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Thread: Belgian Flintlock Musket

  1. #1
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    Belgian Flintlock Musket

    Just took possession of a fairly recent Belgian flintlock musket, probably assembled in the 1950s. It arrived loaded, of course. Except for the missing lower barrel band, the gun is in pretty good shape.

    I've heard that these guns were made for the African trade, and that they were the only legal civilian firearms in many African countries until fairly recently. As such, I couldn't resist buying one of the last non-reproduction flintlock long guns.

    It even has a bayonet stud!
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

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    this thread is

    Useless without a pic. C'mon share...
    robert
    "Be like the serpent,son;keep your mouth shut,till the strikes begun. "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntt3wy-L8Ok

  3. #3
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    Here's a couple of photos from the guy that sold it to me:





    Right now the old gun is a pile of parts. It takes time to soak out a black powder concretion.
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

  4. #4
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    Nice find. That's an interesting piece, with the backlock and that unusual triggerguard/grip arrangement. We'll want a range report of course, once you get her running. What is the caliber?

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    The seller said it is a .68, but I'd say it's a hair over. The bore at the muzzle is narrowed a bit. Doesn't look intentional, though. More like the boring bar was run in at the wrong speed for about an inch, cutting threads instead of making a smooth cut on the last pass. The rest of the bore feels pretty good.

    -Has anyone ever seen a longer lock plate?
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
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    It's cleaning up nicely. May be unfired. Frizzen face needs to be smoothed and hardened. Weak spark as it is. Still looking for a barrel band. Likely an 1816 or 1842 Springfield lower band can be made to work, but the original was probably a copy of the French 1777. May just hammer and weld one up.
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

  7. #7
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    Can we get a closeup of the lockplate? It has a back action spring combined with a frizzen type front. I've seen it once before on a 17th Century breech-loader.
    TFL Aluminium. Molon Labe!

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    Here's the best picture that I have.



    There's the usual 1840 French components under that extra-long lock plate.
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

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    Found an unfinished brass lower barrel band that can probably be filed to fit. This way, there'll be no question that it's a replacement Also found someone that knows how to face-harden the frizzen.

    Even found a firing range that will let me fire this old monster.

    Hardest part so far is to find a source FFFFG powder.
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

  10. #10
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    Buffalo Arms in Idaho will sell you as little as five pounds, Swiss or Schuetzen. If you want to order at least 25 pounds of powder, Track of the Wolf sells it too.

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    You also might want to try priming with the main-charge powder as it works just fine in many rock-locks. The Brits used 2F in their Bessies and primed with a bit of the charge before dumping it down the barrel. Seemed to work OK and is a LOT easier than fussing around with two powder types.

    Having a properly hardened frizzen should make it spark well enough for this to work. Isn't the use of 4F mostly to help a weak sparking lock?

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    I'll try using coarser powder once the frizzen comes back. I may cheat and use FFFG powder, though. I actually have much more pistol powder than I have of the coarser stuff.
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

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    Update: The frizzen (and the rest of the lock) is in New Hampshire, the bronze barrel band now fits adequately, and the barrel's bore is slowly being cleaned and polished.

    My main concern is the wood. It's very dry, and only finished on the usually visible surfaces. I'm tempted to clean the stock with Murphy's wood soap and then rub down the unfinished surfaces with boiled linseed oil.

    Any opinions?
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

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    The lock is back and is installed. Lots of nice, hot sparks.
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

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    Glad to hear you are nearing the test firing! Regarding the stock treatment, the fellows dealing with Martini-Henry's use mostly BLO and vary as to dipping or wiping it on. Seems that the Enfield factory used both methods and, if you have room inside for the slight coating that will remain, dipping the entire stock will certainly protect and seal it well.

    I'm not sure that you can re-hydrate a dry stock...beyond putting it into a humid environment where it will absorb and normalize to its' surroundings. Beyond that, dip or wipe on generous coating of BLO and you'll be golden.

    Thanks for keeping us informed of your progress. I'm slacking on my Black Powder shooting as I've been distracted by a new motorcycle lately. Will be watching for the shooting report and will vicariously enjoy your experience.

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    Good afternoon ,
    I bought three of such guns recently and tried to gather informations about them , so her are
    a few links to what I found ,

    Firt their origin , in the city of Liège , once a world
    gunsmithing capital

    the gunsmiths schools , since 1897
    http://www.leonmignon.org/index2.asp?ID=lmpres


    various shops who made flint locks for export
    up to 1972

    http://www.littlegun.be/arme%20belge...s%20pub-20.jpg


    http://www.littlegun.be/arme%20belge...k%20pub-05.jpg

    http://www.littlegun.be/arme%20belge...n%20pub-01.jpg

    How to read proofmarks

    http://www.1960nma.org/ProofHouse/Ma...use-110909.htm

    By the way , one of those shop still had a valid contract signed by Colt for the licence to make Colt revolvers for the European market

    http://www.1960nma.org/index.html

    but it is a different story .

  17. #17
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    Few exemple of the drop of quality over the last century

    http://http://i1210.photobucket.com/..._0189small.jpg
    Maybe the original british made ..... of a belgian make with fake british proof ? The legend says the lock came from an american Burnside obsolete rifle ? ( some say Jenks ?)

    Same with belgian proof mark
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t...oegerarms1.jpg Those were made with obsolete military barrels , obsolete other gun parts , replaced with cheap cast parts as needed .

