Indian Muskets

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Loyalist Dave

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Some of you guys are funny. :confused:
You have a lot of personal bias, but not real data.

Some of you guys talk about the iron barrels of original rifled muskets, where we are talking about smooth bore musket repros, made in India. Yes the British proofing house, for example in Birmingham, had high standards, and still does. When British muskets were made in India, by Indians, those muskets met the same standards. We have several reliable reports that when the repros from some of the modern distributors of India origin muskets are submitted to British or German proofing houses...those repros pass proofing tests and are stamped.

To date, the worst record of barrel failures by far, are by an American company using proofed barrels. Granted it was only one model of many sold by that company, and the company has since changed proofing procedures and proofing house in Spain.

"You get what you pay for..." I lOVE this one. Nobody has disputed that one gets higher quality wood to metal fit, and piece of walnut or maple if one buys other than a gun from India. And occasionally a person may spend some money to upgrade the India origin musket (though this is not the common practice) Yet you guys never seem to consider the idea that,
" You CAN pay too much. You may have been ripped off a bit for what you actually got".

"Buy once; cry once" is fine for those who CAN buy...., but doesn't do squat for the person who cannot afford the purchase price in any fashion. The SRP for the Pedersoli Bess plus bayonet, is $1139.00 at Cabelas, $1264.00 on GunBroker, and $1350.00 from Dixie Gun Works...and the bayonet runs $195.00. Price range is then $1334.00 to $1545.00 before shipping costs. And they sometimes come with bad frizzens, improperly mounted screws in the locks, and cracked mainsprings.

AND it's categorically the wrong musket for some of the reenactors of the AWI, and ALL of the reenactors of the F&I. Ah but it is pretty....

I can get a reenactment ready, proper LLP Kings Musket and bayonet shipped to my house, for less than half the price of Italian. It's not as pretty....,

THEN there are the folks who spent even more money on their Pedersoli SLP bess, to have the engraving on the lock changed, and to have a rounded side plate installed instead of the brass side plate. Still NOT the right musket, but it does look a bit closer. It's prettier. I got one this year, and after all that money to buy, and upgrade money, the seller got less than I paid for any of my India muskets. OH I got a great deal..., but it does show there is no guarantee that you will recoup your money. You may do so now having sat on that musket for the past 30 years, but buy one today thinking you'll break even or make a profit in 2024 or better yet 2050? (How much money would you make if you bought the India origin musket today with the bayonet, and put the remaining $600 into bonds that matured in 30 years?)

Durable? The Italian and Jap musket is only as durable as the pounding that it is put through, and the care it gets, after. The number one repair by far, Jap or Italian musket, is the wrist of the stock. Followed with a close second is the stock at the lock mortise. I've repaired quite a few Pedesoli Bess stocks at the wrist, and a few more at the lock mortise. Funny, I've never had to repair an India origin musket stock.....

I've seen a bunch of used Pedersoli and Jap muskets that might be unsafe to live fire, but are still shooting blanks. Proofing only applies when the gun has just left the proofing house. What the owner or owners do after that, is out of the control of the proof house or the manufacturer.

More on the idea of resale... If that musket has been roached over time, you don't get much when it comes to resale.:confused: Well replace the barrel....ah Pedersoli no longer sells replacement barrels. In 30 years of overhauling Jap and Pedersoli Bess muskets..., I've only been able to put my hands on three barrels. Two were used. Because the hobby is shrinking, the market to resell the musket at a later date is too, and one then does not get top dollar. You see a lot of used Pedersoli Bess on Gunbroker, priced at $900.00 or more (still a bargain compared to brand new)....but those go unsold....

I'd much rather spend the money on a reliable musket, that is the correct model repro, and bang the heck out of it, from battle field reenactment to Appalachian Trek, without worrying about my resale value.

So let me put it this way.....how is it different, if I spend $650 on an India repro musket, which is the correct model and so far has never given me a function problem, and yes I do shoot it live from time to time, with the idea that I may simply "junk" it when it finally wears out...than if I buy the Italian musket and when I go to resell it I lose $650 off the price I paid for it, since it's used and battered, though still serviceable? I'm out the same amount, eh?

