Brown Bess ID help

Discussion in 'Firearm Identification' started by sharrison007, Nov 10, 2019 at 9:16 AM.

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  1. Nov 10, 2019 at 9:16 AM #1

    sharrison007

    sharrison007

    sharrison007

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    image.jpg I have a Brown Bess that was part of my fathers collection. I now wish I would have fully interigated him for his knowledge of the rifle. Let me know if any has knowledge as to its origin.
     

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  2. Nov 10, 2019 at 11:28 AM #2

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    1. Welcome to the forum.

    2. Can you please measure it overall? That will give us a ballpark to make a start into identifying it. The length of the barrel is particularly
    important.

    3. Please take a photo of the WHOLE of the musket - note that it is a musket and not a rifle. We need to see the whole shape of the stock, mainly in front of the trigger guard.
     
  3. Nov 10, 2019 at 12:52 PM #3

    sharrison007

    sharrison007

    sharrison007

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    The barrel is 38 3/4" to the start of the tang and 54 1/2" is the overall length. I've been collecting guns close to 40 years. Is a musket because it is smoothbore? I know Winchester makes a model 73 musket and has a longer wood forend. I hope I don't sound as stupid as I am. Thanks for the help.
     

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  4. Nov 10, 2019 at 6:16 PM #4

    Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave

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    That's a "3rd Model" or some folks call it an "India Pattern" Brown Bess. The "pattern" was first adopted by the East India Trading Company for use by the company's soldiers, and was later adopted by British Government Ordinance Office as the updated pattern for the Bess. This was the Bess that was used against Napoleon, and when the British converted over to caplock muskets, and even later when the British converted to rifles for their standard infantrymen..., this model of Bess was used to arm provincial forces serving with the British. Later large numbers of these muskets were given or sold to kingdoms (such as Nepal) that were favorable to the British.

    It's curious to note that some of the shops and firms that made this model Bess for the [British] East India Trading Company, are claimed to have continued without halt, that they continued to make them for trading purposes by the BEITC, and later for use by civilians forbidden to have up to date hunting guns..., and further claim that they never stopped. So some of the companies supplying Bess repros to reenactors today claim they made the originals more than two centuries ago.

    LD
     
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  5. Nov 10, 2019 at 6:28 PM #5

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    Yes. Military smoothbore guns of this era are called muskets. It is my understanding that the Winchester you are referring to, banned on this site, was so-called because of its full-length musket-like stock.
     
  6. Nov 11, 2019 at 12:48 AM #6

    sharrison007

    sharrison007

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    Thank you for this info I appreciate it. Where these muskets used solely in Europe and would that make it pre Revolutionary War. Do the guns used by our malitias generally have US markings of some sort.
     
  7. Nov 11, 2019 at 10:49 AM #7

    TFoley

    TFoley

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    One model or another of the Brown Bess musket was used wherever there were British troops, and that includes places as far afield as India. Loyalist Dave wrote - 'That's a "3rd Model" or some folks call it an "India Pattern" Brown Bess. The "pattern" was first adopted by the East India Trading Company for use by the company's soldiers', as well as North America.

    If you've ever seem the movie 'Last of the Mohicans', a fictitious version of events during the French/Indian Wars, then you will know that the Brown Bess was carried by every British soldier, and then, of course, you have the Revolution and later on, the War of 1812...
     
  8. Nov 11, 2019 at 12:36 PM #8

    DickS

    DickS

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    That is a rather nice looking India Pattern musket. The double throated cock is the second pattern, post 1806; the earlier version had a goose necked cock. If you study the right side of the butt, you may find the storekeepers stamp, which will indicate the year the musket was accepted into service.
    Hundreds of thousands of these muskets were set up during the period of the Napoleonic wars. They were standard British issue during the War of 1812. Many were subsequently sold off as surplus. They were used by Mexican troops at the Alamo.
     
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  9. Nov 11, 2019 at 4:03 PM #9

    1911tex

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    Wish it could talk....especially if used at the Alamo......
     
  10. Nov 12, 2019 at 12:52 PM #10

    dave_person

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    Hi,
    As some others wrote, it is a last version of the "India pattern" musket first adopted by the British army in 1795. Your gun, sometimes known as the "pattern 1809" or "pattern 1810" was produced between 1809-1815 when the style was phased out and replaced by the "new land" musket. About 2 million were produced and it was the primary musket carried by British troops during the later stages of the Napoleonic war and our war of 1812. According to DeWitt Bailey and Eric Goldstein, during the brief period of peace with France in 1802, British ordnance tried to rearm its army with the pattern 1804 "new land" musket. However, war began again too quickly for that to happen and ordnance rushed to convert production to its existing India pattern musket. That arm was upgraded in 1809 and became the gun you own. After it was phased out many were sold to other countries like Mexico. However, Mexican arms usually have a Mexican surcharge stamped or engraved on the lock, which yours does not appear to have. A musket is simply a large bore military arm with a long barrel. Before the 1850s they were almost always smooth bored to make them easy and fast to load. With the advent of bullets and systems (Tighe breeches, expanding bullets, etc) allowing fast loading of rifled arms, most muskets were eventually rifled.

    dave
     
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  11. Nov 15, 2019 at 5:26 AM #11

    sharrison007

    sharrison007

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    You guys are awesome and your knowledge is amazing. It's a tough thing to research these from books and I would probably never get it right. Thanks again and this forum is awesome. I appreciate everyone's time....

    I have a few Kentucky rifles I'm going to post. This seems like the place to do it.
     

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