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Rare Diminutive Webley Woodward 1863 Patent Pistol

Rare Diminutive Webley Woodward 1863 Patent Pistol

In his seminal work “The Webley Story” Dowell explains that these diminutive derringers were made under license from the Woodward patent which was granted on February 3rd 1863. He also states that they were made in very small quantities judging from the numbers he had seen. From my point of view this is only the second I have had in my possession and from my research I suspect there are less than 20 extant. An example is illustrated in Plate 26(b) on page 118 of the Webley Story.
This is a tiny pistol with barrels measuring only 2” long as it was designed to be kept in a vest or pocket. It has a sliding safety which holds the hammer at half cock to prevent accidental discharge if dropped which was pretty essential as the mercury primers of the early rimfires were pretty volatile. The calibre is .28” or 7 mm.
You seldom see these and when you do they are not in great condition. I would rate this one at around 75%, grey to brown toning on the barrels, mechanically sound with reasonable walnut grips and most of the silver plating extant with the exception of some loss on the grip behind the trigger. Mechanically it is sound with a strong action and the side plate states “Woodward’s Patent 3rd February 1863 No 542 which is the serial number of the gun.
This number is also stamped on the bottom of the butt and the barrels. The number 542 does not indicate 542 were made as manufacturers of the time would boost the number to indicate they had made more than the actually had or it could relate to a month, day, number code.
The pistol was loaded by placing the hammer at half cock and twisting the barrels anticlockwise. Cartridge extraction is manual.
This is an attractive, interesting and rare little pistol and it is contained in a contemporary box. A must for Webley collectors.

Code: 50664

1250.00 GBP


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Rare 1 of 250 Starr Carbines issued by British War Office.

Rare 1 of 250 Starr Carbines issued by British War Office.

This Starr breech loading carbine is an extraordinary find and will interest both collectors of US Civil War weapons and collectors of British weapons.
This is a British Military Starr Arms Co. Percussion Carbine, round blued sighted barrel fitted with rear-sight and stamped STARR ARMS CO YONKERS N.Y. and S.T.B. at the breech, steel action stamped STARRS PATENT SEPT 14TH 1858 steel barrel band and butt-plate, Walnut stock and fore-end, the stock stamped WD and is an extremely rare British military carbine.

The Starr carbine was a breech-loading single-shot rifle used by the United States Army. Designed in 1858, the Starr was primarily used by cavalry soldiers in the American Civil War.
In January 1858, Ebenezer Starr submitted his design for a single-shot, breech-loading rifle to the Washington Armory for evaluation. During testing, the rifle was noted to have no misfires, and its accuracy was considered better than average. Testers commented that if the gas seal could be improved, the weapon would be better than its rival, the Sharps carbine.
Interestingly, before the conclusion of the war, Starr successfully morphed their percussion model into a metallic cartridge carbine by changing out the breechblock, hammer and barrel.
Only five thousand of the new model Starr, chambered for the .56-50 Spencer rimfire cartridge, were ordered by the Ordnance Department, and many were issued to the 12th Pennsylvania Cavalry in the spring of 1865.
Although the Starr carbine had proven to be effective during the Civil War, it was not successful during the trials of 1865 by the U.S. Army trials board, and no further rifles were ordered.
During the war, the Starr Arms Company had been the fifth largest supplier of carbines and the third largest supplier of .44 calibre single action pistols. After the war had ended, and
with no further government contracts, Starr could no longer compete with larger manufacturers like Winchester, Sharps, and Colt, and the company closed its doors in 1867.
At the end of the civil war manufacturers were desperate for new markets to maintain their business, some reverted to sporting arms and others to exporting but many failed as did Starr.

