Fakes and forgeries

As prices of antique guns have increased, so has the amount of fakes and forgeries. The easiest way of making a fake, is starting out with a replica, removing any text describing it as a replica by sanding down, stamping in the correct markings and “ageing” it though weather and acid. This can be pretty difficult to detect for the untrained eye.

Jim Supica of Old Town Station has written a fairly comprehensive and good article FAKE. Read it, it might save you from a lot of aggravation.
Norway is a small country of little international interest in regards to its antique military arms. One would therefor believe the risk of running into faked guns and swords was virtually non-existing. There have, so far, not been made any replica models of any Norwegian military arm and the risk is probably a lot less here than in the large markets like the US.

But, fakes and composites do exist and I’ll try cover some of them (mail me if you hear of more ).

Edged weapons – The dragon pallask’s
There are some of these with burnt blades that have been “refurbished” for the collectors market. The M1750 may have been assembled using a M1793 hirshfenger grip equipped with a new front piece. The others are the polished remains of the original ones, but with grips with new wire. The blade of a burnt sword is usually very “dead”, so if you bend it slightly and find that it still is tempered, it is probably all right.

Built back flintlocks
There have been some of these. If the lock has been re-equipped with the accessories from the flintlock, the marking with the crowned K probably still will be on the lock, but hidden behind the flash pan. The serial number will often be hidden under the spring for the striking surface. The percussion conversion of the flintlocks from the 1700’s also included a safety catch. The easiest way to see if the lock has been rebuilt, is to see if there is an unaccounted for hole having been closed on the lower rear part of the lock.

The Kongsberg flintlocks are a bit more difficult, as they already had the safety catch. The only way to find out if these have been built back, by removing the lock or the barrel and looking at the hole from the flash pan. This is also the only way if the complete lock has been changed on a gun from the 1700’s.

The hole in the barrel from the flash pan should have a diameter of max 3 mm. If the diameter is more, the hole should show signs of having been very rusty or you will probably find threads in the hole – a rebuild! If the hole is fairly small, there might have been put a new plug in hole to the barrel to hide that it has been rebuilt from the percussion cap holder. If the barrel shows a lot of use and wear, the original hole might have been plugged and a new and smaller hole drilled in the plug – but then the gun should really show a lot of use.

M1860 4’’’ Kammerlader
The open chambered M1860’s, are virtually non-existing except in the civilian version. A pretty lame fake has been to take the chamber from a civilian version and swapping it with the Lund version on the military gun. As the right side of the lock was cut down under the conversion, this is pretty easy to see has been done.

A difficult fake to discover, is when the complete barrel and lock are swapped. The numbers don’t match, but except for that it is the “real thing”.

One of Norway’s most difficult guns getting hold of is the M 1884 Jarman. In the 1970’s a number of Jarmann harpoon guns were built back to “military versions”. Some of them are rather crude, many pretty difficult to detect. There were built fairly many of them, all with brand new original barrels – usually unnumbered. Most of them have different numbers on the various parts. The easiest is to compare the fake with an original – if possible. Here are the other things to look for:

The stock show signes of being carved out and not machined and they were often stained too much (dark). Most of them were varnished instead of oiled. The magazine lid had been welded closed on the harpoon, look for signs of welding on the lid. The lever to open and close the magazine might be new, the quality is pretty poor then. The rear sight on the fake is usually a rebuilt Mauser K98 rear sight. The front band shows signs of welding. The rear band is either Krag jørgensen or Mauser. The but-plate usually is a Mauser or Krag Jørgensen with signs of welding.