Indian Muskets

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RAEDWALD

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The quality of muskets made back then was definitely better than those made in India today, there's no question about it. Here's just one example of that, they don't proof test any of their barrels before they get shipped here. Their standards were far higher, and when you lived in a world where everything is handmade the quality was exceedingly high on products that were required to be. Indian trade guns made in Birmingham were not required to be proof tested because Indians weren't going to sue England manufacturers.
Darrin
As said a few times above: India has a proof house (which is more than there is in the USA) but proofing them there makes export impossible within Indian law. In countries with proof houses they have to pass local proof before they can be sold e.g. UK or Germany.

From the introduction of proof laws in the UK all guns for export had to pass proof. Cheap guns in India in the past were made in India. The Indian gun industry was large, given the population, even if largely artisan and had been making guns of all qualities for hundreds of years. UK made guns sold in India were directed at the British or the affluent Indian market. The cheap end was catered for locally. A good Kohat rifle could out range any East India Company military rifle and a decent local matchlock could bear comparison with a period British musket in range and accuracy.

The steel and tube forming used in modern Indian reproduction muskets is better than even the good wrought iron of the past. Their finish reflects the price the public is willing to pay. If the public would pay Pedersoli or US custom prices the Indians would improve their finish but the customer gets the finish they will pay for.
 

FlinterNick

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As said a few times above: India has a proof house (which is more than there is in the USA) but proofing them there makes export impossible within Indian law. In countries with proof houses they have to pass local proof before they can be sold e.g. UK or Germany.

From the introduction of proof laws in the UK all guns for export had to pass proof. Cheap guns in India in the past were made in India. The Indian gun industry was large, given the population, even if largely artisan and had been making guns of all qualities for hundreds of years. UK made guns sold in India were directed at the British or the affluent Indian market. The cheap end was catered for locally. A good Kohat rifle could out range any East India Company military rifle and a decent local matchlock could bear comparison with a period British musket in range and accuracy.

The steel and tube forming used in modern Indian reproduction muskets is better than even the good wrought iron of the past. Their finish reflects the price the public is willing to pay. If the public would pay Pedersoli or US custom prices the Indians would improve their finish but the customer gets the finish they will pay for.
Don’t agree on Indian made musket’s being better than historical arms.

East India Company contracts, Hudson Bay Company contracts and British contractor military arms under the Ordinance system and were constructed in accordance to extremely high standards.... or the consequence would have been their contracts lost. Were they made with high quality steels, yes of course they were if they provided the budget for it, wrought Iron was used in many barrel factories in the 17th and 18th centuries. Also barrels made of wrought Iron were larger and heavier than most present day reproductions, with present day reproductions there is no need for breech’s on repro military guns to be so thick and heavy (original bess is around 1.495 diameter at breech while pedersoli is around 1.250), Indian gun maker’s all vary between 1.300 - 1.400 with a few older manufactures being excessively heavier. At the 1.495 breech was ‘Standard’ for all British muskets from 1710-1790 until higher carbon casted steel barrels were made in the 1800’s.

French guns followed even stricter barrel manufaucting requirements, as they constantly revamped their barrels between patterns if they thought they were too fragile. The Barrel on a 1763 Charleville weighed around 5.5-6 lbs on its own with a breech of 1.400, for a .69 caliber arm, this is large.

Simply put the manufacturing requirements and proofing system required by the British government made these arms very high quality, not just that of the British Government but the French and American government proofing systems as well.

Indian made repro’s do not following any set of standards, they’re simply made to look authentic as much as possible.

