1792 Contract Rifle in Original Flintlock

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4575wcf

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Ambrose put forth the idea that Lewis may have suffered from Manic Depression. Thomas Jefferson described a melancholy disorder in the family. Lewis's suicide shortly after the return to civilization apparently did not surprise the man much who knew him best--William Clark. As a manic, if indeed he was, he could have shined at organization, but really come unhinged if not kept busy. And like you said, he does come through as lacking a governor.
 

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The muskets on the expedition came along with the military volunteers who joined the expedition. Here we come round to the 15 rifle slings. Some scholars would say they were for the muskets, but those soldiers should have had slings already. You will note that Mr. Stith has provided a 1795 musket swivel ahead of the trigger guard on his latest L & C rendition and kept the ,49 cal full length barrel. I would expect the Academy rifle, if still in the original stock, to have this same swivel in a escutcheon in the stock further back, shortened and freshed out.
 

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The muskets on the expedition came along with the military volunteers who joined the expedition. Here we come round to the 15 rifle slings. Some scholars would say they were for the muskets, but those soldiers should have had slings already. You will note that Mr. Stith has provided a 1795 musket swivel ahead of the trigger guard on his latest L & C rendition and kept the ,49 cal full length barrel. I would expect the Academy rifle, if still in the original stock, to have this same swivel in a escutcheon in the stock further back, shortened and freshed out.
Just went back to the photo, enlarged it many times and sure enough the rear sling swivel is on the underside of the stock, just a bit ahead of the patch box.

That was a much more common way of mounting a sling swivel, at least on German Rifles, than adding a boss for a sling swivel on the front part of a trigger guard.

Gus
 

4575wcf

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I would only add my experience bucking the brush hunting Oregon's coast with muzzleloaders. And not over far from Clatsop. The Charleyville slung up by the front swivel is like having a set of snow skis attached to you. It catches on everything. Forget screwing around with a pack and a canoe. My Hawken, roughly the size and length of an 1803 has an improvised sling laced on behind the scroll guard. With the gun slung on your back your hands are free to tend to things. I know the picture is cruddy, but does the swivel look at all like the one on Mr. Stith's recreation? Incidentally a muzzle loader will not go off after any time spent in a temporate rain forest without a blanket cover.
 

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I would only add my experience bucking the brush hunting Oregon's coast with muzzleloaders. And not over far from Clatsop. The Charleyville slung up by the front swivel is like having a set of snow skis attached to you. It catches on everything. Forget screwing around with a pack and a canoe. My Hawken, roughly the size and length of an 1803 has an improvised sling laced on behind the scroll guard. With the gun slung on your back your hands are free to tend to things. I know the picture is cruddy, but does the swivel look at all like the one on Mr. Stith's recreation? Incidentally a muzzle loader will not go off after any time spent in a temporate rain forest without a blanket cover.
No, it does not look like the on Mr. Stith has on his website.

The rear sling swivel on the Academy site is not very clear, but as far as I can tell, it looks remarkably similar to the rear sling swivel on the English/German Jaeger rifle in the link below:


Folded:

1627179638252.png

Unfolded:
1627179672053.png

Gus
 

4575wcf

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Thank you sir. Strike 1. I would expect to see a metal plate inlet into the bottom of the stock, the 1795 swivel inserted through, and pinned in place through the wood. There is no reason to take any sling other than the 1795 musket one in inventory. My 1763 Charleyville repro sling has plenty of adjustment. There is no other Harper's Ferry gun at this time existing with any swivel other than the 1795 Musket that I know of.
 

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Thank you sir. Strike 1. I would expect to see a metal plate inlet into the bottom of the stock, the 1795 swivel inserted through, and pinned in place through the wood. There is no reason to take any sling other than the 1795 musket one in inventory. My 1763 Charleyville repro sling has plenty of adjustment. There is no other Harper's Ferry gun at this time existing with any swivel other than the 1795 Musket that I know of.
Well, even enlarged as much as I can, the Academy Pic is not nearly clear enough to see that.

Gus
 

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I have requested a color brochure be sent to the house, perhaps I can get us a more decent picture. If it was easy anybody could do it.
 

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We have a military rifle prepared for a military expedition by a pretty new military arsenal. I would not expect to see much deviation from arsenal parts. The more screws used in the swivel the newer the modification is likely to be. But you know that.
 