Immediately after the Civil War ended there was concerns raised in the USA that Great Britain may declare war on the USA as it had been supplying the Confederate South. Of course, this overlooked the fact that Great Britain had also supplied the Union forces, arms dealers weren’t too particular! Some 250-brand new Starr Carbines were ordered by the British Government and gifted to Canada as it was thought the USA might invade. Some returned to the United Kingdom and were listed in the Tower Stores. It could be speculated that had the British Government found favour with Starr and a number of other manufacturers they may have survived. At the time of this purchase Britain exported 5000 Snider rifles to Canada in clear support of our own industry and designs.
This particular carbine has not been messed with; it has definitely seen use but has not been “improved” in any way. The USA inspector’s cartouches are extant and clear as is the UK War Department broad arrow stamp on the butt. The first thing that disappears when woodwork is cleaned or sanded are the inspector’s cartouches but this rifle has not been touched and is in itself a historical time capsule.
The carbine is mechanically perfect with a good bore and good walnut stocks. Stamping of the company name and address and serial number is as it should be.
For the technically minded:
Specifications:
Year of Production: c.1865
Calibre .54 inches (14 mm)
Ammunition type: .56-50 Spencer Rimfire Cartridge
Length: 37.5 in (950 mm)
Barrel length: 21 in (530 mm)
Three position rear sight of a standing block and two folding leaves.
Weight 7.4 lbs.
Action: Falling block action
Feed system: Single Shot, breech-loading

The survival rate of these UK purchased carbines must be very low and I doubt if I will see another one. There was a plethora of designs of carbines trialled during the Civil War and they make an interesting study and basis for a collection. The extraordinary high prices being reached in the USA auctions for unusual weapons would put this carbine into investment quality.

Code: 50663

3800.00 GBP


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Extraordinary Minie Trials rifle.

Extraordinary Minie Trials rifle.

Over the years I have handled some interesting and bizarre firearms but none stranger than this. This is a Cordier Minie rifle and has some extraordinary features.
The rifle itself was designed by Claude Minié, the original designer of the popular Minié ball, used in percussion rifles and muskets worldwide. The rifles were manufactured by Cordier and Cie, as indicated by the C. C marking in an oval, which is in front of the ladder sight (extant) which is optimistically calibrated to 1100 metres.. Minie’s name is clearly stamped on the rear of the removable barrel. The company existed in Paris, France, from 1850 to 1870. This particular design was also patented by Cordier in England, No. 1051, on 11 April 1862, so there was an anticipation of foreign sales and of course the British Army was the Jewel in the Crown for any manufacturer who had aspirations of global success.
There is a quaint assertion that I read that these rifles were designed as training rifles for cadets so the explosion of the percussion cap would not frighten them and make them flinch. The rationale being that having trained for several months with the percussion cap exploding far away from the right eye, the cadet would then merrily enjoy shooting the rifle with the cap inches from the right eyeball. Of course, this is nonsense and Claude Minie was more scientific than worrying about the sensibilities of cadets, bearing in mind of course the hundreds of thousands if not millions of recruits that had trained previously with conventional percussion caps placed under the hammer, notwithstanding hundreds of years of flintlock use. If anything would make you flinch a flintlock would!
The reality is that Minie decided that the optimum length for a rifle barrel should be 400 mm or roughly 16” which was pretty advanced thinking for the day. Not such a stupid idea when you realise that the SA80 standard barrel length is 518 mm or 20.4”.
Clearly the problem with a short barrel is the sight plane so Miniie’s ingenious solution was to mount the short barrel on a full-length stock to give the sight plane he needed. The percussion cap is struck by a transfer rod from the hammer which is cocked locked and dropped in the conventional way. His ingenuity doesn’t stop there. Black powder rifles and muskets, in fact all black powder arms are notorious for fouling. In fact, at Rourke’s Drift, it was only the opportune skills of a sergeant who kept buckets of water to clean the Henry Martinis to stop them from fouling that probably saved the day given the fire power of the Zulu’s and the need to respond with rapid fire. Without a clean cool barrel cartridges get stuck. In this instance instant disassembly with a screwed barrel allows easy and rapid cleaning and such is the tolerance of the thread that the nipple lines up every time. I have tried it.
There is also a pricker device to pierce a paper cartridge to ensure ignition. You will see this in one of the images. This is quite unusual and the most obvious comparison I can think of is Greene’s carbine adopted for a short period by the British Army during the Crimean War. This had a pricker cone designed to rupture the cartridge when the breech was closed. It also served to obdurate the breech but we won’t get into that now.
Another innovation is that the percussion cap does not fire into a simple hole but it enters the breech through an annular machined ring within one of the screw pitches of the barrel retaining screw. In theory I can see that this would present the flash 360 degrees around the base of the cartridge to ensure perfect ignition. A cadet training rifle? I think not. This is more likely a rifle that Minie hoped to increase his fame and fortune after his spectacular bullet success.
There is no money in arms for training, the real money is in mass production for front line battle. A hugely interesting rifle and in much better condition than the handful I have seen over the years. One in the USA and a couple on the Continent. A rifle that should belong in a museum or with an advanced collector who wants to share his collection with others.

