I recently was asked by a friend to clean up an Camel Gun from Afghanistan that he received from his father quite some time ago. I thought that I would carefully take it apart if possible and clean it up a bit and try to find out a little bit more about it. I have attached a couple pics. Has anyone seen anything like this or have any recommendations on how to clean it up? I have a muzzleloader and am familiar with how to clean blackpowder etc, but I have no experience with something like this. I am more interested in just cleaning it up and preserving it the best I can.
I'd really think twice about taking it apart, especially if you have no intention of shooting it. Getting something that old apart can be tricky and putting it back together trickier yet. I's simply make sure it was unloaded and then concentrate on cleaning it and protecting the metal and the wood.
You might want to think about starting with Dawn Degreasing Dishwashing Detergent on the wood and ivory because it's gentle. But after that, you'll have to see what you have and what (if any) finish is on it before proceeding.
Very interesting gun there. Hard to say how to go about cleaning it. Never seen anything like it. Do the brass bands just slide off? Are there screws to remove the metal parts and the barrel from the wood? If it has been sitting around for a long time and doesn't have any rust or anything on it, might do an oil rub on the barrel to further prevent rusting from happening. Unless you are determined to take it apart and clean everything... Cyrano's suggestion is pretty good to start. Does your friend expect it to be refinished? Can you see if there is any rust or anything in the barrel?
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Never saw anything like that and it is very interesting. This may be getting you into the territory where messing with it destroys it's value. My .02 is don't do anything until you have scoped this out.
Thanks for the suggestions. I am not familiar with these types of guns at all. Does anyone have any suggestions of how to go about finding an approximate value or a sight that talks more about these? I have been doing some research and according to most sites this type of gun has been pieced together from old english military long guns, like the brown bess and after looking at some photos they do look quite simiar, or at least the lock does. Interestingly enough, I can across one site, which I believe was aimed at oversees military in afganistan, it said that currently this type of gun is being copied and sold as orignals over there, but I doubt this to be the case because it was purchased quite some time ago.
Brown, I saw muskets like that in an antique weapons shop in Izmir, Turkey 30 years ago, along with jezails and other blackpowder guns from all over the Mediterranean. Even then, the camel guns were rare.
You might think about contacting a big museum with a weapons collection; some museums regard these as cultural artifacts rather than weapons. I'd suggest writing to the New York Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for a start. The Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts might also be a good starting place on this side of the pond. While they really are into armor and swords rather than guns, the staff is incredibly knowledgeable.
Overseas, start with the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. They will likely refer you to the Royal Armory Museum, but the British used to hold territory in the lands where camels were common. If they can't answer your question directly, they will likely know who can.
Yes, I am very familiar with that weapon; it is called a jezail. Its a handmade Afghan rifle, usually made with cannabilized British flintlocks. There's a whole history of these weapons being used by the Afghan fighter during the 1st & 2nd Aglo-Afghan wars (1838-1873). The wood looks fairly aged, although the mother-of-pearl / bone inlays are fairly modest for the typical Afghan craftsmanship. I have included a series of pictures of jezails that I have bought throughout Afghanistan as examples, if interested.
^^^^^ all sage advice...a broken screw or spring would be irreplaceable. Maybe like Cy says a professional at a museum. Know I sure would not want to try that. To awesome to inadvertently screw it up. Good luck with it, on what ever you decide, and yes, let us know..
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Well I decided to just clean it up a bit by just wiping a thin coat of oil on it and was thinking about putting some stock sheen and conditionioner on it. The more that I look at it the more a question whether or not it is an original. It seems to have the East India company logo on the side of the lock, but it is close but just doesn't look right and where the english characters should be on other ones this one just has a series of 1's. It has an octagon barrel but it is not rifled, should it be? I realize that many guns of this time were not, but I have seen some that are. Thanks for any input.
Looks like they are early enough flintlock design that they wouldn't be rifled, especially if they made it out of an old English flintlock. But regardless, sounds like some oil might help preserve the wood anyways. Nice rifle.
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