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Mike W Grant




Location: UK, Exiled Scot in England
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2011 1:44 pm    Post subject: Scottish Pistols in use 1745         Reply with quote

Hi All

Can anyone point me to replica pistol suppliers used by the Jacobites around Culloden - 1746?
I notice that this one is being sold but unsure if it is the correct period?



Thanks Mike
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Mike W Grant




Location: UK, Exiled Scot in England
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2011 1:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

sorry it is located here:

http://www.derbyshirearms.co.uk/

Mike
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2011 3:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike W Grant wrote:
sorry it is located here:

http://www.derbyshirearms.co.uk/

Mike


I could not find that particular pistol on the web site you mention.

Right now, that is the only mass produced replica of an all metal Highland pistol from around the Jacobite era. The one you illustrate is really post-Jacobite but retains some of the characterstics of the older firearms.

Let me tell you what's good about that pistol:

1. It is available
2. It is a flintlock
3. It bears a superficial resemblance to the originals

Here is what is not so good about it.

1. The trigger looks bad and is bad. I have never seen a trigger like that one on an antique pistol. Very heavy pull.
2. The lock is incorrect. The original Highland lock had a horizontally moving sear, part of which protruded from a slot in the lock plate, in front of the cock and acted as a safety. The lock on this gun is a standard flintlock with a half-cock notch in the tumbler
3.The mainspring in the lock is far too strong and it eats flints like they are candy. The half-cock notch does not move the cock back far enough to clear the face of the frizzen so it remains partially open at half-cock - a sure way to lose your priming charge.
4. The bore is rough.
5. Accuracy is nil, which is kind of authentic because the originals were meant to be used at very close range and not accurate either.
6. The belt hook is kind of crude.
7. The pricker is too big.
8. The high polish is not authentic. The originals were blued. Most of the remaining guns lost their finish over time but some still show evidence of a blued finish.
9. The grip and the ramshorns are much larger than any original I have seen and are lacking the graceful lines of the originals.

Aside from that I guess it is OK.

The only mass produced modern replica of a Highland pistol which is authentic is the Waters pistol but it post dates the Jacobite era, is a replica of an English-made pistol which was issued to the Highland regiments and so not appropriate for the time period. I own both of these pistols and am waiting for an early 17th c. snaphaunce lock replica from a man in Virginia.

There is a replica of a Bissel pistol available from the same maker of the Murdoch but it suffers from many of the same ills of the Murdoch and is also a replica of a post-Jacobite military issue pistol.

I have fired my Waters pistol a number of times and it is a singular experience. I have not fired the Murdoch and may never do so. I am unsure of the strength of the barrel and know that it has not been proofed so if I do fire it the charge will be very light with a very loose ball and patch.

A friend of mine has a Coach Harness Doune Pistol which was available in the early 80's. It is authentic and well-made (he assembled it from a kit and said it was one of the most difficult projects he ever undertook), but has been unavailable for years and was never made in any quantity. The Rifle Shoppe, here in the US, sells a kit that requires an enormous amount of work and skill to put together and it is not cheap either. An assembled lock is available but if you buy the rough casings you have a lot of finishing to do and better have a complete set of files.

I wish that someone would put out a better replica.

There are a number of posts on the forum with photos of original and replica pistols including one with a photo of my friend's Coach Harness. You will want to look back at those.

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


Last edited by Lin Robinson on Fri 18 Feb, 2011 5:01 am; edited 2 times in total
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Phil D.




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2011 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Middlesex Village trading has 2 different styles...
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2011 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pete Plunkett of Middlesex Trading drills the touch holes and says he does a bit of tuning on the locks before he sells these pistols. He is a good supplier and carries a variety of 18th c. and older replicas. That is where my Murdoch came from.

Here is a photo of my Waters Pistol. You can see the slot where the sear protrudes to hold the pistol at half-cock. That, along with the internal workings, are the mark of a true Highland lock.



 Attachment: 24.97 KB
Horn & Pistol 001.jpg


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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Chris Goerner




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2011 6:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin,

I've owned both of the Murdoch and Bissel pistols and would sadly have to agree with your assessment.

Is the Waters pistol of any better quality? Can you recommend any suppliers for the Waters pistol?

Chris

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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2011 6:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Chris Goerner wrote:
Lin,

I've owned both of the Murdoch and Bissel pistols and would sadly have to agree with your assessment.

Is the Waters pistol of any better quality? Can you recommend any suppliers for the Waters pistol?

