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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have an 1851 dated Chatellerault 1833 2nd model officers pistol with damascas bbl.

I was in a gun show today and saw one that looked nearly identical, with the 1st model lockplate, the sideplate was marked Mfre Rle Maubeuge. The hammer is broken halfway up, but the sear notches seem to be working and the rifling looks in good shape. The barrel is marked on the bottom maubeuge and a makers name.

The only thing is the bbl seems to have a fake damascas pattern applied to the bbl, about 1/4" wide, that seems to be original to the gun.

Was this normal to do "pseudo" damascas? On the tang is "No 1" I assume it was part of a pair.

I only paid $185 for it, and the stock looks in good shape, hopefully I can get a hammer made or modified to fit it.

So, did they do damascas patterns on normal steel barrels made by maubeuge?

Frank
 

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Difficult question. According to my documentation (Boudriot), the Damascus is normal for the late 1833 models.
The barrels of the early models were composed of rolled heated iron bands that were then soldered. The Damascus was done with the same principle but using much more numerous thinner bands giving an helicoidal look at the assembly. Anyway, $ is a good price.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I had some info I found from when I bought the other pistol, apparently the earlier models were made of a "banded" steel "acier a ruban". This pistol doesn't have the little finger spur and it hasn't been removed so it must be original. I also found it did have the steel powder measure insert in the butt when I got it unscrewed. I'm hoping I can find a hammer that has a 1.5" throw and 1/2" offset that I can fit to it just for looks. I have shot my other pistol and it works very well.

I've attached the picture of the 1st model above my 2nd model.

Frank
 

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Thick twist is indeed normal for the 1st model which is fitted with a Pontcharra type lock. The 1833 pistol has a Delvigne breech, that is to say the breech has an annular 'step' with a reduced diameter powder chamber, it is not a British style patent breech. The ball is struck smartly against this step to bite into the rifling thus should be shot unpatched if using the proper technique.

Your price would make a Frenchman cry..... You have to add a 1 on the front of your figure in these parts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you very much for that information!

Frank


Thick twist is indeed normal for the 1st model which is fitted with a Pontcharra type lock. The 1833 pistol has a Delvigne breech, that is to say the breech has an annular 'step' with a reduced diameter powder chamber, it is not a British style patent breech. The ball is struck smartly against this step to bite into the rifling thus should be shot unpatched if using the proper technique.

Your price would make a Frenchman cry..... You have to add a 1 on the front of your figure in these parts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I was able to get a thompson center rifle hammer, modify the shaft opening to fit the hexagonal shaft on the lock, ground off the engraving, and then heated it red hot and bent it inward to align with the nipple. Cleaned it up, gave it a bit of brown and scrubbed most of it off, and it actually looks not too bad, and will fire the caps now!

Later I'll do some more profiling and re-finish it but for now I will be able to shoot it.

Frank
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's the more or less finished product. Interestingly the bore on this one is slightly tighter, I can only comfortably seat .662 balls and in my second model, .672 balls seat well. I was able to find both sizes at track of the wolf, so I'm set for a while.

Frank
 

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I picked up a pistol like this the other day (1833 French Officers Pistol). It is in good shape. A little bit of wood chipped out where the pin that holds the barrel to the stock is. The barrel does not have any markings or dates on it though. Could this be a commercial grade pistol? The rifling looks good. Marking on the side is Mm Ru du Chatellerault or something like that. Hammer, lock spring strong. Is it worth anything?
 

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I said that earlier in the post....sob sob sniffle.....

mark51: Yours is probably a commercially made pistol using some ordnance parts. Mine has a 100% ordnance marked barrel and has inspection stamps on the lock, but the lock signature is a non standard Chatellerault signature, which suggests it was assembled from standard parts by a gunsmith for sale most likely to officers not issued with the 1833 as standard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
My first model does not have a barrel date, but does have proofs under the wood if you remove it. My second model does have an 1851 date. I think your lock mark is probably Mfre Rle de Chatellerault. I have shot mine without patch. I had a custom mold made, I need a .667 for one pistol, and .662 for the other, track of the wolf carries balls that are close to these. It should have have pointed rifling, 48 grooves or so. If you can remove the swivel in the butt there might be another nipple or powder/measuring tool in it.

Frank
 

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I will add that you don't really need to match the ball size to the bore: As a matter of facts, the ball size initially was around 16,3 mm for the Mle 1816 patterns onwards, until it was upped to 17,00 mm in 1842 (with a reaming of musket bore size from 17,5 mm to 18 mm) and then down again to 16,7 mm around 1848 as I recall. All you need is a pure lead ball that will freely drop to the bottom. Beat the Hell out of it until it "rings", indicating it has expanded and you're ready to go. The fired projectile will be wider than long, vaguely looking like a 1950's alien flying saucer's cartoon: The front part will have a concave dimple from the rammer, the edges will have the grooves engraved, and the back part will have a teat-like protusion on top of a flat surface matching the Delvigne breech that allows it to expand under the repeated blows from the rod. Shot mine a few times in Kuchenreuter matches (MLAIC) and did not do too well 1) because I am not a very good pistol shooter 2) the sights are regulated for 50 m and shooting at 25 forces you to aim waaaay below target and 3) after beating hard on those balls to expand them, your hand becomes so painful that by the time you get the corrections worked out, you wobble too much to score decently...

Cheers,

JH
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Interesting note. With my fitted balls, seating wasn't that big(I load with a ramrod and mallet with a muzzle protector) and the group was about 2" one handed at 25 yards, but I had to aim a foot low, as you mentioned.

Frank
 
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