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Market Square => Arms and Armor => Topic started by: madmanpsu on April 09, 2010, 04:37:23 PM

Title: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: madmanpsu on April 09, 2010, 04:37:23 PM
Ok, I'll throw this out here.  I am looking for a firing reproduction of a wheel lock grenade launcher.  It was the precurser to flintlock weapons of the same type used by Grenadiers in the late 17th and 18th centuries.  They were used to shoot grenadoes or hand bombs at opposing troops, they were just as or maybe even more dangerous to the person using them and were hugely unpopular with the soldiers.  They were really more of curiosity, but and interesting and important one, as they are the forerunner of all modern grenade launchers.  I'm doing research into the use of these weapons to possibly introduce one into a reenactin unit, pending the captain's approval of course, and was wanting to buy one.  Unfortunately, I can't find anyone making one, the closest thing I found was a kit from the Rifle Shoppe to make a 17th/18th centurty flintlock.  I have not asked it the flintlock can be replace with a wheel lock, because the kit is pretty expensive, far more in fact than I am looking to pay.  I was hoping someone on here might know of someone who could make such a thing for a reasonable price.  Thanks for any help I get in advance

Matt
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: escherblacksmith on April 12, 2010, 08:38:18 AM
you looking for decorative?  or something that sparks? 
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: madmanpsu on April 12, 2010, 07:05:59 PM
I am looking for a firing reproduction, though I am not going to try shooting actual grenados from it.  Most likely I will substitute tennis balls for the grenados.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Stipticus on April 14, 2010, 05:55:00 AM
To be honest, I'm doubtful you're going to find a functional replica in your price range.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Butch on April 14, 2010, 09:46:03 AM
What if you were to make a pneumatic tennis ball gun, and decorate it to look like a wheel lock grenade launcher?

Here is a link from a guy who seems to have REALLY spent a lot of time developing cheap variations, total cost less than $100:  http://www.antennalaunchers.com/antlaunching.html

You could modify the design so the canister was in line with the barrel, and decorate it like an arquebus or a grenade launching musket:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Early_Modern_Grenade_Rifles,_Bayerisches_Nationalmuseum,_M%C3%BCnchen._Pic_01.jpg

Something to consider, and would probably be a lot less hassle (legal issues, permits, permission from the faire)  to fire a compressed air launcher than one using some sort of flame induced propellant.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: madmanpsu on April 14, 2010, 04:03:55 PM
Thank you for the suggestions, but I am looking to use this in reenacting circles, so it is pretty much a requirement that it be a period reproduction.  Besides which, I pride myself on being as period accurate as I can, so I am not really interested in something that looks like the real thing.  I do appreciate the thoughts and advice, though.  I am well aware of issues at faires and am not anticipating ever being allowed to use one there, but it would be damn fun to shoot outside of that.  Besides, from the research I have conducted so far, it appears that these weapons were much more of a curiosity and oddity than anything seriously deployed.  Most truops who performed this role seem to have thrown the grenades by hand rather than using the hand-morter or launcher due to a very high danger factor.  In any case, I shall keep looking.  Maybe I will have more success at School of the Musketeer this weekend.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Butch on April 14, 2010, 08:57:13 PM
It looks like the Rifle Shoppe, in Jones, OK makes kits for various types of firearms.  http://therifleshoppe.com/catalog_pages/wheellocks/wheellocks.htm
Perhaps they could put something together for you?
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Butch on April 15, 2010, 08:54:07 AM
...and they have a kit for $975!
http://therifleshoppe.com/catalog_pages/hand_mortar/hand_mortar_(819).htm
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Butch on April 15, 2010, 09:17:23 AM
I just re-read your original post, and see that you already found what I had.

I'm kind of a gun guy, and I would say you won't be able to touch a firing replica of something like that without paying that kind of money.  Even modern AK-47s are around $400.  Those things are cheaply manufactured using a minimum of machined parts; plus, there are MILLIONS of them in the world!  An AR-15 (civilian M-16) start around $800.  More machining in this rifle, plus there are a lot around.

What you're looking for is scarce, and is custom made (more labor intensive than machining).

I'm not trying to discourage you, just telling you it won't be cheap!

You may wanna try gunbroker.com (it's kinda like EBay), and look in their collectible firearms section.  They may have something you can get.