Chris


Chris...

I have not seen a Waters advertised in a long time. Dixie Gun Works may have them but the pistols they sold at one time had case hardened locks. I prefer the polished type since it develops a nice patina over time.

The Waters is authentic. The locks are kind of slow but then I suspect the originals were that way too. They are, IMHO, superior to the Indian-made Murdochs and Bissels, neither of which have the Highland lock.

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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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2011 9:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A word about the Rifle Shoppe pistols. I just purchased two kits and have a friend in Houston assemble them for a very nominal sum. The locks were preassembled by Jess at TRS. The new castings are of a much higher quality and not so difficult to assemble. There was a bit of an issue with the trigger on one kit until it was realized that it was an older pattern trigger and once it was replaced there was no problem at all. The pistols were proofed and work very well. The lateral sear mechanism is authentic to the period. While not the easiest project in thecwork and not the least expensive, I believe this pistols are the most authentic available anywhere today
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 3:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

GG Osborne wrote:
A word about the Rifle Shoppe pistols. I just purchased two kits and have a friend in Houston assemble them for a very nominal sum. The locks were preassembled by Jess at TRS. The new castings are of a much higher quality and not so difficult to assemble. There was a bit of an issue with the trigger on one kit until it was realized that it was an older pattern trigger and once it was replaced there was no problem at all. The pistols were proofed and work very well. The lateral sear mechanism is authentic to the period. While not the easiest project in thecwork and not the least expensive, I believe this pistols are the most authentic available anywhere today


Glen...

I agree with your comments about the TRS pistols and I am glad to hear that the castings are more easily worked now. I wish I had the courage to attempt one - or two. Send photos when they are done along with the photos of your custom made pieces from India.

I just wish, as previously stated, that someone would make a good replica of an earlier pistol at a mass produced price. I have a photo, in a book on modern made and antique guns, which is captioned as an Uberti made replica of a T. Campbell Doune pistol. Although I worked diligently for a long time to learn if Uberti actually made it, I was never able to verify the caption.

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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Christian G. Cameron




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 4:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://therifleshoppe.com/catalog_pages/engli...532%29.htm

TRS is much better than it used to be, for service, speed, quality--everything. My group has several of his 1776 tower rifles--each one is better than the last...

Christian G. Cameron

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Christian G. Cameron




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 4:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mike, do you have either of "Like Hungry Wolves" or "The swords and the Sorrows?" Two very useful books.

Are you putting together a tacman impression? Most clan soldiers would not have had pistols, or if they did, they'd have been French military pistols or just possibly Spanish, unless Camerons or McClains, in which case Dutch.

it's worth noting that the romantic image of the clan soldier is not too similar to what they actually looked like and wore... the best of the Highlanders were apparently in Dutch equipment (cartridge boxes and bayonets) and using Dutch muskets, and often wearing French coats and other kit.

Worth some poking around...

Christian G. Cameron

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GG Osborne





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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The returns from the field after Culloden mention Spanish and French muskets, but not Dutch. Apparently, as the conflict wore on, .75-.77 caliber Bristish service muskets captured at Prestonpans were gradulaly replaced with lighter .69 muskets as they becam,e available. Not that I am a world-reknowned expert, but I have never seen documentation for the Jacobites receiving and Dutch equipment.
"Those who live by the sword...will usually die with a huge, unpaid credit card balance!"
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Henrik Bjoern Boegh




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 8:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have to agree with George. I've never seen anything about Dutch weapons in the hands of the Jacobites, but if you have a source, I'd love to see it.
And has anyone ever found any proof that any of the Jacobites (apart from Fitzjames horse) were given French pistols?

Cheers,
Henrik

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Christian G. Cameron




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 9:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm fifteen years past this being a period I recreate. My memory is that the Camerons and Macleans had Dutch equipment in the firefight at Falkirk. Now I'll have to figure out why I think that. My off the cuff is its from Duffy.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 2:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

GG Osborne wrote:
The returns from the field after Culloden mention Spanish and French muskets, but not Dutch. Apparently, as the conflict wore on, .75-.77 caliber Bristish service muskets captured at Prestonpans were gradulaly replaced with lighter .69 muskets as they becam,e available. Not that I am a world-reknowned expert, but I have never seen documentation for the Jacobites receiving and Dutch equipment.


Me neither. In fact, the preponderance of the arms carried by the Jacobites were French or Spanish according to what I have read. There were a lot of Dutch muskets brought to the US from the early 18th c. on.

