Muzzleloading Forum .....


Contact - Can't Login?
 Page 3 of 3 « First<123
Login Name Post: First American Rifles        (Topic#250029)
1601phill 
62 Cal.
Posts: 2816
06-02-11 09:35 PM - Post#1001050    

    In response to Diggerfly

I have posted this before,its form a history of the highland regts, in north america.The42nd footwere issued 1742 long land muskets.The77th ,78th were issued carbines 37 inche barrels(ex horse carbines ).These were later swapped for 1742 long land muskets. The 42nd received 10 rifles for marksmen as did the other7 regts just before july 8 1758 .These 80 rifles came from a batch of 300 rifled carbines fitted with bayonets and steel rods. they were brought to America buy Col.James Prevost of the Royal Americans.These were british most likely very similar to a british dragon carbine or infantry fussil but with a riffled bore ,possibly with .65 cal..

 
Diggerfly 
36 Cal.
Posts: 56
06-03-11 04:55 AM - Post#1001123    

    In response to 1601phill

Interesting that the military was issuing some rifles at the time.

My thoughts for the OP's question of where did the rifles come from? is influenced by who the riflemen were in the Revolution, which of course were the mountain men, trappers and hunters. These men owned their own rifles due to the life style they lived.

Don't you think its reasonable to project back in time that same situation. A war starts, men with guns show up to fight. It just so happens a lot of those guns were rifles made by German, and other, gun smiths who had moved to America.
I would bet there were a lot more rifles owned privately at that time in America then there were in the military armory.

Off topic but interesting.
I also read about the Ferguson rifle the Brits had a few (very few) of during the revolution. Great idea that was way before its time as far as the style of warfare used then goes. Economics always plays a role too.

Ironically Ferguson was killed at the battle of Kings Mountain were it seems the Patriots had rifles (no bayonets) and his men didn't. He was killed in a bayonet charge, his body was said to have 7 bullet wounds in it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferguson_rifle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kings_Mountain


Edited by Diggerfly on 06-03-11 04:57 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
06-03-11 10:31 AM - Post#1001194    

    In response to Diggerfly

During the F&Ipriod a large number of the existing rifles probably were imported as there are several records of this bing done, no doubt that some local rifles were being made enev much earlier but the real rifle culture had yet to take hold in the colonies even with the backwoodsmen, hunters and Mt Men?

 
Coot 
69 Cal.
Posts: 3041
06-03-11 03:04 PM - Post#1001282    

    In response to tg

At his presentation a few weeks ago at Martin's Station, Wallace Gussler stated that he believed that the major impetus behind the development of what we now call an American Longrifle was the need/desire for a more efficient gun for market hunters than the imported (and thus cheaper) guns available at the time. By market hunters, Wallace is looking at the deer skin trade & longhunters. The smaller caliber, more accurate guns ensured a more successful harvest with less consumption of powder & lead while far from a resupply point. Considering that the longhunter era ran from perhaps 1760 to the outbreak of the revolution, this timeframe could be considered the prime development years for evolution of the longrifle as a distinct type.

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
06-03-11 06:57 PM - Post#1001370    

    In response to Coot

I am aware of Wallace and not a real big fan but he has done a lot of research I wonder where he got all his references considering the lack of information on guns from the 1760-70 period and even more on the decades before which would be needed for comparisons to validate any theory envolving any "evolution" I think he operates a great deal on gut feeling theory myself not on all issues but this one makes me wonder what he is basing the idea on, one would have to know what he average calibers were in the 1740-60 period to compare them with the 1760-70 period to support the downsizing for saving lead/powder part of the theory, Colonial guns were made in the 1740-1760 period what is the average bore of the surviving examples? just thinking out loud, I would need a lot of good supporting references of a period nature and a lot of surviving guns from the two periods for comparitive to buy into this theory myself. Just a well known name does not sell me on a theory of any type, any other more learned gun students than myself have any thoughts on this topic?

 
Rich Pierce 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4109
06-04-11 04:30 PM - Post#1001698    

    In response to tg

There are 2 important aspects of the development of the longrifle and both are clouded in lost history.

First is what I'd call the "rise of the rifle". Somehow the rifle became known to American Indians and frontiersmen in specific ares (not all) and demand rose. We don't know how or why this happened, whether the rifle rose as an important tool before there was significant rifle production here, or not. There are no (zero)known records of how native Americans got rifles in the very early period and whether they were imported like almost all trade goods, locally made, or some combination of both.

One theory is as good as another when there's no data except a confluence of events (development of the longrifle and the deerskin trade by longhunters). The deerskin trade was primarily a Southern phenomenon but the rifle was developing in Pennsylvania at the same time as it was developing in the South. There are likely many reasons the longrifle became popular in the 1740's-1770's. It's perfectly reasonable to hypothesize that the deerkin trade caused a demand for rifles where that trade was active.

