Discussion in 'Smoothbore' started by Shot deer, Feb 2, 2019.
Some things to consider for a reinactors AWI musket. Almost anything can be used that's F&I for reenacting the AWI; Tulle's, Jaegers, Fowlers, English Trade Muskets, King Pattern Muskets, and early Charlevilles.
The obvious disqualifies are later period Springfields, 1777 Charlevilles (which I think it is very picky), and later model Brown Bess's such as India patterns and any later period NW trade rifles.
Its a shame that reenactment groups don't allow the 1777; there are so many copies of them by Pedersoli. Pedersoli has at least 3 or 4 versions. Not sure why, I guess for Napoleonic period reenactment in Europe.
If you're in a militia unit, almost any type of fowler or long rifle will do.
With that said in regards to Brown Bess's long land or short lands are fine, Pedersoli's I think are more suited for shooting and hunting, and most reinactors shoulder the Pedersoli anyway.
Charlevilles there are two available types the heavy 1763 and the light 1766. Either of these are fine. The most advanced charleville sent to the colonies was the 1773/74 pattern which only the Rifle Shoppe can produce and you wouldn't want to reinact with that gem.
Dutch muskets, I've seen a Dutch repro.
Personalized muskets: basically building a musket from parts that is unmarked, I don't see how any reinactor unit could disqualify this as many of the American made muskets were very mysterious and plain, as long as the parts don't say Lyman or CVA I'd think you're ok.
What was more common among the militia, brown besses or charlevilles?
The most common would have been a long land type of musket, which would have been cut down the older it was.
There were many variants.
The British had a policy of sending old muskets and parts to stores in the colonies. So it was not at all uncommon to see very old muskets being used by the colonial militias.
Many of these would have been the 1728, 1730, 1740 Long Land, Contract Muskets by Wilson.
Other types of muskets would have been French Muskets caputured in the F&I War at Frontenac, Montreal, Quebec and Louisbourg. Those victories yield almost 10,000 or more 1724, 1746 and 1754 French Charleville Muskets.
A NJ reenactment group was armed with all 1754 Charleville Muskets for that one reason. "NJ Blues Regiment".
Not uncommon at all to also see what were called Marine or Militia Muskets that were sold as surplus to from old Sea Service muskets.
Thanks, that clears things up for me.
If you mean the Arms of the American Patriot Militia, it all depended on what time period in the war.
At the very beginning of the war, the Patriot Militia would have used whatever they had. That means different types of Firelocks depending on their location. Besides the excellent list FlinterNick mentioned of out of date British or French Arms and Commercial Muskets, there also were those who showed up with Civilian Smoothbores and some "composite" muskets made from a variety of parts.
As the War went on, some places ordered/purchased Brown Bess type muskets from civilian contractors as well.
However, as the French secretly supplied the American Militia as early as 1775 and then openly after the French Alliance of 1778, it would have been ever more common to see the Patriot Militia use French Muskets as time went on, not only because they became so available but also to have common ammunition. Supplying different calibers of ammo was a real problem in the early years of the war, until they sort of standardized with French Muskets (of different) time periods, but most were in .69 cal.
The British brought/sent over a wide variety of Brown Besses for the use by the Tory Militia. Some P 1730's and P 1742's early in the war, but also P 1756 Muskets and more modern arms as the war progressed.
Gus mentions a very important point about the French supplying arms as early as 1775; the earlier shipments of arms to the colonies via secret orders from France were shipments that comprised of older outdated 1754 French Muskets and refurbished 1763 and 66 muskets. So you can't really go wrong with a Charleville 1763 or 66.
The later 1777 and 78 shipments contained the most updated 1766, 1770-1774 pattern Charlevilles which very closely resembled the 1795 and the 1816 Springfield musket a generation later.
As Gus also pointed out the most common Brown Bess's in the AWI were the older models and the more advanced 1756 pattern, so the problem with a Pedersoli Brown Bess is that its not really a particularly British Ordinance Pattern that is commonly found in AWI reenactment. Many AWI folks have them defarbed to match the 1769 Shortland musket, which is still very different from the Pedersoli Bess.
the Shortland musket wasn't really introduced to the British units until around 1779. Most of the short land muskets were the earlier type with the convex side plate and 1756 lock which was marked Tower.
A couple/few years ago on this forum, we had a great discussion of the Arms used by both the British and American forces at the Battle of Breed's aka Bunker Hill. I knew the British Marines were armed with "Marine and Militia SLP Pattern" (Short Land Pattern) Muskets for that battle, but some forum members also had information that at least the Flank Companies of one or two of the British Regiments were also armed with that model. I traced the rearming of the British Regular Regiments from Bailey's works after the FIW and by the time of the battle, most had been armed or rearmed with P1756 Muskets, for the most part.
However, the Arms of the American Patriot Militia were almost impossible to fully identify, other than in generalities they brought with them what they had. Perhaps to probably the most "modern" Muskets they had were Wilson or other Civilian Contractor made muskets "generally" made similar to the SLP and may have been with either wood or Steel Rammers. There were also P 1742 Muskets w/Wood Rammers (and some Dutch copies of that pattern) left over from the FIW. Civilian Smoothbores that had been acceptable for the Colonies' Militia's would also have been found. But to me at least, perhaps the most intriguing is how many were armed with French Muskets and especially those captured at Fort Louisbourg in 1758.
