Exquisite Flintlock Pistol by J Christoph Kuchenreiter
- Product Code: FHG-1399-SOLD
- Availability: Out Of Stock
This is simply an outstanding example of the high-grade flintlock pistols produced by the famous Bavarian gunsmith Johann Christoph Kuchenreiter. Kuchenreiter was part of a dynasty of Bavarian gunsmiths that produced high quality arms for many of the royal houses of the various Germanic states and Austria. Johann was born in 1755 and went into the family business in Regensburg, Bavaria in 1776. He worked there until his death in 1818. Kuchenreiter weapons are famous for his use of silver inlays, German silver mountings and incised carved stocks. His pistols regularly included rifled bores and multi-leaf rear sights that were well ahead of their time. Kuchenreiter produced high-end flintlock sporting arms, including rifles and shotguns, as well as exceptional pistols. The quality of his pistols is such that many were converted to percussion over the years, to remain in use. Today, Kuchenreiter pistols in their original flintlock configuration are very scarce.
The Kuchenreiter flintlock pistols offered here is in fantastic condition and is a wonderful example of his exceptional artistic skill and quality craftsmanship. The gun likely dates to the earlier part of Kuchenreiter’s career (pre-1800), as the lock is a simple one without the roller frizzen mechanism that he incorporated in his later guns. Like most of his pistols, this one was part of a pair as is clearly marked with a 2 on the barrel tang, behind the tang screw. The pistol is also marked with a 7 in the wood on the lower right side of the grip, just above the German silver butt cap, possibly indicating that the pistol was part of a large order of arms for a royal household. The pistol bears a strong resemblance to Germanic cavalry pistols of the late 18th and early 19th century, but is more slightly built and of smaller caliber. The pistol is about 15 ““ in overall length, with a 9 ““ swamped octagonal barrel. The barrel is retained by a single tang screw and a series of pins through the stock. The gun is approximately .50 caliber (about 12.5 mm) and is lightly rifled with several narrow and very shallow grooves with a relatively fast rate of twist. The pistol is mounted with German silver furniture and a brass forend cap. The lock is silver plated, and the barrel is inlaid with silver wire and with the makers name I CHRISTOPH KUCHENREITER (the “I” is the archaic letter “J”) on the top flat. All of the silver wire has a dark, nearly black, tarnished patina. The breech of the pistol is inlaid with a gold washed makers disk with a mounted rider over the initials I C K. The breech is mounted with Kuchenreiter’s trademark multi-leaf rear sight, with a central fixed blade and a pair of folding blades for longer range shooting. The front sight is a German silver blade, mounted in a dovetail cut. The German silver furniture has a medium dark gray patina, and the brass nose cap is deeply tarnished and a dark greenish brown color. The mountings (triggerguard, rammer pipes, etc) are surrounded by nicely executed, incised carved stock decorations, and the wood to metal fit is fantastic. The lock is a simple unmarked convex affair, with a delicate swan neck cock and a fixed iron pan. The lock is silver-plated and retains most of its original silver plating. The lock is entirely original and unmolested, with some light pitting and erosion in the bottom of the iron pan, as well as around the touchhole. The lock functions perfectly and is in fantastic mechanical condition. The trigger mechanism is an exceptionally crisp adjustable trigger that works perfectly as well. The metal of the pistol is in VERY FINE overall condition, with only some light scattered peppering and pinpricking, with the balance of the metal being very smooth with a medium dove grave color with a thin brown patina forming over the base metal. As previously noted, the German silver furniture has a lovely, lightly tarnished and totally untouched look to it. The furniture grade walnut stock of the pistol is in VERY FINE to NEAR EXCELLENT condition as well. As noted the stock is decorated with a well executed incised carving and fine ornamental details. The upper portion of the pistols backstrap is carved with a lovely floral and foliate motif. This carving surmounts a delicate German silver escutcheon on the back strap that has not been engraved with any initials or crests. The stock retains sharp edges and fine lines, and shows no indication of having been sanded or refinished. There are a number of minor handling marks, bumps and dings on the stock, but no signs of abuse. The stock is solid and free of any cracks, breaks or repairs. Even the wood around the pins that secure the barrel remains crisp with little indication that the pins have been removed any time over the last 150 to 200 years. A very old wooden ramrod is in place in the channel under the barrel, secured by a pair of German silver thimbles. The rod fits the channel and thimbles perfectly and is exactly the right length for use with the pistol. The rod shows age and patina that matches the pistol perfectly, but it is difficult to know if the rod is original to the gun or a very old replacement.
Overall this is really a very attractive and simply a fantastic example of a high quality German flintlock pistol from the late 18th or early 19th century. Kuchenreiter was a premier gunmaker to the royalty of the era, and his guns were clearly prized possessions of their owners. The condition of this pistol shows that while it was actually used, it was never abused and never damaged. It is rare to find a delicate incised carved pistol of this quality and age without at least a few minor cracks and repairs to the stock. The stock of this pistol is really about as good as one could hope to find on a 200 year old weapon. The lovely, untouched look of the metal is very striking, as are the lovely silver inlays on the barrel. For any collector of quality flintlock arms, this would be a fantastic addition their collection and is of the quality and condition that it could easily be a centerpiece of that collection.SOLD