Have a Belgian Flintlock musket I cannot find out details about it. Have found pictures of similar looking muskets but none are exact. Also the measurements and caliber are different than references I have found. Everything seems unmolested and the gun is in great condition. It is .58 caliber smooth bore. The barrel is 37-1/4 inches long not including the mounting tang. Total gun length is 52-1/4 inches. Have taken detail pics and closeups of most of the markings and are posted here....Thanks, Elliott
You have an African Trade Musket dating to the period of 1875 - 1900. It started life as a percussion Austrian M1854 Lorenz Rifle Musket and has been converted to flint using earlier military surplus spare parts. Original caliber was close to .54 and they were rifled but they were reamed out to a larger smoothbore, usually .58 like your example. This conversion was done in Belgium once the Lorenz was declared surplus by Austria-Hungary or it may have been bought as surplus in large numbers from the many Austrian rifle muskets purchased in large quantities by both sides of the American Civil War. These are uncommon but not rare and the value is what the market will bare, usually less than what an original percussion Lorenz will sell for.
Kewl TP...should there be any markings on it from when it was a Austrian-Lorenz? What is the double headed eagle stamp on the lockplate (looks Russian). Are the numbers stamped on the buttplate from when it saw military service they look German or are these all markings of the parts and pieces used to assemble the african trade guns. Also saw several trade guns but they were much longer barrel and overall lengths. It is really fascinating to see how these guns evolved. Did they go back to flint to cheapen its function or make it outdated to lessen it's chances of being used for an uprising. Small guns can stimulate a lot of questions....Thanks, Elliott
Elliot, you have a nice one there, I have seen several of these and most are in the same condition. They may have sat forgotten in storage and were brought to this country in the period after WW2 when the Belgian warehouses were cleaned out to make space. The longer barreled guns made with military surplus parts (locks, butt plates, triggerguards, etc.) that we usually see were made at very low prices by using those old parts. These guns were a little higher quality but were still very inexpensive to produce. And yes, the guns were made over into flint to make them less likely to be effective weapons in any possible attempt to end the colonial order. At a time in the last quarter of the 19th Century when the cartridge arms were coming into use, this seems today to be overdoing it a bit, but we have to remember that the Belgian Colonial Forces were often still armed with percussion guns past the time when the home army had the latest weapons for national defense in Europe and also many of the white settlers were armed with percussion guns as well. Also, the use of flints made them less expensive for the native population to use.
As far as Austrian markings, the double-headed eagle was the sign of the Dual Monarchy of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. There would also would have been a three digit date - 860 which would, of course, mean 1860, located in front of the percussion hammer on the lockplate. Can you show a picture of the markings on the buttplate? They are probably Austrian regimental markings.
Great information about a little known era of arms...I have posted in my initial post alot of closeups of all the markings please review and give me some feedback...I am now crushed after your comment the it probably sat in an armory unissued for years....Because why? well when I got the gun it was paint brush slathered all over wood flint and all with a purple colored shellack like material...came off so easily with alcohol and a soft wipe...I did not disturb the patina but guess I removed the armors protective coating...which was undisturbed till I removed it to be able to see the markings....really should have asked questions first....let me know your thoughts...after the pics have been reviewed...Thanks, Elliott
Yes, the date is "1856" and the regimental is Austrian. I am not very good at the A-H regimental markings but will try to find some information for you. Thanks for posting this, it is a very nice example.
TP...Thanks for the gentle repremand...It was thirty years ago and some of the coating had worn off of the front of the barrel...have taken good care of it since the initial dumb move, so I guess that counts for something...will be great to hear about the regimental markings if you find out anything...If you know of anyone interested in buying the musket please also let me know...what should I ask for it? Thanks, Elliott
You needed no "gentle reprimand", that "Resounding dope slap!" was intended for me for missing your link to the pictures, sorry to have given the wrong impression. You actually did very well cleaning it up, taking the shellac off was perfectly okay in my opinion. It is an attractive example.
I am sorry, I don't know what to tell you about value, they are hard to find. The last one I saw sold set the buyer back $350 in the late 1980s or early 1990s.