LD
 

tenngun

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In hunting shot placement is more important then caliber.
I think safe shooter is more important then proof houses.
I ain’t from Missouri but I live there now. Show me a well cared for Indian musket that has blown with a proper load.
What happens if you accidentally drop two or more charges in a gun? Same thing if you accidents speed or fail to brake in a Ugo or Pinto. Not the car but the driver.
Not the gun but the shooter.
I had one of those two part barrel ultra high Japanese guns , and it shot fine.
I used to have prejudice against curry poppers.
Like most prejudice it was unfounded.
I do recall this same argument about CVA
 

RAEDWALD

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There is no such thing as good barrel steel or bad. There are different steels and the lesser needs more mass to contain the stress. The better less. Thus even cast iron will make an adequate cannon if you use enough of it.

If the typical Indian (there are no Pakistani ones in that market) reproduction musket is using inadequate steel how is it that they pass stiffer proof tests than Pedersoli ones? Not to knock Pedersoli who make a fine product but the Italian proof is lesser than British or German ones. Do Indian reproduction muskets use bad steels for barrel? Clearly not as they pass proof. Are there superior steels? I am sure that there are but they are not needed in the thicknesses used in Indian reproductions. Lighten the barrel by using thinner walls then the quality of the steel has to be better.
 

FlinterNick

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The problem with Miroku from my stand point was the stuff they were putting out in the 1970s under "Ultra-Hi". Little better than pipe bombs. The 1/2 octagaonal barreled one had a barrel made in two pieces with the round section screwed into the octagonal one and the bores were not exactly in line. Shooters could not load them because trying to wipe the bore dry would trap patches and jags at the misalignment. I would have to dig out the articles from the old Buckskin Report to detail all of it, photos of the barrels with the "joint milled away etc. That a firm like Miroku would do this is astounding. But they did. There was a percussion rifle that had serious issues at the time too maybe Miroku but not going to look it up. So some of them really were JUNK. I would trust Pedersoli if I were buying such things, military stuff and factory reproductions I have no interest in seen too much over the years, since they at least use good barrel steels or so I have read. Many here do not and I am sure the Indian/Pakistan etc stuff does not. Who did the market research? Did they actually take stuff apart? Did they check the alloys used and such? Just asking. Its possible to cut off a piece of steel, put it in the right equipment turn it on and get a print out of the alloy. Unless this is done there is now real assurance as to the alloy. I had a metallurgist and ML shooter/builder tell me that the Italian barrel steels were good.
Yea most of those ultra high guns were crap, but I’m pretty sure Miruko took over production from the Ultra High shops in Japan and closed them down.

The Springfield rifle you’re referring too was Miruko’s worst product its rifling was way too deep and the barrel was oversized, in short the 9lb 1855 rifled musket ended up weighing in around 13 lbs. and it was not correctly bored, it was bored to .60/.62.

The market research was mostly handled by Dixie Gun Works and Navy Arms Inc. They basically would order the top quality guns by miruko and make some standard upgrades in the shops, in comparison to Pedersoli they were always cheaper because of the stocks, pedersoli uses a medium grained walnut, which is very hard and very nice looking. Miruko used a very cheap American Walnut and sometimes a higher graded maple, still good enough for gunstocks but not high quality.

The screw barrel guns were a flaw that both miruko and pedersoli designed in the 1980’s. They were dropped rather quickly. Pedersoli had a screw barrel Queen Ann pistol which they dropped because the barrel would latterly fall off after shooting it. And Miruko had a screw off flintlock rifle or Fowler which they discontinued due to safety concerns.

Pedersoli Barrels are excellent quality steel, extremely hard and durable.

Colerain and Rayl make some fine barrels too, very high quality not as hard as pedersoli but still very good quality steel barrels. Whitacre in VA also makes a very hard nice steel barrel for Springfields.

