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Title 28 bore boot pistol by Hilpert
Nationality American
Period c 1850-60

This type of pistol would have been carried by river boat gamblers in the mid-19th century. It was easy to conceal in the soft boots of the period. I think this is an American piece because of the absence of Liege proof marks, the other possible alternative being that it is of Belgian origin.

The calibre of boot pistols is normally .36, but this beast is approximately .54 and would, therefore, pack quite a meaty punch.

The maker's name, Hilpert (a name of German extraction), is acid etched on top of the breech. The barrel is 7 inches long and the action is a simple double-action ring trigger variety, rather like a Cooper's pepperbox revolver (ie you simply pull the ring trigger and it goes off). The grip is of good quality ebony. Unusually the weapon has serviceable sights at both ends of the barrel. There is a small nipple visible under the hammer, which appears in reasonable shape.

There is evidence of minor aging throughout the piece, viz some old pitting mostly cleaned off on the barrel and a couple of small age splits to the grip at the breech, one on either side. There is rust inside the breech and the bore, indicating that the weapon has been used at some stage and badly cleaned. This could be removed using a lap wire brush of some sort on a drill. The mainspring is a little on the weak side, but it would still detonate a percussion cap. Otherwise it's in reasonable shape for its age.

If you want to comment on this item—re quality, age, etc—please email me.

[Firearms : Percussion Pistols : American : 19th Century]


Bayonet arrived safe and well earlier, finally got a chance to unwrap it and have a quick peek and am very pleased, thanks!

T R, UK, 07.11.2013

Dear Chris, truncheon arrived safe and sound yesterday... what a beauty! I look forward to our next transaction.

C C, Australia, 18.09.2012