Ethnographic Arms & Armour

Ethnographic Arms & Armour (
-   European Armoury (
-   -   Three barrel pistol by J. BORTON (

corrado26 6th April 2021 03:39 PM

Three barrel pistol by J. BORTON
5 Attachment(s)
A pair of interesting boxlockpistols with three barrels shows the name "J. BORTON" at the left side of both lock boxes. This name is neither listed in the Neue Stoeckel nor in any other list or book. Both pistols show the private proof marks of Birmingham between 1780 and 1800, so this could have been if not a gunmaker perhaps a dealer in or around Birmingham. Does anybody here have an idea who this J. BORTON was?

fernando 6th April 2021 04:27 PM

Hi Udo,

I read J. HORTON (circa 1740-50) ;) .

corrado26 6th April 2021 06:23 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Firstly I also thought it was HORTON, but with a magnifier you can clearly see that it is BORTON. If this would be HORTON than the proofmarks wouldn't be correct- these are Birmingham private proof marks of 1780-1800 and the two gunmakers HORTON mentioned in the New Stoekel worked 40 years later around 1820-25

fernando 6th April 2021 08:38 PM

Just wonderig ...
2 Attachment(s)
Funny thing; in the first image, where the letters are still 'solid', i do see a H and not a B.
You must have read the e-mail i sent you; why have Christie's 'invented' that J. HORTON was active 1740-1750.
It must be something else but, a family HORTON in the gun trade had an ancestor (Joshua) active in 1750.


corrado26 7th April 2021 11:46 AM

Thanks Fernando. It is really hard to decice wether it is a B or an H, but after having read your email and the additions here I think you are right: It must be an H of the HORTON-family. :)

fernando 7th April 2021 12:12 PM

:cool: .

Rick 7th April 2021 05:29 PM

What was the procedure for firing these pistols? Did they fire all 3 barrels at once; or was there some way to fire one barrel at a time? :confused:

Fernando K 7th April 2021 06:08 PM


At most you can fire the two barrels simultaneously, with the selector (tap) open in the first position then, to fire the third barrel you must move the selector again, If you want to shoot one at the same time, you must have the selector closed, then move it to first position and shoot, and then move the selector back to its last position and shoot. riding the hammer and the frizzen every time


fernando 7th April 2021 08:29 PM

Muy bien, tocayo. Did you catch the drift, Rick ? Te iron button hides the trick ;) .

Rick 7th April 2021 10:37 PM

I'm trying guys. :o :confused:

I found this description:
"This c. 1780 flintlock pistol has three barrels numbered 1-3 that can be fired individually by rotating the pan using the switch on the left. A sliding safety arrests the cock and frizzen."

Okay, so the button and ring piece is turned to expose the priming pan for each barrel?

Were these pistols prone to malfunction and fire all the barrels at once?

Fernando K 7th April 2021 10:46 PM


I promise you a diagram of the function, but you have to be patient ...

Fernando K

Rick 7th April 2021 11:36 PM

I'm a patient man Fernando; take your time and many thanks for the help. :)

corrado26 8th April 2021 09:54 AM

3 Attachment(s)
Perhaps I can help with some fotos. N1 shows the tap in position for firing the left barrel, foto 2 shows the position for the right barrel. The third foto shows the firing position for barrel n3. As far as I know firing more than one barrel at once is not possible.

Fernando K 8th April 2021 02:02 PM


The good photos of Corrado remind me of my engagement. I differ with Conrrado; Photograph Number 2, with the selector (tap) open in the first position, shows both ears, therefore if the bread is barley, the shot will be produced in the barrels on the right and on the left. As for Rick's question, if the selector setting is correct, the fire should not be the other pan.


Rick 8th April 2021 04:51 PM

Thanks for the pictures Corrado; and for your input both Fernandos . :)
The pictures raises another question for me; and maybe it's a stupid one, but here goes.
Looking at the pictures of the 'box' I get the impression that the box needs to be primed before each shot; am I correct?

fernando 8th April 2021 04:55 PM

I would say so, yes.

kronckew 8th April 2021 06:43 PM

Rather deep rifling! And not much room for powder behind the patched ball, or length to develop much spin or velocity. I suspect a heavy wool coat would serve for armour. Taking time to re-prime would be interesting in that case if your now angry opponent was armed with a sharp pointy thing , or a nice cudgel. Aim for his eye from a foot away or you'll regret it. :D And you still might if you do...

fernando 8th April 2021 06:51 PM


Originally Posted by kronckew
Rather deep rifling! And not much room for powder behind the patched ball, or length to develop much spin or velocity...

Turn off barrels ? no windage ? forced bullet ?

corrado26 8th April 2021 07:13 PM

I would say no. The tap around the wholes along its length is formed concave what makes it possible that the primed powder was kept and took along when the tap was turned for loading the next load.

corrado26 8th April 2021 07:15 PM


Originally Posted by kronckew
Rather deep rifling! .

This rifling was not for getting the balls spin but was just the negative form of a key that unscrews the barrels.

The room for powder behind the unscrewed barrels is as I think really big enough for an effective shot. The bullets which are loaded from behind had the same calibre as the barrels and so there was no space between the bullet and the barrel - no gas could escape and so the shot on short distance was certainly very effective. You should not underestime the skill of the old gunmakers :D

fernando 8th April 2021 07:45 PM

Are you elaborating on my #18, Wayne? ;).

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 06:05 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.