Spanish guns were quite popular in the Highlands at one time.

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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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 3:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Henrik Bjoern Boegh wrote:
I have to agree with George. I've never seen anything about Dutch weapons in the hands of the Jacobites, but if you have a source, I'd love to see it.
And has anyone ever found any proof that any of the Jacobites (apart from Fitzjames horse) were given French pistols?

Cheers,
Henrik


I think they carried whatever they could get but my sense is that the French did not issue pistols to the rank and file unless they were horsemen. The primary small arm for infantry was the musket. The Highlanders, of course, had some pistols but they were relatively few because, as has been pointed out, fully-equipped Highlanders were somewhat scarce in the Jacobite army.

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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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2011 10:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
I think they carried whatever they could get but my sense is that the French did not issue pistols to the rank and file unless they were horsemen. The primary small arm for infantry was the musket. The Highlanders, of course, had some pistols but they were relatively few because, as has been pointed out, fully-equipped Highlanders were somewhat scarce in the Jacobite army.


Then, would a French pistol, such as this reproduction of the French cavalry pistol, model of 1733 (Pistolet d'arçon, modèle 1733) be an acceptable solution to Mike's search for a "Culloden pistol" ?

PS: not 100% sure about that but I can't think of any 18th c. regular army that issued pistols to rank-and-file footmen.
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Feb, 2011 3:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon G. wrote:

Then, would a French pistol, such as this reproduction of the French cavalry pistol, model of 1733 (Pistolet d'arçon, modèle 1733) be an acceptable solution to Mike's search for a "Culloden pistol" ?

PS: not 100% sure about that but I can't think of any 18th c. regular army that issued pistols to rank-and-file footmen.


The British army did issue pistols to infantry serving in the Highland regiments. The Waters and Bissell are examples of those guns although there may have been a few other firms supplying them. However, I am not aware of any other armies which did so. By 1776 the Highlanders had been ordered to turn in their pistols although undoubtedly a few managed to retain them, soldiers being soldiers.

The 1733 pistol could certainly have been in use at Culloden and it is possible that some of the Highlanders had them.

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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Simon G.




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Feb, 2011 3:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lin Robinson wrote:

The British army did issue pistols to infantry serving in the Highland regiments. The Waters and Bissell are examples of those guns although there may have been a few other firms supplying them. However, I am not aware of any other armies which did so. By 1776 the Highlanders had been ordered to turn in their pistols although undoubtedly a few managed to retain them, soldiers being soldiers.


Thanks for that bit of info! I'll go to sleep a bit less stupid tonight Big Grin

That's strange though... Did the Highland regiments also use the sword as their primary weapon, or did they have rifles? I mean, I can see the usefulness of a pistol to a swordsman - discharging it at a short distance of the enemy line to "soften" it before going at it with the sword, IIRC that was one of the main tactics of the "irregular" Highlanders - but I can't see what a rifleman on foot could do with a pistol on a regular basis (well of course he could shoot the enemy with it Razz but there's already the rifle to do that).
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Lin Robinson




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Feb, 2011 5:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Simon G. wrote:


Thanks for that bit of info! I'll go to sleep a bit less stupid tonight Big Grin

That's strange though... Did the Highland regiments also use the sword as their primary weapon, or did they have rifles? I mean, I can see the usefulness of a pistol to a swordsman - discharging it at a short distance of the enemy line to "soften" it before going at it with the sword, IIRC that was one of the main tactics of the "irregular" Highlanders - but I can't see what a rifleman on foot could do with a pistol on a regular basis (well of course he could shoot the enemy with it Razz but there's already the rifle to do that).


The post-Culloden soldiers of the Highland Regiments were supposed to be equipped with a musket and bayonet, a pistol, a dirk and a broadsword or backsword. Whether they were all issued that exact compliment of equipment I cannot say. There are surviving examples of issue pistols, as previously discussed, as well as backswords and the occasional broadsword. Only a few dirks have been found that seem to have been issue items and the belief is that most of the troops brought their own dirks to the regiment, if they had them.

The main battle implement was the bayonetted musket. However, there is contemporary evidence that the regiments also used swords in battles like the Plains of Abraham during the Seven Years' War. Most students of that war feel that carrying the entire list of hardware was abandoned after awhile because the opportunities to use it in the wilds of North America were few. The great kilt was probably cut down or abandoned altogether once the troops saw the advantages of trousers or leggings in the thick vegetation of N. America.

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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