Black Powder Pistol

Discerning Shooters’ Black Powder Pistol and Black Powder Revolver Depot

My thanks to Michael Shepherd of for permission
to reproduce the photo of an English Turnaround Percussion Black Powder Pistol

Dale Calder who hails originally from Whangarei, New Zealand has had an interest in handguns including black powder pistols over many years.
He has now reached a point in his life where he would like to indulge that interest further by participating in the firing of reproduction
black powder revolvers and pistols here in Auckland, the City of Sails, where he is currently residing.

The Buried Percussion Black Powder Pistol

Posted by admin on August 18, 2008 under black powder pistol

After recounting an instance to my grandparents where an aged aunt had once allowed me a glimpse of a .32 calibre nickel-plated Smith and Wesson black powder revolver, she had kept for protection, I was in awe when my grand-dad came back on in to the room and presented me with the strangest black powder pistol I had ever seen. He then proceeded to tell me how he had discovered it.

As a young man he had farmed a block of land at Hukerenui, in the far north of New Zealand. One of the Maori boys he had engaged as farm help, in the course of ploughing up one of the paddocks had unearthed this quite remarkable find .. a cap and ball percussion black powder pistol. The pistol had to have been encased, although I am not sure in what, as it was in remarkably good condition and still remains in pretty good condition today .. although I’m not sure I’d want to try firing it. But whatever it was housed in has long since disappeared.

This box lock percussion pistol is a double-barrelled turn-over, and quite unusual in appearance. In fact, it is srangely similar to the English turnover pistol illustrated near the top of the page. The barrels are only of about two thirds the length though and are chamfered as opposed to round .. as one would find in an octagonal sided single barrel handgun. The side-plate assembly is strikingly similar though, even down to the engraving – and warrants further close inspection by me. There is a distinct possibility both guns were produced by the same manufacturer. The firearm though does not have a flat butt base as mine does, nor a butt plate.

On firing the one barrel, the shooter then twists the barrel mechanism around 180 degrees on a central pin so that the second barrel can then be discharged. The whole of the barrel assembly seems disproportionately heavy, indeed that is where the bulk of the pistol’s weight is focussed. The weapon is iron framed, and aside from the barrel looks rather delicate. The trigger guard, on top of the hammer and the butt plate (which appears to be silver) are also engraved. The butt is in walnut. Unfortunately to date the proof marks if there are any have not been located. One of the cap primers remains intact.

Nothing is known of the history of this pistol. Whether it was used as a protective side-arm, perhaps by a woman, or was one of a pair, is left for conjecture. I suspect that it is circa 1820-1840 and a local gun collector some years ago opined that it was likely of either English or French manufacture. I am also left to wonder whether this unusual black powder pistol saw service in the last battle of the north between the British forces and the defending Maori at nearby Ruapekapeka Pa .. but I guess that is something that none of us will ever know. I hope to insert a photo of the pistol here in the near future.

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One Response to “The Buried Percussion Black Powder Pistol”

  1. Phillip Sollock Says:

    I was trying to find out what kind of gun I had…It looks just like the one in the picture except maybe the whole thing is 10″ long…I think it is about .41 cal..And yes as soon as I can find the powder and stuff I will shoot it…

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