India made guns


March 19, 2012, 09:04 PM
A while back, I was involved in a rather "Active":banghead: discussion about these decorative pieces. The basic problem I had was there was not enough information about the makers and quality, particularly whether they were proofed or not, and if they were sold to shoot. I advised strongly not to shoot them at all.


This conversation occurred at the IWA gun show in Nurnberg Germany.

The individual made a report on the N-SSA bulletin board you can read for yourself: Look under CW ARMS: Topic is: who is the maker and small arms approval?

If you want to risk yourself, okay if you are shooting alone. If not, think about the guy next to you. Did you ask him to take the risk also? Does he want to stand next to a pipe bomb?

A few bucks are not worth the risk to my friends or myself.

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March 19, 2012, 09:54 PM

Do you actually own any of the offending India-made guns? I had several in my Museum's reenactment armory and had occasion to take them apart, de-breech them, re-harden frizzens, etc. And I don't find them all that bad. Our Pedersoli, Uberti, Armi-Sport replicas were more than double in cost and I had more issues with soft frizzens, poorly aligned hammers, stripped threads, etc. etc. We bought our India made Brown Bess and 1816 Springfield replicas from Middlesex and Loyalist Arms in Canada. Service was excellent, and the gun are very serviceable. I had a local gunsmith look over all the India-made guns and proof tested them myself with three double charge/double ball loads. There was no breech/barrel swelling or any other issues.

I have had two "custom" American made Kentucky rifles burst from bad breech and bolster threads in the past 20 years and these were from gunmakers with excellent reputations. Admittedly the Indian made guns are a bit rough but the metalurgy and craftsmanship not that bad, certainly equal or better than originals. They are trying to fill a nitche in the black powder market by not complying with some of the most restrictive, invasive regulations on the planet (the Indian Government bureauacracy) I give them credit for what they have accomplished and am happy they aren't building them in China.

Bottom line is they can be both safe and save money if you are careful about proofing them your self, safely. Frankly, I am still kicking myself for not proofing a Bill Large percussion rifle that blew up catistrophically 25 years ago with a mild load and ball properly seated. It turned out there was a flaw in the breech plug metal threads that allowed them to shear at very mild pressure. Bill Large is "god" in western Pensylvania and at Friendship NMLRA meets and his guns go for very high prices. Nothing is fool-proof!

Carl N. Brown
March 19, 2012, 09:58 PM
Apparently these are shipped from India as non-shooting replicas without the touch hole being drilled into the barrels. Some folks apparently along the line are drilliing out the touch holes for use with powder. Does sound scary to me, unless they do get proofed.

for direct link to discussion:

Last post was 1 day ago; Open post is 24 Aug 2010; link to company selling the guns now comes back for me as
The domain may be for sale by its owner!

March 19, 2012, 10:28 PM
I have seen many of these guns and chosen not to buy. I have worked on 6 or so and all had problems. 3 of the ones brought to me were ruptured with people hurt, fortunately, not seriously. When these rupture, they throw shrapnel!!! This is not as likely with a barrel made of gun metal. You are more likely to get bulges and breaks without the shrapnel.

While you appear to be trying to be as sure as you can, I consider it closing the gate after the horse is out. Blanks are POSSIBLY okay in these pieces, but I will not trust firearms that the maker does not stand behind. THE INDIA Makers DO NOT DO SO, EVEN FOR BLANKS! The sell them only as DECORATOR PIECES, NOT FIREARMS!

Sir, with your position, you are taking an incredible risk. Have you considered the public who watches your exhibitions? Have you talked this over with your liability carrier and your attorney? I bet that they will request you drop these decorator pieces or lose your insurance. Maybe your job.

Loyalist Dave
March 20, 2012, 12:55 PM
Here we go again...,

Folks claiming to know the makers of the barrels, but failing to identify the makers. This is the same song-and-dance on the NSSA thread "I talked to the companies" but no names given at first, a single maker finally named and the story changed..., that maker says the guns can be fired. The NSSA official says there are many examples of the CW repro guns failing..., again not a word on which maker or which importer or which model gun.

Then we have "3 of the ones brought to me were ruptured with people hurt,", but strangely, those wishing to warn us fail to mention the maker and the model of the gun, or the incident where this happened. Well, they may not know where it happened, but they should be able to tell us who was the importer, and what model gun ruptured.

