Duval Model 1765
The Duval a Nantes flintlock pistol emerged between 1760 and 1770 and was conventional in every way.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
The Washington Naval Yard of Washington, D.C. holds a flintlock pistol in its collection that reportedly belonged to the Marquis de Lafayette, a prominent French military figure of the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) against Britain. The pistol was the product of Duval a Nantes no doubt for an officer's ownership due to its intricately detailed pommel. Estimated period of manufacture for the gun places it between 1760 and 1770.
By all accounts, the weapon is of a conventional flintlock design complete with the requisite metalworks along the right side of the frame. This includes the cocking arm with its beak-like flint vice and frizzen. The body of the weapon is of a single-piece of wood with an integral grip handle elegantly curved while capped in brass. The trigger group is slung under the action in the usual way. The metal barrel is inlaid to the wooden body for an overall strong structure. As a flintlock weapon, the pistol was loaded from the muzzle, its contents rammed home by a ramrod seated in a channel under the barrel. Charge and ball were still the call of the day to which a piece of flint rock was used at the hammer to cause the necessary spark for ignition of the charge.
The flintlock system of firearms operation lasted some 200 years before seeing replacement by the percussion cap method - this starting to take hold about the time of the American Civil War in the 1860s.