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Austrian Model 1851 Cavalry Pistol with Original Augustin Consol Lock

Austrian Model 1851 Cavalry Pistol with Original Augustin Consol Lock

  • Product Code: FHG-2364-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

This is a very scarce example of the Austrian Kavalleriepistole Model 1851 or in English the Model 1851 Cavalry Pistol. These single-shot, muzzle loading “horse pistols” were among the last of the of the heavy dragoon style pistols to be used by the Austrian cavalry. The pistols were 16.9mm (about .665 caliber) and used the Augustin Consol Lock (aka “Tube Lock”) ignition system. As was the practice with many of the elite Austrian military units who used specialty weapons, the M1851 pistol was not equipped with a ramrod channel, and the rammer was carried separately on the belt of the cavalryman. The guns were 423mm (16.65”) in overall length with a 251mm (9.88”) barrel and weighed a very manageable, yet sturdy 1550g (1.212 lbs). The pistol was produced in two variations, one with a sling ring on the rear of the club butt (mit tragring), and one without. In typical Austrian fashion the locks were marked with the double-headed Austrian Eagle to the rear of the lock plate and the year of production (omitting the first digit) forward of the hammer. The names of private makers (contractors) were often present on the top of the barrel, near the breech. The pistols were stocked in the traditional Austrian beech with brass furniture that included a butt cap and double-strapped barrel band. In Continental fashion, the muzzle of the pistol, the barrel band and the stock were all finished flush together at the muzzle. This style of single shot pistol design was common in Austria and many other German speaking countries in the 19thCentury. The Austrians adopted the percussion system (“System Lorenz”) in 1854 and the majority of the M1851 pistols still in service were altered to percussion ignition soon afterward. By the end of the 1850s, the Austrians had replaced the smoothbore M1851 pistol with a rifled percussion pistol based upon the Lorenz rifle musket and bearing a striking resemblance to that arm.


The Austrian Kavalleriepistole Model 1851 offered here is in FINE overall condition. The best part about the pistol is that it retains its complete and fully functional Augustin Console “tube” or “pill” lock ignition system. The system used an encapsulated copper primer with two hollow wire leads that extended from either side of the central casing. These leads formed a flash channel that communicated the ignition charge directly to the powder charge. One end was inserted into the flash channel of the pan and the other stuck out of the opposite side of the pan. Closing the pan cover crimped off the lead on the non-ignition side, making sure that all the priming force entered the main flash channel to ignite the primer charge. Once the pan was closed, a firing pin in the top of the pan rested upon the priming “pill” and the fall of the hammer forced the firing pin into the “pill”, igniting it. The expended priming tube was easy to remove from the pan, as the offside lead could be used to grab it and pull it out of the pan. The large majority of the M1851 Pistols on hand in Austria were altered to percussion between 1854 and 1860. 


This example of the Austrian M1851 Cavalry Pistol is 100% complete and correct in every way. The gun is very crisp and sharp and has strong markings throughout. The lock is clearly marked with the {AUSTRIAN EAGLE} at the tail of the lockplate, and with the date of manufacture, 854 forward of the hammer. Additional Austrian proof, inspection and assembly marks are present on both sides of the barrel near the breech at about the level of the stock. The top of the barrel is marked with the name of the manufacturer:




Ferdinand Früwirth was a major Vienna-based gunmaker who could trace his arms-making heritage the late 17th century, when his great-great-grandfather Georg Früwirth entered the trade in 1680. By the time of Ferdinand’s birth in 1813 the family was one of the leading arms makers in Vienna. Ferdinand entered the trade as a master gunmaker 1834 and remained in business until his death in 1867. His son, also named Ferdinand was born in 1842 and continued the family business until his death in 1892.


The obverse grip is marked with a deeply struck W, indicating Austrian military ownership and the counterpane of the pistol is deeply stamped with the initials FF1854, indicating Ferdinand Früwirth and production in 1854. Additional inspection marks are present on the counterpane, and the alphanumeric mark K 7 is present on the brass barrel band. The pistol lock and Augustin Consol system work perfectly, and the gun is in mechanically excellent condition. The iron lockplate has a lightly oxidized pewter gray patina, with some scattered darker brown age staining and some very minor pinpricking. The barrel has the same general appearance, with a pewter gray base color and scattered darker oxidation, age staining and minor discoloration. There is some light pinprick pitting in the breech area which is not uncommon with pill lock or percussion lock guns due to the highly caustic nature of the priming compounds used during the era. The muzzle shows some more moderate pinpricking and light pitting around its face. The .66 caliber smooth bore is partly bright with scattered oxidation and some light pitting along its length but remains in VERY GOOD+ to NEAR FINEcondition. The brass furniture, consisting of the triggerguard, butt cap, side plate and barrel band all have a lovely, untouched medium mustard patina. The Beachwood stock is in about FINE condition overall and is very attractive. The wood has the usual, slightly orange tone to it, which is often seen on Austrian arms. The stock is solid, complete, and full-length and is free of any breaks, cracks, and repairs. The stock remains extremely crisp with sharp edges and absolutely no indication of having been sanded. The stock does show a number of scattered bumps, dings and mars from handling and use, but shows no abuse. The only wood issue worth mentioning is a tiny surface chip of wood missing at the front edge of the lock mortise, in line with the curve of the pan cover spring.


Overall, this is a very crisp and attractive example of one of the last major continental single-shot cavalry pistols. It is difficult to believe that this pistol was in use during the same time frame as the Prussian “Needle Rifle” was coming into use. These large bore, single-shot muzzle loaders really defined the end of an era of heavy cavalry and dragoons. Finding one of these unique Austrian pistols is difficult enough but finding one with the original Augustin ignition system makes this gun a true rarity. For the collector of 19th Century Austrian weapons, this is a must have pistol. For a Civil War era collector, it is a rare opportunity to own an original Augustin ignition firearm. Some surplus Austrian long arms were actually delivered to US forces in the early days of the Civil War with their original tube lock systems, so this pistol makes a unique footnote to the story of the many continental weapons that found their way to America’s shores during the Civil War.


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Tags: Austrian, Model, 1851, Cavalry, Pistol, with, Original, Augustin, Consol, Lock