Fortress Louisbourg had been captured by British Americans in 1745 and emptied of Arms. Much to their frustration, Louisbourg was given back to the French in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. The French re-stocked the Fortress in a huge way after they got it back. When British American Forces took it again in 1758, they must have been astounded to find 15,000 French Arms (according to Bailey) as that was as many or more Muskets than the British had supplied up to that point in the war. The extremely frustrating thing is we have no clear record of what British Americans did with those captured Arms, but it seems they were divided up amoung the New England Colonies.
So it is not only quite possible, but probable that Patriot American Militia's from New England were armed with French Muskets as commonly as British Muskets at the beginning of the AWI.
I think the most common British Bess of the AWI was likely the 1756 Long Land, on the American side these would be captured as the war went on, and older Basses were very common.
The French muskets captured at Louisbourg and Frontenac were likely spread out amongst the British Empire not just the colonies; of course the new Quebec colony benefited the most and likely also traded heavily with the norther Indian tribes. The muskets are Louisbourg and Frontenac would have been mostly 1728, 1746 and 1754 Charleville's, many of the parts from these patterns are found on American made muskets, the 1754 lock was very good and is found on many American made fowlers, and muskets. The 1754 lock bears a strong resemblance to the rappenhock forge locks and the later first model Virginia muskets of the 1780's and 90's. The barrels would have found use as well, French barrels were thick and heavy at. 72 caliber, and could use a .69 ball.
the lock pictured in #6 by Newman is almost an identical copy to the French model 1754 lock in size and style less the slash steps on the French Lock.
Consult the reenactor impression guidelines posted by the crew at Ticonderoga. Very precise, very detailed, meticulous, scrupulous, and based on primary documentation... Perhaps even to a fault! You'll find that as Continental infantry of the line received new Charleville Mle. 1766 léger muskets after 1777 that earlier pattern muskets were essentially handed over to militia who had previously been using older patterns of CoS, British, some Dutch, some French, and lots of modified Fowlers. So the time period of early vs. late would be important to ascertain.
The earlier years of the War France sent around 7-10,000 1763 and 1766 Charlevilles, these were described as Leger mostly because its the armory where they were stored prior to being depleted, these muskets are often considered a single pattern however are 2 different muskets. The 63 being often called ‘heavy’ because it was simply heavier in the stock and barrel and the lock was almost 7 inches long, it was reworked to be made lighter (reduced from almost 11.1 lbs in its original product to 10.15 lbs). The 1766 was completely new musket that only miruko of Japan (sold by Navy Arms, Dixie Gun Works and a few others) and TRS have successfully reproduced, which is why the market for the miruko charleville is so high, TRS only come in 80% completed kits. The Pedersoli pattern 1766 isn’t really a 1766, the comb is way too high, the lock is slightly larger and the barrel bands are more 63 than 66... so its actually more like the 63 minus a few details involving the ramrod and flint cock and trigger guard. I just call it the Pedersoli Charleville because it really doesn’t fit any pattern of Charleville directly.
The later shipment of French arms in 1777 were comprised of the later updated 1766 patterns and 1770 series; these were often called the 1768 muskets because they had added a rear band spring, replaced the ramrod with a trumpeted rod and added stronger barrel bands and a pinned a rammer spoon to the forestock. The 1770’s series Charlevilles were the most advanced French muskets in the Continental Army, these were highly valued by the continental soldiers as they were lighter had a bayonet with a clasping spring.
By 1777 any older Charlevilles were still in use, however we find many restocked in maple and cherry in museums and at auctions.
I’ve only seen two original I nonmodified 1763 patterns, very rare, these had a very unusuall steel ramrod tube that extended from the top band to the middle band, very practical idea however made the musket needlessly heavier at the muzzle.
Dave C is correct, always consult the group you’re trying to work with. They’ll tell you what is acceptable and not. Many groups won’t even allow the cheaper Indian Repros.
Please understand I am not trying to nitpick or criticize, but rather seeking more information, as I have not studied French Military Muskets anywhere near as much as British.
Do you have documentation that the 1754 Charleville's were captured at Fortress Louisbourg or Frontenac? The reason I ask is because it would seem they would have been "brand new" when sent to Louisbourg before it was captured for a second time in 1758 and normally European Powers did not send brand new Muskets to the Colonies for their Provincials or Militia. Of course, the French would have had to empty much of their Ordnance Stores to rearm Louisbourg with 15,000 Arms so quickly after 1748, so it is possible that some brand new Muskets had to be sent to fill that number.
I have not run across much solid documentation on where the Arms from Fortress Louisbourg were taken after the capture in 1748. There are some tantalizing tidbits about some British Light Infantry and Rangers using the captured arms from Louisbourg. Though this is speculation on my part, I think any Soldier who was in on the capture of the Fortress would have been given leave to take one stand of Arms for his own use and perhaps those units were also allowed to take some extras for future replacement of damaged arms. Since most of the actual "British" troops in the battle were New England Provincials/Militia, that would explain how some wound up throughout New England after the FIW. However, this does not explain where the majority of captured Arms were taken.
