Original 19th Century North African or Arabian Snaphaunce Lock Jezail Camel Gun

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. The Jezail (sometimes Jezzail from the Arabic) is a simple, cost-efficient and typically handmade muzzle-loading long arm commonly used in the Middle East region in the past. These were all highly personalized, so no two were alike. They were often made with locally available locks, so it was common to see locks on these that were of varied origin. This example is all locally made, and probably originates from anywhere from Morocco in the West to Saudi Arabia in the East. It features a very attractive snaphaunce style lock.

King Philip III of Spain signed an EDICT OF EXPULSION in 1609 to purge the nation of over half a million "Moors" who had arrived in Spain over the previous 500 years. These unfortunates were compelled to return to their ancestor's lands in North Africa. When leaving they took many "Western Skills" learned in Spain with them. Gunmaking was one such skill and a contingent of Muslim Gunsmiths set up in the City of Tetuan in what we now call Morocco.

They continued to make the latest style of firearms then dominant in Spain which was the SNAPHAUNCE system, a forerunner of the traditional FLINTLOCK soon to be introduced in France.These Arab made long guns intended for use from the saddle of a Camel were smooth bored but surprisingly accurate and production of the same ignition system continued for over 200 years and more even through the late Victorian era.

This gun has a true quality lock mechanism, which appears to have an Armorer's mark or stamp so the lock itself might have Spanish 17th Century origins. The rest of the gun was made in North Africa, probably MOROCCO around 1800/1850.

The barrel is 40" long and the gun's overall length is 55". It has a very tall butt which was designed to be supported on the chest of the Camel rider to absorb the recoil. This was a working weapon so the decoration is minimal with brass barrel bands and a few brass nails.

This gun is ALL ABOUT THE "LOCK". Fully cleaned and looking its best, ready to display!!

History of the Snaphaunce Lock:

A snaphance or snaphaunce is a type of lock for firing a gun or is a gun using that mechanism. The name is Dutch in origin but the mechanism can not be attributed to the Netherlands with certainty. It is the mechanical progression of the wheellock firing mechanism, and along with the miquelet lock and doglock are predecessors of the flintlock mechanism. It fires from a flint struck against a striker plate above a steel pan to ignite the priming powder which fires the gun.  Examples of this firearm can be found through Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.


Years of Manufacture: Circa 1800-1850
Caliber: approx .67 inches
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Barrel Length: 40 inches
Overall Length: 55 inches
Action: Snaphaunce Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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