'Old' Guns #4 - A wheellock devised by Leonardo DaVinci in 1495

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  • 'Old' Guns #4 - A wheellock devised by Leonardo DaVinci in 1495

    If you like or appreciate the 'old' stuff ... here you go:

    Here's the link to Old Guns #1: A Tannenberg 'hand gonne' from the 1300s:https://www.bandofboaters.com/forum/...93913-old-guns

    Here's the link to Old Guns #2: A 60" barreled 75-caliber flintlock musket: https://www.bandofboaters.com/forum/main-forum/captain-s-quarters/94335-old-guns-2

    Here's the link to Old Guns #3: A 10-barreledGatling Gun: https://www.bandofboaters.com/forum/main-forum/captain-s-quarters/141484-old-guns-3-can-you-say-gatling-gun

    But here's something that you won't likely see outside a museum!

    Every year for the past ~40-years, the 'Frontier' or black powder area of my gun club puts on an annual pre-Thanksgiving dinner the Sunday before Thanksgiving. So this year I brought a wheellock carbine like John Alden from the Plymouth Colony in Plymouth, Mass had brought over with him on the Mayflower in 1620.

    This started out as a research effort, then a dream/wish/bucket list item, then an actual build after I bought the wheellock assembly kit for $200 from The Rifle Shoppe of OK, where they specialize in parts, most cast from originals, to build authentic muskets and rifles of the black powdah vintage.

    Where the ‘Thanksgiving’ association comes in, is that this is my copy of the John Alden 'Mayflower' carbine that was originally made by Beretta in Italy (circa 1560) that now resides in the NRA museum. The NRA would not provide dimensions, less we knew from someone that handled the actual piece, that the length of pull (LoP) was an extremely short 10-1/2”. That is UNshootable for us, where a modern arm is typically +/- 13-1/2” LoP, thus to keep the proportions correct to the original, without going ‘too big’, I settled on 12-1/2”.

    For those who are not aware of the backstory, they found the original Alden wheellock in the Alden family house in 1974 ... !!! ... hidden in a secret recess behind a wall in the family house/museum in Plymouth, Mass when it being remodeled. It came over on the Mayflower and has been verified as having been made by Beretta.

    For those unfamiliar with wheellocks, they followed matchlocks in the progression of BP ignition, where on a
    matchlock a lit matchcord ignites the powdah in the pan that's fastened to the barrel, which then ignites the main powder charge in the barrel. The wheellock uses pyrite (Fool’s Gold) that strikes against a spinning wheel, akin to using a Zippo lighter, to provide an ignition source to ignite the BP charge. One cranks the wheel almost a full turn, charge the pan, set the dog with the pyrite over the wheel and fires away. They aren’t the fastest in the BP world ... slower to fire than a flintlock, where matchlocks are the FASTEST in 'ignition/lock time’ in BP arms, even faster than percussion guns, but this sure is a HOOT to fire!

    For specs, as we all like specs with pics of ‘gun porn’, lol, it is a 58-caliber rifled carbine of 28-1/2” swamped barrel in a cherry stock, as most early Italian arms were stocked. We shoot for hours before the Turkey dinner @ 1pm and I let anyone who wanted to handle it and/or shoot it have a go. So with all that, enjoy the pictures and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    Click image for larger version

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    Click image for larger version

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    Life is too short for an ugly boat!

  • #2
    That’s a beautiful piece!!! Thanks for sharing!
    95 Stamas 32' CC twin 250 Mercs
    Seaford, De


    • #3
      If anyone is ever near the DC area the NRA museum has an incredible display of antique and modern weaponry.

      The indoor range is right around back and top notch.
      2010 Sea Ray 205 Boston Whaler dauntless 15 W/75 merc 14' Shakespeare Wondercraft W/Merc110 17' Gheenoe W/Johnson 4.5 Other assorted watercraft