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Southern Cal
01-06-2008, 04:13 AM
I'm curious what the opinion is about whether or not the Model 1842 Musket is over-represented in the reenactment community. Perhaps I'm not as observant as I could be but the only smoothbore small arms I see at reenactments are Model 1842 types. From the several sources I've found, it appears that the 1842 musket wasn't even the most common smoothbore used in the Civil War.

Production of the 1842 seems to range from 273,000 to about 275,000, depending on sources, from both Harper's Ferry and Springfield arsenals, and just over 6,000 contracted for the South Carolina Militia ("Palmettos").

Production of the "1816/1822" musket and it's several variants was apparently over 700,000, continuing until the Model 1840 musket was adopted. At least 300,000 "1816/1822" muskets were converted to percussion starting in 1841 and apparently some flinlock models were even issued early in the war. I'm not clear on how many "Virginia Manufactury?" smoothbore muskets were produced for that state's militia.

Production of the Model 1840 musket was limited, about 30,000 from Springfield and two contractors.

About 100,000 smoothbore muskets were imported by the USA during the Civil War and about 40,000 by the CSA.

It seems the Model "1816/1822" musket would be just as likely, perhaps more likely to have seen action than the Model 1842 musket, without including the many imported smoothbores. I know that at least one Michigan? regiment was armed with British .75 Brown Bess muskets for several months after being mustered in during 1861.

Sources: "Echos of Glory"; "Battle Tactics of the Civil War", by Paddy Griffith; Wikipedia articles; reenactor site links.

Ross L. Lamoreaux
01-06-2008, 04:55 AM
Thats a well stated good point. I think I'm in agreement with you that perhaps they are over represented. I will offer my reasonings why, as I think that most people who carry that particular arm know that there may be better arms to carry for certain scenarios. One, I think is the financial considerations. The Model 1842 is economical, and is the most accurate authenticity-wise out of the box when compared to the other arms out there. When placed in a purely financial stand, and when given the choice for one weapon over another, the 42 would win. For example, despite my spending thousands of dollars on my clothing and accoutrments, I carried the same old worn out 42 to every event from early, mid or late war, whether Union or Confederate. I attend some pretty high quality events and nobody ever, not once, said anything about my choice of musket. That said, I knew darned well it was probably wrong at 75% of the events I was at. For events that a smoothbore was appropriate, my better options would be the 16/22 conversion, or an Austrian or Belgien musket, but cost was my biggest consideration - they are definitely more expensive. Now that I'm a little more educated, I find them out there reasonably priced and am working on getting one. I recently acquired both a 61 Springfield and a nice Barnett contract Enfield to be a better choice for the later events for either side. I also believe that there are many reenactors out there, who like me, have to choose one gun for everything, and the 42 is common, available, and easier to defarb. Thanks for bringing this up, as it gave me alot of food for thought.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-06-2008, 05:09 AM
Hallo!

"I'm curious what the opinion is about whether or not the Model 1842 Musket is over-represented in the reenactment community."

IMHO.... No, not at all. It is the U.S. M1861 and the Brtitish P1853 4th Model (second to so-called "de-farbed' retroverted 3rd Model reworks) that are over-represented due to the evolution of reenacting. IMHO, for 1861 through 1863, M1822's and M1842's are UNDERREPRESENTED.
For example, think of numbers of M1861's and P1853's present at 1st Bul Run...

Without getting into the more H/A discussion of what arms are researched and documentated to one's impression's unit, time, and place...

The most common weapon, in 1861, in terms of numbers available was the M1822 either in original flint or in 1840's/1850's conversion to percussion. And for some units, it was an "upgrade process' with some US and CS units going into 1862 and 1863 still armed with them until the 'Springfields" and "Enfields" arrived.

When it comes to reenacting no one makes an M1822 in flint or common "cone-in-the-barrel" conversion percussion. Short of building one from oriignal parts, or restoring an original to its CW Era appearance-

The reproduction choice is an Italian "M1816" that is a incorrect reworked "Charleville" cleverly remarketed.
Or, the same "M1816" using a Colt contract "drum style" conversion but not using the Colt hammer that went with it- reducing it to an uncommon fiction of a C.S. "style" gunsmith conversion using a Colt drum but a recycled percussion hammer from some other gun somewhere.

My personal reworked M1822 was privately converted to the more common "Belgian" conversion of the "cone in the barrel."

IMHO, another, if not main factor in some segments of the CW Community is the expense. Meaning, when looking at the potential 1861-1865 Mainstream and Campaigner reenacting experience, and so-called Mainstream Culture... a one gun "Golf Bag" that tends to work most anywhere and everywhere IS the M1861 or the P1853.

And it is also a Cash Cow for the Italains. Why should they offer other than the M1861 and P1853 when for nearly 30-some years we have lined up in drove after drove to buy the "Springfield and the Enfield?"
The Italian M1842, while still plagued with historical problems, still is perhaps the ONE-time exception where the Italains "listened" somewaht to some of our rare voices and produced a "somewhat better historical gun."
But, IMHO, it would have been "nicer" for them to choose to repro the "more common" M1822, M1822 Belgian Conversion, or even the Austrian M1854 "Lorenz" instead!" ;-) :-)

Others' mileage will vary...

CHS

CHS

FloridaConfederate
01-06-2008, 06:50 AM
The number of arms in the United States Arsenal, which is now in full possession of the State, has been greatly exaggerated.--They do not exceed 25,000 stand, instead of 70,000, and many of them old flint locks. Baltimore American…,Jan 1860

J. Holt, Secretary of War, ad interim. Jan 18, 1861
Hon. Benjamin Stanton, Chairman Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives.
Quantity and Description of Ordnance and arms at Fort Moultrie, Castle Pinckney, and Charleston Arsenal:

Ft. Moultrie / Pickney Arsenal / Charleston

42-pounder iron guns. - - 4
32-pounder iron guns 14 - -
24-pounder iron guns 16 - 14
8-inch iron columbiads 10 - -
8-inch iron sea coast howitzers 5 4 -
24-pounder iron flank howitzers 4 - -
12-pounder brass field howitzers 2 - -
6-pounder brass field guns 4 - -
6-pounder old iron field guns - - - 2
24-pounder old iron field howitzers - - 5
Funt-lock muskets, calibre 69 - - 502
flintlock muskets. Alt to percussion - - 5.720
percussion muskets, calibre 69 - - 693
percussion rifles, calibre 54 - - 2,808
same, altered, with long range sites - - 6
Flintlock Hall's rifles - - 566
percussion rifled carbines - - 4
percussion carbines - 9
Flintlock pistols - 815 -
percussion pistols - - 300



Statement of arms distributed by sale since the first of January, 1860, to whom sold, and place whence sold:

To whom sold. No. 1860. Date of sale. Arsenals Where sold.
J. W. Zacharie & Co. 4,000 Feb. 3, St. Louis.
James T. Ames 1,000 Mar. 14 New York.
Capt., G Barry 80 June 11, St. Louis.
W. C. N. Swift 400 Aug. 31, Spring field.
W. C. N. Swift 80 Nov. 13, Spring field.
State of Alabama 1,000 Sep. 27, Baton Rouge.
State of Alabama 2,500 Nov. 14, Baton Rouge.
State of Virginia 5,000 Nov. 6, Washington.
Phillips co., Ark 50 Nov. 16, St. Louis.
G. B. Lamar 10,000 Nov. 24, Watervliet.

The arms were all flint-lock muskets, altered to percussion, and were all sold at $250 each, except those purchased by Captain G Barry and by the Phillips county volunteers, for which $2 each were paid.

Lexington, Virginia April 23, 1861

By order of the Governor, ten thousand muskets from the Institute armory have been forwarded in 100 wagons to the railroad at Staunton, from there to be sent with dispatch to Richmond — the object being by this movement to have the flint locks on these muskets changed to percussion. Seven thousand pounds of powder have been removed from the Institute magazine, by order of Gen. Harper, and expressed by wagon to Winchester. This draft leaves near 20,000 arms, and 18,000 pounds of powder, together with other munitions of war, for further demands.

"Elevate yourselves to the high and sacred duty of patriotism. The man who now dares to wait until some magic arm is put into his hand, the man who will not go until he can have a Minnie rifle or a percussion musket; who will not be content with flint and steel, or even a gun without a lock, is worse than a coward; he is a renegade'. From the Speech of Hon. Henry A. Wise. addressing a crowd immediately after Jefferson Davis from a second story window in Richmond, June 1, 1861


Washington, June 1, 1861--"I was at the headquarters of Gen. McDowell, on Arlington Heights, when a portion of the Federal cavalry that had the skirmish at Fairfax Court-House, eighteen miles west of Alexandria, at 2 o'clock this morning, rode up with their five prisoners and other trophies…..The trophies won by the troopers were seven prisoners, two rifles and five revolvers. --Two of the prisoners, made previous to the charges on the rebels, attempted to escape, and were fired at and killed. One of the rifles had a flint lock, showing that the rebels are anything but well armed". Colonel E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant General, Headquarters of the Army, Washington

The Northern telegrams inform us that Gen. Cox, on the 29th ult., sent a dispatch to Gen. Rosencranz, announcing his arrival at Gauley Bridge, which had been destroyed by Gen.Wise; that it would require three days to construct a floating bridge across the river; and that Wise fells trees across the road and destroys all the bridges on his route. Cox further says that he captured 1,000 flint lock muskets and a small quantity of powder, left behind by the "retreating rebels." August 6/61 Richmond Dispatch

Southern Cal
01-06-2008, 08:14 AM
Or, the same "M1816" using a Colt contract "drum style" conversion but not using the Colt hammer that went with it- reducing it to an uncommon fiction of a C.S. "style" gunsmith conversion using a Colt drum but a recycled percussion hammer from some other gun somewhere.
CHS

Herr Schmidt,

Would the Colt hammer mentioned above be similar to those on the Colt "1861" contract rifle musket, or closer to an unlined, plain, "Enfield" hammer, or, the hammer on the Model 1855 and 1861?