Code: 50655

2250.00 GBP


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Ezekiel Baker Flintlock Coaching Gun circa 1790

Ezekiel Baker Flintlock Coaching Gun circa 1790

Ezekiel Baker was the famed maker of the Baker Rifle as seen on TV in the series "Sharpes Rifles"
Ezekiel Baker (1758–1836) was a master gunsmith from Whitechapel, London, who became known for his design of the Baker rifle in 1800.

Baker was apprenticed to the famous gunsmith Henry Nock and opened a gun shop of his own at 24 Whitechapel Road, London in 1775. He later wrote a book on his experiences when making and using rifles.
This 3 bore blunderbuss or coaching gun was designed to inflict maximum damage at close range shooting multiple shot or a single large ball.
It was designed to be used in all weathers and consequently was manufactured in brass.
Despite popular opinion, the bell shaped or swamped barrel was not designed to spread shot, it left the barrel at the diameter of the bore, the design was to allow easier loading of projectiles rocking about on a stage coach or at sea in a moving boat.
This gun is mechanically sound and the makers name is just discernible on the lock plate.
An interesting antique that would look good on any wall.

Code: 50662

2250.00 GBP


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Exquisite and rare cased Fagard revolver circa 1857

Exquisite and rare cased Fagard revolver circa 1857

This is an extraordinary , rare and exquisite cased percussion revolver manufactured by Joseph Fagard of St Remy Liege between 1857 and 1870.
The revolver features several superb features compared to the contemporary competitors of the time, notably Colt. Colt’s revolver is similarly an open frame revolver but to separate the barrel from the frame and cylinder a turn screw is required and something to knock out the wedge holding the two parts together. The whole process takes minutes, the frame was often damaged as a result, and the wedge and screw lost. Fargard’s ingenious method is a lever that operates a cam that solidly locks the barrel to the frame. A simple twist and the barrel and frame is separated in a second for easy cleaning or to allow a second charged barrel to be changed.
Other features include a spline spring on the arbor pin that holds the cylinder by friction, so it doesn’t fall out when the revolver is disassembled. The hammer features a positive safety pin, so the hammer does not need to be carried on a safety stop between cylinders.
Considering that Fagard patented this revolver in 1857 at the height of Colt’s popularity with Navy and Army single action revolvers , this revolver is double action and can be fired in both single and double action. The revolver has an integral rammer features a side hammer not unlike Kerr or Alan and Wheelock models introduced sometime later.
The revolver is nominally 54 bore ( .44) and is contained in its French style fitted case with a range of accessories. There is good rifling extant in the bore and the mechanics are solid and perfectly timed.
The revolver has excellent hardwood chequered grips that exhibit no wear and the frame and butt plate has profuse foliate engraving. The revolver is complimented with a German Silver foresight and rear sight and the makers name is clearly stamped on the top of the forcing cone.
The revolver may have been refinished in antiquity and I have an open view on this as the condition completely marches the accessories which include a powder flask, turned wooden cap box, mould and cleaning rod.
This is a very handsome looking gun of some rarity and I doubt I will see another.
An excellent revolver for the advanced collector looking for something different of quality.

Code: 50614

4250.00 GBP


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Interesting Jacob's Rifle 1861 - Cape Gun.

Interesting Jacob's Rifle 1861 - Cape Gun.