The second important aspect is "longrifle development" and this is equally obscure because we do not have dated rifles from the 1740's, perhaps one from the 1750's, and one dated rifle from the 1760's. There are not enough examples to give us the data we want. There were accounts of rifles with 4' barrels quite early so the idea that the rifle here slowly grew in length is not well supported. There is a lot of data on calibers during and after the Revolutionary War but not so much before it. Longhunters may have had specific needs or preferences that helped influence the sorts of rifles being made in the South, and Wallace's studies are rightly oriented to the South where published research on the longrifle has been behind that from Pennsylvania.



Edited by Rich Pierce on 06-04-11 04:37 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
06-04-11 06:14 PM - Post#1001740    

    In response to Rich Pierce

I understand where you are comming from Rich, I just see a wave of it is so because Wallace has spoken and of course everything originated in Virginia...

 
Kennyc 
50 Cal.
Posts: 1325
Kennyc
06-09-11 12:11 AM - Post#1003704    

    In response to tg

Wow here we go thought I knew a little now realize I know nothing lol
But what do I know????


 
Rich Pierce 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4109
06-09-11 11:58 AM - Post#1003868    

    In response to Kennyc

It's a good theory, that deer market hunting for hides drove changes in rifles used in the South. Theories get published then folks accept them as facts. For a long time many have believed that very early rifles used here were all large bore, short "jaegers" imported from Europe. This thought was based only on the prevalence of short rifles in Europe in Germanic countries, and that riflesmiths here were mostly Germanic in both Virginia and Pennsylvania. There are zero to next to zero surviving imported rifles from pre-1750 which could provide supporting data. Next we were taught that colonial powder was weak so the long barrel was needed to burn it efficiently. This does not fit well with the reality that much powder was imported before and up through the French and Indian War. Then we were told that our forefathers wanted to preserve lead and so went for higher velocity and smaller bores. These hypotheses are perfectly reasonable but without an iota of period support. There are no accounts, for example, from hunters stating they preferred or wanted smaller caliber rifles with longer barrels to efficiently burn bad powder and save on lead. This is not unexpected- folks just don't write everything down. So many of these ideas are great ideas- but it's good to keep an open mind and hope that new information comes to light.

 
Flintlock 54 
36 Cal.
Posts: 81
06-09-11 02:22 PM - Post#1003908    

    In response to Rich Pierce

Just to add a little more, most of us older reenacters( been doing this over 35 yrs) were trainedto think only Indians prefered and wanted smooth bored guns, instead of rifles, now it's just the opposite, looking at old photos on muzzleblast magazine and schumays books, and encyopidiea of American revolution , show 50 cal and above with a few small bore rifles. I prefer anything 54cal fir rifles, myself, and 20 ga for smoothies

 
Rich Pierce 
70 Cal.
Posts: 4109
06-09-11 05:31 PM - Post#1003970    

    In response to Flintlock 54

You must have been born into re-enacting! That's terrific. I sure wish we had more examples of rifles in Native American hands from actual dug artifacts in the 1740-1800 period. Many of the Native American sites where a lot of smoothbore parts have been found are quite early or in what was French territory. Maybe big villages like Chillicothe in Ohio territory would be a good place to find rifle bits.

 
Birdwatcher 
45 Cal.
Posts: 641
09-17-11 11:39 AM - Post#1045096    

    In response to Rich Pierce

I'm sure it is redundant here for me to quote Peter Alexander, especially second-hand, but here goes....

http://www.http://www.muzzleloadingforum.com/fusionbb/american-longrifle-kentuck...

While no one denies the influence of the Jaeger on the development of the American longrifle, Peter Alexander proposes that the English trade gun had as much influence as the Jaeger. The argument goes that there were not enough white longhunters to account for all the rifles we know were made and most frontier settlers did not have guns of any type. Who then, owned all those early longrifles.

The answer, according to Alexander, is the Indians. He contends that, as the primary harvesters of furs and skins on the North American continent at the time, the Indians had the most need of rifles and the wealth from the fur trade to buy them. This argument has the ring of truth to me.


And another quote, this one from a reference found in "White Savage", the William Johnson bio, this reference quoting one John Lawson in 1701. Referring to early smoothbores in Indian hands....

http://books.google.com/books?id=aU9m9rmTEA4C&pg=PA47&am...

p.34

Those [Indians] who could [afford a musket] went to great lengths to "set a [new musket] streight, sometimes shooting away above 100 Loads of Ammunition, before they bring the Gun to shoot according to their Mind.

About smoothbores to be sure, but indicative of the fact that Indians, like Euro backwoodsmen, placed a premium on accuracy, probably for the very same sort of reasons.

