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  1. #1
    johnnywayne is offline Junior Member
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    circa 1880s revolvers (remakes & props)

    Hi. My grandfather packed up and sent me a couple of old prop pistols about a year ago. I have no idea why and he didn't say anything, just sent them. It's not possible to ask him about them. I am trying to find out more about them and I don't know where to go. I was hoping someone might have seen something like these so I can know where to look further. I don't know if they are movie props, some type of well made cap gun, or if even toys in the 1950s were made this lifelike. I kind of doubt the latter. These 'guns' are solid metal and very heavy, probably too heavy for a child. A couple of people more familiar with guns than I have looked at them a little bit and couldn't tell me if they were real or not. They certainly are not, neither of the barrels is hollow all the way through. But they have features that an unknowing person would think would make them seem real. What are these things used for? I can take pictures of these if anyone has heard of anything like them and might know something, but I didn't want to take up the space on your forum with something that technically shouldn't be here.

    One of them has a barrel that is roughly 4.5 inches long, but is plugged 4 inches into it (toward the handle end). It has a smaller chamber that is almost as long as the barrel, offset and under the barrel. This chamber houses a spring (the thing that gives this one away as not being from the era it looks) that pushes a small rod through the chamber that has just been 'fired', presumable to remove a bullet. It seems strange to me to add this piece, especially since it is functioning, to a prop that doesn't actually have something to remove. Furthermore, on the back of the gun, behind the round thing that the bullets goes in (sorry for my ignorance), below the hammer, is a metal piece that moves to allow the bullet to be pushed out. Again, needlessly added unless there was something to be pushed out. It looks like this is the only place you could load it as well. The chambers in that round thing have a lip on them that might hold what I'm going to pretend is called the cartridge as the projectile leaves, if there were one. The round thing, the trigger and the hammer are all mechanically tied together like they should be and the gun half-cocks for loading and removing the spent whatever.

    The other one is different. It has a longer barrel and the smaller, offset thing under the barrel is a rod that unlatches and pushes a connected rod into the chambers on the round bullet holding part. This one isn't to push something out though, it's much bigger, almost as large as the hole, and could only be used to tamp gunpowder and a miniball or whatever into the hole. The holes on this one are not open all the way through in the same way as the other. On the other side of them is a nipple of some sort that looks like a type of cap could cover. They have a tiny hole. I don't know anything about guns, but it seems like this is maybe how a cap and ball gun could work, with the cap sparking the tamped powder inside the chamber and sending the projectile, however, this barrel is plugged too and it looks like part of the gun. This one half-cocks too. It also has the only marking of the pair, a squashed diamond dissected with a line. 'BKA' is written above it, and '98' below. All in all they really seem to have a lot of effort put into them to not do something, unfortunately that thing is not to shoot things out of it.

    Does anyone have any clue what these are for or where I can learn more about them? They very likely weren't made in the time period they project, but they aren't new by any means. My unlearned guess is that they are from the 1950s. I appreciate any help and I'll be ok if someone needs to remove this thread because they aren't actually guns, they sure don't go on a toy forum and I couldn't think of anything else.

    -jw

  2. #2
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    You've given a pretty good description, but pictures would certainly confirm any guessing. What you appear to have are the non-firing replicas sold through various sources. These are very realistic (to a point) but experienced eyes immediately spot them as non-firing replicas. They are sold for decoration or education where real firearms are not permitted. Also those who cannot legally own firearms. Some may have been used for making holsters.

    Bob Wright

  3. #3
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Pictures! We need pictures!

    When I was a kid, long, long ago, there was a company which sold cast-solid-aluminum replicas of popular pistols (painted black). They were the correct weight, and their barrels were about half-bored. They looked pretty real. I bet that their main customers were the movie studios.
    Maybe yours are related to the ones I had as a kid.