You have to also consider that if Indian gun makers do not vent their guns, or proof them they don’t have to sell them off as real weapons, thus reducing a very high amount of personal liability on government and firearms regulations, cost saving measures are apparent in the reproduction market for reason, profiting. Military issued arms are simply provided at no profit to the governments that issued them, they’re just expensed.
 

tenngun

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And yet, French and English guns blew up.
Why would a well made proofed barrel blow?
Poorly cared for, over loaded, improperly loaded.
Do we have examples where well cared for properly loaded Indian guns are failing?
Is loyalist arms or middlesex trading company paying off bunch of suits from selling failing products?
If you buy a curry popper from discriminating General they tell you touch hole not drilled, if you drill one and blow your self up it’s your fault.
Loyalist and middlesex trading sell guns ready to shoot. Well cared for we have no evidence they are not as safe as Italian or an American made barrel
 

FlinterNick

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And yet, French and English guns blew up.
Why would a well made proofed barrel blow?
Poorly cared for, over loaded, improperly loaded.
Do we have examples where well cared for properly loaded Indian guns are failing?
Is loyalist arms or middlesex trading company paying off bunch of suits from selling failing products?
If you buy a curry popper from discriminating General they tell you touch hole not drilled, if you drill one and blow your self up it’s your fault.
Loyalist and middlesex trading sell guns ready to shoot. Well cared for we have no evidence they are not as safe as Italian or an American made barrel
never said anything about Indian guns blowing up. I said and have always said I think Indian made muskets are a poorer quality product; simply put I think they look like horrible reproductions. Regarding blown barrels usually fault lies with user/owner neglect and poor care.

the liability of a faulty gun lies with the distributor not the Indian manufacturer.
 

FlinterNick

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Lots of people on here seem to be very concerned about Indian made barrels blowing up.

Any blackpowder gun barrel can blow up, overloaded, uncleaned, poorly cared for, and or loaded improperly could blow up or burst. I’ve worked on plenty of reinactor guns to say that they’re not cleaned well or cared for, I’ve seen some almost completely blocked up with fouling. Shooting 100 grain to 120 grain blanks all day will cause an excessive build up in teh barrel, especially with no patched or greased projectiles to reduce fouling at all.

Regarding the quality of the barrel, is in how its made. Can an Indian made barrel bored correctly shoot just as well as a pedersoli, of course it can, will it be of the same quality in regards to being properly breeched, or properly tapered.... I don’t think so, I’ve seen many and worked on a few that I would say are not made well, breech plugs are too long and threaded incorrectly and some barrels are not straight.

My argument with Indian made guns is their quality in my opinion .... stinks. The locks are junky, the stocks are overly excessively heavy and made of poorly selected lumber and are usually over polished to the point of being mistaken for chrome plated.
 

Rudyard

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Mr McDonal Do you have proof that guns sent to India where not proved ?? Those to North America where proved it is most unlikely those sent out to India went unproved. Even the rude muskets sent to Africa where prooved . So are you talking out of your rectum ? Or do you have supporting evidence ? rather than prejudice , If so do tell.
Rudyard
 

Griz44Mag

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I see a lot of slamming of Indian made guns.
I don't understand this. Like all products, there are different grades on the market that mostly reflect user tastes and final finishes.
In no way does that make the product unsafe. I have read a lot, and see no failures in either camp that are not user at fault.
Will a Lexus get you anywhere that an Impala won't? (HELL NO)
I own 2 MSV Italian guns now. They both look good, shoot good and are as accurate as the 2,000 dollar upper enders.
They still get me there. AND I can afford to feed them because I did not pay 2 or three times the price for the Lexus.
For those who are upper end buyers, I am happy that you can afford the "BEST" and enjoy them.
For those who choose to own a lower end model instead of owning nothing at all, I am happy for you too (I am in that class)
What I do have a major issue with - the snobs who think they are better than those who don't choose the same path as those of us would rather shoot than not shoot and don't break the family budget doing it.
 