One tidbit and/or perhaps good speculation was perhaps the majority of the captured French Arms were taken to the British Ordnance Supply Area in New York. That makes sense, but I don't have solid documentation on it.
P.S. If I were brand new to reenacting AWI as an American Patriot Militia Man, I would look to buying a used Navy Arms "Charleville." There are always ones showing up for sale and are normally very reasonably priced. The locks on those Muskets were generally very good to excellent and would serve well for that purpose both mechanically and historically.
No need to worry, French Muskets are complicated when it comes to patterns, mostly because the French would systematically update old arms so its difficult to idenfiy the when or how or where.
Regarding the 1754 pattern, your assertion is correct, there were few of those muskets available to be shipped to North America. Bianchi’s book on French Arms provides some details on the service of French Arms in North America; the 1754 infantry musket would not have been sent to North America because older stores of 1728’s were very available, the 1746 musket was seen as a much poor design and was not in high demand in Europe so seeing those in North America is also very common, the 1746 lock had no frizzen bridle and often are found with vertical bridles (unless). Regarding the 1754 in North America, the other factor is the colonies of France were under the responsibility of the ministry of the navy and marines; the French didn’t separate naval and infantry arms until around the time of the Napoleonic Wars so standard arms were issued to both the infantry and navy so with logically the only 1754’s that would have made it to North America were those assigned directly to the Navy and Marines, these would have been of course limited in supply and thus pretty rare as the French Navy wasn’t making too many trips to North America in 1758. None the less I agree that much of what was captured at the French Forts would have been stores of the 1717, 1728 and 1746’s in regards to the 1754 Lock on American made muskets, many of the 1754’s sent to America would have occured after the F&I War from captured and surrendered arms that the British had in surplus from overseas, and of course illegal sale of arms to the American Rebel’s in the very earlier part of the War’s outbreak. The 1754 lock is very similar to the 1763 lock other than the ring neck cock. The 1754’s did make it over the colonies initial shipments during the AWI with the heavy model 1763’s.
I also agree, the Navy Arms Charlevilles are not only the best repro’s but also very good shooters, the lock’s are extremely reliable and crisp. Mine is at least 15 years old, the only downside is keeping it well oiled with Barricade, these all iron mounted muskets do rust pretty easily. The Pedersoli Charlevilel is a very nice musket too, I’ve always admired them, heavy stocked guns.
During the War of the Austrian Succession, aka "King George's War" (1740-48), the British (and New Englanders) captured Louisbourg in 1745. I recall reading they emptied the arsenals, and when the war ended, turned the fortress back over to the French, minus the long arms. When the French re-occupied the fortress, they had to restock the arsenals with long arms. I'm going on memory here, but I seem reading in "Endgame, 1758" by Johnston that when the next go-round began in 1755, the French stocked up on additional long arms (most recent pattern or upgrades). Anyone able to supply details on what exactly was in the Louisbourg arsenal -between- 1748 and 1755/58?
Is there an easy way to may be "repair" it from rust?
Rust, depends how much and how bad.
Rust is the normal process of metal corrosion, so rust isn’t nessesarially a bad thing its only bad if it gets out of hand.
For the barrel and other steel parts I oile down Barricade oil, I swab the bore with grease too and keep the guns in a sock case.
Occasiaonlly I’ll polish with a 5,000, grit Emory to remove any spots, I always polish wet dry with oil too.
In 1748 most of the muskets at Louisbourg would have been the 1717’s and earlier 1728’s. The 1728 muskets were in large surplus in Europe too which is what would have been sent to the colonies after 1748. The 1746 was available mostly in Europe but many did make it to the New France and Caribbean colonies. The 1754 pattern Charlevilles were not produced in great numbers when compared to the 1728’s and 46’s. The guns restocked at Louisbourg were likely the 1728’s and 1746’s.
I agree, though I wonder what the reason was that they didn't produce the 1754 pattern so much.
The 1754 was more of a regression back to the 1728, because the 1746 was considered cheaply designed in a wartime economy, it was really almost the same gun pattern less a few differences. 1. The Sling Swivel was moved beneath the gun and the swivel bar and side rings removed, 2. The lock re-added the pan bridle that was removed in 1746 and the main spring was much stronger, 3. The trigger guard was changed to a more pointed design, the buttplate on later 1754 patterns was also made smaller (the initial run).
In the early 1760’s there was a call by the French Arms monsingnior beliard to update the 1717 pattern Charleville, this of course was only 6-7 years after the production of the 1754 pattern. The French were also suffering financially from the losses incurred in the Seven Years War, so building up the arseanal was not a top fiscal priority.
The next generation of French Muskets would see rapid changes over a 20 year period from 1763 - 1776, the most standard design of all the French Charlevilles would have to be the 1766 and the 1777.
How long were the 1754's used in the military, and do you know if they did anything for trappers, etc later on? And were the muskets made after the Seven Years War as good of quality as if they were made in a financial stable time?
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