I am pleased to offer this exceptional rifle,
Brigadier General Jacob was an extraordinary man, soldier, mathematician and inventor. He influenced a great portions of India’s wild Northwest Frontier, set up civil administrations and generally did a splendid all-around job of soldiering on a wild frontier. A town was even named after him, which still exists in Pakistan.
Jacob’s idea was to improve on the British-issue Brunswick Rifle, which fired a belted round ball, he devised a symmetrical conical projectile with studs that mechanically fit in the rifle’s bore, giving far better accuracy than the Brunswick. He continued his work, to include the invention of a bullet with a fulminate nose plug that exploded upon contact that was felt would be great for blowing up enemy artillery caissons at long distances. At about the same time he became infatuated with the idea of the double rifle, and figured that style would perfectly suit his rifling system and would be just the ticket to issue to his troops.
The rifle was developed at considerable expense at Jacob’s cost. It was unlike any conventional military weapon of the time, short barrels of 24”, the overall length of the rifle is only 40” and ambitiously sighted for 2000 yards. Jacobs manufactured his rifle in 577 calibre, unlike the smaller .451 calibres emerging at the time. It is thought that this was because the rifle could be fired with conventional bullets if his studded bullets were unavailable.
There is no doubt that Jacobs made an impression on people and was a talented man. His methodology followed that of Sir Joseph Whitworth who was his contemporary and also a mathematician and inventor.
Many of Jacob’s rifles were manufactured by Swinburn as is this one. This particular example was manufactured in 1861 as evidenced by the two back action lock plates engraved “Swinburn and Son Patent 1861” and was manufactured as a sporting gun, in effect a “Cape Rifle”.
One barrel is configured in Jacob’s unconventional four groove rifling and the other is smooth. There is no evidence of a bayonet bar but the rifle has the ambitious 2000 yard sight and the patch box engraved “Jacobs Rifle”. The overall condition of the rifle is excellent with an even patina and some original fire blue extant on the sights. The oiled walnut stock is in sound order and features excellent sharp chequering. The sights comprise of three flip sights and the longest ladder sight you will ever see on a rifle. This configuration of one smooth bore and one rifled barrel this ubiquitous rifle could fire Jacob’s patent bullet for long distance employment and either shot or ball in the other barrel.

Code: 50661

6450.00 GBP


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Excellent Remington Model 95 Derringer.

Excellent Remington Model 95 Derringer.

This iconic little pistol is instantly recognised by its two “over and under” barrels as a Remington Model 95 Deringer. The Deringer was regarded as a close combat or “back-up” gun and urban legend popularised it as being popular with gamblers particularly those who may have occasion to be challenged!
The pistol went through four iterations commencing in 1886 and this example is a third model that can be easily identified by the one-line address on the top rib.
In 1886 Remington went bankrupt and in 1888 was bought by a consortium of Hartley & Graham, and Winchester Arms Co. The company name was changed to Remington Arms Co., and beginning in 1888 all Remington guns were marked with that name. The third model was made in 6 variations, all marked, ""REMINGTON ARMS CO, ILION NY". on the top rib. The variations are determined by the font style.
This particular example has possibly been unfired and is in virtually mint condition with virtually all of its nickel plating extant and very clean bores. There is evidence of case hardening on the hammer and the opening clasp and the grips are as manufactured.
This particular pistol was described by one of the top 3 specialist firearms auction houses in 2019 as "98% finish and a superlative example"
To find such an example in NRA Excellent condition is difficult as often these are found re-nickelled and even an example with a superb outer finish may have pitted bores because of the extremely
corrosive nature of the fulminate of mercury priming compound used in the 41 Rimfire calibre that was still being used at the turn of the 20th Century. A common problem with these pistols is a fracture on the top left-hand hinge as a result of a manufacturing defect and it would appear that the stress in opening the pistol barrels above the vertical would lead to premature failure. The 41 rimfire calibre is an obsolete calibre that is no longer manufactured and consequently the pistol can be owned as an object of curiosity without a license.
This pistol has no defects and is about as good as can be found.
Given the iconic nature of these pistols, there were prints and other items manufactured to perpetuate their association with gambling. Included with this pistol are two plates printed with a Deringer and gambling scene. I have seen hundreds of these pistols over the past 40 years and their novelty has ensured that hundreds survive but I have never seen these plates before. I also include, albeit “tongue in cheek”, a pack of cards as this seems fitting although a little crass.
This set would be an ideal purchase for anyone interested in the “Wild West”, gambling or iconic firearms of investment condition.