I believe Greg Christian is the only shop in the USA making DOM cold rolled steel barrels, his work is pretty good but the prices is brought down due to the lesser quality of the DOM
 
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Springfield When you've shot & made muzzle loaders since 1960 you do form opinions based on experience and tastes . You are entitled to your views as I am to mine . Kind regards Rudyard
Barrel Harmonics yes Ide go with that as a likely cause . Always listen to Reawalde, He knows his Onions . R
You are correct, and best regards for the upcoming holidays!
The problem with Miroku from my stand point was the stuff they were putting out in the 1970s under "Ultra-Hi". Little better than pipe bombs. The 1/2 octagaonal barreled one had a barrel made in two pieces with the round section screwed into the octagonal one and the bores were not exactly in line. Shooters could not load them because trying to wipe the bore dry would trap patches and jags at the misalignment. I would have to dig out the articles from the old Buckskin Report to detail all of it, photos of the barrels with the "joint milled away etc. That a firm like Miroku would do this is astounding. But they did. There was a percussion rifle that had serious issues at the time too maybe Miroku but not going to look it up. So some of them really were JUNK. I would trust Pedersoli if I were buying such things, military stuff and factory reproductions I have no interest in seen too much over the years, since they at least use good barrel steels or so I have read. Many here do not and I am sure the Indian/Pakistan etc stuff does not. Who did the market research? Did they actually take stuff apart? Did they check the alloys used and such? Just asking. Its possible to cut off a piece of steel, put it in the right equipment turn it on and get a print out of the alloy. Unless this is done there is now real assurance as to the alloy. I had a metallurgist and ML shooter/builder tell me that the Italian barrel steels were good.
I'd think there were more that one factory making barrels in India. I've always assumed that the fellows selling them here were up on the quality, for business reputation, etc. The later Mirokus have good quality, I'm told. Craig Barry's book on the Civil War musket repros mentions this, and Miroku also makes high quality modern ctg. firearms. Glad I did not buy one of those '70's clunkers! Thanks for the info.
 
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Yea most of those ultra high guns were crap, but I’m pretty sure Miruko took over production from the Ultra High shops in Japan and closed them down.

The Springfield rifle you’re referring too was Miruko’s worst product its rifling was way too deep and the barrel was oversized, in short the 9lb 1855 rifled musket ended up weighing in around 13 lbs. and it was not correctly bored, it was bored to .60/.62.

The market research was mostly handled by Dixie Gun Works and Navy Arms Inc. They basically would order the top quality guns by miruko and make some standard upgrades in the shops, in comparison to Pedersoli they were always cheaper because of the stocks, pedersoli uses a medium grained walnut, which is very hard and very nice looking. Miruko used a very cheap American Walnut and sometimes a higher graded maple, still good enough for gunstocks but not high quality.

The screw barrel guns were a flaw that both miruko and pedersoli designed in the 1980’s. They were dropped rather quickly. Pedersoli had a screw barrel Queen Ann pistol which they dropped because the barrel would latterly fall off after shooting it. And Miruko had a screw off flintlock rifle or Fowler which they discontinued due to safety concerns.

Pedersoli Barrels are excellent quality steel, extremely hard and durable.

Colerain and Rayl make some fine barrels too, very high quality not as hard as pedersoli but still very good quality steel barrels. Whitacre in VA also makes a very hard nice steel barrel for Springfields.

I believe Greg Christian is the only shop in the USA making DOM cold rolled steel barrels, his work is pretty good but the prices is brought down due to the lesser quality of the DOM
It's always fun and informative to read info posted by those who have had long experience in the hobby; I often learn much! Thanks!
 
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P.S.; The Miroku I have is the M61 .58 cal. Springfield; very low SN, 0013. Glad not to have the M55! Was not aware of that one. Best regards.
 
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So your an expert on the steel industry and capacity of manufacturing in India ? As well as the state of the art in the mid 19c America. As one correspondent states they routinely pass Birmingham proof .despite coming in as wall hanger, prop status . Doe s this help?. Well not really . I've been involved with them at both ends well all three ends never had one go at Proof if you don't like them don't buy one plenty Do like them .Its the buyers choice . Rudyard
I have in fact a nice India Brown Bess. It needed the frizzen hardened, and the mainspring 'thinned' as it was so thick it was almost impossible to cock. The barrel seems high quality; have not fired live, but would do so. Barrel has date of mfg. and a SN. Yes, I have a Pedersoli Bess as well. It's good we have such choices for what is admittedly a limited market; only a tiny percentage of the population shoots BP and/or re-enacts. Thanks.
 
