Antique gun identification - help!
Hello, I wonder if anyone can help us. My wife accidentally bought an antique gun a few years ago - she thought she was bidding for a wardrobe!
My 15-year-old son has taken an interest, having found it at the back of a cupboard. He has done a bit of online research and reckons it looks like an Indian matchlock weapon, backed up by the inscription on the barrel, which seems to be in an Eastern language.
The gun is not in great condition but I am trying to stimulate my son's new-found interest in history, so thought I would see if we could find out anything about it. Please forgive my ignorance on the parts of a gun, if I get the names wrong!
I have taken a few pics, which are here:

Stock area


Firing mechanism (?)
Hi Stuart,
An internet search for Indian Matchlock Torador will give you a lot of images and information re this type of musket. I would urge you to check to see if it still has a charge by sliding a wooden rod down the barrel and checking the distance travelled by the rod on the outside of the barrel.
Looks old, at least. Under *NO* circumstances be even tempted to try firing it ! :(
Hi Stuart I don't have any info on the gun itself but might serve for you to post on the larger blackpowder gun forums on the net. Also you could take it to a decent gunsmith to check out for safety and interests sake and see if its worth refurbing it in any way. They might also be able to put you in touch with local blackpowder experts or re-enactors. Also if you are not used to firearms just remember to treat any gun regardless of condition as if it were loaded and keep it pointed in a safe direction at all times :)
Definitely an Indian matchlock. I have seen quite a few but the first one I saw was in the West Highlands Museum at Fort William Scotland. Good advice to check whether or not it is loaded. Run a wood dowel down the bore, mark the point of greatest depth on the side of the dowel at the muzzle, remove and lay alongside the barrel. If it is unloaded the end of the dowel should should extend a bit past the touch hole on the side of the barrel, at the breech. If, instead, it is further up the barrel toward the muzzle, then it may be loaded. I say "may" because antique dealers over the years have occasionally stuffed some wadding and/or a bullet in the barrels of antique guns to give the impression that they have been loaded. Old guns were put away loaded many times in the past so the admonition to treat it as loaded is a good one.

These guns are not particularly rare or valuable unless highly decorated, with some sort of provenance. Under no circumstances should it be fired. The barrel, even when new, may not have been well-made and there is no real reason to try to shoot it. Hang it on the wall and admire it for what it is then buy a modern made muzzle loading firearm if you want to shoot.
Thanks all for your guidance - and the wise advice about not trying to fire it! I will test it in the way you suggest, with the dowel.
The reason I gave an admonishment not to try firing a weapon like this is than many of the old "Handmade", one of a kind, ( as opposed to commercially/factory made) weapons is the actual construction of the barrels. The barrels were often made by winding strips of steel around a mandrel and forge welded together..this produced a barrel, that, for the day, proved adequate to sustain the stresses of black powder firing. Over time, corrosion may have set in on the interior of the barrel as black powder residue attracts moisture and is corrosive. So , a barrel may appear fine from the outside..but an attempt to fire it , even with today's modern black powder could prove fatal. Restore it, clean it up and just keep it as a wall hanger.
Old guns are like antique furniture. They are best cleaned and not restored, which is what I would suggest you do with this one. By cleaning I mean using a lightly dampened rag to wipe off dust or dirt. Lightly oil the metal parts and that is all you need to do. More antiques have been ruined by amateur "restoration" than I care to think about. Professional restoration, if you can find someone to do it, would cost more than the gun will ever be worth.

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