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Ahead of Their Time: Break Action Flintlocks

Some good ideas are simply ahead of their time. RIAC Senior Firearms Describer Austin Ellis shows us two British flintlocks that initially look quite traditional. However, close inspection of their mechanisms reveals touches of peak technology in the early 18th century.

Each of these two British flintlocks is actually a breech loading design. Their unique break actions would not seem out of place on a double gun today. Furthermore, each also utilizes a reusable steel “case” in which powder and ball can be loaded, and then slipped quickly into the breech. This is quite an innovation for the time with several similarities to today’s modern self-contained ammunition.

Elegant in appearance and thoughtful in their design, these two break action British flintlocks are a fascinating look into firearms technology of the early 1700s. Both come courtesy from the collection of Joe M. Wanenmacher Jr.

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