Firearms History

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Reference documents relating to firearms history. The documents below are free download pdf files. Please respect copyright of the authors.

The English Snaphance Lock and Two In Particular

English Snaphance Lock

by Brian Godwin

The English snaphance is not only one of the most innovative “flint-locks” but is probably one of the rarest gun mechanisms to have survived. Recent research has found that only about 80 English snaphance muskets, pistols and detached locks have survived worldwide, although this does not include excavated, converted or incomplete locks. Modern tests by the author have proved it to be a fast and reliable mechanism and it must have been a serious challenger to the matchlock and wheellock in the 16th century. This article looks at the history of the lock and examines two examples. (pdf file: 1.4mb)

For the wider study of small arms, or shooting historical firearms today in the UK, contact the following Associations:

  • The Arms & Armour Society was formed in 1950 to bring together enthusiasts, collectors, scholars and professional experts to further the study, collection and preservation of arms and armour.
  • The Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain (MLAGB) was formed in 1952 and is the Governing Body for muzzle loading within the UK. Its objectives are to encourage an interest in muzzle loading firearms; to promote, regulate and safeguard their use; and to preserve their freedom of collection.
  • The fundamental aim of the Historical Breechloading Smallarms Association (HBSA) is to encourage the preservation of historical breech loading firearms and ammunition and to foster the study of all aspects of the subject, from the aesthetics of sporting guns and the engraver’s art, to the functional aspects of firearms used by the soldier, target shooter and the sporting shooter.