1792 Contract Rifle in Original Flintlock

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There is no evidence so far that sling swivels were put on 1792 rifles by thire original makers, who were making the rifles in basic hunting rifle style of that era. Stith's 1792 L&C rifle is a phantasy rifle based on guesses as there is no solid evidence to support the style. However I suspect the 1792 rifles, if indeed these rifles went on the expedition were slung somehow, even if the slings were field expedients and not installed at HF.

As for horse back riding, I suspect rifles and muskets were slung somehow. They may not have been riding bareback. Indians made saddles, nothing as elaborate as a white man saddle, but functional. There wouldn't have bee a saddle horn to wear on a rifle carried across a saddle.

Interchangeability of lock parts may not be as big an issue as it seems. For example, most 1792s were predominately made by Dickert. He likely would have been using looks from one source, probably his own shop. This would make for locks nearly identical making for parts interchangeability or easy modification to fit. Given Dickerts dominate role in 1792 rifles the rifles found at HF might well have included enough Dickerts to arm the Corps. If not Dickerts then rifles made by others.
 
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4575wcf

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Dickert by all accounts put out first rate work. In the times the soldiers may have had preferences for one maker over another, much like the WWII soldiers who were lucky enough to get a Winchester Garand. If the locks were sound and first rate, why not?
 

4575wcf

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The fly on the ointment is that the 15 rifles I thought were relocked and that was documented. Relocking does not indicate a sound trusted product.
 
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4575wcf

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Got out my Japanese 1763 Charleyville. By all accounts this octagonal pan french flinter was the one copied to create the 1795 US Musket. I ordered the sling at a later date, I am not sure who from. It measures exactly 1 3/16 wide and is perfect fit in the swivels, but who knows what gun the Japanese were supplied with to make copies?
 

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4575wcf

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BTW The Navy Arms Japanese 1763 Charleyville most closely resembles the lightened model of 1766, with the ramrod tip of the 1763 as near as I can tell. The 1766 was the one basically copied as the US M1795.
 

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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.
Yes, a wider sling is better to carry, but the point is that Schuylkill Arsenal, where Lewis got the slings, would only have had musket width slings on hand. No one ever mentions documentation getting the slings from Schuykill and then cutting them down to fit smaller sling swivels. So Sling Swivels on the Academy rifle that are too narrow would at least tell you they were not made at HF, the only documented place the sling swivels were made.

Gus
 

4575wcf

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Good point. I might be able to get the nice lady to throw a tape on the sling swivels, that would be fairly painless and might get us a bit more information.
 

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I have shifted gears and attempted to come after this gun from another angle ie. the bayonet. About the only D guard bayonets you are going to find online are from the British Baker and Brunswick rifles, both of which had a very minor presence in the Confederacy, usually modified to some extent. The guard is not correctly shaped to be recognized as either one of them, unless the bayonet has been rehilted. At this point we cannot even be sure this is the correct bayonet for the rifle. It was worth a shot.
 

4575wcf

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Oooh. Slow down and read 4575wcf. You said the slings were purchased at Schuykill? I had missed that and assumed they were provided at Harper's Ferry. So did Lewis purchase them in time to take them to Harper's Ferry, or did he pick them up on the way out of town? Was there any other weapon with swivels at the Schuykill Armory that could have been utilized? I'm thinking there were contract muskets made also.
 

4575wcf

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Answered my own question. There were contract muskets likely there, by others and Whitney, but the rear swivel on them offered nothing very different from the one on the US 1795. I would assume they took a common musket sling.
 

4575wcf

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excess650
I have located one source of your information provided in "from elsewhere" about the collaboration of Jacob Doll, Jacob Leather, Henry Pickel, and Martin Fry on the 100 rifle contract of 1804. You sir seem to be on to something here. If I am reading your post correctly, you were examining a photo of a contract rifle from York County with a 36" or so barrel and fitted with swivels. There is something different about the front shape of the patchbox in the Academy Rifle than the rest of the pictured contract rifles I have seen so far, obvious even in the grainy picture. If the rifle carries the signature of Martin Fry maker, rather than the MF of the Martin Fry barrel maker, then the jig is probably up. The rifle is one of that 100 rifle order of 1804, too late for L & C and possibly original except for the bayonet modification. Sorry to have skipped over your post, but I am playing catch up here as fast as I can. How closely do the rifles resemble one another outside of the bayonet mod? It seems I may have missed my rifle by two years : ). Perhaps it is something of a find in its own right.
 

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Your questions in the next paragraph are harder to answer. Moller tries to track the disposition of the 1792 Contract rifles as best he can from documents in the Federal archives, but there are hundreds of rifles he was unable to account for. Pretty much all of the First Issue rifles that were made in 1792 went to Fort Pitt with another 100 rifles going to Staunton, Virginia. He was unable to account for 469 rifles from this Issue, but seems to think they were part of contracts let by Knox that did not pass through General Hand's control. They did not end up in Schuylkill, though.
I wanted to find out who received the rifles at Fort Pitt. Much to my surprise when I looked up Fort Pitt in 1792, I found it was already in ruins, so then I figured out you meant the Town of Fort Pitt later to be called Pittsburgh.

