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Thread: East India Company Flintlock Pistol

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    East India Company Flintlock Pistol

    I thought I would post a couple of pics of a pistol I got. The gun is a Hirst and marked with the East India Company stamp on the lock and also on the barrel. The barrel markings are pretty faded from carrying. The lock plate date is 1798.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  2. #2
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    Pretty nice for an India gun!
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

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    I believe it is an original and not the so called hated by some new ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    Pretty nice for an India gun!
    Waksupi, nice pun intended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Allen View Post
    Waksupi, nice pun intended.
    No, seriously. Some early guns for the trade were pretty crude.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  6. #6
    That pistol was almost certainly made in England, although some gunmakers, such as Manton though Joseph's son Frederick, operated subsidiaries in India. A Nathaniel Hirst had recently died, his will having passed probate the previous year, and it is likely the firm was still running under the same name.

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ails/r/D328939

    St. Andrew could mean a parish, but more probably a street. Although described as in Middlesex it is central London now. It used to be the area for sound but basic gunmaking, as opposed to the West End luxury trade. and was just a few hundred yards from East India House in Leadenhall Street. Probably guns like this were made in Birmingham, which was always much bigger in the basic military end of the trade.

    If the inscription is original (and I can see no reason why it wouldn't be), this one that has been and has seen. I have seen that monogram mistaken for that of the Dutch United East India Company, Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, but that has the monogram VOC. It was a classically educated age, and this one copies the Latin which uses V for U, with the similarly titled Honourable United East India Company.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assaye

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballistics in Scotland View Post
    That pistol was almost certainly made in England, although some gunmakers, such as Manton though Joseph's son Frederick, operated subsidiaries in India. A Nathaniel Hirst had recently died, his will having passed probate the previous year, and it is likely the firm was still running under the same name.

    http://discovery.nationalarchives.go...ails/r/D328939

    St. Andrew could mean a parish, but more probably a street. Although described as in Middlesex it is central London now. It used to be the area for sound but basic gunmaking, as opposed to the West End luxury trade. and was just a few hundred yards from East India House in Leadenhall Street. Probably guns like this were made in Birmingham, which was always much bigger in the basic military end of the trade.

    If the inscription is original (and I can see no reason why it wouldn't be), this one that has been and has seen. I have seen that monogram mistaken for that of the Dutch United East India Company, Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie, but that has the monogram VOC. It was a classically educated age, and this one copies the Latin which uses V for U, with the similarly titled Honourable United East India Company.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assaye

    Thanks for the info. I have to look all that up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waksupi View Post
    No, seriously. Some early guns for the trade were pretty crude.
    I know what you mean now. I did see some that are rough at best. Now I just need an original trade gun. Someday.

  9. #9
    This one wouldn't have been a trade gun. It simply is the British Army Land Service Pistol, which only a few years later was changed to the New Land Service with a stirrup-attached, non-losable steel ramrod. But it was a private purchase for the Company's own troops, and more likely their few European regiments. There was considerable interchange of equipment patterns. Indeed 1797 was the year the British army adopted the slightly shorter and lighter India Pattern version of the Brown Bess musket. Native cavalry in either Company, government or independent service was light and highly mobile, with pistols little used.

    The company achieved quasi-governmental status in India, a bit like United Fruit, but grew too much and too fast as a result. Too many officials and officers who didn't understand the country or speak the languages played a part in the Great Mutiny of 1857, and a takeover of its interests by the British government. Probably the last British officer to begin as a Company employee ended up as Field-Marshal Lord Roberts, who died of pneumonia contracted visiting Indian troops in France at the age of 82.

    Pistols like these may have played a tantalisingly unprovable part in my family history. I have only a vague rumour from one side of the family that someone on the other side greatly distinguished himself in the Mutiny. I have a photograph of a George Wallace, born in 1824, and showing him some sixty years old. There undoubtedly was a Private George Wallace, not young for a soldier, present when the 93rd Highlanders stormed the Sikundarbagh in the second relief of Lucknow. The main authority on the action is ex-Sergeant Forbes-Mitchell, who was among the first men through the breach, and describes Wallace as killing twenty men with his bayonet while singing a psalm.

    In the aftermath of the action an officer drew his attention to some dead Highlanders under a great peepul tree in the courtyard, who had been shot in the top of the head. Wallace looked up, still singing, fired, and down fell a young girl in a tight-fitting red jacket and rose-coloured silk trousers, with a pair of "old pattern cavalry pistols." The identification of her as Uda Devi and a member of the Untouchables caste is late twentieth century politics, and it is more likely that she was one of the Nawab of Oudh's negro slaves. Wallace broke down and had to be led away, and though eminently justifiable, the incident may have stopped him getting one of the seventeen Victoria Crosses awarded that day. They didn't give it to people who killed women in those days.

    The only snag is that Sergeant Forbes-Mitchell says he had enlisted under an assumed name, which wasn't uncommon then. Still, he had been a highly satisfactory soldier in a staunchly Presbyterian regiment, noted for its freedom from court-martial offences. He could well have chosen to take that name into civilian life with him.

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/33426...-h/33426-h.htm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikandar_Bagh

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uda_Devi

    I don't suppose "How the East was Won" will ever be made.

    Culzean Castle in SW Scotland, where General Eisenhower was given a lifetime tenancy of an apartment, has several hundred of these pistols in approximately mint condition. The Earl (American born and a commander of US merchant ships in the War of Independence) organised the local militia, and although I think they took most of the muskets back when Napoleon never showed up, they left the pistols. You can't increase cavalry forces any faster than you can breed horses, and carbines were probably more useful.
    Last edited by Ballistics in Scotland; 03-21-2017 at 11:25 AM.

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    I figured that I just mentioned I a trade gun is on my wish list also. It is a long list of hard to obtain items. Trade Gun, Charleville Musket, Spencer, etc.

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    Check your PM

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