Original U.S. Civil War Era Prussian M1850 Percussion Cavalry Pistol with Regimental Marking circa 1860

Item Description

Original Item: Only one Available. The Prussian M1850 percussion pistol was in many ways an anomaly, which despite being obsolete when it was first introduced, was one of the longest-serving military percussion pistols in Europe. Coming from the same nation that in 1836 had invented the revolutionary needle fire gun, the forerunner of all bolt action rifles, this pistol had many characteristics of obsolete flintlock pistols and appears to have used much of the same tooling in its manufacture. 

The barrel is assembled from a front barrel tube, with a rear breech plug bearing the bolster and cap nipple that screws into it. The pistol also has a flat lock plate appears to have been designed for a flintlock, because it has a cutout for a flash pan, where the cap bolster sits. The design even retains the frizzen spring, now used for the pivoting nipple protector. It is for this reason that many assume that they are conversions from flintlock, however they were definitely purpose made. Yet the gun was NOT a conversion from flintlock.

Like many of these pistols, this example has had the nipple protector mechanism removed, an d the associated screws ground flat to the lock plate. It also has has the lanyard loop on the butt cap removed, as well as almost all of the markings on the lock plate and barrel. It does however still have matching number 28 stamped on various parts. The pistol is also regimentally marked on the bottom of the brass trigger guard with 9. 3. 4. 25., which we have unfortunately not been able to identify. Early Prussian regimental markings differ from those used after the founding of the German empire.

The most likely reason for the markings having been "scrubbed" is that it was intended for the U.S. Market, particularly during the Civil War, when the Confederacy in particular was in need of arms. Many nations hoped to profit from the conflict, however they also knew that markings which could be traced would be a liability, depending on the winner of the conflict.

The pistol features a very nice walnut stock, with a single brass barrel band at the front end of the stock. There is also the characteristic brass & steel trigger guard with a finger spur, and a brass butt cap. The lock side plate is iron, as is the pistol grip back strap, which definitely helped add to the strength of the stock, but also added weight.

Condition of the pistol is very good, showing a lovely patina of age. The brass components have matured to a lovely mustard color, and the iron and steel components have a lovely gray peppered look. The stock has the expected wear and small dents from service, but no major cracks or chunks missing. We tested the lock, and it still holds correctly at half cock, firing at full.

Fully Cleaned and ready to display!


Year of Manufacture: circa 1860
Caliber: .61 inches (pistol)
Ammunition Type:  Lead Ball & Powder with Percussion Cap
Barrel Length: 8 3/4 inches

Overall Length: 15 inches
Action: Percussion Lock
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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