Good luck!  I hope you find what you're looking for!
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: madmanpsu on April 15, 2010, 06:06:04 PM
Butch, thanks for the suggestion.  I was unaware of that site.  I think you may be right that I will have a hard time finding it without paying alot for it.  Since I am not thinking it will get much firing except for my own personal enjoyment, which is likely to be rare given my schedule, I am trying to keep the cost down.  It may take me a while, but I think I'll eventually be able to save up enough to get one from the Rifle Shop, provided the locks are compatable. 
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Butch on April 15, 2010, 09:44:50 PM
I did a bit more digging, and it seems that the Rifle Shoppe's customer's biggest complaints are that the Rifle Shoppe takes quite a while to produce that hand mortar!

You should call them up, and see if they would be able to outfit their mortar with a wheel lock (they seem to have several different versions of the lock), and they may be able to strike some kind of deal with you.

That PVC tennis ball launcher looks pretty cool!  Did you check that site out?

Finally, did you consider just a plain mortar or a swivel cannon?  Does your role not suit a member of a crew-served weapon?  Possibly modify your personna to allow you to locate and purchase a different weapon?

Good luck, and please keep us posted!  I'd love to hear how this works out!
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: madmanpsu on April 16, 2010, 07:22:11 AM
Well the persona that I am adopting right now is a Hand-Cannoneer, support for the Musket and Pike block.  I just kind of stubled across this while doing some research for that role and thought this would be cool as hell.  I have never seen anyone carrying or using this weapon and since I like unusual weapons and armor, I wanted to try it out.  I have seen people using "grenadoes", ussually painted tennis balls filled with black powder.  For the moment, I will be sticking with my hand-cannon, but I want to try to find one of these hand mortars.  I have an e-mail in to the Rifle Shop asking about the compatability of the hand mortar with a wheel lock and what they might want price wise, but I haven't heard anything back yet.  I'm going to a reenactor event this weekend at Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia called School of the Musketeer, so maybe I'll have a better idea about this weapon from people there and possibly find someone who can make one.  I do think that those tennis ball launchers are cool, though.  They remind me of the spud guns that are popular with the rednecks around here.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: madmanpsu on April 18, 2010, 08:25:26 PM
Just an update, talked to someone this weekend at SOM who knew exactly what I was talking about and has been tossing the idea around himself for a while.  He makes hand-cannons and is going to do a little research and designing to decide if he can make such a thing and what it might take for him to do so.  Possibly by next year at SOM he may have a piece for me and a few others for sale.  I am quite pleased, and while I am going to continue to look, it is more as a backup and to help him with research and design now.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Capt Robertsgrave Thighbiter on April 30, 2010, 11:59:13 AM
Just a word of caution... The Rifle Shop is famous for two things 1) having a WIDE variety of period firearms kits. THier Grenade launcher is the only kit out there.    and 2) taking years, yes, years, to deliver parts.
I know a guy over on the Pyracy website who built one from thier kit. A magnificent weapon when done, but it too 2 years to get all the parts from RS.  pyracy.com and search for grenade launcher, you'll see it and read the story of it's build.

Good luck and please post pics of what ever you wind up with!
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: madmanpsu on May 08, 2010, 02:01:30 PM
Yeah, I've talked to a couple other reenactors that have told me to avoid RS if I can.  I currently have another person working on trying to build one for me. He's going to basically build me the barrel, and I am going to have someone else build the stock and then I will try to find a wheel lock to put on it and have a gunsmith examine it all and make sure it is workable.  At this point I have still not heard back from anyone at RS to see if their kit is compatable with a Wheel lock or  not.  After hearing from people that I could be waiting upwards of two years, I am not really wanting to get involved with them if I can avoid it. 
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: brier patch charlie on June 15, 2010, 05:13:30 PM
I wonder how large of a load you would need  to launch a 2 lbs iron ball 200 yards. Most military loads at the time was only 69 gains of 3f. G-D help you if you had a short fuse, LOL. I have to say it does look nice for a kit gun, but the price tag gave me sticker shock, but then again all parts and every thing else has gone up.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Merlin the Elder on June 15, 2010, 05:58:35 PM
Ok, I'll throw this out here.  I am looking for a firing reproduction of a wheel lock grenade launcher.  It was the precurser to flintlock weapons of the same type used by Grenadiers in the late 17th and 18th centuries.  They were used to shoot grenadoes or hand bombs at opposing troops, they were just as or maybe even more dangerous to the person using them and were hugely unpopular with the soldiers.  They were really more of curiosity, but and interesting and important one, as they are the forerunner of all modern grenade launchers.  I'm doing research into the use of these weapons to possibly introduce one into a reenactin unit, pending the captain's approval of course, and was wanting to buy one.  Unfortunately, I can't find anyone making one, the closest thing I found was a kit from the Rifle Shoppe to make a 17th/18th centurty flintlock.  I have not asked it the flintlock can be replace with a wheel lock, because the kit is pretty expensive, far more in fact than I am looking to pay.  I was hoping someone on here might know of someone who could make such a thing for a reasonable price.  Thanks for any help I get in advance

