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Rare US Model 1842 Pistol Combination Tool

Rare US Model 1842 Pistol Combination Tool

  • Product Code: FPTA-1748D-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1.00

While at first glance this tool appears to be a standard US Model 1841/42 tool for use on the M1841 “Mississippi” Rifle the M1842 Musket, closer examination reveals it is actually intended for use with the US Model 1842 Pistol Combination Tool, often referred to as the “Aston” by collectors. The M1842 pistol was the first percussion pistol adopted by the US military for general issue and was essentially an updated version of the earlier M1836 Flintlock Pistol with a percussion rather than flint lock and with brass rather than iron mountings. Like the M1836, the M1842 pistol retained the captive swivel ramrod that was secured to a lug on the bottom of the barrel, near the muzzle by a pair of curved swivel arms. Some 40,000 M1842 Pistols were produced for the US Government by the firms of Henry Aston and Ira N. Johnson between 1845 and 1855 with Aston producing about three-quarters of the pistols; significantly fewer than the 275,000 M1842 muskets produced at Springfield and Harpers Ferry as well as the more than 70,000 M1841 Rifles produced at Harpers Ferry and by various contractors. More than 8 times as many long arms that used the M1841/42 pattern tool were produced than the pistols that used the very similar M1842 pistol tool.


As noted, at first glance this tool would be thought to be a US M1841/42 Tool. It is a combination tool with a box end percussion cone (nipple) wrench and two screwdriver blades; one fixed on the main body of the tool and one on a pivoting arm. The primary difference between the tools is that the screwdriver blade on the main body of the tool is significantly narrower than on the musket tool, as this blade was designed to fit the screw that held the captive ramrod assembly together. The blade is also thinner than on the musket tool. The screwdriver on the pivoting arm appears about the same as the one on the musket tool, but it is also thinner than the musket tool because the lock screws on the M1842 pistol had narrower slots than the lock screws on the musket. The tool was intended to be carried in the implement pouch of the cartridge box that held M1842 pistol ammunition. These tools are identified and described on page 153 of Gun Tools: Their History, Use & Identification Volume 1 by James B. Shaffer, Lee A. Rutledge and R. Stephen Dorsey. 


This example of the scarce US Model 1842 Pistol Combination Tool is in about FINE condition. Like the example shown in the book, the tool is unmarked. The tool retains much of its dull blue-black finish with some thinning, wear and loss. The most finish loss is along the sharp edges, points of contact and on the large domed rivet. The metal shows some scattered light surface oxidation and there are some small areas of pinpricking and minor light pitting here and there. The tool measures 3 19/23” in overall length with a 2 25/64” pivoting screwdriver arm and a 17/32” wrench head with a .27” (17/64”) wrench opening. The edges of the box end wrench show some light wear but remain crisp and fully usable. The pivoting arm moves freely and both screwdriver blades remain crisp and fully usable. 


Overall this is a very nice example of a rather scarce US Model 1842 Pistol Combination Tool. These do not show up for sale very often, particularly when you consider that nearly 10 times as many musket and rifle tools were produced as were the pistol tools. This would be a nice addition to any gun tool collection or as an accessory to display with your US M1842 Pistol.


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Tags: Rare, US, Model, 1842, Pistol, Combination, Tool