Original Cased J. Beattie Howdah Pistol Consigned at LSB

Taking Stock #4

The Howdah Pistol…

Ah, the golden age of British colonialism.  “The sun never sets on the British Empire,” was a common expression in the 19th century, as, armed with superior weapons and tactics, the British flung a colonial net across the entire globe.  It was natural that the same intrepid, daring spirit that animated such conquests would also motivate individuals to seek adventure on the outskirts of the empire.

adventure in such ways.  Braving wind, desert, native uprisings, and the like, many a proper British gentleman of the period sought the adrenaline-charged thrill of close contact with danger.  However, whether hunting, exploring, or simply walking the dirty streets of less-civilized environs, it was considered prudent to have a last-ditch companion that might be useful in a desperate struggle.  Enter the Howdah Pistol.

The term comes from the howdah, a large saddle mounted on the back of an elephant. Hunters, especially during the period of the British Raj inIndia, hunted tigers and other dangerous game from this platform.  In an era of single shot rifles, a less-than-fatal shot might turn into a vicious attack, and without a follow-up capability, such hunters needed a readily available sidearm, of large caliber, for protection from animal attacks.

Howdahs came in all sizes and shapes, from cut-down rifles, to custom-made affairs, such as the elegant, powerful, and fearsome .65 caliber double-barreled, cased J. Beattie, Gunmaker, Howdah that recently came into Lock, Stock & Barrel.

What a pistol!  The elegant 19thCentury Damascus-barreled beauty shows the meticulous quality and attention to detail that made the skilled gun-makers of the British Empire the envy of the world.  Brutally short and handy, those twin, devastating, .65 caliber barrels would deter the most determined adversary, and could drop in mid-charge, the most savage animals on Earth.The pistol is stunning.  The twinDamascusbarrels shine with a pearl-like gloss.  The bluing and case hardening is beautiful almost to the point of delicacy.  It is a cased set which fairly drips of adventure and intrigue.  Was this built for an officer on Indian duty?  Was it carried in the valise of a traveling nobleman?  Did it rest under the morning coat of a younger son of a baron?  This pistol and its accessories rest in a handmade wood box which is a work of art in itself,  covered in the romance and mystery of the high period of a time, when the sun never set on theBritish Empire…