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Old 14th July 2020, 08:46 AM   #1
adrian
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Default Indian Combination Matchlock & Crossbow?

Hello I am requesting help with identification of this combination matchlock &, I presume, a cross bow.

The 'bow' itself is missing, however the attachment points to bind it to with leather thongs are, I think, quite apparent. The barrel is.565" Cal, 53 ˝" long with integral pan. The twin function serpentine lock simultaneously lowers the match to the pan & the iron notched catch in the breech of the bolt chamber.

In some of the photos I have inserted a yellow rod where the bolt, more an arrow really, would be.

Has anyone seen any other examples similar to this please?
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Old 14th July 2020, 09:10 AM   #2
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There is also an inscription near the breech...
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Old 14th July 2020, 10:42 AM   #3
fernando
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Let us ask Philip Tom ...
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Old 14th July 2020, 02:33 PM   #4
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Default ingenious and unique

This one is news to me -- can't recall seeing any gun/crossbow combo before, from any Eastern culture.

Trying to figure out how this works, it looks like that the bow would have to be positioned vertically in the stock so that the string can access the arrow and the shooter be able to aim and discharge the piece properly.

A few questions come to mind, am wondering...
1. About the attachment of the bow; is there any movement in the hooked iron bracket to allow for fitting the bow and retaining the cord or leather lashings? (I can see that these lashings can't go all way round the forestock and barrel because these might block the view of the gun sights)
2. If the notched iron sear bar for holding the cocked bowstring is substantial enough to handle a bow of any real power -- the spring-loaded rotating "nut" in the stock of a medieval European crossbow can handle the pressure of an enormous draw weight, but I have a hard time visualizing how substantial the design of this Indian system is.
3. What sort of bow might have been used -- self, composite, or comp./reflex? The design of the "grip" portion to better accommodate fit to the pronged retaining mount...

Intriguing! Thanks for sharing it.
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Old 14th July 2020, 03:16 PM   #5
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This is a very interesting piece! What if the crossbow didn't use a bow, but operated like a speargun, where the propelling force was generated by an elastic or rubber-like drawstring. If the front hooks pivot, the eye of the drawstring could be easily affixed to it; two hooks, double the power. Having a rubber-type firing device late 19th century would not be implausible. I am assuming that the item located near the"sear bar," is the trigger device.
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Old 14th July 2020, 06:52 PM   #6
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What an interesting piece. Never seen one before. I think the speargun theory might make the most sense (?) Wonder why those hooks have tapered, pointed ends ?
I was thinking of the possibility of a ramrod with a pointed end doubling as a spear point. But the hole in the fore stock is to large in diameter. Guess the individual had to carry the ramrod separately.
Still can't figure out how it works.

Rick
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Old 14th July 2020, 08:44 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your thoughts & ideas. One of my first impressions was that it might be a 'rubber band gun' as well. However India rubber, in the period we are looking at, was not, I think, up to the job. It was used as a waterproofing compound, a sealant & perhaps a weak elastic. Whereas the simple bow was a know instrument in many forms. The current owner believed it to be a rampant gun, which it is not - hooks going over a wall to absorb the recoil..... no need to go there.

With the questions:

1. About the attachment of the bow; is there any movement in the hooked iron bracket to allow for fitting the bow and retaining the cord or leather lashings? (I can see that these lashings can't go all way round the forestock and barrel because these might block the view of the gun sights)

Those iron brackets are unmovable. The bow would be placed against the end grain of the stock between the top & bottom row of hooks, this does not obscure the arrow. The lashing would pass diagonally across the mid point of the bow, diagonally from hook to hook, top left to bottom right, etc. This would effect a very firm & sound fastening & still not obscure the arrow's hole, nor pass over the top of the gun's stock. All the pressure from the bow being drawn would be taken by the end grain of the stock that the bow is placed upon. The lashings would take no strain.



2. If the notched iron sear bar for holding the cocked bowstring is substantial enough to handle a bow of any real power -- the spring-loaded rotating "nut" in the stock of a medieval European crossbow can handle the pressure of an enormous draw weight, but I have a hard time visualizing how substantial the design of this Indian system is.

The sear bar is short & stouts & move down a short distance, it does not rotate like a crossbow or stone bow 'nut'. It does appear strong enough to handle a bow that can be drawn by hand, but not a bow that would require a mechanical device or leg strength etc.


