Swedish 1850 Rifled Cavalry Pistol

  • Country: Sweden
  • Ignition System: Percussion
  • Calibre: 15.4mm (0.60

These large cavalry pistols constitute a modular pistol-carbine system. Their shape is very distinctive due to the shape of their grip. The coarse checkering and slight extension into the trigger guard can be easily identified. Technically these pistols are quite plain but they have almost no sharp edges, even the lock plate is slightly convex, giving it an almost organic look. Having no shape edges is a useful feature to ensure the pistol can be easily be pulled out of saddle holsters in a hurry. The grip width is relatively narrow probably to compensate for the riders’ thick gloves. In any case the pistol grip is comfortable and they point very well even if a bit muzzle heavy.

One pistol has a rifled barrel with four grooves and contains a cylindrical pillar in the breech. An interesting fact about these is that the rear sight notch was not filed at the factory, this was done by the regimental armourer when the pistols where issued. I do not know to what range they were sighted to. The other pistol has a smoothbore barrel. The pistols would have had matching numbers. Both have an iron back strap extending down the spine of the grip. In this back strap are two slots for mounting a stock extension to produce a rifled or smoothbore carbine.

The stock also has a very rounded profile but once fitted to the pistol, the resulting carbine is very comfortable to shoulder. To attach the stock to one of the pistols, the T shaped locking lug is inserted in the upper slot in the pistol back strap and the stock is rotated 90° downwards to align it with the pistol grip. A spring biased pin under the locking lug then enters a hole in the back strap below the slot to lock the stock in position. To remove the stock from the pistol one just needs to press on the lever on the underside of the stock to raise the pin and then rotate the stock upwards.

The rifled pistol barrel is 14.58mm calibre (.58”) and fired a flat based Tamisier bullet while the smoothbore pistol has a 20mm bore (.78”) and was loaded with six lead balls of approximately 9mm diameter. I assume the smoothbore pistol was probably intended to be used against massed troops while the rifled pistol could be used for targeting individuals. A double ended loading rod for loading both pistols was kept separately on the saddle.

The rifled pistol was produced by Carl Gustaf and the smoothbore pistol was madeby Husquvarna. They were also made by the Belgian firm Malherbe & Cie.