Brown Bess question

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Rudyard

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While Trade guns And Government muskets are mostly to a pattern. There is no reason a gun might be' got up' from various parts . "Restocked by another "is the term you can use . That said your lock & barrel aught to be earlier rather than a later style lock and of commensurate quality. . That said most any related parts might be used up . The book' Frontier guns' by Hamilton shows many restocked mixed part guns .All valid historicaly .
Rudyard
 

Loyalist Dave

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So the "Bess Trade Musket" is a bit confusing out there....,

Pedersoli makes Brown Bess Carbines. They look like this:

BROWN BESS CARBINE.JPG


Now Dixie Gun Works sells what they call a Brown Bess Trade Gun, and they look like this, and have a "serpent" sideplate instead of the British SLP Bess sideplate, the lock is heavily case hardened and the barrel is blued, according to the website:

BROWN BESS TRADE GUN DGW.JPG


Dixie Gun Works also sells a Brown Bess Trade Gun Kit, which I would think would be a kit version of the second musket above, but when you look at the photo, you see a standard British SLP sideplate AND a serpent. It looks like this:

BROWN BESS TRADE GUN KIT DGW B .jpg


Now the sideplates are usually pre-inlet in the kits, so I don't know if the fellow shooting the photo for DGW's website put the British side plate in there by accident, and the kit only comes with the serpent side plate OR since this is a special offer from DGW and not in the current Pedersoli offerings, perhaps DGW ordered the stock not inlet for the side plate, and you the builder get to choose? I would expect the former, that the photo is wrong, and you don't get two sideplates, and you use the serpent sideplate which merely rests against the stock, held in place by the two lock screws.

So as far as history goes..., The standard Pedersoli Bess isn't really correct for the AWI, and is "right out" for the F&I. The shorter carbine version (above) is a bit farther off the historic trail, but is used by reenactors as an artillery or sergeant's carbine, or as an officer's fusil. The Brown Bess Trade Gun is taking the carbine, bluing the barrel and casehardening the lock, and slapping a serpent sideplate upon it... and calling it a "trade gun"... well that's fantasy land (imho and from what I've read).

A serpent sideplate is more usually found on an actual trade gun. Pedersoli's Indian Trade Musket , is a mediocre copy of a trade gun, but it's closer to a proper trade gun than the above "Brown Bess trade gun". It's 20 gauge with a 6" longer barrel than the above muskets, full stocked, browned barrel, a different lock, and the rammer is wooded. The Indian Trade Mukset looks like this:

INDIAN TRADE MUSKET.JPG



Now don't get me wrong, ALL of the above guns are known to be good smoothbores. I own a full sized Pedersoli Bess and a Indian Trade Musket. I know several people who shoot and love their Bess Carbines.

IF it was me, I'd contact DGW and ask about the sideplate, and IF it came with the British sideplate, THAT is what I'd build into my kit not the serpent plate..., IF I wanted a musket styled flintlock for shooting and hunting.

IF on the other hand, I wanted a flintlock smoothbore, mostly for hunting and shooting, (and carrying around in the woods all day), and the military look wasn't that big a need, I'd get the Indian Trade Musket in a kit, and use that.

LD
 

PathfinderNC

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So the "Bess Trade Musket" is a bit confusing out there....,

Pedersoli makes Brown Bess Carbines. They look like this:

View attachment 80729

Now Dixie Gun Works sells what they call a Brown Bess Trade Gun, and they look like this, and have a "serpent" sideplate instead of the British SLP Bess sideplate, the lock is heavily case hardened and the barrel is blued, according to the website:

View attachment 80731

Dixie Gun Works also sells a Brown Bess Trade Gun Kit, which I would think would be a kit version of the second musket above, but when you look at the photo, you see a standard British SLP sideplate AND a serpent. It looks like this:

View attachment 80733

Now the sideplates are usually pre-inlet in the kits, so I don't know if the fellow shooting the photo for DGW's website put the British side plate in there by accident, and the kit only comes with the serpent side plate OR since this is a special offer from DGW and not in the current Pedersoli offerings, perhaps DGW ordered the stock not inlet for the side plate, and you the builder get to choose? I would expect the former, that the photo is wrong, and you don't get two sideplates, and you use the serpent sideplate which merely rests against the stock, held in place by the two lock screws.