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You REALLY need to do more research. Like I said the barrels of the US Rifle Muskets were "best iron" skelp welded (forge welded into a tube) and rolled to contour and length after welding. When finished they were then proved with 200 gr of musket powder and a 500 gr minie spaced 2" off the powder. In the 1960s or perhaps before its been perhaps 50 years since I read it, some moderns tried blowing one up. They could not with any charge/loading of BP including filling the barrel completely. But of course you knew all that, right? And of course you read all the barrel steel articles in the old Buckskin Report. 2 of which were written by a metallurgist who shoots MLs and made a career of failure analysis. Then the comments made to a friend of mine by a major maker of premium rifle barrels for brass suppository guns who told him he would rather shoot an iron barrel than one made of the leaded screw stock used by most makers of "custom" ML barrels in the US. I have no idea what is used in the indian guns but what they are made off can be offset by the form it is made into. I have read that they used seamless tubing. A no-no as is cold rolled steel since it can fail are far lower pressure than its "tensile" since it has very poor shock resistance, "Free machining" steels are bad due to cold rolling (it makes them machine easier and allows higher speeds) all the inclusions they contain for the lubricating metal added. Usually lead, phosphorus etc. But of course you surely know all this right? THEN of course you remember the American made "Hawkens" that had barrel failures in the first years of production. John Baird (Buckskin Report) got several a year until they apparently stopped using low grade steel. The only thing that saved them in one case was a dump attorney representing the victim. The Italians who PROOF the guns use a quality European grade gun barrel steel. According to the metallurgist... No I did not just fall off a turnip truck and shoot off my mouth. Newer is NOT always "better". I can also furnish documentation in the form of a copy of a letter from LaSalle Steel stating the cold rolled steels are not suitable for gun barrels regardless of alloy.
I never had exposure to the old Buckskin Reports; would the information in them still apply today? Just wonder if it's worth trying to locate them on the web. Not interested in buying any hard copy back issues, but would like to read just for pleasure. Thanks.
 

Stantheman86

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Pedersoli uses a really good alloy (I forget the exact metals) something like a Chromium Molybdenum that's only used by a handful of manufacturers and it was developed by a German arms maker during WWII.

But......I don't know if they apply this alloy to muzzleloaders or just their cartridge weapons. They don't specify.

I shoot Shotgun Slugs with 80-100gr of 2f or 3f behind them through my Pedersoli .69 Springfield percussion conversion (see my Nessler Ball experiments) and I feel just fine about it. This creates much higher pressure than Round Ball , or even a .58 Minie......similar to a .69 Minie Ball and some original conversions weren't even too safe with those......

I don't think I'd do this with an Indian musket. Why? Because I don't have to.
 

Rundownfid

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As I have just purchased a Miroku Brown Bess, I find this an interesting thread. I do have a question, the seller said that it shot .73 patched balls well, although he was a re-enactor and generally shot blanks. I assume that a .73 patched ball would be the expected .75 caliber if bare lead? He said he shot, 85 to 90 grs, as I recall, that seems a lot of powder, any thoughts from others with experience with this musket?
 

FlinterNick

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As I have just purchased a Miroku Brown Bess, I find this an interesting thread. I do have a question, the seller said that it shot .73 patched balls well, although he was a re-enactor and generally shot blanks. I assume that a .73 patched ball would be the expected .75 caliber if bare lead? He said he shot, 85 to 90 grs, as I recall, that seems a lot of powder, any thoughts from others with experience with this musket?
that’s sounds pretty accurate; I use 100 grains with a .69 ball in my miruko
 

FlinterNick

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Pedersoli uses a really good alloy (I forget the exact metals) something like a Chromium Molybdenum that's only used by a handful of manufacturers and it was developed by a German arms maker during WWII.

But......I don't know if they apply this alloy to muzzleloaders or just their cartridge weapons. They don't specify.

I shoot Shotgun Slugs with 80-100gr of 2f or 3f behind them through my Pedersoli .69 Springfield percussion conversion (see my Nessler Ball experiments) and I feel just fine about it. This creates much higher pressure than Round Ball , or even a .58 Minie......similar to a .69 Minie Ball and some original conversions weren't even too safe with those......

I don't think I'd do this with an Indian musket. Why? Because I don't have to.
It really depends on what you’re looking for and what you want to spend.

