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Argo44 Offline OP
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At the Vintagers tent today I chatted with two men at the Dickinson's collectors association. One owned four Dickinsons. I was particularly attracted to this gun that I vaguely recall we have discussed before but cannot find the link. I was assured this was an original "Central Fire" Dickinson dating to 1865.

It looks so much like an original pinfire that I had to hold it (gingerly). I cannot refute what the Dickinson guy said from a cursory examination. . .he has the Dickinson records and it is recorded apparently as a "central fire". So the gun is instructive - not all guns which look like pinfires are that. This gun had to be one of the first central fire shotguns made in London. (Wondering if the owner were eeb - we never formally introduced ourselves.)

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by Argo44; 09/08/23 06:58 PM.

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Perhaps "Dickinson" made pinfires, but I doubt it. The gun pictured is a John Dickson.

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Argo44 Offline OP
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Well....I saw the name on the gun. . .Now I'm just wondering how I managed to translate "Dickson" to "Dickinson." Maybe the two tables were side-by-side?


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And I guess I could have been wrong. The Dickson guru said the shotgun was registered in the Dickson records as "Central Fire" in 1865. The first known Reilly ad for a "Central Fire" (presumably shotgun though this is not specified) was 1865.

I'm still not convinced this wasn't a converted pinfire and did not have the chance to really look it over in detail. Glancing at the barrel breeches in slanting sunlight show no immediate indications of filled pinfire apertures though these can be artfully concealed; and there was some suppressed hostility at the bare mention of this possibility. If the records for the gun exist. . .it stands without challenge of course.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by Argo44; 09/08/23 10:55 PM.

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Dickson probably used the same action forging that he would already have had to hand to build pin-fires.

He would have been anxious to get the latest gun to the market sooner rather than later.

That would account for the relatively shallow fences at the standing breech.

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This is in no way a criticism of what is obviously a high grade gun, but simply an observation that the English barrel makers were having difficulties at least with the esthetics of their crolle damascus in the 1860s. British Laminated Steel was mostly used on higher grade guns after the transition from (true) Stub Twist by the 1850s - 1860s. Thereafter English 2 Stripe and English Best 3 Iron became more popular, and before long the vast majority of tubes used by the English makers, including those in London, were sourced from Belgium.
I took the liberty of enhancing the barrel segment, which is a mess wink

[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]

Lagopus posted this; c. 1864. Likely English 2 Strip

[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]

This is interesting! Daryl sent me this; a R.H. Thomas pinfire with what may be (the first I've seen) 2 Iron "Chequered" Damascus

[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]

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Many years ago I did a little work on a lovely Dickson hammer gun made for Captain Trotter (later, Colonel Trotter, after he married into the Rothschild family and was able to purchase a better commission - and many more Dicksons!).
This gun had originally been built as a central fire gun on a pinfire action, by riveting a spacer plate on to the face to house the strikers (frugal fellows, those Scots). The barrels did not have filled notches, as I recall, and were made as central fire barrels from the outset.
You never know what you'll see, if you look at enough of 'em!

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Thanks mike. The historian said this particular gun was owned by a doctor who testified in the infamous Blake and Hare murder trial. . .the two were killing people to sell the bodies to Dr. Robert Knox for his dissection clinics in Edinburgh.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burke_and_Hare_murders


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In trying to understand the Dickinson - Dickson mixup. . .I think reviewing this photo is about where the two table were.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


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Originally Posted by Mike Rowe
You never know what you'll see, if you look at enough of 'em!

A good summary of British gunmaking!

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