So as far as history goes..., The standard Pedersoli Bess isn't really correct for the AWI, and is "right out" for the F&I. The shorter carbine version (above) is a bit farther off the historic trail, but is used by reenactors as an artillery or sergeant's carbine, or as an officer's fusil. The Brown Bess Trade Gun is taking the carbine, bluing the barrel and casehardening the lock, and slapping a serpent sideplate upon it... and calling it a "trade gun"... well that's fantasy land (imho and from what I've read).

A serpent sideplate is more usually found on an actual trade gun. Pedersoli's Indian Trade Musket , is a mediocre copy of a trade gun, but it's closer to a proper trade gun than the above "Brown Bess trade gun". It's 20 gauge with a 6" longer barrel than the above muskets, full stocked, browned barrel, a different lock, and the rammer is wooded. The Indian Trade Mukset looks like this:

View attachment 80735


Now don't get me wrong, ALL of the above guns are known to be good smoothbores. I own a full sized Pedersoli Bess and a Indian Trade Musket. I know several people who shoot and love their Bess Carbines.

IF it was me, I'd contact DGW and ask about the sideplate, and IF it came with the British sideplate, THAT is what I'd build into my kit not the serpent plate..., IF I wanted a musket styled flintlock for shooting and hunting.

IF on the other hand, I wanted a flintlock smoothbore, mostly for hunting and shooting, (and carrying around in the woods all day), and the military look wasn't that big a need, I'd get the Indian Trade Musket in a kit, and use that.

LD
These seems like a good suggestion with nice examples from LD to consider!
 

Artificer

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You might look at a smooth rifle. You can have a patch box on this, an historic example of a private American Fowling gun with patch box:View attachment 80530
I've got that picture in one of the first books I bought on ML guns, but can't remember the title? It's been so long since I've looked at it, I never noticed the right gun is stocked in curly maple.


Gus
 

sportster73hp

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So the "Bess Trade Musket" is a bit confusing out there....,

Pedersoli makes Brown Bess Carbines. They look like this:

View attachment 80729

Now Dixie Gun Works sells what they call a Brown Bess Trade Gun, and they look like this, and have a "serpent" sideplate instead of the British SLP Bess sideplate, the lock is heavily case hardened and the barrel is blued, according to the website:

View attachment 80731

Dixie Gun Works also sells a Brown Bess Trade Gun Kit, which I would think would be a kit version of the second musket above, but when you look at the photo, you see a standard British SLP sideplate AND a serpent. It looks like this:

View attachment 80733

Now the sideplates are usually pre-inlet in the kits, so I don't know if the fellow shooting the photo for DGW's website put the British side plate in there by accident, and the kit only comes with the serpent side plate OR since this is a special offer from DGW and not in the current Pedersoli offerings, perhaps DGW ordered the stock not inlet for the side plate, and you the builder get to choose? I would expect the former, that the photo is wrong, and you don't get two sideplates, and you use the serpent sideplate which merely rests against the stock, held in place by the two lock screws.

So as far as history goes..., The standard Pedersoli Bess isn't really correct for the AWI, and is "right out" for the F&I. The shorter carbine version (above) is a bit farther off the historic trail, but is used by reenactors as an artillery or sergeant's carbine, or as an officer's fusil. The Brown Bess Trade Gun is taking the carbine, bluing the barrel and casehardening the lock, and slapping a serpent sideplate upon it... and calling it a "trade gun"... well that's fantasy land (imho and from what I've read).

A serpent sideplate is more usually found on an actual trade gun. Pedersoli's Indian Trade Musket , is a mediocre copy of a trade gun, but it's closer to a proper trade gun than the above "Brown Bess trade gun". It's 20 gauge with a 6" longer barrel than the above muskets, full stocked, browned barrel, a different lock, and the rammer is wooded. The Indian Trade Mukset looks like this:

View attachment 80735


Now don't get me wrong, ALL of the above guns are known to be good smoothbores. I own a full sized Pedersoli Bess and a Indian Trade Musket. I know several people who shoot and love their Bess Carbines.

