previous post next post  

Another look at that French M1822 pistol

Here's what I've figured so far - Spiff called it a M1824, converted around the time of our Civil War.  Neffi called it a M1822.  Spiff got the model number wrong, but I'm guessing he meant the M1822, and based on the date on the barrel - he's correct about the conversion time - at least for when it was assembled into it's current configuration.  Neffi got the nomenclature correct, if incomplete... but I'm having trouble finding good references, and the ones I did find, are not conclusive.

Here's the "before I cleaned it up" (in a collector-safe manner, natch) pic:

This pistol has a "Mutzig" (a French arsenal) marked stock, and the serial number on the stock matches the barrel and ramrod.  There are other marks added to the stock, by the butt cap.  That number matches the numbers on the major components of the lockplate, which is a flintlock converted to percussion.  The screws on the lockplate don't match, but that isn't that unusual for a pistol on probably at least it's third rebuild.  The lockplate is unmarked - if it ever was marked, it was probably marked "St. Etienne" but this thing has been scrubbed.  The barrel should have a date on the tang, but does not.  The date is on the side of the barrel - and while it's faint, I'm 90% certain the barrel is dated 1862.  The barrel gauges at .72, making it a nominal .69/70 caliber pistol, down which the ball musta bumped a *lot*.  This barrel is *not* a conversion barrel - it was manufactured as a percussion barrel.  It is also not rifled, which what little into I've been able to glean makes this a M1822 Bis, but for the dating of the barrel it should really be a M1822 T Bis. It has the late model ramrod, which is shaped to act as a powder measure.    Click this link for a montage of the guts and stock (that's a 400k file, be warned if you're on a slow connection).

The best guesses I've seen is that these pistols with these dates probably did *not* get imported for the Civil War, but may well have been sent to Mexico for use in Napoleon III's adventures with Emperor Maximillian.  I got it at a gun show cheap, so I'm not too frazzled about the anomalies.   Here's a shot of the pistol after the cleaning activities - like I said in the original post - a lot of what looked like rust was old preservative - but there was a fair amount of hidden rust under the steel stock parts, though the lock was pretty clean.

The changes aren't great - but they're there - and, more importantly, what rust there was has been removed or stabilized as appropriate.  See Og?  It *was* worth the effort!


Nicely done. Cleaned but not "Restored". Glad the wecsog doesn't come to your house.
Have you fired it?
From my look down the bore, Pogue, I'm not going to fire it.  There's some pretty deep pits - though admittedly, with the windage this thing has, there might just be a big whoosh of fire and smoke and the ball just dribbles from the muzzle.

Og - hadda think about that for a minute.   For the unintiated, wecsog = Wile E Coyote School of Gunsmithing, an institution whose graduates over the years have taken many a fine collectible and "bubba'd" it into parts for someone who needs to replace some screws and such.  Of course, in their defense, at the time many of 'em were doing it, the guns were plentiful and cheap, and no one dreamed the gov't would eventually ban the importation of same.   Frickin' Lee Harvey Oswald.

I just clean 'em up, stabilize and repair 'em as neccessary, with original parts.  And if I can't find original, I mark repro parts so they can't be passed off as original.  Nor do I try to take something like an M1 Garand that's been re-arsenaled three times and try to get it back to "as first issued."  I could sell my Winchester-receivered M1 for more if I did that  - or damage my reputation. 

I've got a Starr Revolver that's going to be a project, and I've not found too many original parts that weren't attached to another raggedy gun that the owner thinks is worth a lot more than I'm willing to pay for parts.  I keep lookin' though!

That's just bein' honest.
My Arisaka- including the original, unaltered mum- came to me as an already sportered version., I'd LOVE to have a clean-mum 99, though the ones I've seen I couldn't afford- and I'm trying to keep it as pretty and useful as possible so as to honor the guy who brought it back with the mum intact. I have a soft spot for the ijits who do such damage. it's in my crawlspace.
My project is trying to refinish a C96 Broomhandle.
Still haven't got all of the paint off and I started over a year ago.
These things take time yanno.
 A very interesting pistol. I'm not up on 19th Cent. French arms, so it is a nice learning post for me.
Having buildt a couple of front-stuffers, the thing I find most interesting is the one-piece nosecap/
barrel band/sideplate, never saw anything like that before. It must have been a booger to inlet.
PrimEvil - not a one-piece, it's two. The nosecap overlays the sideplate so that the forward screw secures both.  Good thing, too - you have to pull the nosecap forward and then invert it to align the notch in it that allows you to slip it over the front sight.