Birdwatcher

Edited by Birdwatcher on 09-17-11 11:41 AM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
09-17-11 03:07 PM - Post#1045151    

    In response to Birdwatcher

I have never held Alexander real high on my source list usually lots of theory and little period reference to go with it much as Rich mentioned earlier, you cannot try and crunch the numbers like that without something to show where the numbers came from.

 
Birdwatcher 
45 Cal.
Posts: 641
09-18-11 09:34 AM - Post#1045395    

    In response to tg

A few obsdervations pertinent to the rifle supply to Indians in the F&I....

I'll refer again to the F&I-era captivity narrative of James Smith with the Mississagua in the Ohio Country.

These folks are living some distance from Euros and yet, as mentioned, a member of their small band owns and uses a rifle. IIRC Smith himself owned a rifle when he left them, having traded it for furs he had trapped.

Sure sounds like such was the norm, or at least not too unusual in that remote country at that early a date.

Further east, there's that famous story of Conrad Weiser losing a rifle as a result of the Oneida chief Shekilammy's dream, and then dreaming a gift of an island in the Susquehanna in return. Which dream (if true) must have occurred significantly before 1748.

In Iroquois territory, it has become a truism, backed by the best available evidence, that virtually ALL the rifles in Upstate New York were in Indian hands at the time of the Rev War. I dont have a link, but apparently about half of the Onieda war claims for property lost after that war were for rifled barreled weapons.

Same Rev War period too, IIRC David Ziesberger reports that by then, the Delawares on the Ohio were restocking and repairing their own rifles.

These Rev War references being 20 years after the F&I of course, but that Native rifle culture did not spring out of a vaccuum.

Again Rev War, but pertaining to the number of gunsmiths actually active in the colonies. Mentioned just now on the Smoothbore forum we have the following link...

http://www.11thpa.org/neumann.html

Out of the more than 300,000 long arms used by the American line troops during the War for Independence, probably in excess of 80,000 were the products of America’s scattered gunsmiths using mixed components.

80,000 longarms by Colonial smiths???

If we didn't know it happened, would we have any inkling from other sources/surviving examples that there were that many gunsmiths operating in the colonies at that time?

Birdwatcher

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
09-18-11 02:26 PM - Post#1045495    

    In response to Birdwatcher

I did not count them but Whisker lists many in his books all did not souley make guns as thye often had other talents as well but probably all put any gun wise talents into the war effort when called upon.it may be a part of the simplistic nature of the war muskets? and I do not think there is much doubt about the NA's having rifles early on but I am not so sure they were domestic made or import, I suspect the latter more than local as local smiths on the frontier could not provide large numbers for the NA trade, like the smooth trade guns and that the rifle preference was not universal with the NA's untill much later probably well into the 19th century as the land controlled by the French untill 1763 would likley have NA populations quite content with the guns that had been provided for a hundered years and the French had little in the way of rifles to offer

Edited by tg on 09-18-11 02:33 PM. Reason for edit: No reason given.

 
La Belleville 
32 Cal.
Posts: 11
02-24-12 10:27 PM - Post#1114447    

    In response to Rich Pierce

  • Quote:
You must have been born into re-enacting! That's terrific. I sure wish we had more examples of rifles in Native American hands from actual dug artifacts in the 1740-1800 period. Many of the Native American sites where a lot of smoothbore parts have been found are quite early or in what was French territory. Maybe big villages like Chillicothe in Ohio territory would be a good place to find rifle bits.



Rich,

Doesn't everyone have 35 years in - me 37.

There was a rifle butt plate cut out for a wooden patch box as well as other rifle parts found at McKee's Town c.1780-1800, Shawnee town near Bellefontaine OH.

There was a rifle trigger guard and a few other rifle parts found at Greentown c.1782-1812, Delaware town near Perrysville OH.

Doc S.



 
Loyalist Dave 
Cannon
Posts: 6236
Loyalist Dave
02-28-12 07:19 AM - Post#1115746    

    In response to La Belleville

  • Quote:
The argument goes that there were not enough white longhunters to account for all the rifles we know were made and most frontier settlers did not have guns of any type.



Gentlemen,

This quote alone makes this person as a source of scholarly information suspect. First, there is no requirement nor claim that the only persons who carried rifles were "longhunters" who existed in their majority from 1760-1770. Folks who hunted with rifles existed prior to and after the longhunter period.

Second, the complete balderdash that "most frontier settlers did not have guns of any type". This myth was in part foisted on America by Dr. Michael Bellesiles, formerly of Emory University, and author of the now debunked book ..., Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture (Alfred A. Knopf, 2000).

Such conclusions come from 20th century mind-set when looking at 18th century records. Folks tend to think that since militia musters record a partial lack of firearms, or that probate records seem to record such, that such was indeed the case. Yet they do not account that there was no actual penalty for the man who arrived at the muster and claimed to not have access to a gun. (Yes there was a law in most colonies that required able bodied men to maintain arms and ammunition for use as part of the militia..., ever notice a lack of penalty for folks who didn't do so?)