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plmeek
Can you do your magic computer overlay on the same gun using The Rifle Shoppe's 1795 Ketland Rifle Pistol Contract Lock #522? I would not ask, but my computer skills do not allow me to attempt any such thing myself. Their website gives a very good picture, not too far from actual size. 5 3/8 inch long. Incidentally I attended college in Salem OR with none other than Joe Meek the VII. Directly descended and could give you the father to son spiel all the way back. Had a little boy with his wife. Joey. The guy even looked like pictures of the original Joe Meek.
 
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We have a military rifle prepared for a military expedition by a pretty new military arsenal. I would not expect to see much deviation from arsenal parts. The more screws used in the swivel the newer the modification is likely to be. But you know that.
I can see that to a point, sure. I wish I could tell from the pic that it looks like a rear sling swivel from a M1795 is used and then they came up with a way to pin it through a headed wood screw (with a hole through the head for the pin) into the wood stock, but the picture is way too hazy to say that for certain.

Now you have me wondering on something I don't know about. Were all M1792 and M1794 rifles (except the M1794 Short rifles) received from the makers with sling swivels on them? If so, how was the rear sling swivel put on them? Were they made to accept a musket sling?

Since the trigger guards on the early HF rifles were all brass or bronze and they "sort of" followed a German Jaeger Rifle influence, I would expect them to make the Rear Sling Swivel assembly also somewhat like a Jaeger. Matter of fact and come to think of it, the M1803's and even the much later M 1841's were nicknamed "Jaegers" in documentation of the day, now that I come to think of it.

Gus
 
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I see no real reason why the armorers would have modified the standard Charleyville/1795 musket swivel attachment much. They did not need to. On the 1795, the stem of the swivel is inserted through the front of the trigger guard and then pinned through the stock just below the stock mortise. The only change required would be a shaped inlet imetal plate to extend through instead of the guard, the whole unit held in by the pin. No unnecessary screws. Make the plate, inlet it in, make a suitable mortise, grab a 1795 swivel, slide it in, drill for the pin. As for the replacement side plate, if necessary, I would expect brass castings without any holes to be the starting point, drilled as needed for each gun.
 

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I see no real reason why the armorers would have modified the standard Charleyville/1795 musket swivel attachment much. They did not need to. On the 1795, the stem of the swivel is inserted through the front of the trigger guard and then pinned through the stock just below the stock mortise. The only change required would be a shaped inlet imetal plate to extend through instead of the guard, the whole unit held in by the pin. No unnecessary screws. Make the plate, inlet it in, make a suitable mortise, grab a 1795 swivel, slide it in, drill for the pin. As for the replacement side plate, if necessary, I would expect brass castings without any holes to be the starting point, drilled as needed for each gun.
One main reason to put the rear sling swivel on the underside of the stock, back behind the trigger guard, was to allow more length of the sling (especially on a short firearm), so it had more room for adjustment over clothing and especially heavy clothing.

Gus
 

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That bears exactly with my experience. The expedition came into some incredible big game hunting as they advanced up the Missouri river. I don't think they were using any horses at this point, so they must have been hunting on foot along the river. If you have been in on any big game kills, then you know what a PITA the rifle is once the game is down. Canoeing, portaging, dressing and bringing game into camp on foot--they were using slings. On another note, there is no record (that I know of) of Lewis having slings fitted to the additional rifles purchased in Philly, but he must have. Mr. Stith's rifle would be a near perfect example.
 

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That bears exactly with my experience. The expedition came into some incredible big game hunting as they advanced up the Missouri river. I don't think they were using any horses at this point, so they must have been hunting on foot along the river. If you have been in on any big game kills, then you know what a PITA the rifle is once the game is down. Canoeing, portaging, dressing and bringing game into camp on foot--they were using slings. On another note, there is no record (that I know of) of Lewis having slings fitted to the additional rifles purchased in Philly, but he must have. Mr. Stith's rifle would be a near perfect example.
Yep, I figured out back in the early 1980's that I needed to sling my modern/unmentionable smoothbore when going deer hunting and dragging the animal out. Fortunately when Uncle Mike's first began making their sling swivels, I figured a way to put them on my shotgun, as there was no kit for my gun. Caused quite a stir in the Hunt Club. Next my Dad wanted one mounted on his, then my brother, then Dad's best friend, then his son, then on and on and on. LOL!!