3. What sort of bow might have been used -- self, composite, or comp./reflex? The design of the "grip" portion to better accommodate fit to the pronged retaining mount...

I think an ordinary bow, perhaps a small compound, that can be readily drawn with two hands would work. I see this combination weapon as more of a 'novelty' than something that is highly lethal & very practical - as is true for the majority of combination weapons, most are too impractical for battle use. Of note the gun's loading rod is only 30cm long & stops at the 2nd barrel band - it is aesthetic only. With a bow mounted this combination weapon would have looked 'cool' and would have been a novel arm to show ones friends & to shoot at targets with - the sort of thing we all like now as well as they did then. But I do not see it as a battle weapon, it would be quite unwieldly, I would not want to be armed with it after the first bullet & arrow have been discharged.

It is certainly a fascinating thing.
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Old 14th July 2020, 11:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adrian

With the questions:



Those iron brackets are unmovable. The bow would be placed against the end grain of the stock between the top & bottom row of hooks, this does not obscure the arrow. The lashing would pass diagonally across the mid point of the bow, diagonally from hook to hook, top left to bottom right, etc. This would effect a very firm & sound fastening & still not obscure the arrow's hole, nor pass over the top of the gun's stock. All the pressure from the bow being drawn would be taken by the end grain of the stock that the bow is placed upon. The lashings would take no strain.


The sear bar is short & stouts & move down a short distance, it does not rotate like a crossbow or stone bow 'nut'. It does appear strong enough to handle a bow that can be drawn by hand, but not a bow that would require a mechanical device or leg strength etc.



OK, now I see it, the lengthwise slot goes all the way through the forestock, I was distracted by what appeared to be some sort of a "filler" but which was actually the background surface against which you took the picture. Duh!

So, a transverse bow with the center resting on the shoulder of the forestock, the four hooks accommodating the lashing, the arrow exiting directly below the barrel enabling the shooter to utilize the same aiming-plane and sights. Ingenious! Congratulations, you seem to be the first kid on the block to have one of these, and it's a mighty big block. I can't recall even the Royal Armouries Museum, or the Roy Elvis collection of south Indian arms, having something like this. If someone else on the forum has one, or the same essential concept from another Asiatic culture, I hope he will share it here sometime.
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Old 15th July 2020, 09:56 AM   #9
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Congratulations, you seem to be the first kid on the block to have one of these, and it's a mighty big block.

It is not mine, it just happened to be in amongst an assortment of antique small arms that I was cataloguing for an auction house, the collection included quite a lot of top end Indo Persian arms.

I lashed a piece of wood where the bow would go as an experiment. Photo below, it worked perfectly. Please ignore the hasty & untidy rope work....
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Old 19th July 2020, 04:34 PM   #10
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Hi Adrian

Yes, your experiment makes things more clear. I was under the impression that the hook(s) were moveable. But as mentioned, they are not. I can now visualize the bow lashed with leather throngs. It would seem to use a fairly long arrow. This would seem to be a period experimental piece. In theory the bow/arrow arrangement used as a backup once the gun was fired and not enough time to reload the gun. A different idea on the superimposed guns from the period.
It's certainly an interesting piece. And likely the only known surviving example.

Ricck
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Old 19th July 2020, 04:55 PM   #11
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As previously said, this is the first such bow/gun combo out of India that I've seen. Haven't yet encountered reference to any such example out of Europe.
India was fertile ground for imaginative weapons combos such as pistol barrels on armor-piercing punch daggers, and features ranging from innovative to simply weird, like automatic pan-cover opening on matchlocks and triangular bores on hunting guns.

You might be interested to know that centuries before the familiar Elgin cutlass-pistol, the Europeans did some interesting things using wheellocks. There are two German battle-axes with pistol barrels and wheellocks mounted on the side, the handles are hollow for storing bullets and spare pyrites and the trigger is fitted with a rotating safety that blocks it as required. These are preserved in the Armory of the Palazzo Ducale, Venice, and date to the 1530s.

Then there is the pair of Spanish lances with double-barrel pistol setups, in the Armería Real in Madrid (cat. I.20). Date is uncertain, best guess is ca. 1600. Significant is that the locks are proto-miquelets in that the mainspring pushes up on the heel of the cock, whose spade-like toe engages the horizontal sear. But -- the frizzen surface is slightly convex, like the arc of a (very large) wheel. And it has a manual safety (no half cock sear) identical to that on many German wheellocks...
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