    Finally , the one piece lock plate
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t...e/P1000488.jpg

    I got three of those ,

    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t...e/P1000483.jpg
    two 28 ga and one 14 ga


    sold one , and replaced the rusted breach plugs
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t...e/P1010210.jpg

    with home made ones of the Nock design
    http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t...e/P1010231.jpg

    http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i1...reeches001.jpg

    for safety reason .

    Proofed them

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPFTBofYA98

    Interesting detail , those 1968 made belgian guns have UNF/UNC anglo/american
    screw threads , even the barrels are in 3/4"

    Now I can go on with wood work .

    Hope it was of some interest ?

  18. #18
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    During the American Civil War Jean Baptiste Hanquet supplied muzzle loading rifles and muskets to compete with Enfields and Springfields. After the war these now obsolete muzzleloaders were replaced by cartridge loaded rifles.
    # When US arsenals wanted to get rid of their muzzle loader surplus after the Civil War many of the Hanquet rifles were brought back to Belgium. Hanquet realized the emerging colonial markets and had them altered for sale in Africa. Since natives there could not have modern cartridge firing rifles this alteration meant fitting smooth bore barrels! Hanquet’s muskets and shotguns had a reputation of excellent quality and were sold then to markets like Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and other colonies with vast hunting grounds. For the English colonies this alteration had to be pushed even further and a flintlock had to be fitted. Until the 1950s regular sales were 5,000 to 6,000 of such crude but shootable and functionally constructed hunting rifles per year. They were made of composites of old and new parts



    # With many former colonies being released into independence and the following change of their gun regulations Hanquet was left with a huge inventory of muzzle loaders and spares in the late 1950s. The good news came from the other side of the Atlantic with the hype of old firearms collecting, re-enacting, replicas and commemoratives.



    The Consortium of 7 Liège Gun Makers in the 1850s: The first Belgian Colts were made during the early 1850s, licensed Colt Navy M 1851s C&B pistols marked COLT BREVETE. Through his then-representative Colt had licensed a number of Liège gun makers to manufacture his percussion revolvers when his London factory could not turn out enough pistols to meet the market demand. But that is only half of the story. To protect his Belgian patent from August 21, 1849 there was this provision in the patent laws whereby the article patented must be produced in that country within two years from the date of the patent, or the patent would become void. Therefore, his British patent Counsel, Mr. W. E. Newton, of 66 Chancery Lane, London, went to Liège, Belgium and employed a local gun maker to make several revolvers of Colt’s design. While that move saved the patent Newton also discovered that a few of the Liège gun makers were infringing on Colt’s patent rights. Many such guns had passed through the Liège proof house, many for export into other countries.
    To address this situation Colt appointed a Belgian sales agent and lawyer by the name Davos-Sera to look after his interest. Davos-Sera licensed other Belgian gun makers to produce guns under Colt’s license AND to collect a license fee on all such guns produced. But Davos-Sera’s way of doing business did not exactly please the Colonel…and for reasons not known today the cooperation with Davos-Sera was terminated. He was replaced by J. Sainthill, patent attorney of Brussels.


    http://www.1960nma.org/Hanquets/Hanquet-13.05.11.htm

  19. #19
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    One belgian gentleman told me that in the 1960 , when he was a new graduate of the gunsmith school , fitting expensive made to order shotguns by hand , the " Crazy American " came to see his boss and bought a stockroom full of obselete gun parts .

    I think the American was either Turner E. Kirkland
    of Dixie Guns or Val Forgett ( Forget ? ) of Navy Arms ?

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    theotherwaldo,

    Take BOILED linseed oil and cut it 3 or 4 to one (one part linseed oil to 3 or 4 parts solvent) with either turpentine (better, but you must be able to stand the smell) or odorless mineral spirits (not quite as good, but doesn't stink like turpentine) and let the stock soak in all it will take. This lets the wood pull the oil in and then it sets up. Soak it til it quits taking it, then leave it set for a week.

    Then, take a palm full of fulll strength boiled linseed oil and rub it into the rifle, generating heat via the friction of rubbing. Add a little more oil as what you had quits spreading any farther.

    NEVER get enough full strength linseed oil on it that you have to blot it back off.

    Buckshot

  22. #22
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    I'm afraid that I got carried away with the BLO. The barrel channel and lock areas, the roughest and driest areas of the stock, are slowly losing their tackiness. The rest of the stock is fine.

    I've done some research on the hardware on this gun. The trigger guard, trigger, butt plate, and inner lock components probably came from an Austrian 1849 Fruwirth rifle, the hammer, frizzen, pan, and other outer lock hardware look French, and the barrel, rings, and ramrod probably came off of an American M1841 (bored smooth, of course).

    I'm putting this project on the back burner. Let it season a bit.

    Meanwhile, I'll be working on: Bubba's 1873 Springfield, two Czech/Turk Mausers, a Swiss K31, a Finn M-39, and several other projects.

    BTW, there's another, later Belgian flintlock musket on Auction Arms. The seller wants $325 to start.
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

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    What do you need for the m39?
    When the going gets tough the tough get cyclic!
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  24. #24
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    It was missing the screws for the upper barrel band. Took them from another barrel band that I picked up on EBay.

    Other than that, just a good, careful cleaning.

    The gun's stock spent seventy years marinating in arctic wood smoke. I don't want to change the smell of this old firearm if I can help it.
    "Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect."
    -- Steven Wright

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