I know that the Importer from which I have bought says his barrels are from a company that only produced barrels for them. The NSSA "source" from Hungary indentifies the one maker that he actually interviewed sold to MVTC... which supports the claim that not all of the barrels are from the same maker.

The importer that I have bought from sells them ready to fire, Touch Hole Drilled. I agree with the idea that one should never buy such a musket and "convert" it to firing, in the basement with a power drill. I have never bought such, nor seen such for sale, while I have seen three different importer's guns for sale. All were sold ready to shoot.

I have also seen some Indian made guns from another maker that are strictly wall hangers, and sold as such...., no touch hole drilled.

I know of only one documented barrel failure of an Indian flintlock barrel. I have heard rumors of some of the Indian made CW caplocks having barrel failures, but have not had anybody provide confirmation..., still waiting. I find it odd as well that the NSSA which shoots caplocks would be used as a source to discuss whether or not Indian flinters have been converted over to firing and are safe..., when the NSSA doesn't use them.

So far this is a rehash of the rumor mill. Provide maker, model, source, and reason for rupture..., and you have a case.

OH, btw here are some examples of "modern inlines" and proofed or not, you can't stop failures when there is operator error...

Muzzleloader accident (

Gun Explodes (


March 20, 2012, 06:51 PM
Sako, Tika and Beretta have had stainless barrels blow with factory ammo shot out of them.

March 20, 2012, 06:56 PM
Yikes! Touching off a shot from a mystery gun? No thanks.

March 20, 2012, 07:25 PM
Loyalist Arms can be found at

New server, nothing nefarious.

March 20, 2012, 08:32 PM
As a college student at the Centenial (yup 100 anniversary) Gettysberg battle reenactment I both witnessed a couple of original muskets blow up and also saw several examples at reenactor headquarters. More then 30 reenactors were injured by split barrels, blown nipples, and breech plugs that sheared their threads. Of course everyone back then was using original muskets since replicas were not yet available.

Since I was then working part-time at a museum learning conservation and curation of among many things, firearms, I got access to some of these examples that had failed. It was determined by forensic experts at NPS Gettysberg that most of the burst muskets had either a severe overload or a barrel obstruction. Nonetheless several were obviously due to old flaws in manufacturing and some due to the effects of 100 years of poor storage and the corrosion from black powder residue.

After another 50 years of working with and around muzzle loading firearms, black powder, and historical reenactors, I am amazed that there are so few incidents. I have yet to see a shooter take responsibility for an accident he caused by negligence or stupidity. He always claims the gun is a piece of crap.

I'm sure Hawkeye74 has the best of intentions in publishing his warning. However to "tar all with the same brush" is not quite fair. The firearms I have personally inspected from Loyalist and Middlesex were reasonable quality, comparatively inexpensive, historically accurate, and passed my proofing. I didn't make the decision to buy them, and it was I who insisted they be proofed before putting them into service. In my opinion they are better made than the originals they replicate and are made with much better steel. There are several manufacturers in India as there are in Spain and Belgium. Some make wall hangers not designed to be fired and others make a better product that can be completed after import into a firing replica by a qualified craftsman.

In the military rifle collector's circle, "Kyber Pass" firearms have the same bad (mostly deserved) reputation despite the fact that thousands of excellent, well made firearms are turned out there in shops without electricty or modern machinery. Mostly you only hear about or see the really bad ones since the good ones are so good as to defy detection as a copy.

Hocka Louis
March 20, 2012, 10:04 PM
I have bought many India repros over the years mostly as cheap examples of something interesting vs. a quality shooter. And frankly, after a few of those (particularly from Discriminating General whom I'm CONVINCED sells SECONDS -- one literally had the frizzen fall off never having been fired!) I won't even buy one for a wall hanger.

Sorry -- to compare the quality to the other imports is, on average, an ABSURD perspective.

March 20, 2012, 11:48 PM
I looked over a Baker Rifle replica I spotted on a rack at a gun store. From 20 feet away it looked good. When I got my hands on it I saw the barrel was not even rifled. They were asking more for the Baker "replica" than for a brand new Lyman Great Plains.

The Lymans [Investarms] are proofed and use chrome moly steel for their barrels. India makes all kinds of rifles ect. They can proof their muzzleloader guns as well if they wanted to. The guns from India would have to drop the price by at least 30% before I would buy one.

March 21, 2012, 12:11 AM

We argued before about these guns. Defend them all you want but the fact remains, they are sold as decorations!

