Brown Bess -Why

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I see a lot of you folks use Brown Bess's , nothing wrong with that ,They are fine Muskets. The question is why ? I know the Bess was used in by some American troops in the Revolution .
The Charleville's are more authentically American as they were used by the French allies and are the firearm which was copied/ evolved into US 1816 flintlock musket and on to the the Springfield smoothbore and rifle muskets . Surely the Committee of Safety musket would be more HC for Revolutionary war or 1812 war reenactors . I have sold 2 different COS muskets , both were well made, both were different enough to be easily differentiated from a Bess . Me? I'll keep shooting my 1777 Charleville . Just wondering .
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The "Bess" in it's many variants is probably THE single most historically important firearm to many of us interested in the F&I (seven years) war and the period leading into the AWI. I would like to have BOTH a Charleville and a Bess but due to my limited budget I had to choose one or the other so I bought a Bess.
 

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The Bess makes a great small game gun due to its lack of barrel bands. I guess you could say for some people it's more utilitarian and less uniquely tied to one specific time/faction of that flintlock period. It covers a far broader stroke in both application and history than any of the American made or adopted forelock of the age.
 
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I see a lot of you folks use Brown Bess's , nothing wrong with that ,They are fine Muskets. The question is why ? I know the Bess was used in by some American troops in the Revolution .
The Charleville's are more authentically American as they were used by the French allies and are the firearm which was copied/ evolved into US 1816 flintlock musket and on to the the Springfield smoothbore and rifle muskets . Surely the Committee of Safety musket would be more HC for Revolutionary war or 1812 war reenactors . I have sold 2 different COS muskets , both were well made, both were different enough to be easily differentiated from a Bess . Me? I'll keep shooting my 1777 Charleville . Just wondering .View attachment 121124

OK, I am intimately aware of the technological advantages of the French Musket and the weakness of the Brown Bess Wrist with the long vertical bolt going through it. I didn't just crack the wrist on one of my Bess's during a "Tactical" or War Games, but rather shattered it.

I owned a NA Charleville years ago whilst reenacting a War of 1812 Militia Unit. It shouldered and felt like a club, so I traded it gladly when I was transferred away.

Having said that, the Bess is a much more elegant and refined Lady that is much more pleasing to the eye. The drop of the butt stock made even the "Mac Truck" of the Bess's, the P1742, much more natural to aim/fire.

Even though the Bess has some technologically inferior parts, it was used time and again to defeat those who carried the French Musket.

Gus
 
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Americans didn’t all get French muskets when the French donated to help. Lots of Americans had the kings gun.
And there were both battle field captures and importantly privateer captured of English supply ships, that also put the kings musket in to America hands, the poorly supplied American army couldn’t waste a gun.
The French gun would becom the AK-47 of its day, as much of Europe and the Americas copied it.
Still I think the Bess, especially the so-called first model bess, was the most beautiful military gun ever made.
As a civilian unless I was in the local militia it would have been bad news to be caught with an unauthorized bess.
still it would be my musket of choice if I gone forth to war.
 
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Hi,
American troops carried a lot of Besses over the course of the 18th century so they are just as important to Americans as the French muskets. As Gus wrote, they are the class act of the 18th century. COS muskets were not very common because few were made and they were often issued as a stop gap until better guns were available. I realize some folks use them for hunting, however, having experienced the handling and shooting of nice British fowlers, I much prefer those lighter and faster firing guns.
dave
 

Loyalist Dave

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I see a lot of you folks use Brown Bess's , nothing wrong with that ,They are fine Muskets. The question is why ? I know the Bess was used in by some American troops in the Revolution .
The Charleville's are more authentically American as they were used by the French allies and are the firearm which was copied/ evolved into US 1816 flintlock musket and on to the the Springfield smoothbore and rifle muskets.

While that is true for the period AFTER the AWI, leading up to the AWI, and through the AWI, a lot of Bess were here in the colonies. Maryland maintained an large arsenal of LLP Bess, and carbines.

Surely the Committee of Safety musket would be more HC for Revolutionary war or 1812 war reenactors . I have sold 2 different COS muskets , both were well made, both were different enough to be easily differentiated from a Bess . Me? I'll keep shooting my 1777 Charleville . Just wondering .

So "the Committee of Safety" muskets is NOT a single design like a Bess or a Charleville. Sorry, but we made them here in Maryland at a place called Jerusalem Mill, and they very much looked like a Bess, down here. In fact a lot of older, worn muskets in the Maryland arsenal were rebuilt into Committee of Safety Muskets. Some had new barrels. Some had flat faced locks, but they were very much NOT of French influence. They also never outnumbered the actual Bess that Maryland used.

So one has to look at the colony, and what was recorded as used.
For example PA had no colonial militia, nor did it have a colonial militia law, so had no muskets owned by the government. Meanwhile Maryland, which bordered the southern edge of PA was armed to the teeth....

LD
 
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I am not a reenactor, I am a pathetic hunter and a lousy shot. I have a Pedersoli Brown Bess, that Dave at Lodgewood defarbed and made it look like a Committee of Safety musket.

It feels good in my shoulder, it is accurate enough for a smoothbore, and has a just enough of that “American Touch” to justify using and owning a foreign (British / Italian) musket.
 
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Some had new barrels. Some had flat faced locks, but they were very much NOT of French influence.
LD
[/QUOTE]
Never said they were , I said the American copy of the Charleville evolved from the 1816 Musket through to the Springfield rifle .
The British Bess conquered more lands and fought in more battles than any other muzzle loading firearm.
 
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I had a Miroku brown bess back in the day, I have no idea how accurate a copy of an original bess they were, don't care.

The gun functioned well but I never had a gun that fit me so poorly and smacked my cheek hard enough to bruise after a few shots, I could not wait to get rid of it and have never shot one since.

I have a type C french fusil from Caywood, that fits me perfectly and shoots round ball to point of aim.

If I were to do reenacting in a military unit (which I do not plan to do) I would use any excuse NOT to buy another bess.

My two cents.
 

Eras Gone

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The French muskets really did'nt start coming in any real numbers until 1778 or later. Most of the muskets used before that were Besses or Bess pattern English style muskets. And most of the imported French muskets were earlier patterns than the 1766 Charleville that everyone tends to use.
 

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