Original French M-1777 Brass Frame Flintlock Cavalry Pistol by Charleville Arsenal with Intact Belt Hook - marked 1777

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Item Description

Original item. Only One Available. This is a very nice example of the father of American single shot martial pistols, the French M-1777 Flintlock Cavalry Pistol. This was the pistol the U.S. company of "Simeon & North" copied to create the newly independent United States' first martial flintlock pistol. These pistols are very rare on the market, especially ones such as this that are still in the original flintlock configuration. Most that we have seen were converted to percussion in the mid 1800s.

This model of pistol was adopted to replace the earlier M-1763 cavalry pistol, which was much more traditional in design with a full wood stock. The M-1777 would go on to see service from the U.S. revolutionary war right through to the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at the battle of waterloo in 1815.

As originally produced, these pistols were brass mounted with wooden rear stock and a cast brass frame, with the trigger guard a separate casting. The lock area has a brazed on integral brass flash pan, with an iron frizzen and pan cover. Early examples such as this were produced with an iron belt hook, which was retained by a mounting screw under the brass frame, but later production pistols did not have them. Most M-1777 pistols encountered today were manufactured without the belt hook, or had the hook removed during the period of use. This example still has the hook, properly secured by a large iron screw inside the trigger guard.

This example is marked Charleville on the brass frame, indicating production at the famed IMPERIAL ARSENAL at CHARLEVILLE. This Arms Manufacturing installation was located in Charleville-Mézières, Ardennes, France, to the far north east of Paris, and was responsible for developing the famous "Charleville" muskets of the line. It was later closed, as it was realized that having an arsenal that close to the eastern border of France was not strategically viable.

The frame is also marked with a F / 80 proof mark, which is not one that we are familiar with. There is also a faint 1777 on the barrel tang, as well as S 80 on the left side of the barrel.

The pistol is in well used condition, repaired and then neglected, probably forgotten in long term poor storage. There is heavy to light pitting on most of the steel metalwork, while the brass is still in great shape, with a lovely patina. The pistol also has the original ramrod, which are very often lost, and it even is marked 2276 with a proof. The lock functions correctly, holding at half cock and firing at full.

A very nice unconverted example of the inspiration for many early U.S. pistol designs. Ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: 1777
Caliber: .71" Pistol
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Barrel Length: 7 3/8 inches
Overall Length: 13 1/4 inches
Action: Percussion Side Action
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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