Are the Military Heritage brown besses any good?

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FlinterNick

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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?
The 1754 pattern was a good musket, but the French Infantry had their complaints, it was long and considered heavy and difficult to shoulder due to the deep butt stock, and the French did a study on the barrels wearing down due to loading and firing and cleaning. The barrels inner walls would loose about .0008 of metal per service year and would need to be redressed and the muzzle or cut down to carbine size, this of course was considered unacceptable by the French Armories. The 1754’s locks were designed with heavier springs, which was very reliable for ignition however one issue, the springs were too strong for the swans neck cock which broke often. So with few wars going on, the French 1754 was more or less of an experimental design produced in much less numbers than its predecessors. Which gave birth to the 1763, in an effort to correct all of the 1754’s the French redisgned their muskets ironically making them heavier but much more durable and reliable.
 

FlinterNick

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The 1754 pattern was a good musket, but the French Infantry had their complaints, it was long and considered heavy and difficult to shoulder due to the deep butt stock, and the French did a study on the barrels wearing down due to loading and firing and cleaning. The barrels inner walls would loose about .0008 of metal per service year and would need to be redressed and the muzzle or cut down to carbine size, this of course was considered unacceptable by the French Armories. The 1754’s locks were designed with heavier springs, which was very reliable for ignition however one issue, the springs were too strong for the swans neck cock which broke often. So with few wars going on, the French 1754 was more or less of an experimental design produced in much less numbers than its predecessors. Which gave birth to the 1763, in an effort to correct all of the 1754’s the French redisgned their muskets ironically making them heavier but much more durable and reliable.
Generally the best quality Charleville Patterns are the 1766 because its much lighter at 8.5 lbs and is just as reliable as its predecessors, the 1777 year 9 musket improved upon the 1777 design flaws and the 1822 Charleville was the last French flintlock but was made with higher quality steel that would allow for conversion and rifling this would be an arm added to the second republic’s later colonial wars and wars with Austria, and Prussia which lasted through the 1860’s.
 

Redstick Lee

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my MH NW trade gun (Tecumseh model) is sound and goe's BOOM every time the trigger is pulled......
no, the wood is not high grade and the woodwork could be better.
the trigger shoulder needs building up and the lock needs some general smoothing and spring-work.
(yes, I know it's not a Bess, but it IS by the mfgr he asked about)
it's a great gun for someone that doesn't mind putting a LITTLE work/time into one.
 

FlinterNick

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Why would they not like a carbine size musket? Personally it would be a whole lot easier to carry, etc, but I guess I could understand losing the range, and may be some accuracy
Early French Carbines, Fusiles and Musketoons were slightly shorter versions of the 1728, 63 and 66. The French didn’t really start producing carbine sized muskets until the later 1770’s and revolutionary years, some of these guns had barrels as short as 20 inches.

The 1766 resigned 1763 musket was actually a copy of the Calvery musket, the lock and stock was used for the improvements with a lighter barrel.

For infantry muskets the French never went below 44 3/4 inches mostly because they felt the longer heavier barrels lasted longer than the higher gauge Brown Bess Barrels that were 39 and 41 inches.

I’ve seen a few 1763 barrels on EBay that looked pretty decent, old no doubt but
Why would they not like a carbine size musket? Personally it would be a whole lot easier to carry, etc, but I guess I could understand losing the range, and may be some accuracy
One major factor was range, and also the infantry man's bayonet. The bayonet on a 55-60 inch musket is far more effective then that on a much small er carbine which would have been more difficult to shoulder and thrust.
 

Straekat

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One major factor was range, and also the infantry man's bayonet. The bayonet on a 55-60 inch musket is far more effective then that on a much small er carbine which would have been more difficult to shoulder and thrust.
If that was the situation, then weapons would have gotten larger over time, not smaller.

The Romans used a short sword called a gladius, which was made for the specific purpose of getting in close to an opponent using a shield and long sword. They knew that once you got in close, a short stabbing sword could be used faster and more effectively at close range inside the shield wall, whereas the larger sword became a liability to the user.

In practical terms, weapons have are designed for use at certain ranges, and when one of the opponents gets inside the range(s) of the weapon(s) of their opponent, an asset can be turned into a handicap for the defense. Black powder weapons with long barrels have been replaced by modern shoulder arms that are much smaller, but the foot soldier is still issued with a bayonet on the chance things might turn "mano a mano".
 

