Belton Flintlock

199. Jover & Belton pistol-16 /2" overall/ Pitt Rivers Museum collection, University of Oxford.

Another very interesting example of a sliding lock gun is illustrated in figure 199. This 4-shot flint pistol is marked JOVER & BELTON, LONDON. The curious back-striking lock will slide along the barrel and be held at one-after-another of the four touch holes. Between shots, the lock is drawn to the next touch hole, the hammer is cocked, the frizzen pressed down, and the revolving pan primed. Pressing down the small lever under the pan turns the pan and primes it.

Both Pollard and George agree that Jover & Belton, who made this pistol, were in business in London in 1786. It may be assumed the firm operated under this name for a short time only, and that the pistol illustrated was made well before either the American Roman candle or sliding-lock designs of the early 19th century.

The records of the Continental Congress show that in 1777 an order was approved for construction under the direction of Joseph Belton of 100 muskets „which will discharge eight rounds with once loading." It is unknown what the guns were like or if any were made, other than a single example surely exhibited by Joseph Belton. We have no reason to assume there is more than coincidence in the fact the name Belton appears as maker of both the 1777 American repeater and the 1786 English repeater. The name is not uncommon.

The controlled-fire types of superposed load guns also included various forms having fixed, rather than movable, locks.

Such guns having a separate lock and touch hole for each load were made in matchlock and wheel lock, as well as in the later flintlock and cap lock. At least one double loading gun was produced which fired the forward charge with a wheel lock and the rear charge with a flintlock, both locks being on the same lockplate and fired by the same trigger. The flintlock employed a dog safety to prevent the fall of the flint hammer when the trigger released the spanned wheel lock.

A very good example of a superposed load flintlock pistol using two locks is the one of a pair shown in figure 200. This is a very simple arrangement of two locks on a single lockplate, with a touch hole lined up with each pan. On this piece one trigger suffices for both locks. The gun is shown with the forward lock ready to fire when the trigger is pressed. After that the rear hammer may be drawn back to full cock and the trigger pressed again for a second shot.

Era Single Shot Shotgun

Guns on this style with two side locks, one in advance of the other, continued to appear sporadically as long as muzzle-loaders were in demand. In fact, at the end of the cap lock era doublebarrel superposed load shotguns were produced in Belgium with two right-hand and two left-hand locks. A gun with. two barrels was not put completely out of action by a single misfire, as a single-barrel gun might be. The dread of misfires was reason enough for the lack of sustained enthusiasm for any of the superposed load guns.

The two-shot pistol shown in illustration 201 has one barrel with two locks operated by a single trigger. With both hammers cocked, trigger pressure will drop the right hammer. A second pressure will drop the left hammer. The vent leading to the forward charge runs from the pan of the right lock through a channel in the thickened and widened lockplate until it reaches the forward touch hole.

It is worth noting here that a single trigger, one barrel gun having a right-hand lock directly opposite a left-hand lock is not necessarily two-shot. Some guns of that construction are singleshot. The touch holes both lead to the same powder charge. The hammers fall together and lessen the chance of a misfire. See illustrations 256 and 257.

Firing superposed loads by sending the fire for the forward charge through a channel that bypassed the rear charge became the most widely used system even though this use of a long channel caused excessive fouling. A gun on this system might have two locks, like the one already shown in illustration 201, or it might have but one lock, like figure 202, or figure 203.

Figure 202 is a Queen Anne pistol, marked T. GIBSON, LONDON. This has a very unusual mechanism for firing its two superposed loads, making use of a two-part flash pan. A channel from the upper part leads to the forward charge, while a vent in the lower part goes directly to the rear charge. The rounded end of the lever fastened to the pan is pointed toward the muzzle when priming the pan. To prepare for the first shot the lever is turned back, thereby covering the lower part of the pan and putting part of the powder in the upper level and part in the lower level. For the second shot the lever is moved back to its original position, so the scraping flint will ignite the powder in the now uncovered lower level.

Belton Flintlock

202. Gibson pistol-13 /2" overall/ Joseph Kindig, Jr. collection.

202. Gibson pistol-13 /2" overall/ Joseph Kindig, Jr. collection.

Curiosa FirearmsBelton Flintlock
204. Mould rifle/ Photograph courtesy Harold G. Young.

Another similar but less complicated pistol firing two superposed loads with one lock is pictured in figure 203. This is one of a pair, also English, and is marked ]RICHARDS, STRAND, LONDON. Again there are two pans one above the other. The floor of the top pan is the cover of the lower pan. After sparks have ignited the priming powder in the upper pan, and fired the forward charge, the previously primed lower pan may be uncovered by pulling back a sliding lever on the left, not visible in the illustration.

The illustrations that follow in this chapter will all be of percussion cap pieces, and all will be of the controlled-fire type. Some, like the pocket model Lindsay pistols and the 10-shot Walch revolvers, exist in considerable numbers. The remainder range from very scarce to unique, and from very plain to a work of art by a master gunsmith.

Illustration 204 is of an English rifle made under a British patent of February 19, 1825, granted to Jacob Mould. This is a four-shot with a sliding lock. Mr. Mould specified „. . . a series of touch-holes along the barrel or breech of any fire-arm, and in the application thereto of a sliding or other adjusting lock, to act by percussion or otherwise, whereby any number of charges not exceeding the number of touch-holes may be inserted in the barrel at one time and fired successively".

On .February 27, 1855, Daniel B. Neal, of Mount Gilead, Ohio, obtained United States patent # 12,440 for a „Double-Shooting One-Barrel Fire-arm". Illustration 205 shows the patent model with the lock in the position it would be after firing the first shot. The nose of the elongated hammer has struck the top of a false hammer, driving the nose of that false hammer hard against the forward cone. When the true hammer is now again cocked, the hinged false hammer may be thrust aside by pressing forward on the front trigger. A pull on the conventional rear trigger will this time let the true hammer strike the cap on the rear cone, the false hammer no longer intervening.

Pitt Rivers Matchlocks
205. Neal pistol/ Smithsonian Institution collection.
Neal Pistol

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