Course LogoFirearm Examiner Training
Print Page Previous PageNext Page


Home > Propellants, Firearms, and Ammunition Development > Evolution of Firearms > Ignition Systems > Snaphaunce
diagram of Snaphaunce action, showing battery, battery arm, battery spring, flash pan, cock, pan cover, sear spring, sear, tumbler, pan cover level, and main spring.

Snaphaunce action

Click for larger image

A few years after the introduction of the wheel lock, a simplified design combined flint firing from the wheel lock with the simplicity of the spring-actuated matchlock. Nearly every industrialized nation in Western Europe claimed its invention. The snaphaunce shared the side-mounted powder pan of later match locks and wheel locks. It used the basic spring cock and replaced the match holder with a flint holder. To provide a sparking surface for the flint, designers fitted a steel striking plate (anvil) that pivoted over the side pan. When the cock fell against the anvil’s curved inner surface, it pushed the hinged anvil up and created a shower of sparks downward into the pan. For little more than the expense of fabricating a spring matchlock, nations could arm their troops with a simple, flint-fired musket or pistol.

< Previous Page  ::  Next Page >

Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners logo
Submit Change Request