AN IMPORTANT SILVER MOUNTED 20-BORE FLINTLOCK REPEATING GUN AND BAYONET FROM THE PERSONAL ARMOURY OF TIPU SULTAN, DATED AH 1200 or 1785, 38.5inch sighted three-stage barrel decorated in gold for half of its length with eight panels of bubri or tiger stripe interspersed with bands of scrolling vines and flower heads and dated AH 1200 or 1785, further marked with the place of manufacture the Haydarnagar Armoury and The devoted servant Sayyid Da'ud, the white metal foresight surrounded by a band of scrolling vines and flower heads, border and foliate engraved lock, in the French manner, decorated with a gold band to the step and with date and manufacture details in gold to match those on the barrel, stepped and chiselled cock decorated with scrolling foliage and flower heads and finished in gold, the self priming pan and steel also decorated to match, the 21-shot repeating breech mechanism based on the Lorenzoni or Chelembron system is finished in gilt and chased with scrolling foliage, retains two of the three loading chamber covers, one lattice pierced the other engraved, the carved wooden stock with silver side plate and butt plate, the former with, the former with the rack number 82 in Perso-Arabic and chased with flowers and vines, the latter decorated to match and containing a sprung trap for the bayonet, this released by a push button decorated as a flower head, the remainder of the stock well carved with foliage about the barrel tang and inlaid with scrolling silver wire, the back of the wrist also inlaid with scrolling silver wire in the form of a stylised tiger's mask, the remaining portion of the silver trigger guard decorated to match and with the rack number 82 in Perso-Arabic, complete with its companion bayonet stored in the butt, the socket decorated profusely with gold bubri design and carrying the same date and manufacturing details.
See pages 45-48, The Firearms of Tipu Sultan 1783-1799 by Robin Wigington for a virtually identical gun. Please also see item RCIN 90673 in the Royal Collection for another.
See page 33 for a reference to the small socket bayonets or "sangin" which were stored in the butts of some of Tipu Sultan's guns.
The wooden fore-end and the forward magazine with the Tiger's mask are lacking from the Thomas Hart gun and the underside of the stock appears to have been struck by a musket or pistol ball which has removed part of the trigger guard and the supplementary mechanism release trigger. This damage has left the gun with the cock locked in the firing position. Unlike other Tipu Sultan guns this one exhibits clear signs of having been badly damaged in its past. Bearing in mind that the rest of the items of Major Thomas Hart's have all remained in general good order one can only conclude that the gun was in this condition when acquired by the Major. Furthermore, one could surmise that because the virtually identical examples of this gun that exist are in excellent order and were taken from the armoury that, in all probability, this gun came from the same rack in the armoury but rather than being taken directly from the rack after the fall of Seringapatam it appears to have been collected from the battlefield.
The above opinion is compounded by the fact that the bayonet has been ripped along the socket channel a process that has been caused by the bayonet being forced backwards along the barrel and over the locking stud either when the gun was dropped, possibly when Tipu was wounded in the right side of his head, or when thrust. The important fact here is that the bayonet was fixed as opposed to being stored in the butt as it would have been in the armoury.
Please also observe the tiny gold Haidar mark or H in Arabic that appears at the back of the breech on all three of the upper barrel flats. This mark also appears on the blades of three of the swords in this collection and denotes their presence in Tipu's personal armoury.
From the Tipu Sultan collection acquired by Major Thomas Hart after the siege of Seringapatam.