Despite the fact that Spain controlled nearly two thirds of what is now the modern United States until well into the 19th Century, modern collectors tend not to think of Spanish weapons when they consider "American Colonial firearms". While Dutch Fowlers, French pistols, and British Brown Bess muskets, all fetch large sums on the modern market, Spanish guns tend to remain over looked. This is likely because "New Spain" primarily covered the Southwest portion of the U.S, which was an area that remained quite "wild" until well into the 20th Century. Because of this any Spanish weaponry that was utilized in this area was used often used for generations, as it was difficult to obtain modern replacements. There are numerous accounts of early White Settlers in America's western territories during the mid 19th Century who encountered Indian warriors wearing Spanish armor and carrying Spanish escopetas that dated as far back as the 16th Century. Naturally the incredibly long service life of these Spanish colonial pieces meant that they eventually degraded to the point of becoming unusable and were simply discarded. By comparison, the Eastern portion of the U.S. was settled rather quickly; meaning that Colonial guns from this region were generally used for sporting purposes rather than subsistence or self defense; meaning Eastern pieces are often found in barely-used condition.
This particular piece is an excellent example of a Spanish commercial pistol. It is an original 19th Century piece that was professionally restored by master gunsmith Steve Krolick. As an expert on pre-percussion weapons, Steve is uniquely qualified to bring this miqulet conversion back to shooting condition. It was original purchased at an auction without a barrel. Steve turned a new .56 caliber smoothbore barrel from a blank. copying an original barrel pictured in the excellent book, Spanish Military Weapons in Colonial America 1700-1821 by Sydney Brinkenhoff and Pierce Chamberlain. Steve turned the barrel to fit the stock so as not to modify the original craftsmanship displayed in this original Spanish pistol. Turning a barrel to fit a stock is a difficult task, as barrels are typically turned first and stocks fit up to them; rather than the other way around. Despite this added challenge, Steve was able to produce a near perfect replica barrel for this pistol, and it is fitted to the stock perfectly.
The addition of a new barrel means that this pistol can actually be fired without fear of it blowing up! And, as such, Steve continued his restoration by repairing the original percussion converted miqulet lock to firing condition. Refurbishing worn components to produce a lock that was reliable and crisp.
The finished product is a beautifully restored commercial Spanish pistol that can actually be taken to range. The original stock is in excellent shape with no damage; and the furniture is original and functional.
Spanish pistols are rare and shootable Spanish pistols are almost unheard of. This piece would be a perfect choice for a reenactor portraying any pre Civil War Western Impression. It would also be a great gun for a shooter who is looking for something different to show buddies at the range.