YHS

Craig L Barry
01-06-2008, 08:56 AM
I previously used a Remington/Maynard type hammer on the Pedersoli US 1816, like a US 1855 hammer with a taller thumbspur...I was copying an original in a museum. Because of the offset to the bolster from the drum conversion, the configuration is very much like the US 1855 or US 1861 in terms of what kind of hammer will work. These were not nearly as common as the cone-in-barrel conversions. Like Curt Heinrich Schmidt, my current repro US 1816 is a "custom" cone in barrel conversion...this is the most under-represented musket in the hobby. The cone in barrel, also called Belgian or Arsenal conversation was produced in around twice the quantity of the US 1842s as there were more 1816/22s around to convert. Guesstimates range to over 500,000 such conversion muskets in use early in the Civil War, both sides. I have never seen another in use at any event I have ever done on the East coast. Not saying there aren't any (clearly Curt has one) but they were very commonly found then and very rarely found in the ranks now. It is the musket in the avatar pic.

So the better question would be, if a smoothbore musket is appropriate, which one should I use? As Ross Lamoreaux points out, a US 1842 is a good all around choice, but Ross wants to fine tune his impresssion a bit more than that. He doesn't want to get rid of the 1842, but he adds a couple neat later war muskets (P-53 and US 1861). That's one way to go. Also one could note that since he has done a fair number of "campaigner" events with it, that kind of de-bunks the myth of exclusivity for doing those kind of events. I'll go a step further and say I have not seen anybody turned away from an event for using an earlier war musket in a later war event. The problem is the reverse (early war event, late war musket) For a smoothbore, a flintlock conversion is a great choice. A cone-in-barrel conversion would be the best solution if money is not the sole object, or you can do the work yourself (or know a gunsmith). I think the 1842 is probably a better choice for versatility than the 1816 "Colt" conversion that Pedersoli sells. Those were pretty rare. To create a cone in barrel conversion, you really need to start with a flintlock and go from there.

Based purely on cost, you may be better off picking up a Belgian big bore musket or another European musket in shooting condition for around $1000, because that is what a reproduction 1816 flintlock may set you back before you even start. It is hard to justify that kind of expense for a musket you only use for "some" events...This is a "for experts only" kind of project, but it results in probably the ultimate early-to-mid war musket you can carry.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-06-2008, 09:52 AM
Hallo!

I don't have any decent images of a Colt conversion to post, so this one will have do:

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y104/Michael1787/CWColtconversion.jpg

Ignore the rear sight from the 1854 Colt contract with Russia...

Oddly enough, in my avatar I am carrying my M1822 Conversion. :-)
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y104/Michael1787/63rdOVIBWa.jpg

Curt

JustinPrince
01-06-2008, 12:05 PM
I'm still a new reenactor, but it has been my experience at the two events I have been two that (at least on the West side of the Mississippi) it is the P53 Enfield that is most over represented. Following that is the 1842, and following that is the 1861.

In my first event our company had four Model 1842s - one of which was mine that I brought as a loaner musket, two Model 1861s - including mine that I carred at the event, and everyone else had P53s, including one of the old Parker Hales.

At my second, much larger event (Pea Ridge, Ark) I saw a goodly number of 1842s, a handful of 1861s, one Pedersoli 1816 Colt conversion (the nice reb who took me prisoner), and everyone else had P53s. (These are Federals only, but most of the Rebs I saw had Enfields or '42s).

If you look in this picture of us countercharging on the second day (I'm 5th from the left, behind the older grey bearded gentleman):
http://www.usfrontierbrigade.com/Bentonville2_2007/Bentonville2007_034.jpg
I counted 18 P53 Enfields, two or three 1842s, and two or three 1861s. Granted at this event our unit was told to bring our '61s or P53s over our '42s, but based on what little I have read I don't think the ratio of Enfields to smoothbore '42s to '61s was 6-1-1.

Cal Kinzer told me the 1842s were used a lot in Indian Territory, though I'm not sure if he meant compared to the Enfield or Springfield Rifle Muskets considering repros on the market now.

I'd like to get another smoothbore to use in place of my 1842, but I have no idea which would be a good one to get. As Curt pointed out the Pedersoli conversion 1816 is not only wrong but a rare conversion. Loyalist Arms has a Model 1840 Cone in Barrel musket, but only 30,000 were made. LA offers a percussion conversion of the Pedersoli 1777 http://www.loyalistarms.freeservers.com/77conversion.htm, but at $1,000 that is a steep price for another musket, especially when I already have a smoothbore.

One thing I've thought of doing was getting one of the British Pattern 1842 smoothbore muskets from IMA that came out of Nepal. http://www.ima-usa.com/product_info.php/cPath/29_114/products_id/578

Supposedly they clean up very well, and only cost $595. A little more expensive that the U.S. Model 1842. I've thought of getting a new lockplate from The Rifle Shoppe, and having it marked VR/Tower and maybe 1850 (depend upon how the originals were done) to make it appear like a British made musket.

The problem is, I have yet to find any documentation that any were shipped over here, yet I would think that some regiments having Brown Besses or percussion Brown Besses (which this musket was to replace after the Tower of London fire of 1841) it seems probable that some would have made it over here.

Ross L. Lamoreaux
01-06-2008, 12:26 PM
Justin, a word of advice on the IMA British muskets. They run the gamut from "clean up well" to "clean up o.k." to "barely a wallhanger". I know several people who've ordered these, and every one was different from the next. They are a good price, and if you were able to purchase multiple ones you'd have enough parts to make one work, but I've rarely seen one right out of the box that didn't need alot of work. It is worth it, however, if you've got some basic skills and don't want to shell out more than $1000 for other models.

Craig L Barry
01-06-2008, 12:42 PM
Curt
Yes, the Pedersoli US 1816 Colt conversion factory hammer was captured by pygmies and shrunken to half the correct size. I just hate that hammer. It is almost as bad as the too small repro Enfield hammer. That is a mighty fine looking US 1816 cone in barrel musket you have there. All its maddening shortcomings aside, the 1816 is probably my favorite musket to use. The mainspring is very strong, I love the look on the fellow's face when it is inspected and it just about takes two hands for him to cock it. It seems to be saying THIS IS NOT A TOY.

Justin:
Correct, I have been at many (re)enactments where the ratio was about like what you have pictured there. I understand the attraction of the P-53 for new (re)enactors because of the lower initial cost when there is so much else to buy...it sure does not end up cheaper once you start what Curt calls "retro-verting" (love that term) the Enfield to remotely resemble the Civil War version used by both sides.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On the other hand, your picture is not unrealistic in the sense that if you were portraying one of the many Federal units issued Enfields, that breakdown is about right. Often the newer rifle-muskets were issued over the course of a few months, and a few men could luck out and scrounge up a US 1861 from the battlefield, while a few others still had their smoothbores. I was reading about one of the KY units that had been issued P-53s and it said they were issued late 1862 to early 1863, suggesting they were shipped and issued in dribs and drabs or at least not all at once. It is easy to look up in the records as to what was issued to the unit you primarily portray, and get yourself one of those weapons. A little problematic in that there were also mixed companies of Enfields/Springfields/other, but most often units that were recorded as having been issued the P-53, a majority would have been using the P-53 at any given point in time. If you only want to have one musket, this is not a bad plan, unless your unit was issued the M-1854 Lorenz...or the Mississippi rifle...or a Pottsdam...or a Belgian/French back lock rifle, etc

Southern Cal
01-06-2008, 12:44 PM
Here's another tid-bit. Mr. Barry provided me some information a couple of years ago that before 1822, new muskets were finished "bright" and rifles "browned". Between 1822 and 1833, new musket barrels were browned like the rifles. In 1833, new muskets were finished "bright" once again, while rifles remained "browned". Go figure.

Craig L Barry
01-06-2008, 12:58 PM
Correct the musket was called the National Armory Brown, a lot of US 1822s were not bright but browned (not blued) up until 1832. Then the muskets were armory bright and the rifles were browned.

JustinPrince
01-06-2008, 01:03 PM
Here's another tid-bit. Mr. Barry provided me some information a couple of years ago that before 1822, new muskets were finished "bright" and rifles "browned". Between 1822 and 1833, new musket barrels were browned like the rifles. In 1833, new muskets were finished "bright" once again, while rifles remained "browned". Go figure.

The following information was taken from Robert M. Reilly's United States Martial Flintlocks. The U.S. Ordnance Manual of 1841 stated that all metal parts except "locks, ramrod, band springs, bayonets for 6 feet from points, triggers, receivers [Hall Rifles?], and screws" should be browned on the rifles. I think Reilly tries to suggest this was also followed on the muskets, which began with the introduction of the Model 1816 Type II Musket in 1822.

Coming from the same book Reilly contended that the Model 1821, 1822, and 1831 terminology are all modern terms and were never used, as other than the finishing only the lock was lengthened and the trigger guard changed). In 1821 30 of the best patterns were given to the contractors in a chance to acheive a sense of uniformity, lacking in the early 1816s. In 1822 Harpers Ferry revised the main pattern, lengthening the lock and changing the trigger guard (as well as browning all parts sans above per new regulations). In 1831 a simple ball shaped bolster was added to the trigger guard and the finish returned to national army bright (though other sources say the finish changed in 1833).

Also according to Reilly, almost all of the contractors produced only the final type, with a few contractors producing all three.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-07-2008, 12:49 PM
Hallo!

"M1816 TYpes I, II, and III are the modern typology generally credited to Arcadi Gluckman in his seminal 1959 work IDENTIFYING OLD U.S. MUSKETS, RIFLES, & CARBINES.

