In 1844 a program to convert the earlier patterns of flintlock Russian Infantry muskets to percussion was initiated and in 1845 manufacture of new percussion muskets was commenced. A purpose built percussion pistol was not adopted into service until 1848 when the Pattern 1848 Soldier’s pistol was adopted.
Examples of conversions of earlier pistols have been observed but are not common. There seem to be 2 basic styles of conversions. The first is done like the converted pattern 1844 muskets with a very large hammer and a bolster placed on top of the barrel. The hammer appears large because the lock is significantly smaller than corresponding infantry musket lock.
The second style of conversion has a bolster screwed into the side of the barrel and a different style of hammer than is usually seen on the Russian military pieces of the period.
In 1845 the arsenals began production of the new 1845 pattern weapons. These were smooth bore and the same size as the pattern 1839 family of weapons. The caliber remained the same at 7 lines. The new lock was a back action percussion lock which was a direct copy of the Model 1840 French percussion musket. The only real difference was the use of brass furniture on the Russian model and iron furniture on the French. Examples have been observed of percussion conversions of the earlier models of flintlock pistols, shown at the end of the previous chapter, but there seems to have been no new pistol until the 1848 Soldier’s pistol was introduced.
The 1848 Percussion Soldier’s pistol The Pattern 1848 soldier’s pistol was the first purpose built percussion pistol accepted by the Russian Army. It is a very large percussion smooth bore pistol with a half stock in 7 line caliber (.71 or 17.78mm). The barrel length was 9.56 inches. The back action lock is different from, but almost as large as, the lock found on the muskets of the period.2 images [DSCO3438A][DSCO3441A]
There are later versions from 1854 onward with rifled barrels and these would probably have been in 6 line caliber (.60) and several smooth bore examples from the late 1850s have been observed.