In 1975, my first flintlock was a Pedersoli Brown Bess Carbine. With the extremely limited historical resources we had in those days, I made a sling for it by copying an original shown in I think "Sketch Book '76." It looked like this:
1627218647154.png

Even at full length with the slider all the way close to the rear tie for maximum length, I could BARELY get it on my shoulder, because there was so little distance between between the rear sling swivel on the front of the trigger bow and the front sling swivel as far up as it was historically correct.

By the time I came back to the 18th century in the 1990's, I was determined to find a better period sling design. I found this one and sort of redesigned it as much as I could for maximum length. This one was long enough to sling the full length musket across my back with the butt facing upwards. I found some period engravings that was the way some Bess's were slung when climbing ladders and steep hills.

1627218954096.png


Gus
 

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Along these same lines, I will contend that the slings were removed when the expedition began using horses further along into the Rockies. As much of an attribute as a sling is to a man hunting on foot, it is just as big a detriment to a man hunting on horseback. Here in the west we have many original guns heavily worn in the fore end from being carried countless miles across the saddle pommel. The swivels themselves would have been of little inconvenience though, and the sling could be stowed away and put back on. That brings to mind another clue to look for on the rifle. Signs of having been carried horseback this way.
 

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Part of the reason I asked if M 1792/94 rifles came with sling swivels on them is this pic of repro's and the one in the center has a sling on it. I realize it is only a repro, but I wondered if they had any historic documentation for the sling swivels and slings? As I understood it and I could be completely mistaken, the rifles came without sling swivels?

1627241205328.png



They may have slung their rifles across their backs when riding, if the slings were long enough, but they also surely could have removed the slings as you mentioned.

Gus
 

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Well that conversation got me to pondering on Lewis again. The thinking kind of went that they were going to follow a navigable creek to the crest of the continental divide, portage a short distance and hop a navigable creek headed for the Pacific. I do not think extended horse packing trips were anticipated. Things turned out QUITE differently and Lewis amazes us again by coverting the oar blades and packing boxes into sawbuck pack saddles, and lacking nails, he shrinks the works with rawhide. Clever solution. He quips a statement that he is not to be included in the group that must learn packing on the spot, and you got to believe him. You got to assume the Corp was stuck riding the Shoshone horses they got in trade bareback though and that must have been rough. Nobody normal can sit a packsaddle for long. The universal answer is that NONE of the 1792 or 1807 Contract rifles or the 1800 or 1803 rifles were fitted for slings. Except maybe the one at the Academy.: ).
 

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Well that conversation got me to pondering on Lewis again. The thinking kind of went that they were going to follow a navigable creek to the crest of the continental divide, portage a short distance and hop a navigable creek headed for the Pacific. I do not think extended horse packing trips were anticipated. Things turned out QUITE differently and Lewis amazes us again by coverting the oar blades and packing boxes into sawbuck pack saddles, and lacking nails, he shrinks the works with rawhide. Clever solution. He quips a statement that he is not to be included in the group that must learn packing on the spot, and you got to believe him. You got to assume the Corp was stuck riding the Shoshone horses they got in trade bareback though and that must have been rough. Nobody normal can sit a packsaddle for long. The universal answer is that NONE of the 1792 or 1807 Contract rifles or the 1800 or 1803 rifles were fitted for slings. Except maybe the one at the Academy.: ).
OK, thanks!

Careful now as I'm going WAY into only mere speculation.

When Lewis had HF fit sling swivels to the rifles, and considering the ONLY slings Schuylkill Arsenal may/should have had were musket slings, then any sling swivels HF made should/would have been for Musket Width Slings?

The problem is I don't know how wide M 1795 slings were?

I've made many slings for REPRO Brown Bess's and Charlevilles, but I don't know how accurately the repro sling swivel widths are compared to originals. Slings for the Repro's go 1 1/8" to 1 3/8" when you make them for the swivels on the repro muskets.

However, if the sling swivels on the Academy rifle are only wide enough to handle say a 3/4" sling, then one might surmise they weren't put on by HF?

Gus
 

4575wcf

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Yes I think that would indicate a sporting sling not a military one. A narrow sling and a heavy rifle cuts into person quick. Lewis would have known that. The 1795 sling was designed for an around 10 lb. gun and would be about the width you are describing I would think.
 
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