Object Title

Wheellock pistol

Wheellock pistol



Object Number



Acquired at Sotheby's 9 June 1961, lot 121. From the collection of Herr von Haidinger in Elbogen, later transferred to the collection of Count Wilczek at Schloss Kreuzenstein. Originally found in a bog at Komorn (Komarno) on the Hungarian-Czechoslovak border.

Physical Description

An early example comprising an external lock mechanism attached to the right side of the barrel by a lug at the front, while the rear of the lock is retained by a collar at the base of the breech. There is an exceptionally long mainspring and a feather spring for the doghead, which is fitted between two arms. The wheel is bridged by a bridle that also provides a bearing surface for the outer end of the spindle. The pan cover is pivoted and has a hooked lower edge that engages below the pan with a slot in the wheel to form either a safety catch or possibly a rudimentary automatic pan cover opening device. The sear and trigger are combined and along with the sear spring are fitted to the inner side of the lockplate, the sear having a hooked end which engages with the squared end of the wheel-spindle. The barrel is octagonal at the breech and has an extended breech plug that forms a socket into which fits a short wooden butt. The breech is engraved with a formal vine pattern, and the barrel, which is round, is slightly flared at the muzzle. A belt hook is fitted to the left side of the pistol and a steel ramrod retained by a loop at the front of the barrel is also fitted


hand crafted





Serial Number none


.430 in

Inscriptions and Marks

Maker's mark
Circle with a V at its apex
on the barrel

Bibliographic References

Graeme Rimer, Wheellock Firearms of the Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, 2001. p.20, colour ill.

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011, volume 1


This gun is of Italian type but in view of the close links between Hungary and the Venetian Republic through Dalmatia it may have been made in Hungay under Italian influence. See the inventory file for a letter from Claude Blair, dated 8th January, 1995, in which he suggests that this pistol is of a similar type to some described as 'picco schioppi...di tre spanne', from Cividale or Portebbe, in Friuli, Italy. Mr Blair was submitting an article concerning this source of early wheellocks to Waffen und Kostumkunde for future publication.