FlinterNick

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If that was the situation, then weapons would have gotten larger over time, not smaller.

The Romans used a short sword called a gladius, which was made for the specific purpose of getting in close to an opponent using a shield and long sword. They knew that once you got in close, a short stabbing sword could be used faster and more effectively at close range inside the shield wall, whereas the larger sword became a liability to the user.

In practical terms, weapons have are designed for use at certain ranges, and when one of the opponents gets inside the range(s) of the weapon(s) of their opponent, an asset can be turned into a handicap for the defense. Black powder weapons with long barrels have been replaced by modern shoulder arms that are much smaller, but the foot soldier is still issued with a bayonet on the chance things might turn "mano a mano".
Well; bayonets became less useful over time with the rifled muskets. During the Civil War most casualties were via being shot by a minie’ ball, musket ball or canon shot. During the American Revolution, war of 1812 later napoleonic war the bayonet was the leading cause of most castualties. 18th century rank and file training did not consider the sword or Sabre as a viable infantry weapon, as an infantryman your job is to load point and shoot or aim too depending on the country, and then follow orders to charge bayonets. Drawing a side arm or Sabre was simply not how they trained.

That’s not to say Carbine’s and Musketoons didn’t have a place in the battlefield, they were just not well suited for the infantry man who was trained to use the bayonet before using anything else.

On another note those who were assigned carbines and Musketoons were not trained the same as an infantryman, they primary purpose was, artillery, calvery etc.

Officers were often assigned lighter shorter fusils, that would double as an infantry weapon if needed as they were often around 50 - 55 inches in length.

In regards to hunting and civilian use, a longer smoothbore Musketoons or Fowler isn’t always ideal I agree. But ya know the old saying, you get what your wallet can afford you.

If an 18th century frontiersman could afford a rifle, it would take a years wages, in the means a used smoothbore Brown Bess, or Charleville or Springfield long or cut down would suffice.
 

FlinterNick

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If that was the situation, then weapons would have gotten larger over time, not smaller.

The Romans used a short sword called a gladius, which was made for the specific purpose of getting in close to an opponent using a shield and long sword. They knew that once you got in close, a short stabbing sword could be used faster and more effectively at close range inside the shield wall, whereas the larger sword became a liability to the user.

In practical terms, weapons have are designed for use at certain ranges, and when one of the opponents gets inside the range(s) of the weapon(s) of their opponent, an asset can be turned into a handicap for the defense. Black powder weapons with long barrels have been replaced by modern shoulder arms that are much smaller, but the foot soldier is still issued with a bayonet on the chance things might turn "mano a mano".
I enjoy using longarms such as a Charleville or Brown Bess because of the challenge it bears to hit your target with such a large piece, I also enjoy the historical aspect of it, but I don’t wield the bayonet for personal use lol !

For my rifles, I prefer lengths of 35-37 inches, mostly because they’re a little easier to load with a patched ball or paper cartridge.
 

Grenadier1758

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Officers were generally not assigned muskets from company storage. Officers carried a sword and halyard as devices to lead the troops. Officers were not expected to be using muskets in a battle line. An officer's musket was a private purchase in the pattern of a King's musket. Often this was of smaller bore, 16 gauge, finer wood and better construction although the standard lock would have been used, but well tuned.
 

DaveC

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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.
Some sources state that it was the 1717 that remained almost entirely in Europe.

According to Didier Bianchi, French Military Small Arms Vol. 1 Flintlock Longarms (Mowbray, 2015):
1717--approx. 48,000 manufactured. Flat lock, flat cock. Bridle external between battery pivot and the external spring. 46 13/16" barrel. Bayonet lug on the top. Barrel pinned to the stock as in British practice, but an external barrel band to support the round sling swivel on the side. Fragile stock wrist, with the "cow's foot" butt stock, and a wooden rammer tipped with iron.

1728--eliminated the stock/barrel pins entirely in favor of three barrel bands. Thicker stock wrist. By 1741, an iron ramrod was used. This musket was produced to the tune of 375,000 over a 40 year period. The U.S. Army has an example with provenance to AWI-era Delaware. A google search should turn up the image.

1746--There is disputation of whether this musket, produced in numbers of a quarter of a million, is actually a separate "model" or merely a "breathed on" product improved 1728. People of a highly legalistic frame of mind point to the absence of any Royal Order naming it a separate model. They were, however, marked "M. 1746" atop the breech plug tang! Side mounted sling swivels, iron ramrod, some minor alterations internal to the lock, and side flats at the breech end of the barrel. "Pied de vache" type butt.

