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The High School Shop Pirate Pistol

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by rcmodel, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I built this as a senior HS shop project in 1961-62.
    Imagine a kid doing that today!


    When I was 6 in 1950, my dad bought a farm when he returned from WWII and got back on his feet.
    In the shop attached to a barn was a decrepit old James Constable double-barrel percussion shotgun.

    One day when I was about 8, it fell over and whacked him on the head while he was bent over working on a piece of farm machinery.
    I learned three things that day.
    1. My dad had learned more cuss words in WWII then I could imagine.
    2. I didn't know what a lot of them meant.
    3. I new A LOT of new cuss words for an 8 year old boy.

    Anyway, he got so mad he broke the shotgun in half over the big blacksmith anvil, and threw the pieces out on the scrap iron pile behind the shop. They laid there for a few more years, until one day, I soaked the thing in a can of kerosene until I could get the rusty lock screws out.

    I put the remaining good lock, triggers, broken trigger guard, and front sight bead in my “possibles” junk box.

    Then in 1961, I needed a HS senior shop class project.
    I found a chunk of ¾” hex bar stock in the school iron rack left over from some other kids project in years past, and a bell rang in my head.

    I had never seen a real Pirates Pistol, but had read enough books to know about what they looked like.
    And that chunk of hex bar stock looked like a barrel for one!!!

    My shop teacher gave the go ahead, and I drew up the gun in drafting class using the old shotgun lock, trigger, guard, and hex bar-stock "barrel" as a basis of the design.

    I made a deep-hole drill out of a 3/8” drill bit with an extension brazed on it, and bored out the barrel down to where the breach plug threads would need to end.
    It was drilled & tapped for a 3/8”x1”x16TPI bolt. Then I faced the barrel off until the bolt head tightened in line with the barrel flats, welded a tang on the bolt, and bent it to match the curve of the stock.

    I made the stock from a leftover chunk of walnut I found in the scrap wood pile at school.
    The inletting looks like it was done by a rabid beaver, but it got the job done.


    Finally, I got a 1/4"x28 nipple from somewhere and drilled & tapped the barrel for the powder drum, tightened to align the nipple with the hammer, and welded it in place.




    I proof fired the pistol with a double charge of powder & two balls several times with no ill effects.
    Then continued to shoot it occasionally to this day.
    It uses a .36 cal patched ball and a .30 Carbine case full of FFFG.

    Looking back on it now, a couple of things I overlooked was a slot & ferrule for a ram-rod, and Pirate Pistols were not .36 caliber!

    I couldn’t have put a ram-rod in it anyway, because I used a screw to hold the barrel on, and it is right in the way of a ram-rod slot.
    And if I had drilled it to a bigger caliber, it probably would have blown up when I double charged it to proof fire it.

    Learn something new every day about pirate pistols they didn't tell you in pirate books I guess!!

    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012
  2. plunge

    plunge Well-Known Member

    that is awesome
  3. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

  4. rondog

    rondog Well-Known Member

    Wow, the cool factor for that is off the scale! Absolutely priceless! And the fact that you can, and still, shoot it is even more awesome. I'm assuming it's a smoothbore, and you'd be lucky to hit a bus at 50 paces with it? But how awesome!
  5. kBob

    kBob Well-Known Member

    AARRRGH! There be a fine piece o' smokin' death to be agoing over the rail with. AARGH and ain't it so, bucko?

    With that and those two first dagger stuffed in a belt you would have been the heigt of Caribian Fashion of 1700!

    I am impressed and only hope my boy is as creative and skilled when he gets to 12th grade.

  6. Harrod

    Harrod Well-Known Member

    Beautiful piece RC! Especially for something done in high school, you obviously take very good care of it.
  7. Berkley

    Berkley Well-Known Member

    That has to be the coolest shop project ever!:cool: Glad you're still enjoying it, and thanks for letting the rest of us share in the fun.
  8. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Well-Known Member

    Aaargh, fire ye' cap n' balls matey! Blow them scurvy' dawgs to Hades with ye' thirty six caliber pirate's pistol, for ye' will collect the spoils and the rum. But beware pirate, dead men tell no tales...

    Couldn't resist. Excellent build, you did outstanding work on that!
  9. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    Wow that is very cool RC
  10. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Well-Known Member

    Shiver me timbers RC.
    Mighty ingenious fer a high school senior.
    You obviously had yer sights set on more distant shores.And knew how to chart the course.
    Ya know, that bugger's half way on it's way to bein an antique.
    And it looks mavalous :)
  11. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Well-Known Member

    The percussion system came long after the Age of Piracy.

    A nicely done project nonetheless.
  12. BADUNAME30

    BADUNAME30 Well-Known Member

    How do you know he dint pirate the concept ?
  13. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Well-Known Member

    So what did you get for a grade???
  14. Busyhands94

    Busyhands94 Well-Known Member

    We still have pirates today, just not the "Aaarrgh, shiver me timbers" kind. No blunderbusses or flintlocks either, just AK-47's. :mad:
  15. Patocazador

    Patocazador Well-Known Member

    I lived in Chicago before I moved to East Tennessee to complete high school in 1960. It was common in my new school to bring your shotgun to school and store it in your car or locker so you could go dove shooting after school without having to go home first.

    Just imagine what would happen today if a student had a shotgun in his locker.
  16. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    RC, that is one sweet looking shootin' iron. Hell, a lot of adults would be ecstatic to produce something that nice at ANY time. Let alone as a high school shop project.

    I'm sort of assuming that the barrel is a smoothbore? So when you do shoot it what sort of groupings does it give?
  17. Captain*kirk

    Captain*kirk Well-Known Member

    First off, beautiful and unique pistol!
    What's even more remarkable (and dismaying) is the level of stupidity and absurdity we've sunk to in today's society. Maybe if more kids spent time on worthwhile and meaningful projects like yours, and more time outdoors in a deer stand or duck blind, we wouldn't have wackos shooting up theatres and such.
  18. the Black Spot

    the Black Spot Well-Known Member

    "Rabid beaver" ....I can't stop laughing! !!!
  19. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    MBC accuracy, (Minute of Beer Can) at 15-20 feet or so.

    I never really benchrest tested it for ultimate accuracy at any kind of distance.

    I don't remember, but pretty sure an A or A+.

    My shop, history & science grades were the only reason I'm still not in High School 50 years later, and still trying to graduate! :eek:

    Advanced Math, English, and Foreign Languages??
    I never even had a clue what they were talking about most of the time! :confused:

    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012
  20. 58limited

    58limited Well-Known Member

    That is too cool. I would not have been able to do that in shop back in the 80s even though the rules were more lenient than now: we could carry pocket knives. I know a few guys had deer rifles in their truck racks during deer season and none of the teachers said anything.

    Do you shoot the pistol often? That would have some serious wow factor at the range, especially after you tell everyone that you made it.

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