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The Gentleman's Pistol

I was reminiscing about computer games that had captivated me in the past with a friend a couple of years back, and he mentioned that one such game from his childhood had been an early Run and Gun called The Chaos Engine. I had never heard of it, but as he described it to me it turned out it was one of those games where you pick two of the several available characters and go through a story-driven series of quests, with each character having their own special powers to aid you on the journey. The choice of characters, therefore, decides to some degree how you play the game, allowing a large variety of combinations which gave the game good replay value. 

This friend of mine had a favourite of those characters, a fellow simply called The Gentleman, and he certainly looked the part of a stereotypical steampunk dandy. His best feature was his rather nifty looking sidearm, a pistol with a large barrel and wrought in brass. My friend loved this pistol and asked me to have a crack at making him one. I am a sucker for this kind of request, and so the research began...

...and ended pretty much straight away. I could find only one decent picture of the final pistol design, taken from the box art of the game. I shan't post it here as it may be copyrighted, but its easy to find by searching. The important thing to note is that while it gave a clear view of the barrel and chamber of the gun, it gave nothing away about the grip. I was left entirely to my own devices on that, and after a bit of tinkering came up with this:


I wanted something a little different for the wood part of the grip than normal, so opted to have it flow partly around the trigger area, which actual worked out as being quite comfortable to hold as well (more luck than judgement I'm afraid). I also added a tiny pressure gauge to the handle just behind the hammer:


The chamber was something of a new step for me, as it is turned and milled from solid brass. At the time, I only had a very small lathe and a selection of hand tools. As a result, how to achieve the grooves in the chamber was giving me a bit of a problem. The eventual solution was to rather crudely clamp the marked out cylinder of brass on to the cross slide of my tiny lathe, packed up to the centre line, and painstakingly mill away at the slot with a reground drill bit I'd whipped up. When each slot was done, I would undo the whole affair and reclamp it in the right place for the next groove. Of course, nowadays I have modified a vertical slide for my lathe and have a small selection of slot drills that would make the job a lot quicker and more accurate, but it sufficed.

I played around a bit with the barrel, too. While the large bore was obvious from the outside, I felt it looked a little crude and empty when viewing down the end of the barrel. Time for a little artistic license, I thought:


I flared and rounded the end of a piece of copper tube, and inserted into the middle of a brass disc that had been filed to fit tightly inside the larger bore, and drilled several holes in a ring around them. The whole assembly was pressed into the barrel, giving a rather more interesting suggestion of a small bore pistol with some kind of large steam or cooling jacket enclosing it.

I presented it to my friend who was very pleased with it, especially the realistic heft it had (and well it should, being brass and steel) It may not be entirely accurate, but considering the amount if information I had to work off...I am rather proud of how it turned out!
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