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Navy Arms Le Page flintlock pistol.

One of the newer additions to the Navy Arms lineup of black powder firearms is the Le Page flintlock pistol in .45 caliber. This flinter is a definite cut above many reproduction pistols since it is a hand crafted representation of a circa 1805 European flintlock. This handsome replica boasts of a nicely hand-checkered walnut stock, cut 18 lines to the inch, with a very neatly carved shell motif at the fore-end. The stock design also incorporates a hinged butt-cap with a small storage compartment in the pistol's butt.

It has a single set trigger and a highly polished lock (inside and out) and furniture. Portions of this furniture are etched to resemble period floral and scroll engraving, while other parts are actually cut engraved. The handgun's 10-1/2-inch octagonal barrel is richly browned and is available in either a smoothbore or a rifled version. The overall length of the Le Page is 17 inches and it weighs about 2 pounds, 2 ounces. All in all, I consider this one of the better looking, and higher quality replica flint pistols I have seen in some time.

The gun handles quite well also. During some familiarization sessions with the Navy Arms Le Page flinter, I found that the lock mechanism works smooth and fast. There was no noticeable drag from pan to main charge during ignition--evidence of a quality, well-tuned lock. The single set trigger broke crisp at 3 pounds unset, and when set, can be adjusted to a mere touch.

Because the Le Page is a faithful copy of an early 19th century flintlock pistol, the sights are rather crude by modern standards--but authentic nonetheless. The front sight is a simple blade that measures 3/8-inch in height and tapers in width from 1/8-inch at the base to about 1/16-inch at the top. This blade is dovetailed into the barrel, and the rear sight is a "V" notch set into the tang. Although primitive, these sights are precision made and do allow the shooter to get a clear sight picture.

On the range this flinter is a good performer. Fired offhand, it is capable of producing about 4-inch groups at 25 yards--this is on a par with original arms of the period. It was reported to me that recently, during the qualifications for the U.S. Olympic Muzzle Loading Team (which will be competing in the 1985 Black Powder Olympics in Madrid, Spain), a smooth-bore version of the Navy Arms Le Page flintlock pistol took 1st place in the Comminazzo Reproduction Event (25 meters). In this match, the marksman's best 10 out of 13 shots are counted. The winning target had all shots placed within the 7-inch black! That's some shooting for a smoothbore flintlock pistol!

While this gun is primarily a target arm, I thought it might be fun to try my hand at some mock duelling sessions. I challenged a full-sized silhouette target to a duel (of course his own sense of honor dictated that he accept) and with my pistol held in an upright duelling position, I walked several paces away from my paper opponent, turned and fired. I'm pleased to say I emerged from each of several confrontations without a scratch, and was able to inflict mortal, torso hits in each encounter. This exercise is loads of fun and certainly helps to give a better understanding of the practical capabilities of these early firearms.

Actually the only negative comment I can make about this Italian-import replica is that while the overall gun is quite impressive, and the checkering, in general, is quite good, I did notice a couple of slight over-runs around the border. In all fairness though, they are not noticeable except upon close scrutiny. Navy's Le Page flint, in either rifled or smoothbore version, retails for $360. This is a fair price when one considers what a flint pistol of this quality would cost were you to commission a gun-smith to produce one for you. The pistol comes with a blued steel loading rod equipped with a turned wood handle, a nylon muzzle guard and a threaded end for attaching a cleaning jag.

If you like flintlock pistols of the type prized by the gentry of almost two centuries ago, the Navy Arms Le Page flintlock pistol should please you. It is handsome, well made, accurate, and economical for its breed. For more information write to Navy Arms Co., 689 Bergen Blvd., Dept. GA, Ridgefield, NJ 07657. CUSTOM KNIFE KITS

A black powder shooter without a knife is like a cowboy without his horse, or a car without fuel. You can imagine how far either would get in their intended task without the important components which make up their complete unit. Besides their many uses in and around the campsite and back country, a blade is primarily used in the loading process of a muzzle-loader for cutting patches. Of course a good knife can be put to many other uses not normally thought of, such as using the back of the blade for knapping worn flints in the field, as a screwdriver, or perhaps the handle might be employed to help seat a ball in the muzzle of a firearm in the manner of a short starter. As you can see, there are many jobs a knife can tackle when you're in a situation where you are separated from your normal working tools. However, a good knife is much appreciated when it fulfills a needed service.

