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twines

Matchlock Information

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Hello,

 

I am new to the forum.  My passion is antique military guns and sporting guns.  Blades of all type interest me.  I am dealing with a collection of antique fire arms and a matchlock appeared.  I have dealt with several WWII era Samurai swords but this is my first match lock.  I know very little about them.  I am interested in finding any and all information.  I am certain the screws are not correct.  I would like any pictures containing the rivets that would be original to the gun.  I am working with a master gunsmith who can make most anything.  The ramrod has been shortened a rethreaded.  I would like to know if the what is left the ramrod is it correct?  With the addition of a piece, would the ramrod be correct.  As I have studied, most examples of matchlocks I see have an external main spring.  When the hammer is cocked the trigger releases the hammer and it gently drops to slightly above the pan.  Is this correct? There are no wear marks indicating a main springs was ever present. I have seen a few example like this one.  I would like to date the gun and know the maker.  

 

Again any information will be appreciated.

 

Tom

 

https://imgur.com/gallery/N3hExgX

IMG_0001 (2).JPG

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Hi Tom, and welcome.

There is plenty of information here on this NMB site, and photographs too if you dig around.

 

It is hard to judge what you have from that one shot, but I can say that it looks like a good quality Japanese Tanegashima matchlock of perhaps the early/mid 1800s. It was made in Kunitomo, perhaps the most famous gunsmith community, by 国友藤兵衛 the House of Kunitomo Tobei (the final individual artisan name 充淑 Atsutoshi, indicates that he was a child of the famous Kunitomo Ikkansai who was born in 1778).

 

There were at least two main lock types, with either a visible external or hidden internal spring. 

 

So many questions from you in one post! The serpentine head drops yes, and not too violently, but does not stop in mid-air. It kind of hits the pan lid, or the open pan, enough to dump the burning match into the priming powder. Screws were not generally used as you say.

 

Ramrods were generally a single tapered wooden rod, but new-fangled affairs appeared towards the end of the Edo Period. It is not clear from your post what you are describing. Is it a brass rod linked in some way to the muzzle?

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The first two kanji “江州” (Gōshū) are the province. In this case “Omi“.

 

I’ve struggled wit the last two characters of “Tobei”......:-?


Thanks Piers!

 

Nice teppo Tom!!!

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Hi and thanks to all with a heart felt Merry Christmas.  Here is a link to all the pictures https://imgur.com/gallery/N3hExgX/  I have been in touch with the Kunitomo Gun Museum. The director,  Mr. Yoshida Ichiro sent me this most gracious and informative response, seen below. I sent him a list of question about the gun and will post his response. 

 

The serpentine head stops about an inch from the open pan.  After the information from Bugyotsuji,  I will photograph that aspect and post.  Right now it is at a master smith.  He is doing nothing to it until I get direction for Mr. Ichiro.  At a minimum I would like to replace the screws with the proper pins.  I hope the museum will sell me proper parts and my smith can fit them.  Also looking for a mum for the left side barrel pin. 

 

The rod is metal and shown in the pics.  It has been shortened and the threads are modern. The smith can make me a wooden rod and duplicate the tip if it is brass. Need some pictures of what would be correct and the type of wood.  US stuff is usually oak or hickory, easy to come by.  I do a pretty fair job of aging wood with gun powder ,oil, stain and water.  For the record I would never try to pass it along as original.  It has what appears to be what is left of a patch worm on the end. If it is correct the smith will add a piece to make it the correct length.  Again I am waiting for the directors instruction before doing anything.

 

Thanks again to all

 

Tom

 

 

the  Hello, Mr. Wines.


> Thank you for your mail.

> I am the director of Kunitomo Gun Museum in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.

> I read your mail and had a look at the pictures.


> On the back of the gun barrel, I can see the kanji, 江州(Goshu:now Shiga 
> Prefecture)

> 國友藤兵衛(Kunitomo Tobei) 充俶(Jushuku).

> It shows that this matchlock gun was made by 國友藤兵衛充俶 in 江州.


> 藤兵衛, known as 一貫斎(Ikkansai), was born in 1778 and died in 1840.

> He was a representative gunsmith and scientist in those days of Japan.