  4. #4
    johnnywayne is offline Junior Member
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    Ok. I appreciate the help. Here is the longer barrel one. I will post the other one in a couple of hours. I'd love to hear what this is a remake of.



    that black spot in the last pic was an accident in editing when putting the pictures together, it's not on the gun
    Last edited by johnnywayne; 11-19-2012 at 07:47 PM. Reason: photoshop mistake

  5. #5
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    This one is a replica of an early Colt's percussion-ignition revolver. The original would've dated from around 1850.
    The moving part under its barrel is a rammer, originally meant to shove a lead ball into each of the rotating cylinder's mouths, once some black gunpowder had been poured in. Later, a percussion cap would've been added to each nipple, at the other end of each bore of the cylinder.
    This replica has been manufactured, I believe, as a movie prop. Each cylinder bore is separately removable, I believe from the rear, for loading with flash-bang powder, a wad, and a cap. The under-barrel rammer is superfluous, in this case. The original gun wouldn't've had these separate, removable cylinder bores.
    The "BKA/98" mark on its frame must be the replica-maker's mark, but I don't know for which company it stands. This gun seems to me to have been made of "pot metal"—that is, not steel or iron, but more likely a zinc alloy or something similar. Try holding a magnet to the metal, to see what happens.
    The original—and this replica—comes apart by removing the wedge that rides crosswise in the slot just in front of the rotating cylinder. This wedge should just press out, from right to left as you look toward the front of the barrel. Once the wedge is out, the barrel slides off forward, followed by the cylinder. Then the "cartridges"—the separate cylinder bores—should each come out of the rear of the cylinder.
    DO NOT TRY TO FIRE THIS REPLICA! It is not safe to shoot, even with blank loads. If it were for movie use, it would be loaded by an expert with a special mix of black powder and aluminum filings (with maybe a wee bit of magnesium), all under a paraffin wad. Then it would need careful cleaning.

  6. #6
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    The gun you picture is sort of a copy of a Colt Dragoon, though not too accurate. from about 1848 or so. Experienced gun buffs will note the exceptionally long cylinder slots, rather crude trigger shape, screws, etc. These are advertised in many magazines as "Non-Firing copies that work and disassemble like the real thing."
    They are used as stage props or very distant film shots.

    As for movies guns, of late the movies have used more period correct replicas such as those made by Uberti. Some locales require that movie guns be altered so as to be unable to use live ammunition, and these non-firing replicas are inserted for not-too-close ups. Movie goers are a more educated (?) audience now and can spot goofs.

    It is my understanding that these replicas (non-firing) are somewhat popular in Japan where most people can't own firearms.

    Bob Wright

  7. #7
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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    Steve M1911A1:

    You had one of those solid aluminum guns too? I remember them as Lytle Novelty Co. in Chicago, Ill. Had a M1911 (not a M1911A!) and painted the grips brown to look like wood.

    Years later I tried to find a solid aluminum Colt SA to try holster making.

    Do you go back as far as I do?

    Bob Wright

  8. #8
    Bob Wright's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
    Steve M1911A1:

    You had one of those solid aluminum guns too? I remember them as Lytle Novelty Co. in Chicago, Ill. Had a M1911 (not a M1911A!) and painted the grips brown to look like wood.

    Years later I tried to find a solid aluminum Colt SA to try holster making.

    Do you go back as far as I do?

    Bob Wright
    Bob, you are correct about the seller. Your post tickled my memory.
    I, too, had the 1911 (of course—what else), and three others as well.
    (I was born in early January, 1938. My first reliable memory is of the great hurricane of September, 1938.)
    For another gun-related story, please see my Post #8, at: Whats Your Awkward Dream Gun?


    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Wright View Post
    My Lord: A LeMat! A Volcanic! A Schofield!

  10. #10
    johnnywayne is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks Steve, Thanks Bob. I won't post the other one as we know what they are now and it's almost identical to the 'quick-draw' that is on the page that Bob posted. I appreciate y'all's help.

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