In June of 1815, Chief of Ordnance Decius Wadsworth began a seven year project when he complained to the Secretary of War that the the U.S. needed "a model or established pattern."
Six prototypes were made in 1816 up for the two national armories and contractors to have a model pattern- one surviving one carrying the "1816" date."
The "new pattern" went into limited production, between 1816 and 1821, but caused a problem as folks were not following directions.
Finally, in 1822, thirty (30) new patterns were made and distributed, stamped "Model 1822" along with gauges to help insure uniformity (as far as possible).

Some like me, refer to the classification of the "M1816" as the "M1822" because of the thirty "Model 1822" samples and that the U.S. Ordnance Department refers to it as the (1841 Ordnance Manual).
But, it is kind of a nuisance as reenactors and collectors favor the typology system, and one needs to either write "M1816/22," or go with "M1816." ;-)

CHS

TheQM
01-07-2008, 04:40 PM
Curt
All its maddening shortcomings aside, the 1816 is probably my favorite musket to use. The mainspring is very strong, I love the look on the fellow's face when it is inspected and it just about takes two hands for him to cock it. It seems to be saying THIS IS NOT A TOY.



Craig,

In some cases, one of the steps involved with converting a M-1816 from flint to percusssion was to take out some of the temper in the mainspring to reduce the power of the hammer falling. That strong mainspring and hammer combination was very good at making sparks. On a percussion gun, it also tended to smash up cones.

I wonder if the reason a Belgian conversion has not been massed produced, by now, is the fear of liability. In the event a cone blows out of a barrel, it will hit you right between the eyes and the weapon's barrel doesn't give you a lot "meat" to work with.

Craig L Barry
01-07-2008, 05:26 PM
Very good point. It is interesting what the gunsmith did. He actually built a little mound of steel with a floor. Then he tapped the cone into that mound of steel, not the barrel itself. It is very neat the way it was done. It does not look very much different than an original that goes straight into the barrel because of the subtle way it was built up. Hence, the cone is no more likely to become a projectile (as it is) than any other reproduction flintlock conversion bolster.

You are right about product liability concerns, though. None of the major manufacturers would produce something like this, the custom route is the only way you can go.

Southern Cal
01-07-2008, 05:46 PM
Another good reason for retaining a strong hammer spring? keeping the hammer down in the event of a rare instance of blowback from the cone in barrel conversion? With the small holes in the modern factory nipples, one wouldn't expect strong back pressure to be a problem, especially firing blanks. I guess a strong main spring is another good reason to have extra nipples and a file at hand in case one gets "peened" or breaks?

Craig L Barry
01-08-2008, 03:12 AM
This has not ever happened, but I suppose it could. I have always carried an extra cone (nipple) in the event that anything should happen to that most important part. The strong mainspring is not a problem, it is a good thing. The modern investment cast parts "relax" enough on their own after a couple campaigns to alleviate any concern. Also, the hammer face is indented so that more of the cone is covered at impact. The cap is thus prevented from flying into pieces when it is struck, being trapped under the indentation and surrounded on all sides. When you pull the hammer off the cone, the cap is always there and easily removed.

TheQM
01-08-2008, 04:00 AM
Another good reason for retaining a strong hammer spring? keeping the hammer down in the event of a rare instance of blowback from the cone in barrel conversion?

Funny you should mention that. I live fired a original Colt Special Model for many years. I stopped shooting it, the first time it half-cocked itself. I was using a military load, 60 grains of powder and a standard Minnie ball. Luckly, I was wearing shooting glasses, so it was no big issue; but, I never shot that weapon again.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-08-2008, 04:49 AM
Hallo!

Yes, there is a greater tendency/possibility for hammer "rebound" when firing live rounds as the pressure has something to push back against moreso than the open bore of a blank charge. (Without getting into the inter-dependent relationships between main spring, sear spring, sear nose, tumbler notches, etc.,)

And yes, I would agree, the way the Italians have "beefed/bulked" breech sections to help "assure" against lads blowing themsevles up, I would never expect to see a commercial "Belgian" conversion.

It is perhaps interesting that orignal "Belgian" ("Second U.S.) conversions dt vary on that point. Meaning, some are found with the cone simply drilled and tapped directly into the barrel wall. Others are found with various degrees of a "bump up."
(Note to Self Some Day: examine percussion conversions to see whether the "bumped up" cone seat appears on conversions that were also rifled or rifled-and-sighted as a precursor to the 1850's rifled/rifled-and-sighted .69 EB conversions with "3rd U.S." and "4th U.S." style replaced breech sections with true bolsters.)

CHS

Craig L Barry
01-08-2008, 05:20 AM
There is no pattern on the "bump up" type cone-in-barrel conversion relative to rifling and sighting, at least that I could tell. It seems that the Arsenals varied on the practice, or perhaps some poor lad took a cone between the eyes and after that they began to beef up the barrel a bit before tapping it. If so, this easily imagined problem with the cone-in-barrel conversion is not recorded anywhere, as most other such disasters are.

This one was John Wickett's old musket and I looked it over pretty carefully before adding it to my "golf bag", just because I was curious as to how the cone was actually seated in the barrel from the conversion. The history on it was a dead end because Wickett bought it that way and had no history on who did the conversion or when, other than it was a long time ago. The appearance suggests the musket began life as an early Pedersoli US 1816 flintlock, and the markings suggest it was an early production piece of that model. The barrel has a very subtle mound smoothly added that in effect creates a bolster right on top of the barrel. Needless to say, ignition is quite reliable with this configuration compared to the "side bolster" drum type conversion. The gunsmithing work is quite expertly done to my eye, and I wish that I had the equipment and skill to perform such feats myself...It is a beautiful piece and I love using it. The pic in the avatar is from the 145th STRI anniversary living history. That is the VC in the background.

madisontigers
01-08-2008, 07:59 AM
It really depends on what impression you are wanting to do. My best piece of advice,and that of various other historians, would be to go to the state archives ( of the regiment you are portraying) and try to find ordnance records, and or requisition forms. Also, the rg-109 section, United States Archives, has a plethora of such information.
Luckily, four years ago, I was able to pick up a nice 1822 Springfield, cone in barrel conversion, from a guy in San Antonio, TX. The musket is in wonderful shape, and I only had to fork out around $1,200 for it at the time. My original 54. cal Lorenz, well, I paid more for it than I did the 1822. But seriously, it depends mostly on what particulair impression you are trying to portray.Now, in regards to placing smoothbores and rifled weapons in a bracket of a certain time frame well; After speaking with one of my former archaeology proffesors, he stated that back in the 70's, they were still finding 69. cal musket balls... on late war dig sites. But, there were units that did have the Enfield rifle in use early in the war. For example, Hoke's North Carolina briagde is a unitt hat fits the bill

David Long

Craig L Barry
01-08-2008, 09:43 AM
According to Brent Nosworthy (Bloody Crucible of Courage) both sides were still requisitioning hundreds of thousands of .69 buck and ball rounds right up until April 1865. It is hard to imagine why that would be the case unless there were smoothbore muskets still in the ranks to use them.

Southern Cal
01-09-2008, 11:34 AM
The latest issue of the "Civil War Times", pg. 74, shows a photo of a U.S. Marine on guard duty at the Washington Navy Yard in 1864. This feller is carrying a Model 1842 musket and not the Model 1855 rifle musket that the Marines were reportedly issued. Maybe that's why he's scowling.

If I had been King in the 1860's, I would have insisted that new firearms were issued to troops in the field and second rate firearms issued to rear echelon units, prison guards, the veteran's reserve, and those militia remaining within the state boundaries, etc.

I guess basic economics apply here: first rate firearms were a finite resource with multiple uses that many bidders were competing for.

No doubt the issuance of firearms was also affected by politics.

madisontigers
01-09-2008, 02:00 PM
"If I had been King in the 1860's, I would have insisted that new firearms were issued to troops in the field and second rate firearms issued to rear echelon units, prison guards, the veteran's reserve, and those militia remaining within the state boundaries, etc. "



It's funny that you say that. After reading volume IV, of Walter M. Clarke's North Carolina Regimental histories, I came across some interesting information. While reading about one of the N.C. Junior reserve regiments, I believe it was the 72nd, I discovered that these men were issued weapons, which were "converted from flint to steel."

David Long

Craig L Barry
01-09-2008, 04:17 PM
One of the frustrating things about the issuance records of the times, ie: the US 1855s going to Marines, is that there is often photographic evidence to the contrary. The muskets pictured could be studio props, however there are still cases where a certain firearm, say an Enfield is identified to a certain soldier who brought it home from the war with him...but the record shows his unit was issued US model rifle-muskets.

TheQM
01-09-2008, 05:30 PM
If I had been King in the 1860's, I would have insisted that new firearms were issued to troops in the field and second rate firearms issued to rear echelon units, prison guards, the veteran's reserve, and those militia remaining within the state boundaries, etc.

Don't forget, there were advantages to the old Pumpkin Slingers. At close range, that Buck and Ball cartridge, put a lot of lead down range. Three, of the five regiments in the Irish Brigade were still armed with .69 smooth bores at Gettysburg.

It is very true, the rifled muskets were much more accuarate at long range, but you had to be very good at estimating range to use them effectively. At short range, say 100 yards or less, there wasn't much difference in the effective accuracy of the .69 smooth bores and the .58 rifle muskets.

Southern Cal
01-09-2008, 09:23 PM
Most troops didn't like the smoothbores, especially older converted pieces drawn from armories and especially imported muskets. The Colonel of the Irish Brigade seems to have made a conscious decision to arms his troops with smoothbores. On the other hand, Confederate General Cleburne, a British Army veteran, insisted on his Division being rifle armed and then trained them in practical marksmanship.

Regarding the prevalence of smoothbores, the following statistics are very interesting if not completely definitive.