I didn't rely solely on Wikipedia, but since it sums up the information I found, I will include it next.

" From June 1792 to November 1792, the Legion [of the United States] remained in cantonment at Fort LaFayette in Pittsburgh. It was composed of four sub-legions; each was originally authorized a brigadier general (BG), but was commanded by a lieutenant colonel (LTC).[6] These sub-legions were self-contained units with two battalions of infantry, a rifle battalion (light infantry skirmishers armed with Pennsylvania long rifles to screen the infantry), and a troop of Light Dragoons.[7][8] The Army had previously raised four companies of artillery under battalion commander Major Henry Burbeck; each company was attached to one sub-legion.[9] Each sub-legion was also authorized medical personnel.[6]:139 With their combined arms organization, the sub-legions can be seen as forerunners of today's brigade combat teams.[10]"

General "Mad Anthony" Wayne took command very late in 1792 and his troops were very active, though no huge battles won until the Battle of Fallen Timbers that won/ended the war in August 1794.

It seems the Rifle Bn was turned into the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment when the Legion was re-organized into the Regular Army. That's important as they would have been re-armed with Muskets instead of the rifles they had been using.

Perhaps this is where the 1792 Rifles that were stored at Harpers Ferry came from? The Rifles from this unit would have been turned back into the Government when they got their muskets.

Of the Second Issue delivered in 1794, he has 292 rifles going to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 100 going to the Chickasaw Indians via Richmond, Virginia, and 541 going to Fort Cumberland, MD. The remaining 1,067 were sent to the Schuylkill Arsenal in 1795. An inventory conducted in January 1797 showed 1,060 rifles at Schuylkill. Small quantities were issued after that date and an inventory April 1801 show 923 rifles remained. Again, small amounts were issued over the next year and an inventory in March 1802 showed 911 rifles at the arsenal. Later that month, 500 rifles were sent to Mississippi Territory via New Orleans "to be sold to the Militia of said Territory." Some of these rifles were likely still in New Orleans and issued to Andrew Jackson's Kentuckians for the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.
Phil when you wrote "Of the Second Issue delivered in 1794," do you mean what we today call the M1794 rifle?

Gus
 

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Phil when you wrote "Of the Second Issue delivered in 1794," do you mean what we today call the M1794 rifle?
I was referencing George Moller in his Vol. 2 of American Military Shoulder Arms. Moller considers the Contract rifles made in 1794 as an extension of the contracts from 1792. The procurement of both were handled or administrated by General Hand in Lancaster, PA, and as far as we can tell from surviving records, were made to the same general specifications.

The only other Contract Rifle that Moller recognizes in this period is the 1807 Contract Rifle.

There may be other collectors that use other terms for various reasons. I see the term "rifle contract of 1804" mentioned in this thread, but have no idea what that is referring to. I'm also unsure what the M1794 rifle is you mention.

Moller tried to organize all the shoulder arms that the committee's of safety, the Continental Congress, and the U.S. government as well as individual states acquired and used. He assigned names based on terminology either developed latter or used at the time, and provided detail descriptions and specifications so other collectors could identify these arms.

Moller states in the Introduction that,
It should be understood that the use of the term "model" in designating a particular arm presupposes not only the existence of regulation models of arms but it also indicates that the particular arm was fabricated in conformity to an officially approved or adopted pattern. It is of interest to note that none of the regulation flintlock shoulder arms produced at the national armories were officially assigned a year-model designation during the period of their manufacture. [emphasis added] The first attempt on the part of the Ordnance Department to do so was in the 1840s, at the beginning of the percussion period.

Arms that are not considered examples of regulation models of American military shoulder arms are not designated with the word "model." They are usually designated with only the year in which their purchase or contract was authroized. Examples of these arms are the 1792 and 1807 U.S. contract rifles and the 1794, 1798, 1808, and 1812 U.S. contract muskets.
It might be that not all collectors and/or writers share Moller's philosophy concerning the names used when referring to the same arm. Of course, that can cause a lot of confusion.

It is also possible that some people are confusing arms such as the 1792 and 1807 Contract Rifles purchased by the military branch of the U.S. government with rifles that were purchased by the Office of Indian Trade and rifles that were purchased by several different States for their militias. Moller tries to present documentation and other information to help collectors sort through these differences.
 

4575wcf

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from eslewhere:

"Using Gunsmiths of York County by James Whisker as a reference, I'd consider the rifle pictured by Jacob Doll on page 145. It is a good example of a govt. contract rifle of which I consider to be called a "short rifle" coinciding with Lewis & Clark time period a a little later as well. According to info provided, Doll, Jacob Leather, Henry Pickel and Martin Fry received a contract for 100 rifles. The pictured example scales out to be at close to 36"s, has sling attachments,...."

