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Peter Gajdos

Location: hungary
Joined: 26 Mar 2011

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 8:14 am    Post subject: Need help to identify musket from 1560-1750         Reply with quote

Hello, I bought this musket at the weekend on a fair for 400 dollar only , my friend told me the firing mechanism is rare type from 1560-1750, after this the flintlock was invented, so pretty old type. Can someone tell me what type is it and of origin, turkish, european, easu european (I am in Hungary) , someone said the firing mechanism is Spanish. There is some decoration on the copper plates and 3 stamped hole on the steel bar, could it be a smith's mark?
Peter G.

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Torsten F.H. Wilke

Location: Irvine Spectrum, CA
Joined: 01 Jul 2006

Posts: 250

PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know much about muskets, but that sure is a great looking example with all it's splendidly aged character showing!
Seems like a good buy too...
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Christopher Treichel

Location: Metro D.C.
Joined: 14 Jan 2010

Posts: 268

PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 9:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks like a camel gun North Africa, Middle East into Persia, Turkey etc not an expert on camel guns (I build flintlocks as a hobby but also delve into similar firearms)... the lock is called a snaphaunce...

I don't know about this one... Take a look at the frizzen... thats the part that the flint would strike... the long lever shaped object that is not holding the flint... does it have any scratches on it? First indicator of an item that was never used is a frizzen without scratches. Most fakes I have ever seen had pristine frizzens.

That touch hole (place were flash goes from pan into the barrel) looks like its not exactly where its supposed to be and its really big... If its that big it would have had to have an insert added at some time... are there marks that the touch hole had any threadding?

A touch hole is supposed to be rather small say arround 1/16- 1/8 inch. Yours looks too big. It is supposed to be centered on the pan (the place where you put the powder under the frizzen.
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Peter Gajdos

Location: hungary
Joined: 26 Mar 2011

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 11:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello, thanks for the advise, the hole is bigger on the outside but gets very narrow deeper inside, I think it was heavily used many times , this is why that hole got wider outside, also that tray, frizzen is heavily worn the upper part of the rim is worn out in a concave shape, so obviously that part holding the fuse or what it is hit this part. I am sure the musket is original, clearly hand made, well aged wood with small insect damages, old nails, some missing, hand made barrel with rust and pitting, just cleaned it slightly, also the 3 holes about the firing mechanism where the barrel starts seems to be a smith mark, I cleaned them and see some markings, but can not figure out what they depict.
The mechanism is still working otherwise, the trigger has to be pulled sometimes 2-3 times to get it firing, but still great for such and old mechanism I guess. I think it is turkish- balkan style, since it came from an old house and we did not have african weapons, but many turkish weapons came to Hungary and also influenced us during the 200 years of war against them and partial occupations. It would be nice to find out more about it with the makers mark I think. My only problem is that I can not get the shaft out which loads the bullet or gunpowder, it is very long and stuck under the barrel inside the copper rims.
Any idea of its age in century or what it might worth ?
Peter G.
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Lin Robinson

Location: NC
Joined: 15 Jun 2006
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Posts: 1,241

PostPosted: Wed 09 Nov, 2011 3:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote


What you have there is an Arabian Snaphanuce Musket. I am looking at an illustration of an almost identical musket in a reference book I acquired quite a few years ago.

The lock is a snaphaunce lock, which was the forerunner of the flintlock. Snaphaunce locks were used throughout Europe and Asia in the 16th and 17th centuries and hung on in Scotland until late in the 17th c. The snaphaunce lock has a sliding pan cover, which is clearly visible in a couple of your photos. This cover is attached by an operating rod to the lock "tumbler", the part that the cock rests on. When the cock is pulled back the pan cover, if it is still attached, should move back and cover the pan. One of the numerous problems with snaphaunce locks, however, was a tendency for the operating rod to break, preventing that from happening.

Your example is typical of these guns which were made until very recently and are perhaps still being produced for the tourist trade. Flintlocks, percussion locks, miguelet locks and snaphaunce locks were used on these guns at various times. There are other styles of muskets as well such as the Kabyle. What all these guns have in common is they are usually decorated with copper or brass fittings, have wooden stocks, very long smoothbore barrels and archaic firing mechanisms.

As far as age and value, both are difficult to determine. At one time you could purchase these guns in antique stores for little or nothing. There has never been any great collector interest in them and since the ones that are still being made are some times difficult to tell from the antiques, buying one is something of a gamble. I would advise you not to shoot it even with a blank charge. The barrel was probably made from iron strips wrapped around a mandrel and forge welded. If the weld is not well done corrosion can sometimes get into the barrel and weaken it to the point where the barrel may burst even with a light charge.

The almost 40 year old reference book I used to identify your gun stated at the time of publishing that these guns could be bought for between $150 and $250. $400 is probably not a bad price if it is indeed very old. However, looking at your photos, I do not think it is 400 years old.

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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