Total Union Regiments at Gettysburg: 242
Partially armed with smoothbores: 16, or 6.5% appr.
Totally armed with smoothbores: 10, or 4.0%
Partially armed with second rate rifles: 13, or 5.3%
Totally armed with second rate rifles: 26, or 10.5%
Totally armed with substandard fiurearms: 65, or 26.3%
Armed partially or totally with breechloaders: 7, or 2.9%

70.8% of regiments armed with Enfield P-53 or Springfield .58
Even as late as mid 1863, The Army of The Potomac was still armed with up to 10% smoothbore muskets.

Source: "Battle Tactics of The Civil War", Paddy Griffith

The same author gives an average of 141 yards range for typical Civil War battles, about the "effective range" for smoothbore muskets.

As an aside, about thirty-five years ago, to help me settle an argument with a know-it-all military history "expert", my dad (an aerospace engineer working with ballistics mechanics among other things) made up a graph chart to compare the theoretical knock-down power of the .75 caliber "Brown Bess" versus the .69 caliber "Charleville". This was the first time I heard the words "Ballistic Coefficient". I had a lot of data from the 1800's on accuracy and the percentage of hits on targets at different ranges. I had information about the powder charges as well. Though "common sense" would indicate that the .75 caliber ball would indeed hit with more impact than a .69 caliber ball, it was found that the higher velocity of the .69 caliber bullet cancelled out the impact of the heavier but slightly slower .75 caliber ball, and that the kinetic energy delivered at different ranges was almost the same for both sized round balls.

A very interesting fact only indirectly related to the original argument was how accuracy dramatically dropped at around 150 yards with muskets shooting round balls. My dad attributed this drastic loss in accuracy to the effects of drag (perhaps even air turbulence) as a round bullet with low "Ballistic Coefficient" started to slow below the speed of sound. The elongated Minie Ball, with a higher "Ballistic Coefficient" and fired through a rifle at a velocity below the speed of sound was not as affected by drag as a round ball, and all things being equal, was more accurate and effective to a much longer range. But all things weren't equal and most troops were ill trained in marksmanship. This general lack of training in the use of the rifle musket is the only reason why smoothbores remained viable weapons in the Civil War.

Just my opinion.

Mule Gil
01-10-2008, 02:38 AM
Regarding arms of the Marine Corps, you need to check the book, Civil War Small Arms of the U. S. Navy and Marine Corps by John D McAulay. The Marines got their arms from the Army and there are several times when the Army issued weapons and then later requested them back. The Marines had 1842s, 1855s, 1861s, and 1863s at different times during the war and sometimes all at the same time.

TheQM
01-10-2008, 04:13 AM
As an aside, about thirty-five years ago, to help me settle an argument with a know-it-all military history "expert", my dad (an aerospace engineer working with ballistics mechanics among other things) made up a graph chart to compare the theoretical knock-down power of the .75 caliber "Brown Bess" versus the .69 caliber "Charleville". This was the first time I heard the words "Ballistic Coefficient". I had a lot of data from the 1800's on accuracy and the percentage of hits on targets at different ranges. I had information about the powder charges as well. Though "common sense" would indicate that the .75 caliber ball would indeed hit with more impact than a .69 caliber ball, it was found that the higher velocity of the .69 caliber bullet cancelled out the impact of the heavier but slightly slower .75 caliber ball, and that the kinetic energy delivered at different ranges was almost the same for both sized round balls.



Jay,

The U.S. Army has had only five standard rifle calibers, since we started making our own weapons, .69, .58, .45, .30. and 5.56mm. In every case, we have traded mass for velocity. The best of both worlds is when you can combine both mass and velocity. The best example I can think of is the .50 cal. Heavy Machinegun. Now, that's a baad shootin' iron!

I did a quick look in the Appendix of "Ready Aim Fire" and came up with roughly the same numbers as Mr. Griffith. Twenty-five Federal regiments were were completely or partially armed with .69 smoothbores. I also noticed that therteen more regiments were completely or partially armed with .69 rifled weapons.

I think if I had the choice, that's the weapon I'd pick. You'd have the use of the big .69 Minnie Ball for long range and Buck and Ball for short range. Based on the Army's tests, the rifled .69 weapons were almost as accurate as the .58 weapons.

BTW, in an earlier post I said that three out of five of the Irish Brigade's regiments were armed with Pumpkin Slingers. In actual fact, it was four out of five. At my age, you should never trust your memory about anything!

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-10-2008, 05:55 AM
Hallo!

I would add .50 to that list.. ;-)
Initially, with the roughly 1868-1872 era (also now creeping into long-range sniper rifles).

Yes, the Irish Brigade actually preferred the buck-and-ball advantages of converted M1822 and M1842 smoothbores, and managed to keep from "upgrading" to rifle-muskets with the exception of the 28th Massachusetts that joined the brigade just before Fredericksburg and were Enfield RM armed.
This continued until June of 1864 when the brigade was temporarily broken up, and the 116th PA reluctantly traded their smoothbores as did the rest of the brigade for Springfield and Enfield RM's for the second half of 1864.

CHS
116th PA

TheQM
01-10-2008, 07:27 AM
Hallo!

I would add .50 to that list.. ;-)
Initially, with the roughly 1868-1872 era (also now creeping into long-range sniper rifles).

Curt,

I thought about that, but there were very few weapons actually built from scratch to fire the .50 round. As far as I know, they were mostly relined .58 barrels, used on the second batch of "Trapdoor" conversions of Civil War era muzzleloaders. The first Trapdoors fired a .58 rimfire round. Between the M-1866 & M-1868 only about 75,000 were converted; versus a half million of the 45.70 Trapdoors that were produced from 1873 until 1884.

The new .50 sniper rifles are very much a speciality weapon and not a regular issue item. It's my understanding these weapons use the standard .50 BMG round. The gift that's designed to reach out and touch someone!

Southern Cal
01-10-2008, 09:13 AM
Off topic certainly but around 1965, USMC sniper Carlos Hathcock, seems to be the first one to mount a sniper scope onto a modern .50 caliber weapon. SSgt Hathcock rigged up his issue Unertl scope onto a vehicle mounted "Ma-Deuce" .50 machine gun and started "dumping" bad guys at half a mile or more by "squeezing" off one round at a time. The British in WWII used a .55 anti-tank rifle and the Russians a similar 14.5mm type, but I've never read that these ever used scopes.

So, I guess its obvious that "Punkin' slingers" didn't make for any kind of accurate shooting except at close quarters, hence the issue buck and ball and buckshot loads. I forget the proportion of ball to buck and ball cartridges that soldiers were suposed to carry in their cartridge boxes. I know that George Washington had all issue ammo made up as buck and ball but then he wasn't present at Antietam or Gettysburg. :)

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-10-2008, 09:31 AM
Hallo!

Okay, I see your POV.

But I would add that the M1868 Springfield rifle (about 51,300 plus) as well as the M1870 rifle and carbine (about 11,550 plus) were their own guns- not converted Civil War models such as was done with the M1865 and M1866 Allin Conversion. (Although it gets pesky when they kept using "surplus" M1863/M1864 parts such as lock plates).
Same could be said of the roughly 32,000 Remington M1870 Navy and Army Rolling Block rifles.

CHS
.50-70 Government Mess

TheQM
01-10-2008, 12:14 PM
Curt,

I included those 51,000 M-1868's in my count. There were around 25,000 of the M-1866's made. That's how I came up with the number I used. I wasn't trying to say the five calibers I mentioned have been the only ones use by our military. Just, that they were the only ones used in any quanitity for any extended period of time. As you said, the large majority of the .50 cal. Trapdoors were made from either surplus CW weapons, or included surplus CW parts, although I was not aware the M-1868 used newmade barrels. To the best of my knowledge , the M-1872, in 45.70, was the first major production rifle, made after the CW, from all new parts.

As an aside, I've made up a bullet board with all five of these major calibers included. Makes it very easy to discuss the relationship between mass and velocity to spectators. It also allows me to show a .58 Minnie bullet, without having a loose bullet floating around at events. I included both a .69 round ball and Minnie bullet. That big Minnie sure gets the spectator's attention!

REBfrmNY
01-12-2008, 10:07 AM
I know this is a little off topic but I wanted to know if their is anyone out their producing the M1816 with the belgian style conversion.

Daniel Harhangi

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-12-2008, 11:38 AM
Hallo!

No.

As previously discussed, some of us belief that the potental "litigation" scares any repro company away.

However, there are individual "gumsmiths/gunbuilders" that either:

1. restore originals to their Civil War era appearance
2. build custom-builts with original or repro-original parts
3. "Belgian" convert the Italian "M1816's"

My personal one was option No. 3.

I do not know of any smiths/builders by name to suggest, as these are very very rare and only occasionally turn up on site for-sale boards.

CHS

Craig L Barry
01-12-2008, 01:36 PM
Not to my knowledge either, mine (as stated) is a repro 1816 converted by someone who owned it before I got bought it. It does not seem like it would be that complicated to do this conversion, but it does make everybody antsy.

I know of no period references to this type conversion failing, though the potential is certainly there whenever you drill into the barrel.

2nd_mi_johnny
01-12-2008, 02:47 PM
Actually There is a place that sells the 1816 Procussion cone in conversion Musket. It's sold by F.C. Sutlery. Its near the end of the muskets section.. And both the Flint Lock And the Percussion Lock Smooth Bore versions are selling for I believe about $1,100.00

Just thought I'd correct the statement that no one sells them

REBfrmNY
01-12-2008, 02:52 PM
FC sutlery like most other sutlers sell the M1816 colt conversion not the belgian conversion
Daniel Harhangi

2nd_mi_johnny
01-12-2008, 03:08 PM
Yes that is true.. but its still an 1816 converted.. I know that The Colt is not the proper conversion, how ever in the long and short of it, there are even seasoned historians I've met who don't know that. In the long run if questions are asked you could allways buy the flint lock version, take it to a gun smyth and Request a Belgian style Conversion to make it a proper piece. But if I recall correctly, that many events will not allow the belgian for reasons of safety concerns. They allow the colt varient I'm not all that familiar with the differance. But to me, a converted 1816 is STILL a converted 1816. If a kid asks you what your musket is, all you need to say is that its an 1816.