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I believe that back in the days where you counted on yourself and numerous others to produce a tool albeit a hunting rifle was a completely different undertaking. Not only did it not involve time and patience but it involved producing something that not only lasted regular use but some examples survive today as unmatched craftsmanship in rifle building. Some builders on here produce stellar examples along the lines of great builders but it takes so much to attain what we for some reasons can only guess about.
They (forefathers) Had procedures and quirks that most likely have been lost to time in spite of modern advances in metallurgy that gave us the finest examples produced.
Dont get me wrong we have so much at our fingertips in technology but we still romance with the fact that they did so much with very little. Surviving examples exemplify that.
Today it is quantity over quality bottom line is profits.
Just my 2cnts
SM
Imagine how many old classics got lost in fires, floods, tornadoes, and just plain being junked back in history! Ouch!
 
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I see a lot of slamming of Indian made guns.
I don't understand this. Like all products, there are different grades on the market that mostly reflect user tastes and final finishes.
In no way does that make the product unsafe. I have read a lot, and see no failures in either camp that are not user at fault.
Will a Lexus get you anywhere that an Impala won't? (HELL NO)
I own 2 MSV Italian guns now. They both look good, shoot good and are as accurate as the 2,000 dollar upper enders.
They still get me there. AND I can afford to feed them because I did not pay 2 or three times the price for the Lexus.
For those who are upper end buyers, I am happy that you can afford the "BEST" and enjoy them.
For those who choose to own a lower end model instead of owning nothing at all, I am happy for you too (I am in that class)
What I do have a major issue with - the snobs who think they are better than those who don't choose the same path as those of us would rather shoot than not shoot and don't break the family budget doing it.
Amen. True words, and stick to your beliefs!
 

Loyalist Dave

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I see a lot of slamming of Indian made guns.
I don't understand this. Like all products, there are different grades on the market that mostly reflect user tastes and final finishes.
In no way does that make the product unsafe. I have read a lot, and see no failures in either camp that are not user at fault.
Will a Lexus get you anywhere that an Impala won't? (HELL NO)
I own 2 MSV Italian guns now. They both look good, shoot good and are as accurate as the 2,000 dollar upper enders.
They still get me there. AND I can afford to feed them because I did not pay 2 or three times the price for the Lexus.
For those who are upper end buyers, I am happy that you can afford the "BEST" and enjoy them.
For those who choose to own a lower end model instead of owning nothing at all, I am happy for you too (I am in that class)
What I do have a major issue with - the snobs who think they are better than those who don't choose the same path as those of us would rather shoot than not shoot and don't break the family budget doing it.
Kinda like this analogy...,

FERRARI.JPG

VS.....

FERRARI NOT.JPG

LD
 

RAEDWALD

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Don’t agree on Indian made musket’s being better than historical arms.

East India Company contracts, Hudson Bay Company contracts and British contractor military arms under the Ordinance system and were constructed in accordance to extremely high standards.... or the consequence would have been their contracts lost. Were they made with high quality steels, yes of course they were if they provided the budget for it, wrought Iron was used in many barrel factories in the 17th and 18th centuries. Also barrels made of wrought Iron were larger and heavier than most present day reproductions, with present day reproductions there is no need for breech’s on repro military guns to be so thick and heavy (original bess is around 1.495 diameter at breech while Pedersoli is around 1.250), Indian gun maker’s all vary between 1.300 - 1.400 with a few older manufactures being excessively heavier. At the 1.495 breech was ‘Standard’ for all British muskets from 1710-1790 until higher carbon casted steel barrels were made in the 1800’s.

French guns followed even stricter barrel manufacturing requirements, as they constantly revamped their barrels between patterns if they thought they were too fragile. The Barrel on a 1763 Charleville weighed around 5.5-6 lbs on its own with a breech of 1.400, for a .69 caliber arm, this is large.

Simply put the manufacturing requirements and proofing system required by the British government made these arms very high quality, not just that of the British Government but the French and American government proofing systems as well.

Indian made repro’s do not following any set of standards, they’re simply made to look authentic as much as possible.