Matt

I know this helps not, but I knew a guy (used to shoot with years ago) that had a collection of antique firearms that more than likely had one of what you are looking for in his collection. I saw what he kept in his house, and it was a more impressive collection than I've seen in any museum...and it was just a very small part of his collection. He had a Colt Dragoon in his collection (albeit, in very poor condition, but if you're familiar with the rarity of ANY condition of this revolver, you'd be impressed, too). Most of the weapons in his collection were in functional condition, and in pristine condition. I'd not seen anything like his collection before or since. He had cap-locks, flintlocks, wheel locks, and match locks.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: madmanpsu on June 18, 2010, 08:59:18 PM
I wonder how large of a load you would need  to launch a 2 lbs iron ball 200 yards. Most military loads at the time was only 69 gains of 3f. G-D help you if you had a short fuse, LOL. I have to say it does look nice for a kit gun, but the price tag gave me sticker shock, but then again all parts and every thing else has gone up.

I know what you are saying there.  I have a matchlock musket on order from Sykes Sutler and it is 52 caliber and shoots 50 grains of powder, I believe.  Period pieces were ussually 75 caliber and shot a corresponding 75 grains, I believe.  This is exactly why I say these weapons were unpopular with the troops.  The wheel locks themselves tended to be unreliable, the powder was of  inconsistent quality and the amount used was  most likely very dangerous and the fuses tended to burn at inconsistant rates.  This weapon was more to show the captains wealth and success than anything else.  The main reason I want one is that I like to be different from what other people are doing and since I have never seen anyone else doing this, I think that I am pretty much going to be different here.  I also like the idea of shooting tennis balls a few hundred yards for fun ;D
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Bolton_Bailiffe on November 16, 2010, 02:44:01 AM
Sorry to be late to this dance, but you might inquire of the proprietor J. Buck of www.musketmart.com

He is a reenactor and a friend.  He used to supply Syke's Sutlery with muskets until there was a falling out, the reasons for which had no bearing on the quality or safety of his muskets.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Capt Robertsgrave Thighbiter on March 18, 2011, 02:48:54 PM
 One word of caution madman, firing black powder weapons is not illegal and in most states , BP weapons are NOT considered firearms.

BUT, if you shoot an actual grenade, like a fused tennis ball with BP in it, that gun now becomes not only a firearm, but changes the classification to, I believe, a WMD.   

On the BP Cannon site I belong to, the moderator immediately clamps down ANY discussion of how to accomplish this, cuz the ATF and the FBI regularly scout that message board, and they want NO trouble with those folks.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Merlin the Elder on March 18, 2011, 03:40:30 PM
One word of caution madman, firing black powder weapons is not illegal and in most states , BP weapons are NOT considered firearms.
You should qualify that statement, Captain. They aren't considered firearms for the purposes of transfer of ownership, although legitimate BP weapon dealers aren't going to sell to a 15 year-old.  But that doesn't mean you can fire one within the city limits. I know of no jurisdiction that differentiates a weapon using smokeless versus black powder when discharging a firearm within city limits.

Another word of caution, Madman. You don't indicate the level of your familiarity with black powder. Unlike modern smokeless powders, which are classified as propellants, black powder is an explosive. If you aren't well-versed in it and its properties, do not experiment with it.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Capt Robertsgrave Thighbiter on March 23, 2011, 12:00:49 PM
Merlin, by ATF definition, black powder guns that were made previously to 1890, I believe, or REPLICAS of those are not considered 'firearms'. Trust me, I spent the better part of a whole day in contact with the Boston, NY and Washinton offices of ATF when I imported a half scale black powder cannon.

 And of course some citys have ordanances regarding discharge of anything, but in example, I live on Long Island, NY in a town called Brentwood. We regularly fire all our flinters and cannon, as we do BP drills for exhibition.  THe only time the cops showed up, they were far more interested in how we stored the BP then anything else, as is right.  You're 100% correct BP is an explosive and needs to be handed accordingly.

Madman, I suggest if your serious, seek out the local CSA or other Civil war re-enactor group - those folks have the whole BP thing down pat and are super safety minded.

Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: Merlin the Elder on March 23, 2011, 01:44:31 PM
Yes, I'm fully aware of the ATF view, which is why I said that they aren't firearms for the purpose of transfer (sale). I believe this applies ONLY to muzzle-loading weapons. There are cartridge weapons originally designed for black powder cartridges that would still fall under regulations as newer weapons do, i.e., .45-70.  Guns over 50 years old (or of special significance, like historical) can be transferred between Curio & Relic licensees, but age alone does not remove a weapon from the list of firearms, per se. If you were to be caught sending an original Winchester 73 through the mail without proper paperwork, or firing it withing city limits, ATF and the locals would get rather tight-jawed about it, despite it being 138 years old.

I'm assuming that if you are firing with the city, you are firing "blanks" or are in an area designated safe, and that the authorities are aware of what is going on. I'd be willing to bet that you wouldn't be walking free for long if you were to whip out a pair of Navy revolvers and start firing in NYC, Boston, or Washington.

I realize that laws have changed since I was a gun dealer, but I don't think they've changed that much. The advice to Madman is wise, though, as the locals will also be able to fill him in on local, state, and federal ordnance ordinances.
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: bsdmon on May 12, 2011, 06:08:32 AM
BUT, if you shoot an actual grenade, like a fused tennis ball with BP in it, that gun now becomes not only a firearm, but changes the classification to, I believe, a WMD.  
It is a DD (destructive device) not a wmd lol. You can own them including modern grenade launchers and artillery pieces but you must register them with the atf which requires a $200 tax, passport photos, fingerprints but is pretty simple. There is no license needed, they just send you a tax stamp. The laws for owning a short barreled rifle/shotgun, suppressor or machine gun (made before 1986, only applies to mg's) are similar they just have to be registered. Your state must allow it also. Texas allows everything. In total they are called NFA items which lots of people own.

I don't think he was planning on shooting exploding tennis balls if he doesn't even want to shoot real metal balls.  I think buying a functioning replica to shoot non-real ammo such as tennis balls is a waste of money. Though in reenactments only powder is put in the bp guns with no projectile i'm sure many of those guys load them up for real at the range to see what they can do even if just a couple times out of curiosity.

 Anything that can take a cartridge does not qualify as an antique. Which is why working replicas of colt peacemakers are treated like any other firearm even though they were designed for bp cartridges. Unlike replicas of earlier cap and ball bp revolvers which can be shipped to your house.

Capt: I think you missed merlins point. I think his concern is people without firearms knowledge reading your statement and assuming other gun laws don't apply to them such as shooting in city limits even if there is no projectile. Which is why he said you needed to qualify your statement. Most places will allow it for ceremonies. I know cities near me fire off cannons on certain holidays. But the average joe firing one in his back yard for giggles would not go off so smoothly I imagine in city limits.

The following links may help clarify.
http://www.atf.gov/firearms/guides/importation-verification/firearms-verification-nfa-destructive-device.html

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/collectors.html#antique-definition
Title: Re: Looking for an unusual firearm
Post by: madmanpsu on June 06, 2011, 04:02:49 PM
I havn't checked in in a very long time and things have gotten busy on this thread. I am very well versed in black powder and it's safe handling. I do not intend to shoot real exploding tennis balls from the gun as that would be unsafe no matter how done so far as I can see. If one would wish to do this period style (substituting a bp filled tennis ball for a real granado) it would involve putting a lit fused tennis ball into the barrel that is filled with bp to fire said ball. DO NOT DO THIS as putting any type of lit fuse into a barrel containing pb is DANGEROUS and could result in the bp going off. Even if a patch is placed between the ball and powder charge in the barrel, loose grains of powder could be stuck to the barrel walls or flammable powder residue could be on the barrel walls which could ignite. I was thinking of shooting intact tennis balls from said gun, but this would not be done at reenactments as this would be considered a projectile and prohibited. I would only do this at a range or the rural area where my parents live. I would NEVER fire even blank charges within the confines of a city or town, unles it is done at a reenactment event where an area has been set aside to safely do so and permissions have been acquired. While it may not be illegal to do so, I am very sure the police would take a dim view of such an activity. So far as I am aware, this would not be classified as a WMD, so there should be no issues there. I thank everyone who weighed in on this, safety is always a top priority of mine when handling pb. When I shoot my gonne or my matchlock, I always follow safe handling of the powder, match and weapons themselves. When handling any firearm, reproduction, antique or modern, it should always be kept in mind that while we may refer to them as our adult toys, they are NOT TOYS, they are real weapons. Even if the are obsolete by modern standards, if they are improperly handled or used, people can get hurt. Use common sense and caution when playing with black powder and you shuold still have all of your fingers and toes at the end of the day.