Code: 50660

2350.00 GBP


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Cased Colt Roots 2nd Model revolver.

Cased Colt Roots 2nd Model revolver.

This is a decent Colt Roots second model side hammer revolver in 28 Calibre. It is estimated that only 2.99 % of these revolvers survived. This particular revolver was manufactured in 1856 at the Hartford factory and is contained in its original USA case. The case contains the correct mould with the flying Eagle motif, powder flask and an Eley cap tin. Poignantly the mould contains two cast bullets frozen in time, oxidised and obviously contemporary to the revolver. There would have been made by a previous owner. They are loose and will drop out of the mould. The revolver has much original finish, the patent date and Hartford address on the top strap and most of the original varnish. The cylinder scene is extant but faint and the Colt Patent banner is clear. The case has an old crack in the lid which isn’t going anywhere and could be restored. Personally, I would leave it.
The Roots had fierce competition from larger Colt models such as the Navy and Army and eventually they were made in 31 calibres as were the Colt Pocket model 1849.Despite its small size, designed to be easily concealed, there are numerous images of Civil War soldiers carrying these as their sidearm.

Code: 50651

3350.00 GBP


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Civil War Colt Army Revolver cut for Shoulder Stock

Civil War Colt Army Revolver cut for Shoulder Stock

This is a 6 shot Colt Army revolver in 44 calibre that has been factory machined for a shoulder stock. The revolver has a 4 screw, frame as did all that were machined for a shoulder stock. The revolver is mechanically excellent and has a bit of original colour and is a pleasing example. The bore is reasonable and clearly the revolver had been looked after as most of these that are extant had been “hammered” during the Civil War. This is instantly recognised as an early model as the calibre is not stamped on the frame and the serial number identifies it as being manufactured in 1861. The serial numbers are all matching, the wedge is vacant but clearly contemporary to the revolver. The revolver has good grips with some slight erosion to the heel of the left grip with the frame being marked “Colts Patent” with the address on the top of the barrel reading “ADDRESS, COL.SAML COLT NEW-YORK- U.S. An AMERICA”. The revolver cocks and locks on half and full cock and the rammer is tight and not loose as is often found. There appears to be an indented figure “1” on the bottom of the left grip. The bore is decent with all rifling extant. All in all, a reasonable Civil War Colt Army that would enhance any Colt or Civil War collection. The last image shows how the revolver would fit in a shoulder holster and this is a modern replica not included with the revolver.

Code: 50652

3250.00 GBP


Shortlist item
Interesting Gaubert System Rook & Rabbit Rifle

Interesting Gaubert System Rook & Rabbit Rifle

I am interested in novel breech loading firearms of the mid-19th Century and this is an interesting and rare firearm manufactured circa 1860 that demonstrates the Gaubert system. The period between 1840 and 1860 saw a rush towards the development of breech loaded firearms and an extraordinary number of innovative and patented designs. Jean-Baptiste Gaubert was a French gunmaker whose workshop and shop was in the 13th Street Notre Dame of the Fields. He was also represented in Liege from 1859 by Spirlet who was taken over in 1863 by P. Dusautoit.
The Gaubert system is loaded and unloaded by moving a lever at the front of the barrel which then disengages a cam to allow the whole of the barrel to move forward on a slide with enough latitude to extract and insert cartridges. At this time the cartridges were rimfire or pinfire and this excellent example was chambered in 8 mm rimfire, a calibre that has been obsolete for nearly 150 years. The rifle has a good walnut stock with fine checkering, steel butt plate and foliate engraving on the receiver and end of the barrel. Gaubert’s name is stamped underneath the receiver with a serial number. The top barrel flat has been stamped “Acier Fondu” which is not a maker or retailer but the French words for “cast steel”.
This rifle would have been an equivalent to an English “rook and rabbit” rifle firing a fairly large bullet at low velocity. I suspect that the Gaubert system was probably the inspiration for the Darne sliding breech mechanism that is still being used today.
An interesting firearm, seldom seen in the United Kingdom.

Code: 50659

SOLD


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