REBfrmNY
01-12-2008, 03:14 PM
you could allways buy the flint lock version, take it to a gun smyth and Request a Belgian style Conversion to make it a proper piece.

Thats what I would like to do but unfortunately I dont know a gun smith that would be willing to do that.
Daniel Harhangi

2nd_mi_johnny
01-12-2008, 06:00 PM
Thats what I would like to do but unfortunately I dont know a gun smith that would be willing to do that.
Daniel Harhangi


Your best bet is to just start asking around. I know yu're in new york at least if you're screen name is any indication, depending on how close you are to Fort Niagra, you might be able to find a Smithy around that area, cause the fort would likely attract that type of niech market.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-12-2008, 08:37 PM
Hallo!

Just a quick "historical" over-view...

There were numerous methods of altering flintlocks to percussion ignition.
In brief and to over-generalize...

The "French" conversion or alteration (sometimes called the First U.S) was the most common, especially for civilian arms. The frizzen spring was removed, and the removable primer pan was removed or if non-removeable was cut flush to the lockplate and modified to support a side drum. The separate "drum" that was threaded to hold a cone (nipple) was threaded into the enlarged touch-hole or vent of the barrel. A percussion hammer replaced the flint hammer. Sometimes, but not always, the unused holes in the lockplate were filled.
(The nice thing about this method, was that ordinary gunsmiths and even some blacksmiths could do it, and many civilian rifles of that era were converted to percussion using this method including a rifle attributed to Daniel Boone.)

The "Belgian" conversion or alteration (sometimes called the Second U.S.) was one of the more "official" for the military. The frizzen spring was removed, and the removable primer pan was removed or if non-removeable was cut flush to the lockplate. The mortise or cavity left was filled with brass,or the remains of the former brass pan was made flush. The touch-hole or vent was plugged. A cone seat was usually "bumped" or "upset" near the side top of the barrel. Through that was drilled a new touch-hole, that was threaded to take a percussion cone. A percussion hammer replaced the flint hammer. Sometimes, but not always, the unused holes in the lockplate were filled.

This worked well until the mid 1850's, with the advent of the new Minie ball system caused a second look at the 'Belgian" system when they wanted to shallow rifle, and/or shallow rifle and add rear sights to some arms. The additional force of pressure behind the .69 Minie was thought to require a stronger method of altering.
The first involved simply brazing a new bolster for a percussion cone directly over the touch-hole, modifying the lock as above, and replacing the flint hammer with a percussion one.
The second and more desireable was to cut off the flintlock barrel at the breech, threading the bore, and then screwing in a new thicker breech section with an integral bolster and cone- the bolster sitting in the milled out pan section of the lock.

And the fourth type of alterations involved mechanical primers. The most common were the Butterfield Pellet Primer and the more widely used Maynard Tape Primer systems. The Maynard system came so popular, that the new .58 arms in the Model 1855 series incorporated it, only to fall from favor before the War.

Due to the Crimean War, Colt had entered into a contract to make "Colt conversions" (percussion, rifled and sighted) using the "drum in side" ("French" type) conversions using old U.S. muskets (3rd Class Arms) for Russia in 1854. When that petered out, in 1858 he tried the Italians and Garibaldi, dabbling in breech-loading conversions of the same.
While he made a tidy profit, he did end up with unsold guns. For the Civil War, he was able to sell a few more to the U.S. government.

The "Colt" alteration carries a drum with a clean-out screw and the stamping "Colt's Patent" and a unique Colt hammer.

CHS

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-13-2008, 03:20 AM
Hallo!

Just an aside...

In brief and to over-generalize...

The Italian reproduction "M1816 Percussion Conversion" is not actually a "Colt" conversion, rather a hybrid repro M1777 "Charleville-ish and acual and repro M1822-ish composite that uses a Colt style side drum with clean-out screw sans the Colt patent stamping, and a civilian style "non Colt" percussion hammer.

IMHO, it is more "typical" of the Confederate conversion efforts done on an unknown number arsenal resident and collected guns by either Confederate armories or skilled gunsmiths.

For the improbable use by Federals, some lads create the fiction that the
Italian reproduction possibly reflects some of the unknown percussion conversion muskets altered and disposed of by Colt that there are no records or surviving examples for.

Historically, this is not necessarily a negative or bad thing, especially in a Hobby that commonly uses a form of P1853 Enfield that did not see service in the Civiil War; and that different lads have differing Mental Pictures of what works for them.

CHS

TheQM
01-13-2008, 07:57 AM
Hallo!

Just a quick "historical" over-view...

There were numerous methods of altering flintlocks to percussion ignition.
In brief and to over-generalize...

Curt,

It's funny, I own three of the different conversions you discussed; a M-1816 converted by H & P, a M-1816 converted, using the Remington lock, rifled, with long range sights, and a M-1840 using the Belgian cone in barrel method. My H&P conversion has a M-1861 sight, but the barrel was never rifled. The M-1840 has deep rifling but no sights at all. The Remington/Frankford Arsenal conversion is rifled and has a M-1855 long range sight.

The Remington/Frankford Arsenal conversion makes sense. I can't figure out the other two. Why bother to put sights on a smooth bore and not put sights on a rifled weapon?

Poor Private
01-13-2008, 10:21 AM
Now to segway the topic totally, but still to keep in the vein.
We are talking about 2 banders correct? If so how can you use them at an event? In my experience Mainstream events only allow 3 banders on the field due to "safety" issues. This is one reason I am reluctant to buy myself a new toy a 1841 Mississippi rifle.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-13-2008, 12:13 PM
Halllo!

"Why bother to put sights on a smooth bore and not put sights on a rifled weapon?"

Herr Bill, that IMHO, is a Stump the Chump Question, as historically it makes no sense. But the Period accounts often speak to two categories:
"rifled" and "rifled and sighted" as if someone, somewhere "knew" what they wanted and why.

Another "oddity" is that the rear sights are sometimes found "backwards."
Once Upon A Time it was thought that some previous collector or dealer took them off to clean the gun, and was careless in putitng them back correctly. However, as more and more turned up, it was a practice.
I have never found documentation for the "flip," but I suspect the "rainbow arc" flight path trajectory of a ".69 Minie" made it a mortar shell and the "short range" sight leaves of 100, 300, and 500 yards were practically useless.

"We are talking about 2 banders correct?"

Herr Cris, nope not a segue. ;-) :-)
These conversions are of what some call "3 band muskets."
For M1841 Rifle conversions you may want to SEARCH up my old multi-part postings on the AC Forum on "Mississippi" alterations. As an aside, Samuel Colt's expeience with alteraing ro converting muskets landed him a small contract for altering "Mississippi" rifles in 1861/62.

CHS

JustinPrince
01-14-2008, 04:24 PM
Halllo!



Another "oddity" is that the rear sights are sometimes found "backwards."
Once Upon A Time it was thought that some previous collector or dealer took them off to clean the gun, and was careless in putitng them back correctly. However, as more and more turned up, it was a practice.
I have never found documentation for the "flip," but I suspect the "rainbow arc" flight path trajectory of a ".69 Minie" made it a mortar shell and the "short range" sight leaves of 100, 300, and 500 yards were practically useless.


Interesting you mention that. When I bought my Model 1873 Trapdoor Springfield the rear sight was flipped on it. But since the weapon had been reblued and had a Model 1873 sight even though the weapon was made in 1885 (and hence should have a Model 1877 or Model 1884 Buffington sight) I had just assumed someone took it off and put it back on carelessly. Course it is missing the slide, so that could be all it is and nothing related to this whatsoever.

7thNJcoA
01-15-2008, 09:14 AM
Back to 1842's It is IMHO that everyone should do thier research before buying any Reenactor firearm. My unit was issued 1842's until 1864 when they finaly got about 2/3 outfitted with 1861 springfields. Now If I went to a Bull Run reenactment with my 1861 I would be incorrect in my impression. granted that not everyone can buy 2 or 3 muskets is understandable. I just belive that when you are Reenacting as a specific unit you should adopt the Weapon they were issued. I hear all the time people saying what if it was private purchase.... Not many soldiers would buy hier own musket if they one they got works well; also, the army would issue ammo for your units issued weapons so if your weapon was not compatible with that ammo you had to supply your own or be SOL. Think of the Practicality also when you invest in a weapon. Just my thoughts on 1842s and other weapons over represented.

I WISH SOMEONE MADE A GREAT LORENZ REPRO!

TheQM
01-15-2008, 10:11 AM
I just belive that when you are Reenacting as a specific unit you should adopt the Weapon they were issued.

Drew,

The problem is, we rarely portray our home units during scripted scenarios. I've been a member of Company B, 4th. Texas Infantry for twenty years. During that time, I think we've only portrayed the Texas Brigade two or three times. When it comes to picking a weapon or weapons, it's a matter of what's correct for the most units, most of the time. I think that's why most people start with a M-61 Springfield or M-53 Enfield. The logical choice for a second weapon would be a converted M-1816 smooth bore musket. Problem is, nobody is making good PEC conversions, except as custom made weapons, which are out of most people's reach. The fall back position, for many people, is the Armi-Sport M-1842, which is actually a pretty good replica.

You're right about the Lorenz. It was about the 4th most common firearm used during the Civil War and you almost never see one at a reenactment.

BTW, welcome home!

Southern Cal
01-15-2008, 10:23 AM
True enough. Even so, as a shorter rifle, wouldn't most forbid using a Lorenz on the field?

Concerning the cost of "irons", the entire outfit that I officially camp with has equipped themselves with Sharps carbines as issued to the historical unit. But in early 1864, this unit turned their Sharps carbines in for new Spencer's. Only one of our company has a Sharps and a Spencer, and he is still fine tuning it with different cases and loads to get it to fire .56-50 blanks without jamming. I expect all but one of the company will remain inaccurate for late war impressions but that's the fork in the road where reality and economics meet. At least there is one example of a Spencer to show folks in a living history session.

