21 December 2011

Bump Underhammer Pistol/Knife

Multi-function gadgets catch my attention when properly done. It seems that we all have a certain fascination with things that emulate the utilitarian efficiency of the famous Swiss Army Knife.

Occasionally someone gets a bright idea to combine an eggbeater with a vacuum cleaner and a ceiling fan and we all wonder, What the hell was he thinking?!”  However, once in a while there are some wonderful ideas that come down the pike that combine the right elements in the right form to provide the right function and we instantly recognize them as being ingenius.

The Bump Pistol/Knife is just such an item. Made by Bruce Bump, Master bladesmith with the American BladeSmith Society, these pistol/knives are exquisite pieces of functional art. 

Pistol knives are not anything new. They've been around since the earliest days of firearms when cannoneers mounted shorter barrels on a short pike to create " handgones." Mounting a bayonet on the piece seemed logical and so the first pistol/knives were born. That may be an oversimplification of the history and I do apologize to our history buffs if the facts aren't quite sterling, but you get the point.

Be that as it may,  rarely do we see pistol/knives constructed with an underhammer lock. Most designs utilize a top-mounted hammer in a boxlock mechanism or the typical sidehammer on a conventional lock. But Bruce must have been afflicted with underhammeritis when he created these beauties.

Once you get past the initial awe of overwhelm, closer study of his lockwork components reveals that Bruce uses a two-piece hammer wherein the “head” of the hammer is a separate piece which appears to be pinned to the body of the hammer. This is a great idea as one can cut the flat hammer body from steel plate and then fashion the hammer head of any size or of most any form you wish. Once it’s to your liking, you simply attach it to the hammer body.

Even after studying these photos for considerable time while putting this feature together, I must admit that I’m still compelled  to ogle them for greater detail. Bruce’s execution is flawless. I guess that’s why he is rated as a Master Bladesmith.

Bruce writes, “I have a touch of underhammeritis, too, (I thought so!) and really glad I'm not alone. Most all my information is from a book I found at our local used book store entitled "THE PICTORIAL HISTORY OF THE UNDER-HAMMER GUN" by Herschel C. Logan. I tried my best to use the Cook design with one of my guns. I'm a MasterSmith with the American BladeSmith Society and love knives as well and have made only 10 guns total with 4 using the underhammer firing mechanism although they also house a damascus folding knife blade.”

Wouldn't it be swell if Santa brought each of us one of these!!!

Here is an exploded view of some of the components that comprise Bruce's artistry.

I want to also draw your attention to the other artists who are featured here. That is the photographers, Jim Cooper, of SharpByCoop Photography,  www.SharpByCoop.com who was so gracious in allowing us to use his first-class photos for this feature and Eric Eggly of Point Seven Gallery. Without their sharp eye and professional skill with a camera, we couldn't fully appreciate the talent of Bruce Bump. Our thanks to both of these men for sharing their amazing talents with us.

So, dear readers, I bid you all Happy Holidays as I now sign off for this bizarre year of 2011 and leave you with this fond reminder of more simple and innocent days gone by. 

Enjoy, but, please be careful or...

you'll shoot your eye out!



1 comment:

qt said...

I'm not sure how practical it is. I find myself thinking about carrying that thing in my pocket. Or peeling an apple with a loaded gun. A half-cock notch will only go so far...

That said--oh, it's a beauty. If my wife were still with us, I would have no rest until I could find a way to get rich and commission one for her. She loved elaborate, and she loved gadgets, and she loved knives. And her favorite pistol was a North American mini-revolver. She was one of the few people I know with hands small enough to shoot one. She would have LOVED that thing.

And I, who usually don't care much for scrimshaw or fancy engraving, keep looking at it. Hm. Maybe with the Cooper(?) action, so the trigger catch would act as a proper safety...

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About Me

Roger Renner

Hi. I've been a student, admirer, and designer/builder of underhammer guns for over 30 years. In that span I've built over 200 semi-custom underhammers exploring the possibilities from the ordinary to the exotic. In 1996 I founded Pacific Rifle Company to explore the market's interest in a high-quality underhammer rifle. Thankfully, that interest was, and still is, there. I sold PRC in 2006 but continue to craft high-end underhammers as I am truly afflicted with underhammeritis - which can be contagious!