This is a VERY FINE condition example of the father of American single shot martial pistols, the French M-1777 Flintlock Cavalry Pistol. The pistol was adopted to replace the earlier M-1763 cavalry pistol. The pistol was a smoothbore, muzzle loading, flintlock pistol with a 7 ““ round barrel and was about .673 caliber (17.1mm). The pistols were brass mounted with wooden stocks and a brass frame. The rounded brass frame had an integral brass flash pan with a rounded profile, with an iron frizzen and pan cover. The pistol has an iron, button head ramrod, which was stored in the brass frame and was threaded at the opposite end for cleaning and ball pulling implements. The guns were initially produced with an iron belt hook, which was retained by a mounting screw under the brass frame, but later production pistols that were intended for mounted use dispensed with the belt hook, and most M-1777 pistols encountered today were manufactured without the belt hook, or had the hook removed during the period of use. The pistols were manufactured at the French national armories of St. Etienne, Charleville, and Maubeuge. During the American Revolution thousands of French M-1777 flintlock cavalry pistols were supplied to the American military by the French. Even though earlier French designs and the dragoon pistols of British design appear to be the most popular of the handguns in use by the Continentals, the M-1777 became the pattern from which the very first official US military handgun was designed. The US M-1799 as produced by the firm of North & Cheney was the first officially sanctioned and purchased military handgun and was a nearly direct copy of the French M-1777.
This French M-1777 Flintlock Cavalry Pistol is in VERY FINE condition. The gun is 100% correct and original in everyway and is in its original flintlock configuration. The pistol is quite crisp and sharp throughout and it is a really wonderful example of a very early marital flintlock pistol. The pistol was manufactured at the French National Armory at Maubeuge in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France. The pistol is clearly engraved in an arc, under the hammer Maubeuge, and bears the inspection mark of that arsenal in a variety of locations. The tang of the pistol is clearly engraved with the model designation M1777. The year of production A 83 (representing the year 1783) is engrave on the barrel breech, forward of the tang, but is only very faintly visible. The wood grip stocks are stamped with the A 83 date mark on both sides, with the obverse being fairly clear and the reverse being quite faint. This places the pistol at the very end of potential American Revolutionary War use. Even though the Treaty of Paris, which ended the war, was signed on September 3, 1783, very little major fighting took place after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in the fall of 1781. However, it is possible that the pistol arrived in America prior to the end of the war and may have seen some use in the smaller skirmishes that took place prior to the final signing of the Treaty of Paris. The pistol is mechanically excellent and functions perfectly in every way. The brass frame and furniture both have a lovely medium mustard patina that is really gorgeous. The iron barrel is mostly smooth with a mottled, “peppered” patina of darker age discoloration. The barrel shows only some very light scattered pinpricking and was probably lightly cleaned a very long time ago. The bore of the pistol is in VERY GOOD condition and is mostly smooth with some light scattered pitting and minor roughness along its entire length. The hammer has a similar peppered patina, and shows some more moderate pinpricking and peppering than the barrel does. The iron backstrap matches the patina and wear of the barrel perfectly. The original screws are all in place and show only the most minor slot wear, with no real damage or signs of “tinkering”. The original button head iron rammer is present with the pistol and is clearly touch marked near the tip. The rod is full length and retains some of the original threads at the end. The iron belt hook is not present, but these later production pistols were often manufactured without them. There are none of the tell tale wear marks on the stock that indicate the belt hook was present for any significant time during the period of use, so if the pistol did have one originally, it was almost certainly removed during the period of use. The wooden grip stock is in VERY FINE condition. There are no breaks, cracks or repairs present in the wood. The wood shows only the expected minor bumps and dings from handling that are typically found on a 200+ year old pistol.
Overall this is a really outstanding example of a very important early French marital flintlock pistol that was very likely in this country for the very end of the American Revolution. The pistol is very crisp and has fantastic eye appeal, displaying very well. The gun is 100% correct and original in all respects and is mechanically excellent. The gun is well marked and shows no abuse, damage or restoration. For a military pistol that is 228 years old, the condition is really remarkable. For any serious collector of American Revolutionary War arms, the French M-1777 is simply a “must have” pistol. For the collector of US marital single shots pistols, the M-1777 represents the only affordable alternative for most collectors to obtaining a North & Cheney pistol, which typically sells in the $40,000 to $60,000 range! This is a wonderful example that the pictures really do not do justice to and I am sure that you will be very pleased to add to your collection.SOLD