TheQM
01-15-2008, 10:58 AM
True enough. Even so, as a shorter rifle, wouldn't most forbid using a Lorenz on the field?

Lawrence,

I doubt that would be a problem. The Lorenz has the magic three bands most events require and it's only about three inches shorter than an Enfield.

Southern Cal
01-16-2008, 08:00 AM
Because the front band is so close to the middle band and because the overall length is closer to most rifle lengths, I thought a Lorenz would be treated like a two band. Interesting.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-16-2008, 08:55 AM
Hallo!

Within some segments of the Civil War Community, a "Lorenz" could possibly be an interesting discussion/situation in some circles. (It is a "3 Bander.")
Right now, IMHO, it is more of a cart-before-the-horse discussion as there is not a commonly available commerical reproduction available to put to widespread "testing." (the .62 Indian smoothbore "under development" being another discussion...)

Wth a 37.5 inch barrel length versus the "Enfield's" 39, how "short" is it?
Meaning, in the Mainstream reenactment world, IMHE, I have not come across event standards that mentioned barrel lengths... ;-) :-)

CHS

Southern Cal
01-17-2008, 05:24 PM
Track of The Wolf has for sale, an original 1816 musket with the cone in barrel percussion conversion, dated 1831, marked Harper's Ferry. Good photo close ups of the lock, hammer, and the conversion work.

Southern Cal
01-23-2008, 09:27 PM
Hallo!

... mid 1850's, with the advent of the new Minie ball system caused a second look at the 'Belgian" system when they wanted to shallow rifle, and/or shallow rifle and add rear sights to some arms. The additional force of pressure behind the .69 Minie was thought to require a stronger method of altering.
The first involved simply brazing a new bolster for a percussion cone directly over the touch-hole, modifying the lock as above, and replacing the flint hammer with a percussion one.
The second and more desireable was to cut off the flintlock barrel at the breech, threading the bore, and then screwing in a new thicker breech section with an integral bolster and cone- the bolster sitting in the milled out pan section of the lock. CHS

While looking at another thread about "Hawken's" rifles, I found an interesting item in "Echoes of Glory", Arms and Equipment of the Confederacy. Page 32 shows a Virginia Manufactory Musket, of which there were over 58,000 produced from 1808 for the state militia. This one has "VIRGINIA" stamped on the side of the lock plate and a small four digit date or serial number stamped below. The rear end of the Lock plate is stamped "RICHM..." and behind that "180?" The important thing is the large amount of these old flintlocks that were "farmed out" to gun shops for conversion to percussion ignition. If most of these Virgina militia muskets were converted to percussion, that number alone amounts to about 20% of the entire production run of Model 1842 muskets. The example mentioned resmbles closely the percussion conversion Herr Schmidt described above.

Another book, "Arming The Glorious Cause" also shows a Virginia Manufactory musket, dated 1819, with a similar looking if not precisely the same percussion conversion. Then there is an example of a 1st Model Virginina Manufactory Musket, dated 1804 with a "Leman" conversion (a type of bolster with a clean-out screw brazed onto the barrel, the bolster fitting into a notch where the brass pan would have been originally.

Interestingly, there is also a Springfield Armory "Model 1795" musket dated 1812, converted to percussion by means of a drum and bolster method.

Of note, there is an example of an "1816" type musket stamped "1817" on the lock plate with "N. Carolina" stamped on top of the rear end of the barrel pointed towards the butt, just in front of the "U.S" stamp, which is pointed towards the muzzle. Carved on the butt is: "Taken at Columbia, N.C. by W.H. Putnam, 6th N.H.V. March 9th 1862". This one is still a flintlock!

militiaman1835
01-30-2008, 09:29 PM
I was reading on the Armoury Guards forum that a couple of their Loyalist Arms lorenz repros failed proof testing with a 100 grain blank charge I believe it was. I don't think I'd want one of these next to me in line!! By the way back in 1979 I converted a Navy Arms Charleville to the cone conversion using an original hammer & nipple from S&S Firearms. Hammer was new and cost $5...last original conversion hammer I saw on Ebay went for $50 and wasn't new like one I used. Later I picked up a mint 1837 Whitney 1816 conversion for $300......Those were the days!!! Jim Hensley

TimKindred
01-30-2008, 10:03 PM
Jim,


I remember those wonderful S&S catalogs full of original parts and accoutrnents. Those were also the days when you could walk into Dixie Gun Works and ask for a particular part, and they'd haul out a whole box of them for you to paw through. The first time i went there, I needed a new mainspring for a M1863 Springfield. The fellow (not Turner, sadly) pulled up a wooden box with original mainsprings wrapped in greased paper for me to select from. they also had bins full of blued sc@ws, triggers, etc, for the '64 Springfields. Wonderful days the like of which we shall never again see.

Craig L Barry
01-30-2008, 11:53 PM
Do you have a link for that Armoury Guards Forum. I would like to read about the Loyalist Arms barrels failing proof. This has been a pet peeve of mine for some time now. I am not at all convinced that those India produced "barrels" (seam welded conduit) are at all safe to use for our purposes.

GaWildcat
01-31-2008, 12:38 AM
Barry,

I went and checked this out myself Address is http://www.armoryguards.org/
its on the second page of the forum, almost at the bottom.

The guy that commented on the failure is a friend of mine, and if he says they failed, they failed. Chilling part is, they failed with the recommended proof charge, WITHOUT the recommended ball. Failed on a blank charge!

Food for thought, Eh?

JustinPrince
01-31-2008, 12:55 AM
That's very disconcerting. Especially since I have to proof an Indian made barrel in the next few weeks, a Middlesex Village 1816 Springfield. I've fired about a dozen 60 and 80 grain blank charges with rammed paper and it has done fine.

The breech plug worries me. Rather than being completely flat at the breech inside the barrel, like my 1842 or 1861, it has a slot milled into it that the powder I guess rests in. I can rest the threaded end of the ramrod on the flat part of the breech and the rammer will protrude from the barrel a bit, or stick the threaded end inside this slot to where the rammer doesn't protrude hardly at all. It's maybe 1/4 of an inch deep. I've emailed Pete Plunkett at MVT to see what the deal is. I've never heard of a BP gun having that, as it seems to me it would confine the explosion to within the breech plug screw instead of in the barrel (but I am still new). I'll ask you guys, is it supposed to be like that? It's like a milled out slot in the breech area that goes from left to right on the barrel, and all the powder would have to settle there. I cleaned it today since I was bored and gave all my muskets a cleaning, and found some BP fouling in that little "slot." I fired some blanks at New Year's Eve, and cleaned it just as thoroughly as I do my '42 and '61.

Something else though. I was talking to Pete about how to proof the barrel, especially once I saw the pictures of the Indian made 3rd Model Bess that blew up (and I do believe it was from Middlesex Village... same exact finish as my 1816 Springfield...) and he said the service load for these muskets is approx. 1 grain per .01 of caliber, thus a .69 cal musket has a service load of 69grains.

Maybe I'm stupid, but I read that standard US service load for flinters was 100-110 grains and in the percussion era still 90-100 grains for a .69. I've live fired my Armi Sport 1842 with 80 and 90 grain charges with a .68 cal bare ball and it has done fine.

Have to say I'm kinda wary about it all really. Getting a little nervous to live fire this thing.

GaWildcat
01-31-2008, 01:21 AM
Justin,

Then follow what they suggested for proofing... use an old tire (no rim!) put the butt IN the tire, and use a lanyard to jerk the trigger back. My pard Terry used a blank charge, and it failed, so ya might wanna try that, clean it and see if the water comes out where it aint supposed to. ;) If ya can, Id play it a little more safe and maybe have some cover, i.e. Sandbags or something to get behind.

JustinPrince
01-31-2008, 01:33 AM
Justin,

Then follow what they suggested for proofing... use an old tire (no rim!) put the butt IN the tire, and use a lanyard to jerk the trigger back. My pard Terry used a blank charge, and it failed, so ya might wanna try that, clean it and see if the water comes out where it aint supposed to. ;) If ya can, Id play it a little more safe and maybe have some cover, i.e. Sandbags or something to get behind.

Robert,

I most certainly intend to do just that!

Also, they say pictures are worth 1,000 words:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v147/Tankerace/1816rammeroutofslot.jpg
With the threaded end of the rammer resting on what I thought was the face of the breech.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v147/Tankerace/1816rammerinslot.jpg
With the ramrod worked into this "slot". Notice how deep it must be!

Craig L Barry
01-31-2008, 09:30 AM
Or hang the thing on the wall where it belongs and fire a musket with a barrel that has been subjected to a recognized pressure test by a professional black powder proof facility. Safety first. The person you hurt when it blows may not be yourself.

JustinPrince
01-31-2008, 11:49 AM
What about do-it-yourself barrels? Are they proofed? I'm thinking such as The Rifle Shoppe?

I know what I'd do if this *&*(^&& Indian stock wasn't the size of a Charleville, I'd just pop one of their barrels in and make everything else fit. Unfortunately the darn India barrel is 45 inches long, 3 inches longer than an original.

In the end I have a feeling I'll just keep the lock and build a new musket around it using TRS parts. Especially since I've heard nothing back from Pete at MVT about what this milled slot is.

If the musket is proofed (and I think I'd do it how Pete suggested, which is to remove the barrel from the stock and so you can measure every inch of the barrel with calipers to determine a change) and it passes it should be fine.

But I wouldn't dream of using this at a reenactment without being proofed. That's just asking for trouble. One thing he told me, and I don't know if it is true, is that the Italian muskets are only proofed at 120% load, he suggests a double load and double ball for his. Not trying to be a champion of MVT but it does seem for him to tell me to do that would put his Indian made through a more substantial test than the Italians put theirs through. That is, of course, assuming he is correct on the Italians proofing specs. I've also heard the Italians don't proof every barrel, only one out of a batch. Not sure if that is true either.

