Original British Cased Duck's Foot Flintlock Pistol by Bunney of London with Central Blunderbuss Barrel & Accessories
Original Items: One-of-a-kind. This is an absolutely fantastic cased Duck’s Foot pistol set. Its not to say that all Duck’s Foot pistols aren't fantastic, its just that this one is especially grand! This is one of the only examples we have ever seen with a Blunderbuss barrel mounted as the middle barrel and able to be fired separately.
This is a truly incredible weapon, clearly made under special order, most likely for a Naval officer around the turn of the 19th century (1790-1810) at the time of the French Revolution and the following Napoleonic Wars. This was a harrowing period for the middle and upper classes of England, who feared a similar Revolution might break out in England as it had in France, with the masses taking revenge on the gentry for years of mistreatment. Regrettably British Naval discipline at that time was harsh and naval officers were continually in fear of mutiny, and for good reason. The result was the development of the Duck's Foot pistol, which discharged multiple lead balls in a spread pattern, sure to inflict terrible damage to any mutinous mob.
This unique example was manufactured by one of London's leading families of Gun Makers; Bunney. It is marked BUNNEY LONDON on an engraved scroll on the right side of the frame. The firm was started by JOSEPH BUNNEY in 1730, and continued for three generations with shops in London and Birmingham up until 1815. The weapon incorporates a central barrel of blunderbuss form, projecting from the barrel cluster, which is fired separately from the four volley barrels. There is a sliding switch on the left side of the frame that selects either option diverting the ignition system to one of the two powder pans under the barrel, so in effect it is a double discharge pistol, both firing spreading loads.
Our example bears London proof marks to each barrel, that are individually numbered 6 - 10, which rather suggests that there was a similar set cased separately with numbers 1 - 5. Indicating that this started out as a double cased set of a pair. Unfortunately, the set was broken up, or possibly the other pistol was lost to the ages.
The wonderful included wooden case measures 19.75" x 10" x 5", and is lined in very attractive blue velvet. There is a faded BUNNEY paper trade label mounted on the inside of the lid. Inside, there are 8 compartments, one of which is lidded and contains some original lead balls for the 4 side barrels.
The seven open compartments contain the pistol and some important pistol accessories: such as a brass mounted copper powder flask, a small supply of flints, and a bullet mold incorporating a barrel screw. In additional compartments are personal items, such as a clay pipe holder with a hinged lid (pipe is absent), a small leather bellows for fire starting, and a horn enclosed foldout magnifying glass for reading charts. Finally there is a small ebony snuff box made from a silvered medallion commemorating CHARLES JAMES FOX, who died in 1806. Fox, born in 1749, was a very prominent Whig Statesman who was the principal opponent to William Pitt the younger.
The pistol itself has an intricately inlaid butt with masses of silver wire and a silver hallmarked grotesque butt cap and escutcheon. The hallmark on the butt cap is an anchor which represents the city of Birmingham, though the letter date code is not legible. If only we knew who commissioned this set at the time!
A most desirable set which has been in Christian Cranmer's personal collection for more than 25 years, sadly offered so it can find a new home. Ready to research and display.
Year of Manufacture: circa 1795-1805
Caliber: Approximately .50"
Ammunition Type: Ball and Powder
Action: Top Action Flintlock
Feed System: Double Shot - 4 barrels + 1 blunderbuss barrel
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