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Question: Via Internet
I’m writing this question on June 28th because I have been seeing a lot on the news about the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. Today is the 100th anniversary of that act that many feel started WW1. However, I have been searching the websites and see there is some confusion about exactly the model and caliber of the assassin’s gun. Is it the Model 1900 or the Model 1910 FN Browning? Caliber .32 or .380?
We have had a similar question a couple of years ago in this column, so I will give the same answer. I agree, there is a lot of misinformation on this incident. In the book John M. Browning, An American Gunmaker, it states a .32 caliber FN Browning Model 1900 was used by Gavrilo Princip to assassinate the Archduke, and thereby start WW1.I think the most up-to-date book, and the most reliable for FN Browning pistols is FN Browning: Side-Arms that Shaped World History, by Anthony Vanderlinden.Vanderlinden reports that the court records show four Browning Model 1910 pistols recovered from the conspirators with serial numbers 19074, 19075, 19120, and 19126, and were part of the same shipment to FN’s agent in Belgrade on December 3, 1913. The caliber was not mentioned, but the bullets recovered from the body were 9 mm. A period photograph from the trial shows two pistols, magazines and ammunition. Since 2005, the pistols have been on display in the Austrian Museum of Military History in Vienna. The records show that Gavrilo Princip used an FN Browning, Model 1910 pistol, serial no. 19,074, caliber 9 x 17 mm (.380 acp).
Anthony Vanderlinden has just told me that he will have an article on the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand published in the American Rifleman magazine in August or September 2014.
Question: via the Internet
I recently traded for a sword that the vendor assured me was a Confederate Saber of Civil War vintage. To outward appearances, it is just about exactly like the U.S. Model 1840 Cavalry Saber. The only marks on the sword are worn letters that he says are Columbia, S.C. This is on the reverse ricasso. The seller told me that he thinks the sword was made by William Glaze of the Palmetto Armory in Columbia. S.C. What do you think?
I first checked Albaugh and Steuart’s Handbook of Confederate Swords, and find this sword listed as a product of K.G. & K.: Kraft, Goldschmidt & Kraft of Columbia, S.C. Considering that this reference book is about 65 years old, I decided to check in with a friend, Dr. Fred Novy, who is very knowledgeable about things connected with the Palmetto Armory and William Glaze.
Fred directed me to a history of the Palmetto Armory written by Jack Allen Meyer, and sure enough, your sword is described on pages 23 and 24. Meyer shows photos of the sword and the marking.
Some swords also have W. Glaze & Co. stamped on the ricasso, but most have just the Columbia, S.C. on the reverse side of the ricasso, as does yours. Additionally, Meyer points out that most of the marks show faint or partially missing letters L and U in Columbia. Yours has that same defect and then some. He mentions that the ridges under the leather covering the handle were formed by first winding cord around the grip and then covering the cord with leather. In an enlargement of your handle, some wear on the leather reveals the cord. I think you have a genuine South Carolina Militia Sword that most likely saw service in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy.
Question: via the Internet
Enclosed are photos of a strange rifle that I acquired from Ron Peterson’s gun shop in Albuquerque. It is marked J. Haberstro Buffalo N.Y. on top of the barrel. It is a nice looking rifle with brass openwork patchbox, inlay on cheekpiece, nice striped wood, and 35” rifled .52 cal barrel. The lock is interesting. It has two hammer noses and there are two corresponding nipples in the barrel. I would assume you would have to be very careful to load the first ball and powder so that it does not obstruct the forward nipple fire channel. Then you would have to load the second load on top of the first. I guess a wad would be a good idea between the two. Then you would have to be very, very careful to adjust the nose of the hammer so that it fires the front load first. I wonder what would happen if you fired the back load first or even both at once? ˝ese must have been dangerous guns! Can you tell me anything about Habersbro?
Maybe we don’t see too many of these superposed-load guns these days because they have mostly blown up?
The best information about New York gunmakers can be found in Swinney, H. J., The New York State Firearms Trade, 5 vols., Rochester, NY: Rowe Publications, published 2006. There are 2,375 pages of information on NY gunmakers in this outstanding five-volume publication.
Question: via the Internet
I have a device that is obviously an animal trap gun. The top has raised cast letters highlighted in gold paint: HARTFORD, CONN. / F. REUTHE’S PATENT / MAY 12th 1857. Can you tell me more about it and exactly how it works?
That is the nicest condition that I have seen, and I personally haven’t seen one with the original oiled bag that protects the device when in the outdoors, although there is one with a protective bag as yours has pictured as no. 24 in a 1928 catalog of the collection of the Milwaukee Public Museum. Congratulations on a fine specimen.
