Make: Made by Uberti for the U.S. Historical Society
Model: Alexander Hamilton-Aaron Burr Reproduction Flintlock Dueling Pistols
Serial Number: 130A and 130B
Year of Manufacture: 1976 (ATF classified as antique)
Caliber: .54 Caliber
Action Type: Muzzle Loading Flintlock Action with Single Set Trigger
Markings: The tops of the barrels are marked “Wogdon London” and the right lock plates are marked “Wogdon”. The right sides of the barrels are marked “130A” and “130B”. The tangs at the rear of the barrels are heavily engraved.
Barrel Length: 9 ½”
Sights / Optics: The front sights are short blades dovetailed into the barrel. The rear sights are square notches that are dovetailed into the tangs at the back of the barrels.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are dark checkered walnut that run about half the length of the barrel. The forend has a brass nose cap that runs all the way to the muzzle. The tang on the back of the trigger guard runs nearly all the down the front strap. The sides of the grip port of the stocks are flat and as the checkering runs down the curved backstrap it turns into serrations at the bottom. There is a steel wedge through the forend with an ornate head on the right side. The screw heads on the left side of the stocks have brass escutcheons. 130A: The smooth part of the wood above the checkering and the right underside of the forend at the front of the trigger guard show handling marks. The checkering is sharp to the touch. The checkering is without flaws except for a sharp compression mark through the serrations on the bottom of the grip. The stock is in about Excellent condition. 130B: This pistol shows handling marks in the smooth part of the wood above the checkering and on the right underside of the forend at the trigger. The checkering is sharp to the touch shows marks in the checkering about a third of the way down. The stock is in about Excellent condition.
Type of Finish: The barrels have a plum colored finish. The lockplates and hardware are in-the-white. The forend nose caps and ramrod pipes are brass. All of the screw heads are engraved.
Finish Originality: All Original
Bore Condition: The bores are smoothbore and bright. There is no erosion in the bores.
Overall Condition: 130A: This pistol retains about 98% of its metal finish. There are a few speckles of tarnish in the forend nose cap and scratches on the back of the frizzen from the flint. There is some discoloration and very light pitting on the lockplate in the channel created by the frizzen spring. The screw heads are sharp and the markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Excellent condition. 130B: This pistol retains about 95% of its metal finish. There are one or two tiny marks in the barrel and thinning on the top of the front sight. The left side of the nose cap is tarnished from exposure to a liquid. There are scratches on the back of the frizzen from the flint and some discoloration and very light pitting on the lockplate in the channel created by the frizzen spring. The screw heads are sharp and the markings are clear. Overall, this handgun rates in about Fine condition.
Mechanics: The actions function correctly. The trigger is pushed forwards to set it and then has a very light pull (about 8 oz) – otherwise the trigger pull is about 4 lbs. The hammer has a half cock position and can be locked with a safety lever on the right side behind the hammer. We did not fire these handguns.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: These pistols come with a ramrod stored under the barrel, a wooden carrying case with accessories and a ton of paperwork. The ramrods are in-the-white and have slightly flared tips. They show no erosion and are in Excellent condition. The case is American cherry with two wide hinges holding the lockable lid. The lid shows a few handling marks and spots of white paint that have rubbed off onto the wood. The sides also show a few handling marks and the bottom surface is covered with black felt. The inside of the case is lined with dark blue velvet. The bottom is fitted for partitions for these pistols, a rectangular partition in the middle for large accessories and covered partitions in the corners for storage of balls or other small accessories. The covers are fitted with small brass folding rings for handles. The velvet shows compression marks from the barrels and grips of the pistols. Overall, the case is in Fine condition. The case includes a wooden hammer and a key for the case. The hammer has a large chip out of one edge, and is in Good condition. The key is steel and shows light pitting and tarnish. It comes in its own black suede leather case and is in Very Good condition. The paperwork consists of a colored advertisement for this set of pistols and their case, a colored picture of these pistols with an oak cabinet that is suitable for framing, a black and white advertisement for this set of pistols, a letter of authenticity from the U.S. Historical Society to the original owner of these pistols, including their serial number, a letter from the U.S. Historical Society offering these pistols for sale, a letter to the original order on the status of the mahogany display cabinet (not included) and a reprint of an article from the Smithsonian Magazine Nov. 1976 entitled “Pistols Shed Light On Famed Duel”. All of this paperwork is in Excellent condition. Also included is a card acknowledging receipt of deposit and giving the expected delivery date of the pistols, a card indicating the status of the mahogany display cabinet (not included) and a pamphlet on “Firing Instructions”. All are in Excellent condition. Also included is a dated and signed letter from the U.S. Historical Society to the original owner acknowledging his reservation for the pistol set. This letter shows stains and staple holes, and is in Very Good condition.
Our Assessment: What a great package!! In just glancing at some of the material that comes with these pistols we learned a lot about not only these pistols and the part they played in the duel, but also the history of our country – even to the history of the Aaron Burr founding Manhattan Bank which later became Chase-Manhattan, then Chase and finally J. P. Morgan Chase. The famous pistols used by Hamilton & Burr belonged to John Barker Church who had the pistols designed with a single set trigger, adjustable sights, and larger bore (.54 caliber vs. the usual .50 caliber) than normally used for dueling pistols). Either the pistols were designed with heavy brass nose caps or Church had them modified. In any event, the result was a pair of heavy pistols with good sights firing a heavy bullet that could be extremely accurate, especially if the 8 oz. setting of the trigger was used. If one of the dueling parties was aware of the set trigger feature, he/she would have a distinct advantage. Hamilton supplied the pistols and was aware of their hidden design feature, but apparently the light trigger caused an accidental discharge while Burr was taking careful aim. Hamilton died from a shot to the liver. This set of pistols was handcrafted to exactly reproduce the original pair, which were still owned by Chase Bank in 1976. The only difference between the reproductions and the originals would appear to be the non-set trigger pull, which is about 4 lbs. on these pistols, but was apparently much stiffer on the original pair. One pistol is in Excellent condition and the other is in Fine condition. Both show only minimal handling marks, but one has some tarnish in the brass nose cap that appears to be from exposure to a liquid. The pistols come with a beautiful American cherry wood carrying case, also supplied by the U. S. Historical Society. This is a very collectable pair of pistols that represent a very important piece of American History.