Fine Antique Arms & Armour

Box-Lock Blunderbuss Pistol Of Bronze With Sprung Bayonet By Wheeler Circa 1790 Ref: 043.16


Price: £1,925


Item Description:


A Box-Lock Blunderbuss Flintlock Pistol by Robert Wheeler of London dating to the late 18th century. The pistol has the unusual and rare feature in being mounted with a bronze barrel and action.


The three stage barrel is octagonal near the breech, and has raised mouldings plus a turned and belled muzzle with side-mounted ramrod-pipes, ramrod, and sprung bayonet beneath. The bayonet tip is secured and released by the sprung sliding iron trigger-guard. The bayonet is released from its extended armed position by a sprung side button. The top mounted thumb-piece safety-catch secures the cock in the half-cock position, the frizzen simultaneously secured by a forward pin forged onto the catch which protrudes through the top bronze lip of the lock and into an aperture at the base of the frizzen when closed. The cock is of ring neck type and the dark, hardwood, figured, flat-sided butt is mounted with a vacant silver escutcheon on its spine.


Both sides of the lock are engraved with stands of arms, one of which in its centre has "WHEELER" engraved in an oval. The Tower Private Proof Mark is stamped twice underneath the barrel obscured by the bayonet when it is in the safe position.


Robert Wheeler [1767-1813] is recorded as having a shop in London and made box-lock flintlock pocket pistols with under spring bayonet, and flintlock duelling pistols, flintlock blunderbusses, and also under Royal Government contract made flintlock holster pistols and musketoons. He had a supply contract with the Hudson Bay Company for flintlock trade muskets. The name of the business changed to Wheeler & Son in 1813 and traded thereafter until 1830 (see A Merwyn Carey (1954) English, Irish and Scottish Firearms Makers, Acro Publishing Company, New York, page 106. Barrel length 7.5 inches (19 cm). A similar pistol by Wheeler was sold at Bonhams in London 27th November 2003 (£1,175).


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