I thought I had that York County book here, but apparently not. Look up Martin Fry in that book, and the contract rifle mentioned above and see if that does anything for you
This makes a lot of sense. The only Matin Fry guns examined are fancy. According to what I read early Kentuckies are hard to find without carving. The rifle looks plain, maker is right, swivels present. One of the hundred? I will check the library.in town see if I can get the York book.
 

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I was referencing George Moller in his Vol. 2 of American Military Shoulder Arms. Moller considers the Contract rifles made in 1794 as an extension of the contracts from 1792. The procurement of both were handled or administrated by General Hand in Lancaster, PA, and as far as we can tell from surviving records, were made to the same general specifications.
Thank you very much. Yes, I was going off the incorrect terminology I've read far too often and had come to believe was the common method of describing the differences of the first and second issues of the same military rifle. That is really helpful.

AARRRRGGGHHHH, well too late to edit/correct many earlier posts in this thread, but will endeavor to get it right from now on.

BTW, that was a REAL Gem about half the initial 1792's having been sent to Fort Pitt!! That is EXACTLY the kind of information I'm looking for, I.E. 1792 rifles issued to U.S. Military forces and not State Militia's.

The reason for that is because when either Springfield or Harpers Ferry issued military arms to State Militia's, that was almost always the last time the Armories ever saw them, as those weapons became property of the individual states. The individual states took over responsibility to maintain and repair them as needed and kept them in inventory. Most of the records I've seen don't ever show them returning old Arms to the National Armories when they got new Arms from the Armories.

However, U.S. Forces were required to turn in their old weapons when they got new or replacement weapons. Also, Arms that were severely damaged were also returned for use of cannibalizing parts that could still be used. The parts that could not be re-used made from Iron/Steel were used for other things and the broken Brass parts melted down to make new parts.

This practice had actually begun during the last few years of the AWI. Broken French Muskets and any spare parts were stored in government storage during the latter years of the AWI and of course after the war was over. Many were stored at Springfield, MA, though of course not in the Armory built later. When Springfield Armory got going, they didn't make any completely new muskets for the first two years. The took the stored and broken French Muskets of which they had the largest quantity, along with any spare parts on hand, to make the M 1795 Muskets. In the first two years, Springfield just made new parts needed to complete them into serviceable muskets. Kent W. Johns writes about this practice in Springfield Armory Infantry Muskets 1795 - 1844.

Now since the government had been doing this for years with Muskets, I'm assuming they did the same thing with severely worn/damaged M 1792 rifles returned from U.S. forces, though I admit I can't document that. To me, this theory based on the actual practices at the time, can account for any M 1792's stored in HF when Lewis came to get his rifles. Actually, I don't know any other reason M1792 rifles would have been stored there and certainly not serviceable rifles.

Gus
 

4575wcf

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Okay, once again home from work and back on the forum. I heard from the nice lady, the color brochure is on the way, expect it this week, no charge. Stopped at the library here in town, no books by Whisker in the county system, they will search and see what they can dig up, I left my number with them. I believe the 1804 in this rifle contract represents the year the contract was placed, these hundred pieces, should they be tracked down, I assume would be included in the 1792 production because they predate the 1807 beginning of the second contract. Seems we may need to alter our original statement--no 1800, 1803 rifles 1792 or 1807 Contract Rifles were ever shorter and fitted for swivels, except those hundred contracted out in 1804 to Martin Fry, Jacob Doll, Jacob Leather, and Henry Pickel, which were?
 
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The copies of Man at Arms with Tait's articles I bought on ebay arrived today. I'll try to report on them tomorrow. His bibliography runs a colum and a quarter -- two colums to the page -- and in what I take to be four point type (72 points per inch.) It looks to be a very scholarly work.
 

4575wcf

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I am beginning to find a few links to these four makers Doll, Leather, Fry and Pickel involved in the contract gun business with the government, concerning bayoneted early Kentuckies, Jacob Doll especially. Mostly older undocumented references, but with this much elephant poop lying around I am beginning to suspect their may be an elephant somewhere. Doll made a flintlock rifle with muzzle turned for socket bayonet, but not marked in the contract rifle style. If anybody did make a shortened contract rifle pre or post L & C with swivels, it would have been these guys. Martin Fry's father was orphaned early and apprenticed to Leather, Martin Fry III does not show up till age 30, but seems an accomplished gunsmith by then, so probably followed his deceased father into the trade with these same people. Still researching and on the hunt.
 

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Thanks Dave,

Good Heavens, I missed that because I really didn't look at that section until you mentioned it.

Not sure when that Bess was donated, but Bailey had books out in the 70's with much more correct info than that.

Gus
Someone probably already mentioned this but the brochure seems to be from the early 70's.
 

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The copies of Man at Arms with Tait's articles I bought on ebay arrived today. I'll try to report on them tomorrow. His bibliography runs a colum and a quarter -- two colums to the page -- and in what I take to be four point type (72 points per inch.) It looks to be a very scholarly work.
I'm really looking forward to it. :thumb:

Gus
 
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