> He was the man who measured the weigh of air and made the air guns.

> He also made the reflecting telescopes and observed the surface of the 
> moon, the sunspots,

> Jupiter and Saturn.


> 充俶(Jushuku) was a son of 藤兵衛.


> There are many materials or references to 藤兵衛 in our museum.

> You wrote that you have a native Japanese friend.

> If you are interested, I can send you some.

> Please send me your address.


> I hope my mail will help you.

> I wish you a Happy New Year!


> Yoshida Ichiro

> The director of Kunitomo Gun Museum,

> JAPA

 

Hello, Mr. Wines.


> Thank you for your mail.

> I am the director of Kunitomo Gun Museum in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.

> I read your mail and had a look at the pictures.


> On the back of the gun barrel, I can see the kanji, 江州(Goshu:now Shiga 
> Prefecture)

> 國友藤兵衛(Kunitomo Tobei) 充俶(Jushuku).

> It shows that this matchlock gun was made by 國友藤兵衛充俶 in 江州.


> 藤兵衛, known as 一貫斎(Ikkansai), was born in 1778 and died in 1840.

> He was a representative gunsmith and scientist in those days of Japan.

> He was the man who measured the weigh of air and made the air guns.

> He also made the reflecting telescopes and observed the surface of the 
> moon, the sunspots,

> Jupiter and Saturn.


> 充俶(Jushuku) was a son of 藤兵衛.


> There are many materials or references to 藤兵衛 in our museum.

> You wrote that you have a native Japanese friend.

> If you are interested, I can send you some.

> Please send me your address.


> I hope my mail will help you.

> I wish you a Happy New Year!


> Yoshida Ichiro

> The director of Kunitomo Gun Museum,

> Japan

 

 Hello, Mr. Wines.


> Thank you for your mail.

> I am the director of Kunitomo Gun Museum in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.

> I read your mail and had a look at the pictures.


> On the back of the gun barrel, I can see the kanji, 江州(Goshu:now Shiga 
> Prefecture)

> 國友藤兵衛(Kunitomo Tobei) 充俶(Jushuku).

> It shows that this matchlock gun was made by 國友藤兵衛充俶 in 江州.


> 藤兵衛, known as 一貫斎(Ikkansai), was born in 1778 and died in 1840.

> He was a representative gunsmith and scientist in those days of Japan.

> He was the man who measured the weigh of air and made the air guns.

> He also made the reflecting telescopes and observed the surface of the 
> moon, the sunspots,

> Jupiter and Saturn.


> 充俶(Jushuku) was a son of 藤兵衛.


> There are many materials or references to 藤兵衛 in our museum.

> You wrote that you have a native Japanese friend.

> If you are interested, I can send you some.

> Please send me your address.


> I hope my mail will help you.

> I wish you a Happy New Year!


> Yoshida Ichiro

> The director of Kunitomo Gun Museum,

> Japan  below is there response

 

 Hello, Mr. Wines.


> Thank you for your mail.

> I am the director of  Hello, Mr. Wines.


> Thank you for your mail.

> I am the director of Kunitomo Gun Museum in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.

> I read your mail and had a look at the pictures.


> On the back of the gun barrel, I can see the kanji, 江州(Goshu:now Shiga 
> Prefecture)

> 國友藤兵衛(Kunitomo Tobei) 充俶(Jushuku).

> It shows that this matchlock gun was made by 國友藤兵衛充俶 in 江州.


> 藤兵衛, known as 一貫斎(Ikkansai), was born in 1778 and died in 1840.

> He was a representative gunsmith and scientist in those days of Japan.

> He was the man who measured the weigh of air and made the air guns.

> He also made the reflecting telescopes and observed the surface of the 
> moon, the sunspots,

> Jupiter and Saturn.


> 充俶(Jushuku) was a son of 藤兵衛.


> There are many materials or references to 藤兵衛 in our museum.

> You wrote that you have a native Japanese friend.

> If you are interested, I can send you some.

> Please send me your address.


> I hope my mail will help you.

> I wish you a Happy New Year!


> Yoshida Ichiro

> The director of Kunitomo Gun Museum,

> Japan in Shiga Prefecture, Japan.

> I read your mail and had a look at the pictures.