Get your facts straight on certain things:

1. The N-SSA DOES shoot flint locks so we do have a reason to be concerned about allowing or not allowing a "decorative piece" in our events. We have had over 60 years of events with no serious injuries. I think our opinion is worth consideration.

2. The decorations have NO IDENTIFING MARKS to tell us what mfg. made the decoration or the barrel. The Models I have seen failed are one caplock Enfield, one 1795 Flintlock and one 1842 caplock. I have seen pictures of others. Sorry, I didn't take pictures nor keep those I have seen.

Fortunately, all were Re-enactors practicing for "live fire" events scheduled for upcoming re-enactments so few people were placed in harms way. I am sure from the looks of the "decorations" there were "trigger nut problems", but in my opinion, the non-Indian firearms would not have failed under identical situations.

3. Both Middlesex and Loyalist Arms have REFUSED TO IDENTIFY MANUFACTURERS directly to me when I was investigating these decorations several years ago and again 2-3 years ago when I had our previous "disagreement".

How can we supply the specifics you request when the importer refuses to supply the information?

IF they have a good barrel maker, Why hide their identity? Why doesn't the MFG. take legal responsibilty for barrel failures?

4. It is the importer drilling the vents. Got this information directly from Loyalist and Middlesex. They then sell them for more money. They want to sell them and make $$$$.

As I recall, you yourself sell these decorations at re-enactments.

In closing, I will trust them when they stop hiding so much information. I don't trust sellers that hide things from their customers. The MFGS. at the European show called their wares Decorative Replicas. I take them at their word.

March 21, 2012, 12:13 AM
I'd like to find one for cheap, I could probably just turn a .32 barrel on a lath, stick it in there with some silver solder, proof it, slap a rear sight on there, and it would be good to go as a plinking gun. Or perhaps .410 would be good to line it with, that way I could shoot shot or patched roundballs with it for squirrels and rabbits. If I find one for super-cheap I could probably find a safe way to do that, but I sure as heck don't trust the barrels as-is.


March 21, 2012, 01:04 AM
Sorry for starting the ruckas again.

ALL firearms are dangerous and all will have failures. Even the best will have MFG. errors and faulty material. But those firearms that have been built with proper safety proceedures greatly reduce the risks.

Safety procedures taught to shooters reduce these further. The N-SSA has a mild dispute with re-enactor community because we use loading procedures we feel make us safer, not the original CW procedurers. Again, Safety first.

Curator, Glad to know several of those early re-enactors are still going. I know many N-SSA members participated back then. I can see you care about what you do and are trying to do things as safe as you can. Those early guns failed for all the reasons you said. Obviously, with you in charge there are likely not to be any "trigger nut problems". I just wanted people here to know the new information on these decorations since I had "discussed the topic" once before here.

March 21, 2012, 10:14 AM
I have a delhi gunworks charleville. It came into the country without the touch hole drilled. This was due to the Indian laws surrounding firearms - illegal to manufacture, posses or export a firearm for most people.

The fit and finish are nowhere near as good as an Italian repro, but the gunsmith I had proof it said it was as safe as any other BP repro musket. I shoot blanks and projectiles with it and it works fine.

There are some Indian/Pakistani companies who produce wall hangers which should never, ever be fired, but I wouldn't paint all with the same brush. You just need to do some research and have a good gunsmith.

March 21, 2012, 11:09 AM
When you buy a gun it should NOT need the frizzen hardened, have springs that would work as a suspension for a '57 Ford pick up, and I am not crazy about the fit I have seen on some of the stocks. I also realize that they are way below the cost of a custom built, or even the Italian imports. Your money, your choice.

