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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Fri 05 Nov, 2010 8:47 pm    Post subject: Scottish pistols - 1st half of the 18th C.         Reply with quote

Hey folks,
What kind of pistol would an average Scot warrior have used from 1700 up until the '45? I know the Murdoch style/scroll-butt pistols show up on a lot of people's radars, but were these common? They seem awfully ornate for average folks.

Would something like the Pedersoli Queen Anne model have seen service with Scots?


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Dmitry Z~G





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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2010 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Scottish style ram's horn butt pistols are much rarer than the conventional style flintlocks. I see no reason for the Scots not using the Queen Anne style pistol in your post.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Sat 06 Nov, 2010 10:20 am    Post subject: Re: Scottish pistols - 1st half of the 18th C.         Reply with quote

Chad Arnow wrote:
Hey folks,
What kind of pistol would an average Scot warrior have used from 1700 up until the '45? I know the Murdoch style/scroll-butt pistols show up on a lot of people's radars, but were these common? They seem awfully ornate for average folks.

Would something like the Pedersoli Queen Anne model have seen service with Scots?



Chad...

They used most anything that came to hand. It is hard to define the average Scottish fighter from the period since everyone from the humblest herdsman to the chief of the clan carried weapons and fought in battle.

The scroll-butt pistols were the last style in use prior to the disarming acts. They were preceded by several other sytles, including the lemon butt, the fishtail butt, the heart butt and a transitional style that came between the lemon butt and heart butt styles.

In truth, it was the front rank Highlander who carried the full compliment of Highland weapons and they were relatively few in number. These were the tacksmen, small landholders and blood kin of the chief. The average Highlander may have had a pistol but most were equipped with a dirk, a musket or fowler or some sort of farming implement adapted as a weapon - a scythe for example. The ornate highland pistols were the province of the front rank warriors and kin of the chief. The Queen Anne would probably have been used by any Highlander who could obtain one. During the Rebellion of 1745, the Lowland Scots regiments of the Jacobite army were equipped primarily like their opponents. The Highlanders, the shock troops of the army, carried the exotic hardware.

Lin Robinson

"The best thing in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women." Conan the Barbarian, 1982
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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Tue 09 Nov, 2010 6:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

IMHO, Lin is correct.
Also those that could afford them, carried English/French civilian pistols.

BTW, Pedersoli makes fine guns. ( I own 9, % long arms & 4 pistols incl. a QA )

Jack
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David Teague




Location: Anchorage, Alaska
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PostPosted: Tue 09 Nov, 2010 8:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One thing to keep in mind was that fact that the common Highland Scot was disarmed after the Act of 1716 and the weapon ban was "improved" and well enforced in 1725 under Major-General George Wade.

Tackmen, being part of the clan elite were allowed to keep their weapons under the act as I understand it but the basic clan men were not. Major-General George Wade was quite effective in finding and confiscating the hidden weapons of the Jacobite Clans and the Hanoverian Clans turned over their weapons willingly.

The image of the heavily armed Highland Clansman army filled with the masters of the Claidheamh Leathann, Targaid & Biodag is best found with the clansmen of the 1689 and the1715 revolts not the later poorly armed troops of the1745

This you shall know, that all things have length and measure.

Free Scholar/ Instructor Selohaar Fechtschule
The Historic Recrudescence Guild

"Yea though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou's sword art is with me; Thy poleaxe and Thy quarterstaff they comfort me."
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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Wed 10 Nov, 2010 9:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chad another couple of thoughts. The typical Scottish steel pistol such as were made in Doune and elsewhere were expensive and even before that, the lemon-butt, heart-butt, and fish tail-butt pistols were even more ornate and expensive to make. The earliest Scottish pistols extant were made of Brazil wood (I know, I know but they were Brazil wood none the less.) The very earliest dated to around 1580 or so were relatively plain with the early fish-tail butts. Later versions began to have brass inlays which actually weakened the wood substantially, at least that is the opinion of David Caldwell at HM Tower Armouries, due to the many brass or gold nails needed to secure the inlays. The first thing to change was the addition of brass butts (especially on the fish-tail versions) rather than all wood and then all brass versions of the same basic design. Obviously, the wooden versions were less expensive to build but still relied on the so-called "Scottish lock" which was based on a sear release for the cock rather than the true flintlock as most know it. Trade with the continent was primarily with France and the Low Countries, so a French pistol would have been more prevalent IMHO that an English style at least until after the Union in 1707 when some trade restrictions with England were relaxed.

I said all that to say this, John Buck of Musket Mart builds a wooden, fish-tail version of the early Scottish pistol including a belt hook. He also makes a version of the proto-classic Scottish pistol that was excavated from one of the wells at Jamestowne Fort. I have one of the fish tails that is made of beech wood with a Yew butt, end cap and guard for the ramrod. It is a very attractive weapon with the traditional snaphaunce lock which was apparently used lated in Scotland that anywhere else. Why this was true is anyone's guess but I think it may have been easier to make, especially if the sliding pan cover was omitted. I believe this would be an excellent choice for a "persona" pistol even well after 1700 based on Lin's observation that only landed gentry and semi-gentry could affford the brass or steel pistols and, perhaps, the earlier wooden ones survived to be resold down the line as it were. In any case, they are unusual and very nice visually. However, if your idea is to portray anyone other than a front-rank man, junior or senior officer in a clan regiment, I think one can safely surmise that pistols were financially out of the question. I would look at John's product or look at a French or Spanish style pistol rather than the "Queen Anne" screw parrels. A kit from TRS can be assembled by someone like Richard Dickerson for about $250 and you wind up with a unique piece.

Do get in touch with John. He is slow (but isn't everyone?) but his product is quality and certainly a nice addition to anyone's Scottish kit.

Hope this helps a bit!

"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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