a pin fire gun.
I would like to suggest that this gun possibly predates the pin fire and it is an early attempt at making a self contained breach loading cartridge gun – and very clever it is too. As a self contained cartridge there would be no need for a ram rod so possibly the gun was originally a muzzle loader and was converted to breach as many of them were and the rod has got misplace with the passage of time.
Just thoughts!!

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There is evidence that reloadable solid brass pinfire shotgun shells,fitted with an adapter designed to take a standard percussion cap were at one time available. A shell of this type is pictured on page 66 of;Macdonald Hastings book,"English Sporting Guns and Accessories."
This type of shell would be easier to reload than a standard paper pinfire case which requires special tools to remove the spent cap and press home the replacement.These cases would also have been less hazardous after reloading than standard pinfire shells. During this era standard percussion caps would be readily available. This may not have been the case with the cap used in pinfire shells.The shell described can can be used without the need to modify the breech face of a standard pinfire gun .


Roy Hebbes
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You learn something every day.
It is a pity there isn’t a top view of the gun but if you look carefully at the B&W link photos it would appear that the flash tube is recessed into the breach face in this particular case. It’s not too clear but if you look hard it would appear that the cartridge has an extension on the rear which matches slots in the breach face. There are also the tubes under the barrels to take a ram rod, indicating that it was probably once a muzzle loader. I can’t see anyone inserting the empty cartridge first then loading it from the muzzle.
These old guns, particularly conversions, have such an interesting tales to tell.

Last edited by Oldfarmer; 10/14/10 05:50 PM.
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PeteM Offline OP
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You can write to or call Merz and request that image. I have purchased several guns from them in past. They are always happy to help in any way possible.

Roy, you always come through with the goods.

Pete

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EDM Offline
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Originally Posted By: Roy Hebbes
There is evidence that reloadable solid brass pinfire shotgun shells,fitted with an adapter designed to take a standard percussion cap were at one time available.... This type of shell would be easier to reload than a standard paper pinfire case which requires special tools to remove the spent cap and press home the replacement.


The Charles Parker "T-Latch" was the first commercially made American breech-loader circa 1866-68, which began (s/n 06 at the Meridan CT Historical Society)) as an externally primed caplock using a 2-inch 12B-size brass shell with a tiny Maynard-type pinhole in the base of the shell. Very soon (circa early-1867) the next generation of Parker-specific shotshells would have a musket nipple built in to the base to receive a common musket cap. These centerfire musket-nipple shells were referred to in the early literature as "coned."

The coned shotshells preceded the Berdan and Boxer patents for primers, and were multi-piece, soldered together, and relatively expensive. Paper pinfire cartridges were relatively cheap. I doubt that the pictured pinfire/musket-cap adaption was to save money or reduce the reloading risk, but was likely to allow the shooter to use commonly available powder and musket caps where special pinfire ammo components were not available.

I had in my collection (until sold last year) examples of the Maynard-type pinhole cartridges, and the "coned" one-off Parker seminal centerfire cartridges (one with the cap still on the musket nipple). And I also had a pair of latter-day (circa 1890s) musket-nipple steel shells that some British Lord of the Manor might have taken to Africa on Safari, as a hedge to running out of his paper Berdan- or Boxer-primed shells or the special primers.

Musket caps were always available everywhere, at the far corners of the earth, and I suspect that the seemingly unique musket-cap pinfire shell pictured was to hedge the possible shortfall of special pinfire ammo far from home.

There are pictures of all the seminal shotgun ammo scattered throughout Parker Guns: Shooting Flying and the American Experience...all except a "coned" pinfire shotshell, which is certainly European, as is the Lefaucheux-style gun. In this context, the coned pinfire shell did not precede the common Lefaucheux's-patent pinfire shell, but was a latter-day adaption for reasons stated. EDM


EDM

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