Further, a claim of "gun poverty" would remove said man from a militia call out in the future where he could be taken away from his land, his crops, all at his own expense. If he was pressed into service, better to have the government at least pay for arms and ammunition. As for probate records..., the vast majority of folks who died did so without such records being made. To attest to the inaccuracy of such claims, one should note that when actual emergencies arose and were documented..., there is a lack of lamentation regarding the dearth of firearms..., perhaps because there was no lack of them in the hands of the frontier settlers.

Finally, while it is true that much more of the fur harvested in North America in the Colonial Era was done by Indians, the logic of the argument is circular. The Indians harvested the most pelts therefore they had lots of rifles..., AH but to buy the rifle the cost was vastly more pelts than the smoothbore..., so The Indian to get the rifle had to have many many pelts: to get many many pelts the Indian had to have a rifle, hence the circular argument. To get the item they had to have the item...., OR maybe they didn't need nor use the rifle so much, and the answer is in-between? More Indians had rifles than folks these days suspect..., but it was not the majority of the firearms they had?

LD

 
TinStar 
45 Cal.
Posts: 673
02-28-12 10:04 AM - Post#1115828    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

I am in no way as learned in the history as are many here; but I have a question. And the possibility is; is that it may not be able to be answered with 100% accuracy due to the lack of written record or artifact. Could many or some of the early rifles been trade guns that were rifled and then traded at higher value? For the amount of trade guns produced the amount that survived is not much. For instance could the French have traded some rifled versions of what we refer to as types C, D, and the FDC? Considering lack of artifacts etc. the door may be open. Or am I just blowing smoke out of my aged powder horn?

TinStar
Soli Deo Gloria!

 
Carteret Kid 
45 Cal.
Posts: 561
02-28-12 09:46 PM - Post#1116106    

    In response to Loyalist Dave

Further, a claim of "gun poverty" would remove said man from a militia call out in the future where he could be taken away from his land, his crops, all at his own expense. If he was pressed into service, better to have the government at least pay for arms and ammunition. As for probate records..., the vast majority of folks who died did so without such records being made. To attest to the inaccuracy of such claims, one should note that when actual emergencies arose and were documented..., there is a lack of lamentation regarding the dearth of firearms..., perhaps because there was no lack of them in the hands of the frontier settlers.

So if you show up for muster with old Bessie you get bragging rights, plus dangerous expensive duty.
Or you show up empty handed, you get to go home or at least get a government issue gun for free. Which is a wiser course of action?

 
tg 
Cannon
Posts: 10776
03-03-12 02:27 PM - Post#1117676    

    In response to TinStar

I suspect that few trade guns of the time had adequate barrel walls to allow rifleing on the lower half

 
Carteret Kid 
45 Cal.
Posts: 561
03-03-12 09:26 PM - Post#1117818    

    In response to Birdwatcher

80,000 longarms by Colonial smiths???
Over eight years by 2000 smiths works out to five per smith per year. Plausible.

 
Rifleman1776 
Cannon
Posts: 13721
Rifleman1776
03-15-12 09:19 AM - Post#1122407    

    In response to Rich Pierce

Rich, can't and won't debate point by point.
Jaegers began a long time ago.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_military_rifles#Early_J....
Impossible to prove/disprove no surviving examples. Folks did cross the ocean and brought back items. Early American gunsmiths had to be European trained. They didn't sprout from the ground here.
The long rifle, I'm sure, did develop for the reasons you stated.
They would have been used by market hunters. Restaurants and stores did not have refrigeration and beef production was a very limited cottage industry. The Rifleman in the Rev. War would have been a hunter and more often a frontiersman who had a small farm away from civilization and wanted to preserve his freedom.

 
1601phill 
62 Cal.
Posts: 2816
04-12-12 09:50 PM - Post#1133605    

    In response to TGeorge

I would not expect much truth in an after action report from a british officer who was soundly flogged and routed by a smaller and technicaly weaker force .It has always been sop to give the weaker force that beat the hell out of you some supper technical advantage that was not able to be overcome in the field.Its as british as high tea.

 
 Page 3 of 3 « First<123
Icon Legend Permissions Topic Options
Print Topic


19203 Views
Welcome Guest...
Enter your Login Name and password to login. If you do not have a username you can register one here

Login Name

Password

Remember me. Help



Login Not Working?...

Registered Members
Total: 31794
Todays
Birthdays
2-25MDK_WV
Current Quote
"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."
~ Sir Winston Churchill

PRIVACY POLICY
FusionBB™ Version 3.0 FINAL | ©2003-2010 InteractivePHP, Inc.
Execution time: 0.345 seconds.   Total Queries: 87  
All times are (GMT-6.0). Current time is 01:43 PM
Top