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Tanegashima questions


George
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Here are better pictures of the hammer/serpentine. I agree that the the double conversion theory is very attractive. Does Occam's razor come into play here?

A couple of other observations: The side plate that could possibly be covering up the previous pan/side touch-hole, has the same decoration as the lock plate, hammer, and rest of the gun. The tapered slot in the end of the hammer appears to be very professionally accomplished.

I regularly shoot a flintlock longrifle that has silver inlays. There is a silver oval "thumb piece" inlay on the top of the wrist of my rifle, and it doesn't have the same appearance or color as the three feather inlay on the top of the barrel of this gun. I can't help but think the kamon is something other than sterling silver.

Again, many thanks for the fabulous insight and information.

George

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Dear George,

Back on Nov. 8, 2014 ... I posted : " Given the probable rarity of PERCUSSION CAPS in late Edo Japan, ... perhaps the gunsmith wisely allowed for the gun to be easily converted back to MATCHLOCK by making a hammer that would in an emergency allow for the insertion of a match by removal of the hammer insert and removal of the percussion nipple. Time and black powder erosion ( the opening is obviously eroded ) would have removed evidence of threading. Whether or not the nipple has broken off ( my opinion ) or has been purposely been removed and the gun operated post percussion as once again a matchlock we shall never know and it matters little. "

 

I feel somewhat vindicated ;) , as your last photograph is definitive proof that the gunsmith originally made the hammer ( serpentine ) exactly as I described above. Note in the photograph attached below ... the arrow pointing to the slot in the head of the hammer that allowed for the percussion INSERT to be placed and/or removed to allow for the gun to be operated as a percussion cap or as a matchlock at the TIME OF MANUFACTURE.

 

This George was a very accomplished gunsmith and you created with your original post a most interesting discussion. I am not sure that the principal of Occam's Razor would apply here as I'm not sure who came up with the fewest assumptions ?? Never the less, ... I think you were well served by all of us trying and eventually solving the riddle.

 

... Ron Watson

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  • 2 weeks later...

May I ask a couple more questions? When looking at the side of the tanegashima opposite to the lock, there is a diamond shaped iron inlay which act as a nut for the screw holding the back of the lock. In addition, however, there are three holes going completely through the stock which presently have no function. The hole which is farthest forward also intersects the lock mortise.

I am unfamiliar with how the matchlock locks were attached to the stock. Would these holes be consistent with an earlier form of lock? The bottom of the lock mortise also has what appears to be remnants of screw tip auger tool marks.

I wish I had noticed these features earlier.

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Thanks, George

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Dear George,

Starting with the hole with the diamond shaped iron insert. This at one time was much smaller and served as a pin hole for attachment of the original matchlock lock plate to the stock ( we can barely make out where the old original matchlock lock plate ended and the inletting was extended beyond this to accommodate the new percussion lock plate ).. Next, ... moving forward towards the barrel is a blind hole used for inserting a punch to drive the original lock plate loose from the stock ( once the actual lock plate pins were removed ). Next, ... the hole above the present trigger is the hole for the pin that kept the original matchlock trigger in place ( this we are sure about as on the opposite side it exits above the lock plate. Next hole is another pin hole which was once used for attaching the original matchlock lock to the stock. Virtually all matchlock lock plates are pinned to the stock front and rear ( in other words two pins were used ).

... Ron Watson

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