Good tools are required when disassembling an antique firearm. A screwdriver must fit the screw slot exactly and needs to have the same width as the diameter of the screw. Only then damage to the screw head is avoided. Standardized screws didn’t exist in the days these guns were produced and every gunsmith had his own ideas about threads, screw head sizes and the width of the slot in the screw head. If necessary grind a screwdriver to fit the screw. A broken screw is harder to replace than a screwdriver! Don’t use to much force: these old screws can snap off easily!

Disassembled Pinfire

If you can’t pry a screw loose one of the following tricks may help:

  • Tap the screw on the threaded side using a small hammer and a punch.
  • Heat the screw head using a mini blowtorch and follow the procedure mentioned above.
  • Drill a small hole in the screw on the threaded side. Drill no deeper than the frame is thick and as close as possible to the thread in the frame. Use a punch the size of the hole you just drilled and tap the screw out of the frame. You just lost the screw but the tread in the frame is undamaged.

Any gun has a lot of small parts that can get lost easily. Since all parts are handmade replacements can’t be bought so you will have to make them yourself if anything gets lost. As mentioned above even screws are aberrant and it will take a lathe and a lot of effort to make new ones. Store all small parts in a plastic bowl or magnetic tray and take photo’s when disassembling your gun.