And yes, I've learned my lesson on India muskets.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-31-2008, 03:38 PM
Hallo!

One can reread the previous discussions around on the controversy and non-controversy over these Indian imports...

But I will again restate my heretical opinion as a former gun-builder that these products are "non-guns" and are made to the non-existant safety standards of fire place wall hangers that someone has created a small market for by making them "work" for blanks and worse yet live fire.

IMHO, they are as Ralph Nader used to say about the Chevrolet Corvair, "Unsafe at any speed."

The previous flap over the burst barrel "Bess" seems to have, as predicted, passed into Status Quo complacency and Business as Usual.

I do not personally fault or criticize ANYONE who wants to buy and shoot these Indian imports as that is their business and choice.

However,

While "double type" charges have been a typical historical test thorought the black powder era, it proves one thing and one thing only: the barrel made to standards has survivied THAT proof load. It merely suggests that the next round fired will not be "the straw the broke the camel's back" and contribute to a "catastrophic failure."

My personal issue, if not complaint, is that we do not know much about these "non guns" to base mature and informed decisions on.
While I do not begrudge a lad for choosing to shoot one (blank or live), as that is his business and acceptance of real or imagined risk...

My concern is for the lads around that Indian import owner should they, should ONE, be a "non gun" wall-hanger that explodes in a formation like a pipe bomb.
My feelings on the matter vis-a-vis their continued and future use, is that it will take injury and or death, with the resultant criminal and civil actions in the form of prosecution and/or litigation before the sales and use trend is reversed or stopped.
Or, the "non-guns" professionally and independently analyzed and declared safe-to-use "guns."

Others' mileage will vary...

CHS

Craig L Barry
01-31-2008, 04:22 PM
Justin:
I have a theory about your slotted breech section, but it is not likely to make you feel any better about that musket. Since these were not produced with an eye toward live firing, many have a solid breech that extends past the point where the flash channel needs to be (based on the location of the hammer and frizzen). It could well be that it was necessary to create that slot in order to produce a touch hole into the barrel for firing. Even if that is not the case, whatever the explanation is you can reasonably certain it will not make you feel any better about shooting it.

Wood can worked and the forestock shortened easily enough. Why don't you check with somebody like Lodgewood or Hoyt about a decent barrel that would work with that particular type stock? If it is too large it can be bedded and so on. I am using a Hoyt barrel in my current winter project (converting a Richmond to a Whitney 1855) and it is a darned good shooter. I like the rifling in that Hoyt barrel.

JustinPrince
01-31-2008, 04:37 PM
Question then, as I find myself agreeing with you. How then can one have said "non-gun" professionally verified? As I said this was not given to me as a wall hangar but as a gun, and I intend to use it as such. If, however, it is found unsafe then I have no problem trying to go to small claims to get my money back as it was sold to me as "a safe firearm capable of live firing."

To attempt such an action, I would obviously need documented proof that this marketed firearm is truly unsafe, not just viewed as "potentially unsafe" because one or two others out of a batch of literally thousands has failed. In my search on the internet doing research before I even thought of hinting at my parents to buy this gun I have found approximately three total reported failures out of all the Indian made guns. A 1777 from Military Heritage/Discriminating General that had an improperly threaded breechplug and a screwed up barrel, this gun being marketed as a non-gun that *could* be made to fire and in fact was never actually fired; the 3rd Model Brown Bess that I believe was made from Middlesex Village and thus marketed as a live firing gun, that blew all to **** supposedly because of a single 110 grain charge, to the point it knocked people down, shattered the stock, split the barrel, and knocked out the breech plug, all of which I personally view very suspiciously because unless it was made of plastic I don't see how a single blank round would be able to do that; and this Loyalist Arms Lorenz that developed cracks in the barrel after one blank round, though in the same post the author mentions he does not remember if the cracks were there to begin with.

While I do fully agree with your concerns (being not proofed these things SHOULD be thoroughly checked, which is precisely what I'm inquiring on how to do), and want mine checked to see if I can either live fire it or get my money back for false advertisement, hard evidence would be required as statistically 3 faulty or failed muskets out of only 1,000 represents a failure rate of only 0.003%, meaning 99.997% of what you dub "non guns" are perfectly safe. If the figures Pete Plunkett on his forum claims are true that there are 25,000 Indian guns in use in the United States, that makes the failure rate 0.00012%, meaning 99.99988% safe to use. I've also read people claim they have seen Pedersoli and Japanese muskets fail too, putting their safety rating at no higher than 99%, on par with these Indian guns.

Also my question on proofing is if, as you said, proofing only proves that it will survive THAT charge, doesn't the same hold true then for the Italian muskets? They have been proofed, but can't another charge down the line cause a catastrophic failure? How then can we truly know that any gun is safe to fire? I will add I've read that the Italians use thicker barrels as a safeguard to ensure safety, but in checking the diameter the .689cal barrel of my Indian 1816 is only slighly smaller in overall diameter than the .69cal barrel on my Italian 1842.

I'm honestly wanting to know because honestly this is all relatively new to me. Other than this India 1816 every gun I own, be it BP replica, real BP cartridge, or a modern have real proof markings and I assume are safe to fire. The only one I know anything regarding proofing on is that I'm to use only commercial loads in my Gewehr 1888, as modern surplus is too hot to use in the old, pre double heat treated receiver.

So what can I do, if proofing will not be sufficient, to conclusively proove that this Indian gun is either safe to fire or that it is, in fact, proven unsafe where I can attempt to get my money back (which, as it was marketed as a firing gun should be no trouble, even in court).

JustinPrince
01-31-2008, 04:42 PM
Justin:
I have a theory about your slotted breech section, but it is not likely to make you feel any better about that musket. Since these were not produced with an eye toward live firing, many have a solid breech that extends past the point where the flash channel needs to be (based on the location of the hammer and frizzen). It could well be that it was necessary to create that slot in order to produce a touch hole into the barrel for firing. Even if that is not the case, whatever the explanation is you can reasonably certain it will not make you feel any better about shooting it.

Wood can worked and the forestock shortened easily enough. Why don't you check with somebody like Lodgewood or Hoyt about a decent barrel that would work with that particular type stock? If it is too large it can be bedded and so on. I am using a Hoyt barrel in my current winter project (converting a Richmond to a Whitney 1855) and it is a darned good shooter. I like the rifling in that Hoyt barrel.

You know, as much as I hate to say it that makes perfect sense. I think I'll drop the ramrod in and get my bore light and look through the touch hole.

I've been thinking about doing one or two things with this musket.

1.) Get a new barrel like you suggested. Because the stock is longer than it should be, I'd have to use a 1795 barrel. Or see if they can do something with this teak stock as well. That would only put me out maybe $250 (was looking at TRS barrels), plus whatever the wood work costs.

2.) Keep the lock, since it is a great sparker and well tuned, and just buy a new stock, barrel, and hardware, and build a new 1816 around it. Effectively it would be as if my parents bought me a lock for a TRS custom DIY 1816. I'd like to reuse the hardware on the 1816 but the Indian stock is too big, and a copy of the French 1777 more than the 1816 Springfield (other thank my reshaping of the butt). Obviously the more expensive option (and my parents would have basically chucked $300 out the window, since an assembled lock from TRS is about $300) but probably the safest and most authentic option I'd think, since the musket would be the correct length. That or if I can document that it is unsafe demand a refund (not replacement) from MVT and put $400 with it and get a Pedersoli 1816, and see if someone can redo the lockplate to say Springfield.

JustinPrince
01-31-2008, 05:03 PM
Craig you are right, that's exactly what it is. The face of the breech plug is sitting just in front of the touchhole, so that slot was milled out so the spark could hit the charge.

I took a small computer repair screwdriver and stuck it in the touchhole. Put the threaded end on the face of the breech, and it didn't move. Worked it into the slot, and it popped the screwdriver out of the touchhole.

So now the dilemma: powder is in effect getting inside the screw and exploding there. How in God's name can this be safe? Still no response from Pete. I would think this is grounds to demand a refund.


You know, as much as I hate to say it that makes perfect sense. I think I'll drop the ramrod in and get my bore light and look through the touch hole.

I've been thinking about doing one or two things with this musket.

1.) Get a new barrel like you suggested. Because the stock is longer than it should be, I'd have to use a 1795 barrel. Or see if they can do something with this teak stock as well. That would only put me out maybe $250 (was looking at TRS barrels), plus whatever the wood work costs.

2.) Keep the lock, since it is a great sparker and well tuned, and just buy a new stock, barrel, and hardware, and build a new 1816 around it. Effectively it would be as if my parents bought me a lock for a TRS custom DIY 1816. I'd like to reuse the hardware on the 1816 but the Indian stock is too big, and a copy of the French 1777 more than the 1816 Springfield (other thank my reshaping of the butt). Obviously the more expensive option (and my parents would have basically chucked $300 out the window, since an assembled lock from TRS is about $300) but probably the safest and most authentic option I'd think, since the musket would be the correct length. That or if I can document that it is unsafe demand a refund (not replacement) from MVT and put $400 with it and get a Pedersoli 1816, and see if someone can redo the lockplate to say Springfield.

Craig L Barry
01-31-2008, 05:38 PM
Well, there you go. We now have Loyalist Arms barrels (not proofed) failing proof with blank loads, no ball and surprise/no surprise, a flintlock bolster hacked out of a solid breech where the powder will now concentrate. I am sorry for you but not that surprised. I have inspected a number of these weapons and I am not impressed with the barrels in particular. As you point out, a number of the locks can be quite good...using hand made forged parts in much the same fashion as original flintlocks were produced.

