WeaponsCollector

Turn-off cannon barrel pistols in the late 17th Century

14 posts in this topic

While perusing pyracy.com I have seen frequent discussions on the appropriateness of turn-off cannon barrel pistols (aka Queen Anne Style) when reenacting. This is especially the case for events the predate Queen Anne's reign (1702-1714).

When I started researching early breach loaders it was surprising to find out how far back they go. According to the Oxford Companion to Military History, Leonardo da Vinci illustrated a hackbutt (a type of early, heavy matchlock musket) with an unscrewing, or ‘turn-off’ breech in his Codex Atlanticus of c.1500-10.

In 1547 an inventory was made of the weapons owned by King Henry VIII after his death. Of the thirty -three guns described, ten were breach loaders (see Great British Gunmakers 1540-1740).

I own several examples of turn-off barrel pistols from the late 17th century. For example this small rifled pocket pistol was made by Henry Ellis in Doncaster England around 1690.

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And this pair by Thomas Green date from around 1700.

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You will note that like a true Queen Anne, in both of these examples the lock is incorporated into the breach. However the frizzen spring is not in the form of an inverted “V”. The pistols by Thomas Green have ball and cheek style butt plates with long side spurs. These resemble the butt plates of holster pistols. The pistol by Ellis shows more of a progression toward what will become the classic Queen Anne style.

Edited by WeaponsCollector

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I have always admired the grace of turn-off pistols, especially those styled as those Green pistols are. I shall have to build a pair one day.

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I love those little Queen Anne pocket pistols. One of these days I am going to get myself one.

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I have the E J Blackley model and I love it. Best lil pistol around.

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I have 2 of them but cant find anyone over here that can put them together

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Does anyone know of anyone making/selling repro Turn-Off beutys??? besides the Perdersoli Queen Anne(not Turn offs)...???? Kits or otherwise??

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Cuisto....Tiger Lee owns Pirate Fashion in St. Augustine....If you go to The Sack of St. Augustine you should be able to check them out...Located on 26 Cuna Street, which is in the heart of the Historical District

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I've seen and handled the one in Tiger Lee's shop. It handled well, sparks good and seems equal to or better the the India made flinters available.

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all his pistols look like crap, look at the gaps in everything. They also look pinned together and fat. All of tiger lees stuff seems overpriced.

Edited by On Stranger Tides

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all his pistols look like crap, look at the gaps in everything. They also look pinned together and fat. All of tiger lees stuff seems overpriced.

Agreed !!!!

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right then.....anywhere's else to get a turn off? or anyone else making em???

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I have talked with the builder and seen many of his pieces close hand as well as observing him firing some of his pieces. If anyone has any questions I will be happy to answer them privatly.

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