454 Bullet test
Variations on a Nose

Lube test on 454

Belgian 70cal Howdah

Blegian 577cal Howdah

Blegian 45cal Double Pistol

45-70 Howda in Norway

To Build A 470 Nitro Express

Home Grown Pistol

Heavy 12 Bore Slug Gun

32 Rimfire Boot Pistol Restoration


Misc Stuff

Howdah load info

History of Howdahs

Welcome to Glenn's Gun Room

This is an original 70 cal Belgian made Howdah.
More text to follow, just pics for now.
ALL ORIGINAL !!! FINE 1847 Belgium 18mm double barrel Lefaucheux pistol MECHANICALLY PERFECT!!
This is a very rare gun indeed!!, it fires a 1.6" pinfire 70 cal round.

A short update: April 10th 2009

Life got busy and I haven't had as much time to spend with the Howdah as I'd wanted to. A 16 ga shotgun shell will fit the chambers almost perfectly. They just need to be shortened to 1.6”. I have turned down some 50 BMG brass for cases, they work well, but are time consuming to make. I have tried some Magtech 16 ga brass shells as well as paper and plastic hulls. The plastic hulls work great. I know they are far from traditional, but they are easy to work with and do an excellent job.

The pistol locks up very tight and is in excellent shape, especially considering it is about 160 years old. The grip looks odd until you hold it. Once in the hand it feels perfect.

Here is a short run down of loading for the Howdah:

A hole is drilled from just above the rim down into the primer pocket. Spent 209 shotgun primers have one side milled or ground down and the guts removed. A no. 11 muzzle loader cap can be placed open side up into the primer body and pushed back into the primer pocket of the cut down 16 ga hull. A no. 3 or 4 finish nail is cut to about 5/8” long and is pushed down into the drilled hole till it rests inside the no. 11 cap. (The Pin Fire part is now made and can be reused.) The primed case is now placed in a loading block that protects the pin from being hit.

A charge of FF Black Powder is dumped in the top and a 16 ga fiber wad is pushed down on top of that with a short piece of 5/8” hardwood dowel. The plastic case holds the wad snugly. Now your bullet of choice is seated down firly onto the wad and the loaded round is ready to go.

The barrel groove measures .700” and the twist rate is rather fast so it was made for a conical slug instead of a round ball. I have the info and pics somewhere and will post them when I find them. A 12 ga slug that is made to go inside a shot cup is a near perfect fit. I have a couple of moulds, the Lee 1 oz and Lyman hollow base 1 oz have worked well with the limited testing I've done. I have shot the Lee slug the most and with charges up to 50gn FFg Goex the barrels print about 1.5” apart at 15'. I did most of the testing at close range as I had the chrono on the back side of the target so the target would stop the wad and I could get some reading on the slugs. 50 gns FFg gives about 500 fps and is a rather pleasant load to shoot. My 10yo Son has shot several rounds loaded with 20gns and can't get enough. We took the Howdah to the Linebaugh Big Bore Seminar in Cody WY in 2008 and had a line of guys waiting to shoot it at the range. It does hit much higher than point of aim. I'm hoping that maybe changing bullet weight or the powder charge will help.

Tenative loaded case with Lee 12ga 1oz cast bullet and CBC brass.

Tenative loaded case with 810 gn cast bullet and turned down 50 BMG case.

The bore is riffled, imagine being at the receiving end of this gun.
I understand the British used these babies in India, to fend of religious fanatics at close quarters!!
Or to keep the Tiger from crawling in the howdah with you on Elephant back.
The whole guns is decorated through out with beautiful engravings of floral patterns and geometric designs.
It has the unique extractor system on top of the barrel that functions as a safety also integrated with the rear sight.
The bore is in good condition, light pitting, and deep huge grooved riffling!!
The grips have beautiful carvings and it is in great condition, the etching is still deep and all original.
a beautiful piece!

This is my first attempt at making cases for it.
I started with some 50BMG cases and turned them down in the lathe.
Then I drilled a no 43 hole in the extractor groove angling in.
Next, I milled a recess in the inside of the case head for the primer to sit in.
I've tried a no. 11 Magnum muzzle loader cap and it seems to pop it consistently.
Next, I'll have to make a bullet mold for it.

Shown next to the 700 howdah is a 475 Linebaugh long, 1.6", and a 454 Casull.

Under lever opening action.

Rifled bore, poor view though.

Pinfire case in chamber.

Rear sight also serves as extractor.

Gun Bucket holster seems to fit pretty good.

Rear sight serves as safety hammer block and extractor.