A Coleye Patent gun, looking for information

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Stephen Nash 218
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue May 29, 2018 5:48 pm

A Coleye Patent gun, looking for information

Post by Stephen Nash 218 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:59 pm

The following is an interesting 16-bore pin-fire gun, and I am looking for additional information on this peculiar action and its enigmatic inventor. The gun has a rib inscription for August Schüler of Suhl, but it is of Belgian origin, with a single Liège provisional proof mark. At first I thought the gun was a Bastin system action, with the pivoted underlever and sliding barrels. I was therefore surprised to find the barrels swung on a hinge, and detached with a triggered release lever on the left side of the action bar. The action is marked “M.N. COLEYE BREVETÉ”, and numbered 490. As the number is shared with the barrel I’m guessing it is the serial number and not a patent use number. As I am unfamiliar with Schüler guns, I don’t know if it is consistent with his numbering system, or is that of a Belgian maker, or that of Coleye if he made the entire gun and not just the action. The action is remarkably smooth and pleasant to use.

A search on the Internet turned up two Coleye patent guns, a military-type rifle (13mm) and another 16-bore sporting gun almost identical to this one, numbered 1469. Neither is identified as to a maker/retailer, having only the Coleye patent mark. “Coleye” is not a recognized Liège maker, but “Colleye” is.

Maximilien Nicolas Colleye (notice the double L) was a gunmaker/actioner in Hoignée-Cheratte, a district of Liège, Belgium. He was the son of Henri Joseph Colleye, another gunmaker in Cheratte. Both hold a sizable number of gun patents for breech-loading actions. In the case of MN Colleye, these include patents granted on 31 December 1849 and 31 December 1850 [new pistol design], 7 March 1857 [moving breech], 29 April 1857 [improvement of earlier patent], 18 August 1857 [perfecting pin-fire system], and 15 October 1857 [improvement on moving breech]). Sadly I cannot trace these patents or find adequate descriptions of them, and I don’t know if the action in the photographs is one of these listed.

I’ve not been able to track down any gun definitely marked Colleye, so I’m assuming “Coleye” is an alternate spelling of “Colleye”, though why he would use the latter spelling in official circumstances and put the former on his actions is anyone’s guess.

I would be most grateful to hear if anyone out there has any information that can solve the Coleye-Colleye mystery, or have any similarly-marked guns in their collection that might shed some light on this inventor. This action was sufficiently known to be marketed to sportsmen in Belgium and Germany, but it is new to me.

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John 39
Posts: 233
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: A Coleye Patent gun, looking for information

Post by John 39 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:37 am

You know more than we do !

Stockel lists H J (1845-1858) and M N Colleye (1850-1865 also spelt Coley also seems to have traded as Colleye Fils) are listed as having a patent and being located in Liege, Coleye is not listed. J E Colleye is listed in St Etienne 1781-1814.

Stephen Nash 218
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue May 29, 2018 5:48 pm

Re: A Coleye Patent gun, looking for information

Post by Stephen Nash 218 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 7:32 pm

John 39 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:37 am
You know more than we do !

Stockel lists H J (1845-1858) and M N Colleye (1850-1865 also spelt Coley also seems to have traded as Colleye Fils) are listed as having a patent and being located in Liege, Coleye is not listed. J E Colleye is listed in St Etienne 1781-1814.
Fantastic, John. Thank you very much.

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