This very rare gun incorporates William Needham’s patent of June 24, 1843 (British Patent No. 9801) for a self-priming percussion mechanism. Needham’s design has the percussion primers stored in a tube magazine inset into the butt of the gun where they are fed by gravity into the lock mechanism. The lock feeds a primer into a slotted percussion pillar when the hammer is cocked, the nose of the hammer has a punch which detonates the primer within the slotted pillar on firing. With browned Damascus barrels with raised concave rib signed “WILLIAM NEEDHAM. 26 PICCADILLY LONDON”. Patent breeches each with slotted platinum plug, Needham’s patent large slotted percussion pillars, and engraved with a partridge on the rib section. Standing breech engraved with a further partridge and fine scrollwork. The locks each with stepped tail, signed “W. NEEDHAM’S PATENT” and engraved with panel game scenes and scrollwork. Behind each lock a long strap extends almost to the heel plate. These straps are the primer magazines and each is engraved with foliage, signed “W. NEEDHAM’S PATENT” and has a hinged trap cover towards the rear for loading the primers. Iron furniture including heel plate and trigger guard each engraved with further scrollwork and panel game scenes. Figured walnut half length stock with checkered panels at the grip, a small square silver initial escutcheon is inset at the wrist engraved with a crest and monogram. Brass mounted wooden ramrod with worm. London proof marks. Provenance: The Malcolm King Collection
Very good. The barrels retain most of an older rebrowned finish, slight softening to the rib signature. Standing breech, locks, tubular primer magazines and furniture all mostly a grey patina with some discoloration, engraving clear throughout. The tubular primer magazines and the trigger guard each with traces of original blued finish. The stock has numerous age related storage and handling marks throughout, some staining, well defined checkering, and a repaired crack beneath the left lock. Mechanically very good with the unique primer feed mechanism within each lock appearing to function correctly.