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Thread: ZULU shot gun

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    ZULU shot gun

    i have a SNIDER conversion to 12 gauge with ZULU stamped on the barrel top. why were they stamped with this word, and why converted to 12 gauge and not .577, or .577/450.? ZULU seams to be AFRICAN and the gun seams to have been a FRENCH MUSKET. very confusing. thanks for any help on my question.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master scattershot's Avatar
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    If memory serves, these were converted military muzzleloaders designed for the African natives, as foraging guns.
    "Experience is a series of non-fatal mistakes"


    Disarming is a mistake free people only get to make once...

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    scattershot, thanks for the info.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    De Haas has detail in his second "Single Shot Rifles" book......and they were imported for poor American farmers and homesteaders.......does yours have the little hole in the RHS of the butt?

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    john.k, yes it does. is it for grease / lube?

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy
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    justashooter, thanks for the info. you posted.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    It is claimed the hole was for "holy water".....a blessing for the future.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    in a battle i would want all of the HOLY H2O. that i could get, and that little hole doesn't hold very much! when the water was put in it how did they keep it in the hole, a cork or wooden plug? thanks for the history of the hole. always wondered what it was for?

  10. #10
    ew
    Quote Originally Posted by toot View Post
    i have a SNIDER conversion to 12 gauge with ZULU stamped on the barrel top. why were they stamped with this word, and why converted to 12 gauge and not .577, or .577/450.? ZULU seams to be AFRICAN and the gun seams to have been a FRENCH MUSKET. very confusing. thanks for any help on my question.
    It is a conversion of the French Tabatière rifle, which was a conversion of their Model 1857 Minié muzzle-loading rifle - and perhaps earlier weapons, for the 1857 didn't change much. It is hard to imagine something more primitive than the Snider, but it is, for it uses a very low-velocity musket-calibre 18x35mm. cartridge, which didn't have the ultra-modern ballistic performance of the .577 Snider. The cardboard case may have been the only one ever used, while the Snider went over to rolled brass very early, and drawn-brass some time after it was no longer a first-line weapon. The Tabatière does have the feeble advantage of not needing tracer to see where your bullets went. But both worked, and the Tabatière can be converted to 12ga, while the Snider permits nothing over 20ga. Oddly enough it can be considered an improvement on the ballistically more efficient Chassepot, for the Tabatière was conventional centre-fire with a breech-sealing case, while the Chassepot was needle-fire with a rubber obturator to make the seal.

    A very large number of Tabatière rifles existed. They were at one time the weapon of the Gardes Mobile, the National Guard, who fought for the Commune de Paris against the government in a bid for improved conditions for workers and greater autonomy for the city of Paris, in the aftermath of the war of 1870-71. The government is thought to have killed some 20,000 rebels, real and imaginary, and most of them with their hands up. An old lady, born with the century, who taught me on a summer course in her retirement, told me that her father escaped being shot by the Communards because his hobby of rowing had given him a worker's callouses. But the government certainly shot a lot more. With them it was for red marks from a rifle-butt, which in shirtsleeves the Tabatière would certainly give you.

    I would suspect that many of them were destroyed, some hidden in improvised places and almost all the others converted into shotguns. It is probably a little weaker and handier than the Snider, which has a solid rear to the receiver, while the Tabatière cartridge can slide in and out at the rear. But that wouldn't stop it suiting a farmer's purpose perfectly as a 12ga, in the black powder days. So an untouched and well-preserved specimen can be more valuable than some far more efficient rifles. Even some of the details are politically eloquent. The nineteenth century in France was a period of conflict between conservative Catholicism and atheistic Freemasonry, which took turns blighting each other's careers in the military. I think a little holy water goes a long way, but its inclusion was scoring a petty point. So, probably, was the name "Zulu". The exiled Prince Imperial, whom Bonapartists call Napoleon IV, trained in England as an artillery officer, like his illustrious great-uncle, but was speared to death in a botched-up patrol while serving as an observer with the British forces in Zululand. The aged Empress Eugénie went out there afterwards and met the minor chief who did it, and they got on rather well. These people are not like the rest of us.

    Here is a good original specimen:


    http://www.collectiblefirearms.com/R...html#Tabatiere

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    WOW!! $3400.00, is a far cry from all of the people who puck on them when you read about them in articles, saying they are junk.

  12. #12
    Junk is an exaggeration. Like the Sten gun they were a useful way of putting a gun in the hands of a lot of men who otherwise might not have had one. But it would be a shame for collector value to be judged on rarity alone.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
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LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check