If you want a good reliable shooter with somewhat of a warranty and accessible replacement parts, and a lot of available information... pedersoli is the way to go. What I wouldn’t do is purchase a pedersoli and then dump 200-400 into it to make it more accurate, personally I think that’s a waste, you might as well get a TOW or TRS kit and spend the 1500-2000 or more to have the gun the way you want it. .... or

You can go the route of a Indian made defarbed gun by Loyalist arms, again Loyalist arms is the only distributor of Indian guns I trust, their guns are carefully designed to be accurate historically with minor mostly un-noticeable inequities such as Teak Wood Stocks or thicker and heavier trimmings. As far as shooting quality it varies per gun, as many Indian made guns are hit or miss, some are made with heavier barrels others are made with more balanced barrels. What I woudlnt’ do is purchase a 600-700 Indian made gun and dump 300-500 into it to make it better shooting quality, such as lightening the stock or cutting the barrel or replacing parts.

As far as proofing goes, proof the guns if you want to proof them, its as simple as that, find a proof house that will take on the project.
 

Commodore Swab

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I think there is an important aspect not being mentioned. I often get people looking at my pieces and that first gun is a heavy price to pay. How many people do you know that only have 1 gun? An Indian gun can often be a good way for someone to get started.
 

FlinterNick

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I think there is an important aspect not being mentioned. I often get people looking at my pieces and that first gun is a heavy price to pay. How many people do you know that only have 1 gun? An Indian gun can often be a good way for someone to get started.
Depends on what your doing with it. Re-enacting sure, why not. Black powder hunting and or target shooting, I’d look toward something else, like a used Flint Rifle or Fowler by a TOW or Chambers will run 800-1500, on the lower end on auction you can get them for around 700.
 

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There is no such thing as good barrel steel or bad. There are different steels and the lesser needs more mass to contain the stress. The better less. Thus even cast iron will make an adequate cannon if you use enough of it.

If the typical Indian (there are no Pakistani ones in that market) reproduction musket is using inadequate steel how is it that they pass stiffer proof tests than Pedersoli ones? Not to knock Pedersoli who make a fine product but the Italian proof is lesser than British or German ones. Do Indian reproduction muskets use bad steels for barrel? Clearly not as they pass proof. Are there superior steels? I am sure that there are but they are not needed in the thicknesses used in Indian reproductions. Lighten the barrel by using thinner walls then the quality of the steel has to be better.
Hi, not trying to perpetuate any ranting that may or may not be going on but rather like to establish some facts.

I understand that the Indian guns are not drilled for a "touch hole" or flash channel/hole. If this is the case, how do they pass any proof testing?

Is this maybe done with a drilled thru breech at the proof house?

I had another question but it really belongs in a separate posting so that's my question. Hope someone might clear that up. Great group by the way! I trust someone has the answer as I think that here would be the best place to find it.

Thank You,

Calvin
 
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Hi, not trying to perpetuate any ranting that may or may not be going on but rather like to establish some facts.

I understand that the Indian guns are not drilled for a "touch hole" or flash channel/hole. If this is the case, how do they pass any proof testing?

Is this maybe done with a drilled thru breech at the proof house?

I had another question but it really belongs in a separate posting so that's my question. Hope someone might clear that up. Great group by the way! I trust someone has the answer as I think that here would be the best place to find it.

Thank You,

Calvin
No, I don't believe each & every barrel is proofed. The "undrilled" ones are sold that way so they can be offered as 'non-guns' to areas that have legal strictures. Imagine, you'd have to have personnel to swab & clean each bbl. after proofing. There are probable many or several makers of parts for the Indian guns, little factories here and there. Some of the Indian guns ARE drilled; example the ones being sold by VA and others. Makers of barrels may just sell to the final builders or assemblers. Anyone else have some knowledgeable comments?
 

Commodore Swab

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To my knowledge Indian guns are built by many different companies and of varied quality. I know of none exported that are drilled. You can get good quality to very poor quality, Veteran Arms and Loyalist seem to have found the best builders. This is the difference between a supplier that actually goes over the guns they receive instead of just passing it off. Veteran has the benefit of being in the US but that is irrelevant in regards to my last post which basically said they are excellent entry level guns and cover a range of centuries not offered aside from special built pieces. Aside from TRS is there anyone making guns/kits pre 1700 in the US?
 
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