Frederick Reuthe’s Patent of May 12, 1857 is No. 17,297 for a “Jaw Trap.” Noted trap and alarm gun authority, Mel Flanagan, says this is the first U.S. Patent for an animal trap gun. ˝e patent states the invention is “. . . a new and useful Trap for Capturing and destroying Wild Animals . . . where they are unapproachable by man.”
This two-barrel “gun” is a .28 caliber, percussion cap, muzzle loader. After charging both barrels, but before placing the percussion caps, the two spiked rods would be pushed into the device and brought together (photo 2), the spring bar with the two hammers would be pulled away from the device until it locks in the notch on the trigger, bait would be attached to the barbed prongs, and then the device would be tied to a tree or suitable anchor. Then the percussion caps would be placed on the nipples. At this point, the oiled bag would be slid forward to protect the device.
When an animal has the bait firmly in the mouth and pulls hard enough, the double hammers will fall and discharge both loads. And as the barbed rods are pulled forward, they spring apart and are intended to hold the animal in case the shots are not immediately fatal. The first photo shows the rods in the extended and expanded position. Mel Flanagan says there are five variations of this device. The first model has an additional barbed rod just for the bait; the second model is this one; the third model is .44 caliber; the fourth model is smaller than the others and is in .28 caliber. Sometimes this model is found with an iron pistol grip; and the fifth model is a single-barrel design.
Question: via the Internet
I have this old gun, see the photos because there is not much I can tell you except that it has the number 3619 on almost every part of the gun, even the screws. On the left side it has “Model 1860.” On top of the receiver is 1863 and crown over K. It is a complicated breech loader. It appears to have had the stock cut down. The barrel is about 34 inches and smoothbore. It is a center fire, so it must have been converted if 1860 or 1863 is really the date of this gun.
You have a Norwegian Model 1860 Kammerladningsgevaer Army Rifle. The long Norwegian word means Chamber Loading, and it indicates a breech loading rifle, somewhat similar to our US Model 1819/1833 Hall percussion breech loading rifle, except that this Norwegian rifle has an underhammer ignition system. The lever on the right side is lifted up, the breech block retracts a short distance, and then it tilts up for reloading. When it is closed, the last movement of the lever cams the block forward to seal the breech. The hammer in the forward “triggerguard” is pulled downward to cock the gun. The “triggerguard” of the hammer is spring steel and is in effect the mainspring driving the hammer.
The original caliber was .46, and the chamber could be loaded with a round ball or a pointed projectile. Only seven years later Norway adopted the Remington-system rolling block rifle firing a rimfire cartridge. The Chief of Ordnance, Col. Alf Lund, designed a conversion (and your rifle is usually referred to as “the Lund conversion”) so that the Model 1860 could use the same ammunition as the rolling blocks. And eventually, these rifles were released for sale as surplus to the general population. They were sold to farmers and such for about the equivalent of 37¢ according to one source. Because rimfire is very difficult to reload, a great many of these were converted to centerfire and bored smooth. Occasionally, brass centerfire shells with a LUND headstamp made for these conversions will be found at cartridge collecting shows.
The markings on your gun indicate it is the Model 1860 made in 1863. The crown over K is for the Norwegian military Kongsberg Armory.
Question: Tom Glass, Oregon
I currently own two what appear to be Birmingham-made brass-barrel flintlocks apparently imported into the Unites States between 1813 and 1830 one by Henry Young, a New York importer, and the second by A.W. Spies another New York import company. The several reference books I looked in classify the pistols as being possibly used by militia officers, frontiersman, and anyone needing an effective handgun. Other references call them “trade pistols.” They appear to have Ketland locks and look to be very similar to Ketland-marked pistols I have seen. Where exactly were most of these pistols used? And by whom?
Both of your pistols can be considered “secondary martial” or Militia pistols. Flayderman specifically mentions the H. Young pistol, Catalog 6B-056, in the Secondary Martial section of his Guide. Henry Young, born in 1792, is listed in the 1820 New York City Directory as Hardware and Military Goods and in 1830 as Henry Young and Company. Your pistol may have been made between 1820 and 1830. An identical pistol to yours is illustrated in Smith & Bitter’s book HISTORIC PISTOLS: THE AMERICAN MARTIAL FLINTLOCK 1760–1845. ˝e authors tested a piece of the stock and it was determined the wood is European Walnut, suggesting these were imported complete rather than as parts and stocked in America.
Adam W. Spies was born in New York City in 1800, and about 1815, he went to work for a hardware firm specializing in the import and sales of military goods: C. & J.D. Wolfe. Between 1823 and 1831 Spies lived in England representing the Wolfe Company. Upon his return, he became a partner with Wolfe. It was common for importers and dealers to have their name engraved on guns, and especially the locks, they imported.