January 24, 2013, 07:21 AM
copy of post in intro thread
Hi All
My Name is as you can guess Bob, and I love all things to do with black powder which is a bit of a problem here in UK as the gun laws are draconian to say the least.
I've seen on the forum a lot of talk about Indian made muskets, so I thought I would put my penny worth in for those interested.
I travel quit a bit and have seen for myself some of the Indian makers which is an eye opener to say the least. If theses guys had half the equipment sitting in my shop they would be able to make the finest guns, "you bet"
I was interested in what steel they used in the barrels and have come to the conclusion it is second-hand hydraulic lines made from cold drawn steel tubing from the many ships being broken up in Bangladesh?? often described by them as (old oil cans).
They cut this to length and forge it by swaging it to swell the breach end and muzzle if needed. They drive a mandrill into the bore to approximate the bore size then with a simple reamer on a long stem fitted to a electric drill ream the bore.
Primitive yes but given the skill they get the result, the wood used is teak in the most part and pot luck to how good it might be, to see a guy checker this wood with a sharpened old broken file in a few minutes is all most beyond belief.
Locks and other parts are hand forged and filed to size, no two parts are identical and all are fitted by hand to one gun.
Anyone interested in these guns and with the right skill level, could take over were they leave off and finish the parts to a much higher level and produce a good looking weapon.
now the interesting bit I was offered as many as I wanted for $250 each from a one off or a hundred, posted to UK/USA $50 each.
I watched as the guy loaded a gun (he asked me to pick any gun stacked against a wall which with a hand drill he drilled the vent hole there and then) with a handful of black powder and two lead balls walked out side and holding it to his shoulder let her go!!! big bang lot of grinning faces and all looked ok ( have to say I kept well out of the way)
to say the least I was impressed.
So much so that I paid for a baker rifle there and then this was just before Christmas and the gun will be posted this week
It is my intention to send the barrel to Birmingham proof house to get it tested and refinish the gun completely, file and finish the brass work to military bright, brown the barrel with artificial twist finish, case harden the standing breach, case harden the tumbler and sear, polish the springs, and internal lock plate, rifle the barrel with seven groves 1/4 turn in 30 inches and re-stain the wood and oil finish.
mark the gun with all original marks to wood and metal (the only thing it will have other than the original marks will be the modern proof marks)
Sure looking forward to this project but would like to hear some advice on tuning the flint lock as this is not something I've done before so any help would be appreciated?
Many thanks and may you all have many years enjoying you hobby
Bobsen is online now Report Post

Phantom Captain
January 24, 2013, 07:38 AM
I have a Lorenz from Loyalist that I've been using for years and I LOVE it. I've fired both blanks and live round ball from it. I did test it with a heavy charge and buck and ball, a couple of times for that matter, with no problems whatsover.

All that said and the Lorenz being my primary carry musket for reenacting, I decided to mostly only use it with blanks and not live fire anymore as I really don't like crossing my live fire weapons with my reenacting guns.

Just one of my things, most of mine are shooters and a couple are for reenacting. The one exception is my Springfield 1842 smoothie (which I completely love by the way) which is mostly live fire but on the RARE occasion I do early war or something I will carry it for reenacting.

Just saying.

Loyalist Dave
January 27, 2013, 11:59 AM
Hawkeye74 your memory as well as you analysis is flawed. I do not vend any muskets, never have. In answer to your question,

Why hide their identity? Why doesn't the MFG. take legal responsibilty for barrel failures?, fist it's ONE failure, second...,

since none of the manufacturers have been sued in India, your claim of "not taking responsibility" is spurious. Every manufacturer around the world would rather not pay for an injury from the use of their product. IF your assertion is that they sell them as not for firing is correct for all barrels from India, you seriously think that alone would shield them from a lawsuit? (Assuming of course you or I would actually be successful in an Indian court - took more than 20 years for Union Carbide to be held accountable for Bopal, and that was clearly the company's fault). American made ladders are often clearly marked with labels saying "don't use near electrical lines" and "don't use on slippery ground" yet these folks are still subject to suits from people who are injured from ladders slipping out from under them or contact with power lines.

As for sources, why should a manufacturer tell YOU or anybody where they get their parts? You imply it must be nefarious, but it may simply be protection of proprietary knowledge. By your own logic, the folks that sell the muskets ready to fire, with nothing on them saying don't shoot; decoration piece only, are culpable, regardless of the source. They are the ones who would be assuming liability, just as the folks in America who convert hydrolic tubing into barrels change that product from what it is and use it for something unintended assume liability. You only have their word of what they use, unless you actually walk the barrel through the process. You would have better chances in a court in Canada or the United States (Middlesex Village and Veteran Arms are American companies) than you would in India.


January 27, 2013, 02:09 PM
As with anything, quality varies. They're sold as decoration pieces due to legal issues involving export/import of firearms. You can buy one from Middlesex Arms, which they'll proof for a fee, and still pay way less than other replicas. If you can't afford something else and you can buy from a reputable vendor, I think some of them are plenty serviceable. Like all gun purchases, you have to evaluate the gun itself. Just because one gun comes from India doesn't mean that it's exactly like another gun also from India. The same way there are some American made guns I'd never buy, there are some Indian guns I'd never buy, but that doesn't rule out other firearms from the same country of origin.

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