Edward Bate (1743-1810) was one of the most talented late 18th century air gun makers and was active in London. He was also among the few who produced high quality air pistols. Though this example offered looks like a large caliber flintlock, the smoothbore barrel measures at approximately .50 caliber/13 mm and is actually rather smaller than the outer brass housing suggests. The outer housing consists of an air reservoir which surrounds the barrel. A pump (not included) is able to be connected to a threaded port accessed through a small rotating door located on the buttplate. Air guns of this style were used primarily for hunting. "Wind guns" had several advantages over conventional firearms including that they were quieter, smokeless, quicker to reload, and relatively unaffected by rain. They also required less cleaning since they did not require corrosive black powder like the flintlocks that this example is modeled after. The oversized brass barrel reservoir has a blade front sight, notch rear sight, faint remnants of what was a Bates signature on top that has been polished off, and floral and border engraving on the breech, lock and brass fittings, with a dog on the sideplate and downed game birds on the buttplate tang. The flat bevelled step tailed iron lock is marked "BATE" at the tail, with a goose neck cock. Includes a horn tipped wooden ramrod. Circular brass collection tag marked "R.D. BEEMAN/PRIVATE/COLLECTION/457" hanging from the trigger guard. This exact air gun is pictured and described on page 177 of "Blue Book of Airguns, Thirteenth Edition". Provenance: The Dr. Robert D. Beeman Collection
Very good, with bright polished surfaces on the brass with scattered dents on the barrel reservoir, darkened patina on the iron lock with scattered light pitting, and mostly defined engraving overall. Stock is good as lightly sanded and re-oiled, with scattered scratches and dents, a few minor chips and cracks, a mild chip to the right of the buttplate tang, and overall solid figure. Mechanically fine.
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