My sense here is that "MVT" is going to be reluctant to refund your money. You could try that but don't be surprised if they tell you to go pound sand. Because if they did refund your money, it would be an admission that the product was unsafe to shoot. That would expose them to liability for all these things that they have sold, once word gets out. And they are never going to admit this for that reason, even though the safety of this musket is certainly compromised. Your most cost effective approach would be to replace the barrel with a re-lined original or tested reproduction. Or hang it on the wall, which is what it was originally designed to do.

Phil
01-31-2008, 07:01 PM
No offense, but are you certain it's a "slotted breech"? I thought I had much the same situation with my Italian Springfield a few years ago, but it turned out it was just the tip of the ramrod hanging up on the inside of the muzzle. It really did seem as if there was some kind of ridge or indention at the breech.

Well, if the Indian repros are no good, what's the alternative? The Italians have increased their prices to the point where their repros aren't worth the money. There's also little hope of getting much in the way of variety from them beyond what they've been putting on the market for the past several decades.

Perhaps the ideal situation could be American-made replacement barrels on an otherwise Indian-made gun?

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-31-2008, 07:12 PM
Hallo!

"Also my question on proofing is if, as you said, proofing only proves that it will survive THAT charge, doesn't the same hold true then for the Italian muskets? They have been proofed, but can't another charge down the line cause a catastrophic failure? How then can we truly know that any gun is safe to fire? I will add I've read that the Italians use thicker barrels as a safeguard to ensure safety, but in checking the diameter the .689cal barrel of my Indian 1816 is only slighly smaller in overall diameter than the .69cal barrel on my Italian 1842."

I don't have any to measure, but try measuring across the breech end of the barrel where the max pressures are generated.

However, IMHO, a measurement is not an overall "best indicator." But to try to answer some of the questions...

When a "gun" is manufactured in a modern facility/factory with measures of quality control; by workmen apprenticed, trained, and experienced in their craft and work; when say the barrel is made of rifle grade steel as a rfile barrel and not a seamed piece of extruded and rolled mild sheet steel conduit; when the finished product receives standard "government mandated" inspections and proofs; etc, etc., the odds, IMHO, go down vis-a-vis with the opposite.

I am not saying that Indians and Pakistani are not capable of great and safe work. They, like the Chinese, are capable of good work and workmanship. They make decent copies of say Colt M1911's and AK-47's for example.

IMHO, as my father the former NASA rocket motor man, says about anytihng electronic.... "Everytime you turn it on, you run the risk of blowing it up!" the same is true for firearms. However, they ARE firearms and designed, assembled, and tested to reduce Murphy's Law beyond what the nuts behind the trigger can do to ensure/assure/insure poor or bad results.
IMHO, I just do not see those same "conditions" in the Indian and Pakastini world where Mustapha is squatting on a dirt floor in front of a smelting pot and anvil, making bayonets one day, AK-47's the next week, and "Brown Bess" the next week. (Nothing against Mustapha trying to make a living at
50 cents a week).

Yes, I am biased against these wall-hangers because I see them as the "decorators" being sold 20-30-40 years ago now being reborn as Civil War guns. AND, I lack information to determine the truth about their safety.
Not so much for the safety of the owner or user, but for the safety of comrades on the field and in formation should I happen not to be wrong that they are pipe bombs disguised as CW guns.

I want to be proven WRONG, and see NO ONE injured. maimed, or killed. I really do. It is NOt about authenticity or historical correctness.

In the interim, I do applaude and thank any and all owners of these "non guns" who DO bother with a decent proof and risk their investment to possibly save the lives, eyes, and well being of the lads next to them on the field.

But nothing that involves "explosives," IMHO can ever be made 100% certain of 100% safety 100% of the time. Just a walking across the street, or driving a car, or taking a plane flight.
But when things happen, suspicions are raised, questions asked, and silence and complacency are the only replies as Business As Usual goes on- "something" is more wrong than right.

Others' mileage will vary...

CHS
Heretic

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-31-2008, 07:20 PM
Hallo!

"Perhaps the ideal situation could be American-made replacement barrels on an otherwise Indian-made gun?"

Possibly.

But it would take a change. All of the current and former barrel makers (including a friend) makes barrels that a replacements for original barrels or reproductions arms custom-built to original specs.
But that, to over-simply, is just a matter of "retooling" the set-up and taper-guide on the lathe to turn a barrel to match Indian stocks.
Breech sections may be a harder, as my friend was still using breech sections from Mike Yeck's late 1970's run of M1861's and M1863's, or copies of them.

But, the last custom repro M1861 barrel I bought, several years ago, with the sights, was $325. IMHO, I do not see many lads adding say $325 to the cost of an Indian gun without ging back to the Italian ones.

CHS

JustinPrince
01-31-2008, 08:15 PM
No offense, but are you certain it's a "slotted breech"? I thought I had much the same situation with my Italian Springfield a few years ago, but it turned out it was just the tip of the ramrod hanging up on the inside of the muzzle. It really did seem as if there was some kind of ridge or indention at the breech.

Well, if the Indian repros are no good, what's the alternative? The Italians have increased their prices to the point where their repros aren't worth the money. There's also little hope of getting much in the way of variety from them beyond what they've been putting on the market for the past several decades.

Perhaps the ideal situation could be American-made replacement barrels on an otherwise Indian-made gun?

I thought that might be the case, but look at the pictures I posted. The ramrod tip is clearly not hanging up on the muzzle. Add to that when the tip of the ramrod was against the breech, it just "didn't feel right." Don't know how to describe it really. It felt slightly uneven or something, it just didn't feel the same as when I've got the ramrod in the 1842. I even tried the ramrod from the '16 in the '42 to see if it was that. Plus as I said, with my long cleaning rod and plastic jag I can feel the slot as well. Add to that as I said it took a vigorous side to side motion in this apparently rectangular slot to get the BP fouling.

When I would look down the bore with my bore light, I always saw what I thought was a square rectangle at the breech. I figured it might just be an accumulation of oil or something, as I know when I used to use bore butter on my Italian 1861 I'd see the same thing. That's obviously not the case.

I'll dismount the musket later tonight and take photos of the breech end. Maybe that will prove revealing.

Curt-Heinrich Schmidt
01-31-2008, 10:53 PM
Hallo!

I agree that it most likely that retro-drilling the touchhole through simply drilled a "trough" a partial drill bit width in diameter across the breech end (whether a cast one piece sleeve or an actual proper threaded breech plug).
It would make sense of the "slot" is in line, horizontal to or with the flash channel and not say vertical.

Ideally, the best examination would be if the barrel could be removed, and the breech plug unthreaded (assuming there is a threaded breech plug) and viewed.

But that takes a strong vice and either a breech wrench or a extremely large pipe or crescent wrench.

And on the other hand, it may not thread back in.

The first generation of Navy Arms mixed model M1863/M1864 Springfields in 1974 had no breech plugs. The tang and breech end were one piece, and sleeved and sweated to the end of the barrel. There was no plug to screw out.

CHS

odette
01-31-2008, 11:48 PM
when I started reenacting I was told to pick up a 61 Springfield , Richmond, or 53 Enfield. I was going by what i thought was right and bought a Richmond for a confederate impression. After developing a great interest in the Civil War and searching for ancestors, I found my great grandfather was issued an 1816 percussion conversion. I have located the musket, it has 1829 on the lockplate an eagle and a name of a contractor in Philadelphia. Musket was issued to him Christmas day 1863, and he returned home with it. He was in the 32nd IA Vol Inf. and was wounded during the Red River campaign. I was told that only those that did garrison duty were issued that type of weapon, but he was in at least 3 notable engagements. My point is the smoothbore .69 cal at least in western theater was a major weapon and was in a greater number of infantries hands then given credit for, all through out the war, not just the early war. I am now shopping around for a 1816 conversion, or an 1842. The musket my great grandfather had is in fair to good condition and is still shootable, but has seen its share of duty and I don't want to damage it, so I am in the market. I have also found letters from a 1st Iowa Volunteer stating that the converted musket they were issued was .69 cal, heavy, assembled from parts, and when fired he didn't know which was worse being on the butt end or being on the barrel end when it went off. everything that I am finding points to 1816/22's as the most popular in the early western theater, with a fair amount of 1842's. Midwar to end of war more and more Enfields and Lorenz rifles along with 1842's that were being replaced in the eastern theater. There also were regiments that refused to give up their old smoothbore 69's, they loved the buck & ball and the reputation of getting up close and personal and firing into their enemy with a shotgun effect. I don't think the 1842 is over represented or any other smoothbore, I think the Enfield has been over done, at least in the Army of Tennessee and the Western Theater.

Phil
02-01-2008, 12:34 AM
But, the last custom repro M1861 barrel I bought, several years ago, with the sights, was $325. IMHO, I do not see many lads adding say $325 to the cost of an Indian gun without ging back to the Italian ones.

CHS

Smoothbore barrels seem to run a bit cheaper, from what I've seen, being about $200+ or so. Add that to a $500 Indian musket, and you're nowhere near the cost of a Pedersoli. You're right about the EOA and AS repros, though. They're generally close enough to their Indian counterparts in cost to justify spending the extra few dollars. However, they are getting more expensive, and yet they still retain quite a few problems. One of the most notable of these is that the Enfield repros require several hundred dollars and/or lots of work to make them acceptably authentic. I'm sure it would be possible to get the Indians to make a repro that comes a lot closer than the Italians.

Craig L Barry
02-01-2008, 10:25 AM
The key thing is not the thickness of the barrel alone, but how it is made, what it is made out of and how it is seamed. For example, If you happen to drill the touchhole on the seam it will not take very much stress to expand that hole into an expansion crack, and so on. Mother nature finds a way.

In your case, the weapon you have appears to have an improperly made bolster and breech area with a better than average potential for problems. In the end it is a matter of "risk", because any gun has the possibility of failure any time it is fired. If it was me, like I said, I would replace the barrel or hang the thing on the wall. I think Curt agrees with that assessment, too. I prefer a strategy of risk avoidance in this particular situation.