Early English blunderbuss.
Q: I am enclosing pictures of a gun I inherited from my aunt and uncle in 2010. It hung over their bar for many years. Each time I visited them I would stare at it and wish that I could own such a classic gun. As they got older and I enjoyed a cocktail or two with them, one day they inquired of me if there was anything that I might like to receive upon their passing. I jumped on that big time! "The gun over the bar," I blurted out. It now hangs above the French doors in my living room. Of all of the firearms I own, this one is the most treasured. I have done some research over the years and discovered that it could be considered a blunderbuss or maybe a musketoon. Hopefully the pictures will help determine what my gun is. Any information you could provide would be most appreciated. I have no plans to sell the gun, but would like to add the approximate value to my homeowner's insurance policy.
A: Your flintlock is quite interesting. The lock, marked "Wilson," has no bridle for the steel (frizzen), so that would mean it's fairly early--probably in the mid-1700s. The brass barrel engraved "JOINER LONDON" is also of a reasonably antique configuration. From what I can see, the piece (with the exception of the odd band at the rear of the forend) seems to have maintained most of its original integrity, but without seeing it I cannot tell positively whether or not it is a composite. I'm leaning toward not. The forend does seem a bit abrupt at the end, so that concerns me somewhat, but it still may be OK as some early blunder busses/musketoons were not necessarily all that graceful. The barrel appears to have a flared bore rather than a straight one, so that would mean it's a blunderbuss rather than a musketoon. Again, I can't tell for certain from the photo, so if it is actually straight, then it is a musketoon. I'd date the piece around 1760 to 1770 and value it in the $3,500 to $5,000 range, assuming all is original. If it is a puttogether, it still has some value, but its worth would be reduced by about half. If you can remove that band on the stock without damaging anything, I would recommend you do so. It is certainly not original to the piece.