The US M-1842 Pistol as produced by the firms of Henry Aston and Ira N Johnson represented both the beginning and the end of an era in US military handguns. This series was the last of the large bore, single shot, smooth bore pistols to be issued in any quantity and would essentially be replaced by the various multi-shot percussion revolvers that the government would begin to purchase during the 1850’s and would continue to procure through the end of the Civil War era. It was also the first official percussion ignition pistol to be adopted by the US military. The Johnson and Aston produced 40,000 of these single-shot pistols (not counting the “Palmetto Armory” production), with Aston producing some 30,000 of the guns. The M-1842 fired a .54 caliber round ball from an 8.5” smooth bore barrel, using the same ball as the M-1841 Mississippi Rifle. The 14” long pistol was the general service pistol of the time for the US military and saw use with the infantry, cavalry, dragoons, artillery and navy. Like previous single shot military pistols used by the US, this one had a large bulbous, metal-capped, butt that was designed to allow the pistol to be used as a club after discharging it. The end result is that cracked and damaged stocks are quite commonly encountered on these pistols.
This pistol is in NEAR EXCELLENT condition, with fantastic markings that are clear and sharp throughout, with only the last number in the barrel date being somewhat thin. The lock is clearly marked: MIDDTN / CONN / 1850 in three vertical lines behind the hammer and US / H ASTON in two lines horizontally forward of the hammer. The tang of the pistol is dated with the matching 1850 date, and the breech is very clearly marked: US / GW / P in three lines. The barrel flat is also clearly marked with a small JH inspectors mark. There are multiple small, single capital letter sub-inspectors marks scattered around the pistol on the various small metal parts, including the letters J, H and W. The lock functions very crisply and is mechanically excellent. The original captive, swivel mounted iron rammer is present and functions exactly as it should. The iron barrel of the gun has a very pleasing, gunmetal color with a slightly pewter tone to it. A very light cleaning would restore the pistol to its original arsenal bright appearance. There is some very light scattered peppering and pinpricking scattered along the barrel, all of which is quite minor with the most evident areas being at the breech and bolster area. The lock and hammer have a light smoky gray tone and show some light mottling form their original case hardening, which was then polished bright during the assembly process. The screw heads that retain the lock, barrel tang, butt cap, etc are all very crisp and retain about 50%+ of their original blued finish, with some fading and thinning. The brass furniture has a really gorgeous mellow, mustard patina that is very attractive. The bore is dark and dirty with scattered pitting throughout its interior. The stock is in NEAR EXCELLENT condition and is very crisp. The stock is quite solid and free of any breaks or repairs. The wood does show a handful of minor bumps and dings from service and couple of minor surface scratches forward of the lock. The stock flat opposite the lock retains two excellent inspectors cartouches. The rear most WAT cartouche is that of Captain William Anderson Thornton of the US Ordnance Department, who worked inspecting arms from 1840 until 1866. The other cartouche is a very crisp JH, the mark of Armory Sub-Inspector James Hannis, who inspected arms from 1837 to 1851. His mark also appears as a pair of small block letters at the very rear of the stock flat, behind both cartouches. The edges of the stock are incredibly crisp and sharp, with no indication of ever having been cleaned, let along sanded. There is a small crack that runs from the rear lock mounting screw to the barrel channel. This is the result of the screw having been over tightened during the pistols service life.
Overall this is a really gorgeous, nearly example of the last of the big bore martial single shot pistols used by the US government. The condition is simply exceptional and the pictures do not do the crispness of the gun justice. If you have wanted a really attractive, 100% complete, correct and original US M-1842 Aston pistol that you will never have to make an excuse for, this one would be hard to beat. I doubt you could improve on the condition of this example, without spending at least 50% (or even 100%) more than what this one is price at. It is simply a stunning pistol. SOLD