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Antique Percussion Pistols
Introduced in about 1820, the percussion lock changed the course of firearms history by enabling muzzle-loading weapons to function reliably in adverse weather conditions. Before their invention, guns with flintlock ignition systems were prone to misfire in wet weather.
Firing a percussion weapon involved measuring out the proper amount of black powder, pouring it down the barrel, then adding wads and pellets or a greased bullet. A percussion cap made from brass or copper with one closed end filled with shock-sensitive explosive material was then placed over a hollow metal nipple at the rear end of the barrel. Squeezing the trigger released the hammer, which struck the percussion cap and ignited the primer.
Just prior to the U.S. Civil War, Edward Maynard, a dentist by trade, patented a tape primer lock system that was used in the U.S. military's percussion-based Model 1855 pistol carbine, a .54 caliber single-shot muzzle loader. The same technological principle Maynard developed is today employed in modern toy cap pistols. Antique percussion pistols played an important part in history and still fascinate collectors worldwide.
In 2012, a pair of gold and silver engraved Derringer percussion pocket pistols once owned by U.S. General Thomas Jefferson Brady sold at Rock Island Auction for $74,750
In 2013 at Skinner, a Dublin Castle light dragoon pistol with a walnut stock and brass fittings dating to the late 18th or early 19th century sold for $1,200
In 2009 at Auction Arms, a '60s single-shot black-powder underhammer percussion pistol by Numrich Arms sold for just $93.56
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