identifying doglock pistol


March 5, 2011, 03:21 AM
I'm trying to identify and value a percussion doglock pistol I purchased about 40 years ago. Caliber appears to be about .69 smoothbore, has brass fittings holding stock at muzzle with attached, hinged ramrod. Without disassembling, only marking on metal is a stamp at the rear of the barrel, on top, just ahead of the tang. Appears to be gold inlaid. Stamp consists of a crown, some sort of decoration, and two rows of letters. First row appears to be AULU, second row appears to be AGA. There also are some stampings on the stock. Top a crown over a capital R and to the left of that a crown over a capital Z. On the left side of the stock, just above the trigger, are letters that appear to read BVD ARTE. My recollection is that it was Spanish and made in the early 1800s.

Attached (I hope) are photos.

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March 5, 2011, 03:28 AM
Here are the other two photos showing the mark and a closeup of the lock.

Jim K
March 6, 2011, 10:34 PM
Are you sure it is a doglock as I don't see a dog, though the pics are not very good.

It looks to me like a percussion conversion of a Miquelet lock pistol, which would tend to confirm the Spanish origin. If it was a Miquelet lock, the pistol would likely be a lot older than the early 1800's but the percussion conversion would date from possibly the 1830's or 1840's. Sorry I can't be of more help, but maybe better pics and another look at the markings would help.


March 7, 2011, 12:00 AM
Looks like some kind of critter sitting on it's haunches. A true doglock is a flintlock type weapon I believe.

But I suppose that if that's a dog sitting there you can rightly call it a doglock. :)

March 7, 2011, 03:31 AM
The lock definitely looks like a dog. Attached is a higher resolution picture with the hammer on half cock -- sorry about the color, taken under florescent lighting. You also can see the indentation in the top of the barrel where the maker's mark (I think that's what it is) is. Second picture is best I can do on the mark since I don't have a macro lens for my digital camera.

Jim K
March 7, 2011, 07:45 PM
OK, we have a terminology problem here. A dog lock is not a lock that has a cock or a hammer shaped like a dog, it is a lock with a "dog", a kind of safety catch that holds the hammer back until it is released.

Here is a picture of a dog lock with the "dog" disengaged.

Now what you seem to have is a well made percussion pistol, perhaps a conversion from flintlock, made on the Miquelet lock system. That system is distinguished by having the mainspring (hammer spring) on the outside of the lock and bearing directly on the hammer or cock, where more conventional locks have the mainspring inside, bearing on a part called the tumbler which is connected to the hammer by a round part that extends through the lockplate.

The Miquelet lock was not unique to Spain but it was most common there and many high quality guns were made with that system. The letters "AGA" are fairly common as an ending to Spanish names of both persons and cities (e.g., Malaga). If the first letters could be deciphered, we might find a clue as to the maker.


March 7, 2011, 08:49 PM
Looks like the full name may be "ZULUAGA" A bit of google brings up Eusebio Zuluaga, Spanish gunsmith:

No photos there, sadly. My bet is the 2,000 pound pistol was more ornate than yours, but who knows.

Another is here:

Poking around more shows there may have been a family by that name over the years as there are also references to "M Zuluaga"

This one probably needs a real expert to take a look at and value. My gut instinct, FWIW, is that you have a solid piece in better-than-average condition that was for field use. The stamp on the stock could be an owner's name but that's not a typical place for a maker's mark. Maybe the "BVD" or whatever stands for a rank or title?

March 8, 2011, 04:38 AM
Thanks to everyone who replied. Upon further examination with a magnifying lens, the letters on the top row of the maker's mark definitely are ZULU, so Zuluaga looks like a good possibility. I suspect the BVD ARTE marking means something along the lines of 5th artillery battalion (Batallón V de artilleria).

Jim K
March 8, 2011, 08:21 PM
I think Cosmoline has nailed it pretty close; note the use of an animal's head on the pan of the Christies pistol, showing a common theme.

I note that the pistol in Cosmoline's second link has the barrel marked "de [of or from] erraduras", which I think is an old spelling of "herraduras" or "horseshoes". So evidently the Spanish makers used worn horseshoes for making barrels, as did the makers in other countries. Supposedly the pounding received by a horseshoe strengthened the metal (as forging does) and made it stronger than ordinary iron.


March 8, 2011, 09:13 PM
Never knew that about horseshoes. Very interesting.

For comparison, here's what appears to be an issued military caplock from Spain:

I think your pistol is superior in workmanship. If you do get a formal appraisal done I'm hoping you share any additional details here. It's not what I usually think of when I think of Spanish muzzleloaders LOL

Jim K
March 8, 2011, 09:46 PM
The Spanish gun trade took some bad hits with the junk that was made in the early 20th century, but Spain was always a leader in making high quality weapons. Some areas had iron ore deposits that were turned into high quality steel before anyone really knew what steel was. The Roman legions prized Spanish swords for that reason.

I like that design with the nipple cover that allowed the gun to be carried capped yet with the mainspring relaxed and no worry about the hammer being hit. When the hammer is cocked, the nipple cover flies forward out of the way and lets the hammer strike the cap. A neat idea.


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