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My Father’s Pistol

For years my father wanted a 410 pistol – just like his father’s.  It wasn’t to be – the National Firearms Act of 1934 outlawed smoothbore barrels less than 18” long.  As I researched to figure out what my grandfather’s pistol must have been, I kept closing in on the game getter -one 22 barrel, one 410 barrel, like in the old poster below.

As you will notice – it technically wasn’t a 410.  And the pistol I got for Dad is for the same 44 Ball cartridge you see in the ad.  You see, before 1900, folks in the US pretty much used 44 shot cartridges, and the Europeans used the 410.  As the 410 moved in, someone made the discovery that if you chambered the gun for 410, you could also use a 44 shotshell or 44 ball.  It’s an important detail to the story, for after about 20 years of searching, I found a single shot pistol, with a rifled 12 inch barrel, marked 44 Ball.  The 410 cartridges he wanted would fit, and with a rifled barrel it was legal.  Dad was blind, but not a problem – I bought the pistol he had wanted for so long, and didn’t even haggle.

It does kick a bit – particularly when it’s stoked with 5 pieces of triple ought buck – but in general it’s a pleasant little gun, though Boito doesn’t have the greatest reputation as a quality gun.  I’ve inherited it back, and, with its age, decided I should find out where, or if, parts would be available if I ever needed them.  Gun laws are strange things – Canada is concerned about handguns, but not about short-barreled shotguns.  North of the 49th parallel, my pistol is illegal as can be.  South of the 49th parallel, the Boito hiker (pictured below) is good for a $5,000 fine and five years in prison.  But it looks to me like I have found where I can replace broken springs.

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