Original Victorian British Pattern 1839 Sea Service Percussion Pistol for Coast Guard Use - dated 1842

Item Description

Original Item: Only one available. This is a very nice example of the scarce British Pattern 1939 Sea Service pistol, intended for use by Coast Guard forces. First formed in 1822, the British Coast Guard at that time was primarily responsible for ensuring that ship traffic did not evade customs, ensuring that items were properly accounted for and duties collected. However, while technically working for Customs, the Coast Guard was organized and outfitted by the British Royal Navy. As such, their weapons were similar or identical to those used by the Navy.

In 1839, new pistols were patterned for both the Coast Guard and Royal Navy, which were mostly identical in form. They had the same lock, stock, captured ramrod, and flat butt plate. The Coast Guard pistol was developed first, with a 15 Bore (.67 caliber) round barrel, and a sling swivel or lanyard loop mounted to the butt, so that the pistol would not be lost. These often had earlier configuration lock plates, with a rear bolt safety for the hammer. The Naval pistol was then released in a smaller 26 Bore (.57 caliber), without the lanyard loop, and instead had the typical belt hook seen for years on Naval Pistols. Only the very early examples had lock plates with safeties.

This later produced example definitely looks to be the Coast Guard version, however it is in the smaller 26 bore Navy caliber. It has the later pattern lock plate with no safety, but no belt hook, and lanyard loop installed in the butt plate. It is definitely a quite nice example, with a lovely finish on the wood and a great patina.

The lock is totally correct for the Pattern 1839, relatively small with a bevel on the tail. It bears the correct CROWN / VR Royal Cypher, indicating military issue during the reign of Queen Victoria. Under this is TOWER - 1842, and to the right is the correct "lock viewer" mark. It functions correctly, holding at half cock, and firing at full.

The barrel is smothered with inspection marks and proofs, many of which we do not recognize. As these were used with the Coast Guard, they often went through inspection outside of the usual channels. Also these were often  There is a CROWN / C P / V marking, as well as several CROWN / X / B markings, along with other proofs.  The left side of the stock is marked with some proof marks, and also the faint name W. ADAMS, who would be the contractor that made the pistol, or possibly just the stock. It could also be a contractor who refurbished it at a later time.

Condition overall is very good, with a lovely worn look to the brass fittings, and a nice oxidized patina on the other metalwork. The swivel ramrod is in good shape and still functions well. There are no major cracks or other issues that we can see with the stock.

A very nice example of a scarce British Maritime pistol, ready to research and display!


Year of Manufacture: 1842
Caliber:  .57" pistol
Ammunition Type: Lead Ball & Powder
Barrel Length: 6 inches
Overall Length: 11 1/2 inches
Action: Percussion lock side action
Feed System: Muzzle-Loaded

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