Wheellock "Paddle Butt" Cavalry Carbine
Lodgewood's owner David Stavlo built this beautiful 17th Century "Paddle Butt" Wheellock carbine from castings supplied by the Rifle Shoppe in Oklahoma. Paddle Butt carbines were used by light cavalry troops during the middle of 17th Century, before they were eventually replaced by flintlocks. Their use is primarily limited to the armies of Europe, but recent archeological evidence indicates that a small number of Paddle Butt wheellocks were also utilized in Colonial America. The purpose of the uniquely shaped butt stock has been debated by historians. Some have theorized that the rounded butt stock aided in firing the gun higher up on the shoulder or cheek, where the gun could be rested without sliding off an armored breastplate. Others have suggested that the large butt stock acted as a counter weight when shooting the carbine one-handed; while the other hand was used to hold the reigns when mounted. Whatever the case, original records indicate that these guns were quite popular with troops, and were used by cavalry in both mounted and dismounted rolls.
David built this gun to replicate the original Paddle Butt carbines attributed to the Dutch/Germanic regions. The first step in the build process was the lock assembly. The lock was sent from the Rifle Shoppe as rough castings. These parts were finished and meticulously assembled into a complete and functioning lock. In finishing the lock, David ended up making a new lock plate for the build, opting to use a slightly thicker piece of steel that would allow for more thread engagement of the screws. The thicker plate also allowed the finished lock to feature faceted edges similar to other original locks. Timing and tempering are the two most critical elements in the functioning of a wheellock, and David spent a lot trial-and-error in getting the springs tempered to the correct stiffness, and timing the wheel and pan cover to work together. His time was well spent as the finished lock works flawlessly with both iron pyrite and flint.
The finished lock was combined with a 28" .62 caliber custom smoothbore barrel. These components were installed in a European walnut stock that David shaped and finished to the profile of original paddle butts.
In addition to many of the lock parts, David also also custom-made some of the furniture components for this gun, including the trigger which features an integral "return spring" (a feature that seems to be unique to wheellock cavalry weapons), as well as a long saddle bar and ring. Both of these components were copied directly from original guns.
After the assembly was completed, the carbine was heavily aged to replicate the appearance of a well used antique.
The finished carbine is remarkably well balanced and very pleasurable to shoot. Wheellocks are complicated mechanisms and consequently are rarely reproduced by the modern builder. The Rifle Shoppe wheellock kits are certainly geared toward the advanced builder, but with a little work they can be made into very fast and reliable weapons.