POTD: The Music Is Quite Loud! – A. Jarre 7mm Pinfire Harmonica Pistol
Welcome to today’s Photo of the Day! Here we have something capable of making noise and not music. This is an A. Jarre 7mm Pinfire Harmonica Pistol. The necessity for a Harmonica Pistol sort of lies in its cartridges. The pinfire cartridges are something I have covered in depth and mentioned countless times so if you want a more in-depth look I recommend looking at the link here. In brief, the pinfire cartridge uses a pin sticking out the side to act as a firing pin to the primer on the inside of the cartridge. This makes these cartridges rather awkward for any modern application. Putting them in anything other than revolves and single shots was pretty unheard of because the sheer size of the gun would be multiplied when adding any sort of extended capacity. The solution was the unique Harmonica Pistols that uses a “bar” full of pinfire shells. Most bars had ten shots but there are examples with more. This specific Harmonica Pistol is double action and it advances the bar every subsequent shot.
“Developed in Paris and patented in the U.S. in 1862, Alphone Jarre’s “breech-bar” system used a horizontal arrangement of pinfire chambers to supply repeating fire, which could be put to use on pistols, rifles, and even cannons. In operation, the bar is pre-loaded with 10 pinfire cartridges, all secured in place with a spring-retained bar, and is then advanced from chamber to chamber left to right by a push arm connected to the double action trigger. When positioned for discharge, the bar sticks up to 3 1/4 inches out of the side of the pistol. Jarre, knowing that is far too cumbersome for a defensive pistol, integrated an ingenious “carry mode”: a sliding hinge that allows the barrel group to fold sideways and be repositioned in front of the frame, reducing the width to well under an inch, good even by modern concealed carry standards, with the barrels able to be placed in firing position at a moments notice. The bar and frame both bear the patent mark “A. JARRE/Bte S.G.D.G.” with “8” on the bottom of the barrel group and “PC” on the front of the action. A sighting post is installed on the front of the frame. An ejector rod is screwed into the top of the grip section, and the grips are checkered birds head ebony. Jarre’s work in the harmonica gun field, and this pistol in particular, were featured in an article by Charles Grimes in the August 2005 (Volume 51, Number 3) of The Gun Report (photocopy of article provided with gun).”
Lot 1318: A. Jarre Harmonica Pistol 7 mm pinfire – Rare Documented French Jarre Patent 10-Shot Double Action Pinfire Harmonica Pistol. (n.d.). Rock Island Auction Company. photograph. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/62/1318/a-jarre-harmonica-pistol-7-mm-pinfire.