Dated 1854 (when arsenal converted from flintlock to percussion), this fine beast of a hand cannon was manufactured at the St. Etienne Arsenal (the Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne, often abbreviated to MAS (“Saint-Étienne Weapons Factory” in English) which was a French state-owned weapons manufacturer in the town of Saint-Étienne, Loire and founded in 1764.
Many of these weapons were exported to the US prior and during the early years of the American Civil War and several are documented as having been used by Confederate cavalry forces. This fine pistol has a rifled barrel, marked Cde 17.6 on the left side, for a 17.6mm bore diameter, which is the standard .69 caliber large bore military pistol size of the era. An iron lanyard ring is affixed to the bottom of the butt. Next to this are several proof marks, and below is the serial number 554. It has the standard 7 3/4 inch barrel, 14 inches in overall length with brass mounts and original cup top steel ramrod in place.
One small piece of wood has been high quality arsenal original period repaired beneath the forend of the stock as shown. There is also a minor chip in the stock near the underside of the grip as shown.