Welcome to College Hill Arsenal
Very Fine 1849 Dated US Model 1842 Pistol by Henry Aston

Very Fine 1849 Dated US Model 1842 Pistol by Henry Aston

  • Product Code: FHG-3C02-SOLD
  • Availability: Out Of Stock
  • $1,595.00

The US Model 1842 Pistol as produced by the firms of Henry Aston and Ira N Johnson represented both the beginning and the end of an era in US military handguns. This series was the last of the large bore, single shot, smooth bore pistols to be issued in any quantity and would essentially be replaced by the various multi-shot percussion revolvers that the government would begin to purchase during the 1850s and would continue to procure through the end of the Civil War era. It was also the first official percussion ignition pistol to be adopted by the US military. The Johnson and Aston companies produced 40,000 of these single-shot pistols (not counting the “Palmetto Armory” production), with Aston producing some 30,000 of the guns. The Model 1842 had a .54 caliber 8.5” long smooth bore barrel and was intended to use the round ball as the US Model 1841 Mississippi Rifle. The 14” long pistol was the general service pistol of the time for the US military and saw use with the infantry, cavalry, dragoons, and artillery. Like previous single shot military pistols used by the US, this one had a large bulbous, metal-capped butt that was designed to allow the pistol to be used as a club after discharging it. The end result is that cracked and damaged stocks are quite commonly encountered on these pistols.


This pistol is in VERY FINE condition, with very crisp markings and excellent cartouches. The lock is marked in three vertical lines behind the hammer:











in two lines horizontally forward of the hammer. The tang of the pistol is dated with the matching 1849 date, and the breech is marked: 






in three lines. The initials “SK” are those of Springfield Armory sub-inspector Samuel Knous, a civilian arms inspector for the Ordnance Department. The barrel flat is also clearly marked with a small K inspector’s mark. Knous’ small “K” marks are found throughout the pistol, including on the tail of the counterpane. The stock flat opposite the lock retains two excellent inspection cartouches. The rear most is a script WAT cartouche, the final acceptance mark of Captain William Anderson Thornton of the US Ordnance Department. Thornton worked inspecting and accepting arms from 1840 until 1866. The other cartouche is a very crisp script SK, once again the mark of armory sub-inspector Samuel Knous. 


The lock functions very crisply and is mechanically excellent, with most of the internal parts retaining the large majority of their bright, fire-blued finish. The original captive, swivel mounted iron rammer is present and functions exactly as it should. The iron barrel of the gun has a very pleasing, medium pewter patina, and was probably lightly cleaned at some point in time. The barrel is mostly smooth, with some lightly scattered pinpricking along its length, with the most evident areas being at the breech and bolster area as well as near the muzzle. There are also some evenly scattered flecks of minor surface oxidation discoloration present on the metal. The lock and hammer are lightly oxidized with some surface mottling and have a dulling steel patina. The screw heads that retain the lock, barrel tang, butt cap, etc. are all in good condition and retain trace hints of their original heat blued finish. The brass furniture has an attractive mellow, mustard patina. The smooth bore is mostly bright and shows some scattered oxidation, discoloration, and some lightly scattered pitting along its length. The original brass front sight blade is present and in fine condition. The stock is in VERY FINEcondition and is better than the metal. It is extremely crisp and sharp throughout. The stock is solid and free of any breaks, cracks, or repairs. The wood does show some scattered minor bumps and dings from service and use. retains very sharp edges and crisp lines and has never been sanded.


Overall, this is a very nice and extremely crisp example of the last of the big bore martial single shot pistols used by the US government. The gun is 100% complete, correct, and original. This US Model 1842 Aston pistol shows some actual use, but no abuse and is a really solid example of this pattern of pre-Civil War US pistol. This would be a great addition to any collection and has one of the best stocks that I have seen on one of these pistols.


Write a review

Please login or register to review

Tags: Very, Fine, 1849, Dated, US, Model, 1842, Pistol, by, Henry, Aston