> On the back of the gun barrel, I can see the kanji, 江州(Goshu:now Shiga 
> Prefecture)

> 國友藤兵衛(Kunitomo Tobei) 充俶(Jushuku).

> It shows that this matchlock gun was made by 國友藤兵衛充俶 in 江州.


> 藤兵衛, known as 一貫斎(Ikkansai), was born in 1778 and died in 1840.

> He was a representative gunsmith and scientist in those days of Japan.

> He was the man who measured the weigh of air and made the air guns.

> He also made the reflecting telescopes and observed the surface of the 
> moon, the sunspots,

> Jupiter and Saturn.


> 充俶(Jushuku) was a son of 藤兵衛.


> There are many materials or references to 藤兵衛 in our museum.

> You wrote that you have a native Japanese friend.

> If you are interested, I can send you some.

> Please send me your address.


> I hope my mail will help you.

> I wish you a Happy New Year!


> Yoshida Ichiro

> The director of Kunitomo Gun Museum,

> Japan

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Tom, Mr Yoshida is a good man. Jan, Anthony and I spent many happy hours there with him a couple of years ago. He has given you a good answer.

Some parts of your gun, such as the ribbed effect throughout the lock work are highly unusual. The zogan also looks of better quality, using precious metals such as silver. Perhaps this was a special order.

The best ramrods were a straight tapering stick of 赤樫 Akagashi red oak with a flat head and a hole close to the narrow end to insert a cleaning cloth. Yours sounds like a Western addition, or a neat Western idea adapted in the mass of innovations and confusion towards the end of the Bakumatsu. I would keep it as part of the package as a spare. Again there are threads and pictures on this site somewhere! Look for keywords Karuka, ramrod, scouring rod, etc.

 

*Note that Jushuku is an alternative reading for Atsutoshi and either would have been fine. Perhaps Jūshuku sounds more ‘classical’. Only the smith himself could tell you for sure how he wanted those Kanji to be read.

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The tips are usually wood, (occasionally painted black) but towards the end of Edo some would indeed have a cap made from brass or iron.

I have one original iron-capped ramrod (not pictured above) and some photos of a Daimyō pistol ramrod fancily capped at both ends in brass. (Pic 1, but hard to see in that single shot.)

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Thank you for such great information.  I am working with a master gunsmith and would like to replace the screws with proper brass pins.  Can anyone recommend a source for rough cast or finished pins to be fit to the gun.  Also wood like to replace the the chrysanthemum missing on the middle barrel pin.  Happy New Year to all.

 

https://imgur.com/gallery/N3hExgX

 

 

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I have fallen in love with this

piece.  I have very broad interests in the history of firearms.  I help people who inherit collections get fair prices.  Those of us who are interested in the history are aging out.  I want to buy this from the family that is selling a small but elite collection.  What would be a fair price to pay.  I want to be the caretaker of this piece and learn more about the history of firearms among the samurai.  Help please.. 

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Sounds as if you have the bug, twines. Glad you are happy and excited.
Can you remind us of the *caliber again?

Did you use the word ‘elite’, or is it their word?

Difficult to advise without knowing your budget and without taking it in hand, but ... uh..  maybe you should make an offer in the $1,500 range and see if they look insulted. :laughing:
Of course, they might be reading this thread. Point out the work you will have undertake to make this gun ‘right’ and let them see that you will treasure it. 
Adjust offer upwards slightly if necessary. 😱 

 

* in cm if poss. Adjust offer price down with smaller bore.

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It is .45 Cal  11.6 to 11.3 MM.  I live in MD and gun laws here changing and by the end of this legislative season we will be close to CA and NJ in absurdity. I am selling things I have while I still can a replace those things with antique.  I used the word elite.  So far I sold a United States marked 1774 Charleville, the nicest 5th Model Burnside I've ever seen, and a couple of run of the mill CW guns.  I haven't got to the antique Parkers.  I thought the match lock was worth between $1500 and $2000.  I was sure because of the family of the maker.  I make a few buck doing this by not doing quantity and treating people fairly.  The bug I have is my learning curve.  I love learning history.  I used to rebuild antique furniture and then it got to big and to heavy. Guns are easier to carried.

 

Thanks

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