1754--something like 210k produced between 1755 and 1762. Sling swivels moved to the underside. Shorter tang on the iron butt plate.

The real sea change in production arrives with the pésant 1763 and the léger 1766... No more cow's foot butt stock, no more goose-neck cock in favor of the more robust version with the "double throat," a hole in the top screw of the jaws retaining the flint, bayonet lug on the bottom, and with a front sight added to the front barrel band. A barrel 2 inches shorter, but thicker and heavier than the preceding models. Often a very high stock comb or cheek piece.

Things get radically complicated by the proliferation of variants, from "rampart guns" to Dragoon models, musketoons, cavalry carbines, etc. etc. etc. But the basic infantry patterns are relatively straightforward.

One will read that many of the "Fusils de Chasse" and so on sent to French North America were produced in Tulle since that is where the Ministry of the Marine typically obtained arms. Maubeuge, Charleville, St.-Etienne all produced similar pattern arms.
 

DaveC

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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?
Infantry musket M. 1754 was over 62 inches long, with a barrel pushing 47 inches OAL. Given that most peasants and their progeny at the time were rather short by modern standards, this'd be a handful trying to load and shoot. Of course some folks back in the day were tall and robustly built. One would have to be, often times. Grenadiers were typically taller, burlier types.

An officer's private purchase musket would be about 57-inches long.
The Dragoon musket is just over 60 inches long, and typically had a distinctive double middle band and slenderer, longer front barrel band in brass with a front sight attached.
 

Grenadier1758

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Oops, I meant halberd and actually the halberd were carried by the NCOs to differentiate from the more elegant spontoons carried by the officers. Halberds are larger typically and have an ax like head. Infantry would be able to recognize their company by the shape of the halberd and form up with their NCOs.
Officers were generally not assigned muskets from company storage. Officers carried a sword and halyard as devices to lead the troops. Officers were not expected to be using muskets in a battle line. An officer's musket was a private purchase in the pattern of a King's musket. Often this was of smaller bore, 16 gauge, finer wood and better construction although the standard lock would have been used, but well tuned.
 

FlinterNick

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Infantry musket M. 1754 was over 62 inches long, with a barrel pushing 47 inches OAL. Given that most peasants and their progeny at the time were rather short by modern standards, this'd be a handful trying to load and shoot. Of course some folks back in the day were tall and robustly built. One would have to be, often times. Grenadiers were typically taller, burlier types.

An officer's private purchase musket would be about 57-inches long.
The Dragoon musket is just over 60 inches long, and typically had a distinctive double middle band and slenderer, longer front barrel band in brass with a front sight attached.
Dave C makes some very good points. For the average French Infantry Soldier the 1754 was a long heavy musket that weighed just as 10 lbs or slightly less.

The first generation of Brown Bess’s and Charleville’s both sought to to make a long arm that was sturdier and more durable in the field. The predecessor 1746/54 Charlevilles were large but also delicate in some respect to the wrist and forestock, were areas that commonly needed service. The 1763 Charleville was a more practical arm but still heavy until it was lightened in 1766.

The Long Lands prior to 1756 were larger in the butt and the area between the barrel and forestock separating the rammer channels were thinner, too thin in some aspects. So in the 1756 the Brown Bess forestock was thickened mostly because the steel rammer allowed for less wood along the forearm webbing. In any respect you got the Shortland which was still not very short and light.

These changes would not radically change the arms themselves as they’d require to be serviced for many of the same issues that plagued the older models. In the end a musket is just a musket. No matter how updated it is, or comfortable to shoot, its still a bulky smoothbore long arm.
 
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FlinterNick

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Here's my miruko.. It’s a bicentenial with a cherry stock, stock has had repairs around the lock and there’s a Pratt’s thimble I used to help compensate space for a stock repair. The Pratt thimble and sling swivel is anchored to the barrel with a slotted lug. Got the bayonet too. The musket is 99% defarbed too, with period correct markings.

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Shot deer

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Here's my miruko. It’s a bicentenial with a cherry stock, stock has had repairs around the lock and there’s a Pratt’s thimble I used to help compensate space for a stock repair. The Pratt thimble and sling swivel is anchored to the barrel with a slotted lug. Got the bayonet too. The musket is 99% defarbed too, with period correct markings.

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That's a beautiful gun! Is that a flared barrel on the end?
 
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