Antique Firearms and Display Guns

Updated November 8, 2017

Italian-Made Black Powder Cannon


Here is a neat little cannon, likely made in the 1960s or 1970s in Italy (it is stamped on the side: “Made in Italy”) to shoot black powder. It is a Caliber .46 cannon and could be a real noise maker. These cannons used to be offered for sale in Europe but have long since been discontinued. So while it isn’t that old, it is still a rather uncommon piece. For those who want a small cannon without spending a lot of money this might be the one.

It measures nearly 20-inches in length and is about 6.5-inches across at the trunnions. It weights about 11 pounds, so it could be a great project piece. Make a carriage and you’ve have a great little cannon to shoot off on Fourth of July and New Year’s!

Price: $195 plus shipping

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19th Century Ground Dug Cannon


The problem with a lot of cannons is the size, so here is a nice solution – a vintage cannon that was dug up in Michigan. I can’t fully date this piece, but it was found in the northern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan, so not too far from Fort Mackinac. It could be as early as the French and Indian Wars, but probably dates from the early part of the 19th century.

The cannon may have been a signal cannon or perhaps was used on a smaller boat in the Great Lakes. Either way it is a smaller cannon that is heavy – about 100 pounds. It is strangely balanced and may have had a front elevation adjustment as noted by the divot near the muzzle of the cannon. There is also a divot at the rear of the cannon and it has been suggested that this may have been a period crack where a chunk of metal broke off when it was fired. This could explain why it was seemingly abandoned so long ago.

For this reason this cannon should never be fired, but it would still display VERY well. It is about 19-inches in length and it is about 9-inches across at the trunions. All in all, it is a nice piece and an affordable and compact way to have a small yet impressive looking cannon.


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Black Powder “Golf Ball Cannon”


Who wouldn’t want a cannon to make some noise? Here is a nice homemade cannon that we picked up earlier this year. We “updated” the wheels a bit – basically added some spokes and gave it a nice coat of black paint – and had trunnion covers made.

This cannon could probably shoot a golf ball but we haven’t tried, and absolutely would recommend against doing so. It could however be loaded with a small amount of black powder and would make a nice blast.

It is complete with ram rod. All in all this is a fun little display piece that is much cheaper than other black powder cannons we’ve seen.

Price: $995 plus shipping

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Moroccan Black Powder Trade Musket


Muskets and rifles from North Africa took on a very unique design, and this included a simply carved hardwood stock with a wide and flared curved flat triangular butt. This example features what is likely walrus ivory inlays, along with strap-type appliqués on both sides with beaded decorations. There are 11decorated metal sleeves along the length of the stock and barrel.

This example dates to the middle of the 19th century and features a lock with a crude finish and some pitting and rust to the barrel. There are gaps in the fit and finish of the lock to the stock, but it retains almost all of its decoration. It features a 47 inch barrel. All in all this is a nice example of an increasingly hard to find type of musket.


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French Percussion Pistol


There was a time when no French gentleman would venture far from home without a pistol for defense, especially it involved trips on the roads outside of the town centers. Here is a fine gentleman’s pistol, likely dating to the first half of the 19th century. It is a small enough pistol that it could be carried inside a coat or trouser pockets without drawing attention.

It is complete with original ramrod and features a nicely engraved lock. The pistol measures about 11 inches overall and has a barrel of about six inches. The action works fine on this pistol and it probably would be capable of firing, but I would absolutely recommend that a gunsmith or other expert inspect this one before actually trying such a thing.

Overall the pistol shows some wear with a few scuffs and scratches. This was absolutely a “concealed carry” weapon of its day and it was likely something someone counted on! Along with a lovely patina this one has real character.

Price: $595 plus shipping

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Indo-Persian Mid 19th Century Percussion Pistol


This is a wall-hanger, but a lovely looking wall hanger. It is a 19th century British style percussion pistol – likely used by the East India Company and thus dating from the pre-Indian Mutiny era. This appears to be marked under the pistol’s hammer to the East India Company. The pistol was likely “captured” at some point in Persia or Afghanistan and decorated with bone inlay. The pistol has real character.

However, there has been some damage – as noted in the photos. The wood has been cracked and this pistol can’t cock and fire – however, I wouldn’t trust firing it if it did function properly. There are a few pieces of bone inlay missing, but with the crack these are on the opposite side of the hammer – so mounted on a wall or in a case this pistol would display quite well. It is a nice sturdy example of a mid-19th century pistol from the Middle East/Central Asian region. This one probably had some real adventures, and it is also priced accordingly for a pistol of this vintage given the issues.

Price: $425 plus shipping

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