J.A. Blades Inc., Dept. GA, State & Ferry Street, Miamitown, OH 45041 (513) 353-1321, offers a selection of inexpensive, quality knife kits that are suitable for muzzle-loaders, modern gun enthusiasts, campers, hikers and backpackers, or just about anyone who needs a lightweight, but durable belt knife. There are four entirely different, custom designed knives in their Forge & Anvil series. Each kit comes complete with a high carbon cutlery steel blade, wood handle slabs and all hardware necessary for assembly. Incidentally, the knife blade tang has been drilled for placement of the handle pins. These kits are packaged on a shrink-wrapped card with easy-to-follow instructions and illustrations printed on the backside. The Forge & Anvil Models 1 and 2 retail for $19.95 each. Models 3 and 4 are priced at $21.95 per set. Scabbards are available for each model for $6.95 (Models 1 and 2) and $7.95 (Models 3 and 4) each. However, J.A. Blades, Inc. are currently offering a free knife scabbard with each kit purchased. That sounds like a good deal to me!

For more details about the Forge & Anvil knife kit series, send 50 cents to J.A. Blades. Also, ask them about their complete line of 21 contemporary and early American knife styles. There's bound to be one to fit your needs. I've seen many of them and have used them in the past and consider them to be solid utility tools. Drop them a line and see what they have to offer. CAP & BALL POWDER HORN

Here's a dandy item that I'd like to share with you. It's called the K-W Cap & Ball Dispenser Plug powder horn. Offered by K-W Cap and Ball Horns, 5073 Townsley Road, Dept. GA, Cedarville, OH 45314, this unique approach to a hunting horn and "ammo" carrier for muzzle-loaders makes a lot of sense. Briefly, the powder horn is like any standard traditionally styled powder horn, except that the plug is made so that it has a series of compartments built into it. These compartments are designed so that a round ball of a given caliber will fit into one, while a percussion cap can be stored in another, smaller one. When the top portion of the plug is rotated, exposing the compartments, the ball and cap can be emptied into the shooter's hand, ready for loading into the firearm. The plug's lid can also be rotated in such a way as to allow the ball to be dumped into the hand, but not the cap. A slight further turning of the lid will expose the cap.

Available in standard sizes of .32, .36, .40, .45, .50, .54, .58 and .62 caliber (custom fitting is available for off-sized calibers and a plug can be tailored to accommodate Minie balls and musket caps), the K-W Cap & Ball Dispenser Plug horn is offered in an easy-to-assemble kit form. Priced at $25 per kit plus postage, each unit is furnished with the base plug holes in your specified bored size, a plug for the pouring end, a semi-finished cow horn, and a leather carrying strap. The horn is of small to medium size, which is ideal for a hunting situation where one would not want to carry a very big supply of powder and ball.

If you've been contemplating the purchase of another powder horn, or some new hunting gear, the K-W Cap & Ball Dispenser Plug horn is definitely worth your consideration. It is handsome, practical and inexpensive and that's three pretty big plus marks in any muzzle-loader's book! For more information on this or any other K-W product, send 25 cents for their brochure. I use K-W's horns and related horn-made accessories and consider them to be extremely well made and reasonably priced. I recommend them highly! BRITISH ARMS MANUAL

Here's an inexpensive and invaluable little booklet that should be of interest to English arms collectors, Confederate weapons buffs and arms enthusiasts in general. It is a reprint of an original British War Office instruction booklet that was produced for Great Britain's Corps of Colonial Volunteers in 1859. It is the official Regulations for the Marking and Preservation of Arms Issued to Corps of Colonial Volunteers. Briefly, this pamphlet describes, with illustrations, how English guns and edged weapons issued to colonial volunteer troops throughout the mid-19th century British Empire were marked. There are also instructions for dismounting and cleaning the pattern 1853 series Enfields, which were widely used during our Civil War.

This 10-page, 5-inch by 8-inch military manual reprint retails for $2.50 postpaid from: Service Arms (U.K.), Brian C. Knapp, Dept. GA, 94 Teglan Park, Tycroes, Ammanford, Dyfed, England. ALLEN FIRE ARMS GUN POSTER

Allen Fire Arms, 1107 Pen Road, Dept. GA, Santa Fe, NM 87501, is offering a colorful poster of many of their more popular guns. Photographed against a natural wood background, this 39-inch by 27-inch full color poster features such reproduction arms as the 1873 Winchester rifle and carbine, their Henry rifle, a Remington Rolling Block repro, their Griswold Confederate brass-framed revolver, 1875 Remington revolver, several of their Colt Peacemaker replicas, a Walker Colt, a Dragoon revolver, an 1858 Remington and several shooting accessories. This would make a nice decorator item in your gunroom, workshop, saloon or wherever you like to relax and talk guns. It retails for $3.50 postpaid, or if you would like the poster plus Allen Fire Arms' latest catalog of quality replica black powder and smokeless powder guns, send $5 postpaid. I've seen the poster and it is indeed a dandy. I'm sure that you'll like it too.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Spangenberger, Phil
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:column
Date:Jan 1, 1985
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