Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Horned Rifles and other Asian Firearms

Dave at Prick- Eared sent me a link to this story on a village in China , where the inhabitants are allowed at least primitive firearms. In strictly "gun free" China, this makes it a great tourist attraction, a situation something like allowing the Naxi to have their goshawk - based falconry. (As a tourist attraction, of course. Falconry is also practiced by Moslems in China's west and Manchus up on the Amur, and even in urban Beijing, using sparrowhaks on fishing reels from bicycles; how legally I don't know).

Asia is where every old firearm design from matchlocks on is still used. Mongolia is full of snaphaunce flintlocks circa 1620, like the ones called "primitive" in Vladimir Bergovoy's tranlation of Cherkassov's 1865 East Siberian Hunter. I have one.

Libby bartered for all the accessories, including a bullet mold, a powder horn, measure, starter ramrod. The trigger or naragon was missing, but local gun guru John Besse made one and it is shooting again. The whole packet,  from Ulan Bataar to Magdalena plus work, didn't cost 50$! Details: accessories...



 Many Mongolian flinters are ornate and long- barreled. Here is Kent Madin firing one in 1996.
Notice the bipod designed to look like gazelle horns. Horned riles, using real or artificial horns, are still common in Asia, on the matchlocks the Chinese still allow in Tibet for hunting, through Mongolia, where modern firearms have become popular (CZ Mauser 22's and Baikal shotguns are most common where I have been), but some traditionalists still shoot muzzleloaders, to Siberia. I think most hunters there now favor the Mosin Nagant and SKS, but I bet a few still shoot rifles Cherkassov would have recognized.

Below, a friend of Cat's examines a gazelle- horned carbine in UB; modern hunters in Olgii, Mongolia, with CZ (giving hot sugared tea to their eagle on the frozen river) and at end of day, by me; a page from Leonard Clark in the fifties with all manner of horned rifles, from a matchlock like those still used in Tibet upper and center right, to a modern rifle with the ubiquitous bipod upper left...

1 comment:

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Woah! like seriously Woah dude
You cant just come out with
"in urban Beijing, using sparrowhaks on fishing reels from bicycles'
without telling us a whole lot more about it.

You have the floor, tell us more!