IF it was me, I'd contact DGW and ask about the sideplate, and IF it came with the British sideplate, THAT is what I'd build into my kit not the serpent plate..., IF I wanted a musket styled flintlock for shooting and hunting.

IF on the other hand, I wanted a flintlock smoothbore, mostly for hunting and shooting, (and carrying around in the woods all day), and the military look wasn't that big a need, I'd get the Indian Trade Musket in a kit, and use that.

LD
I like that indian trade gun . Kind of a sporterized Bess. Slimmed down and not so shiny.
 

Grenadier1758

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I've seen photos of guns from the 1770's that are built of composite parts. One I think had a Land Pattern Lock and trigger, French barrel and Spanish architecture for the stock. May have to look that one up.

Found the picture, but need to find the description.

1623331861016.png


You see one with a serpent side plate, others with Bess side plates and a variety of trigger guards.
 
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Artificer

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I saw a couple kits for brown Bess trade guns, they are a "pretty penny" to me at $1000 each. I was looking at these more as inspiration for something I could piece together and take my time with. But I do have a few things I'm wondering about with this kind of build.

Are these accurate in a historical context, being a barrel and I think a lock from a Bess but most everything else is different? Would something like this be ok for a first build? How would this shoot? And last but not least just out of curiosity, could a socket bayonet be used with one?
The Bess "Carbine" that LD listed and shown below was my first Flintlock.

1623333203941.png

I bought mine in the early/mid 1970's to use as a "Serjeant's Carbine" in reenacting Continental Marines, because no one made a correct copy in those days and I couldn't afford a custom made one, plus I shot it in Northwest Trade Gun Matches as well.

Mine had a .753 bore and 11 gauge Shot Cards and Wads worked well for it to shoot shot. I used a .735 ball and a greased pillow ticking patch, with which I had to use a short starter and 70 grains of FFg for the powder charge. With that load and a good deal of practice, I got to the point I could hit a gallon size milk jug 8 to 9 times out of 10 at 100 yards, shooting offhand.

Many years later, Spence 10 informed me he uses a shot card over the powder, then a greased wad, then a patched ball to shoot even more accurately and at a little further distance. I had traded my Carbine in for a full length Bess, long before I had a chance to try Spence's load.

OK, YES, you can fit a Brown Bess socket bayonet to this Carbine. I did it way back in the day. The forearm is already cut back leaving clearance room for the bayonet.

If you also wish to mount a sling, you can also soft solder a lug to the barrel for a front sling swivel screw to pass through the wood and lug. Then you can mount the forward sling swivel to that and the rear sling swivel to the hole in the top/front of the trigger bow. Not sure if you want to do that, but it's possible. I did it because most military carbines had slings and wanted to make it "as correct" as possible.

OK, some things I would suggest/give you info on this carbine.

I was VERY surprised one day when the "flared" front end of my Rammer fell off! I thought the steel Rammer was one piece. HOWEVER, I found out many years later the originals were made the same way! That allowed them to use a Soft Iron "flared tip" or "button" that would not harm the bore as much as one made from tempered steel. OK, so I cleaned the old solder off the flared tip and bare end of the rammer, then Silver Soldered it back on so it would never come off again. Nowadays, I would heat the tip with a propane torch to melt the soft solder, clean the soft solder off both pieces and then use LOW TEMP Silver Solder to attach it permanently.

Now, because this Carbine has a military style lock, the Trigger Pull is HEAVY and that makes it a bit difficult to shoot the most accurately both when shooting round ball and shot. However, a competent ML Artificer/Armorer or gunsmith can bring the trigger pull down to around 4 lbs, while keeping it safe. I would have LOVED this when I shot my Carbine, but didn't find out how to do a really good trigger job until after I stopped using this Carbine.

Gus
 
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OhioHawkeye

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I was looking for another thing to put together ...... I saw a couple kits for brown Bess trade guns, t.....
Would this paper on the history of British small arms help? It doesn't answer your question directly, but you might see what would be available.... Remember though, even the use or reuse of military equipment was illegal and punishable by jail time as well as sometimes by death. that would include parts.... but would be a fun modern piece to put together.

 
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