You have to also consider that if Indian gun makers do not vent their guns, or proof them they don’t have to sell them off as real weapons, thus reducing a very high amount of personal liability on government and firearms regulations, cost saving measures are apparent in the reproduction market for reason, profiting. Military issued arms are simply provided at no profit to the governments that issued them, they’re just expensed.
I agree totally with the quality of those period arms and have been a regular user of an 1843 HEIC musket with an 8 gram charge and ball. I agree that modern Indian reproduction muskets are of an inferior finish to the originals and much of their competition today.
Steel was not used for period muskets as the period steel was not up to the job then and wrought iron was the better choice then. The dimensions of a barrel reflect the material and the load expected. Hence cast iron cannon have very thick walls.
The liability of guns sold by importers lies with the importers not a foreign manufacturer. It is the importers responsibility to ensure the product they sell is fit for use. Legally they are exported as for display. Also there is a market for display items with no issue of being firearms in law. That is an issue with Indian law and bureaucratic complexity and inflexibility with a soupcon of corruption.
The proofing issue is only in those countries who have no impartial official proof house otherwise all of these pass proof before sale. I quote "Any gun imported/entering the the U.K. from a country/source lacking a proof authority and/or whose test standards and proof marks are not recognised as at least equal to those enforced by the London and Birmingham Proof houses, must be proof tested and marked "approved", prior to sale in the U.K." It is the USA and Canada where the buyer must rely upon taking expensive legal action in a court to safeguard their shooting. Indian guns sold abroad have to meet the standards of the proof houses of the countries to whom they export. Once the touch hole is drilled the gun has to pass proof before sale. Whether drilled by a certified gunsmith or Joe Bloggs with a hand drill. The superior quality (to period wrought iron) of the modern steel used would allow them to make lighter barrels than the originals but still be as strong but they err on the heavy side mostly for ease of machining and the thickness of the steel stock used.
 

Lakeman

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Seventeen pages of entries in this thread running the spectrum from "they're all dangerous junk" to "they are okay". I've been a BP shooter for 60 years and a full-time gunsmith who retired in 2007. My true love has always been traditional flintlock rifles but about 7 years ago I was reading threads like this one and became curious about these Made in India guns. Being retired, and a little bored, I decided to check things out. Some of what I'm about to say has already been said so please bear with me.

First, there are MANY companies making black powder guns in India. All of them ship their products in a non-firing condition. The quality of their product varies from potential-pipe-bomb to safe-to-shoot. The better importers contract with makers they have found to be acceptable and often claim exclusive right to their output. Some simply import the "guns" as non-firing wall hangers. I had three examples of these come into my shop to be drilled and made fireable. All three had the breech plug apparently held in place by a strap of metal brazed in place. All three were sent back to the owners undrilled and the owner was asked to sign a Notice Of Unsafe Condition. That covers the "pipe bomb" end of the spectrum.

The middle ground is a Brown Bess I purchased from Middlesex Village Trading with the intent to compare it to a Pedersoli Bess I had picked up in unfired condition. On initial inspection the MVT looked pretty good. The touch hole was drilled in the correct "sunset position" relative to the pan. Then I tried to cock it. I had encountered strong mainsprings in my time but this one was in a class by itself. So, it turned out, was the sear spring. And the frizzen spring. The pull weight was somewhere off the scale on my trigger gauge. Pulling with my index finger was actually painful and when the sear did trip it promptly fell into the half-cock notch. Some metal removal from the springs reduced the pull to manageable levels. Now that the hammer would fall I learned that it would not kick the frizzen open. I tuned the frizzen spring, did a little polishing, and finally had a functional lock. Or almost. The fit between the frizzen and pan was so poor that FFFFg priming powder would dribble out. This is disappointing if you are walking around hoping to pot a rabbit or squirrel. I tried FFFg with the same results. FFg would mostly stay put. I sent the lock back to MVT and they did improve the fit although not to the extent that I could use FFFFg priming. The Pedersoli Bess? It worked perfectly from the get-go. I do have to admit that the Indian proved to be more accurate than the Italian when shooting round ball.

My next Indian Bess came from Loyalist Arms up in Canada. I can say two things about these folks if my gun is typical of what they sell. One, they must contract with one of the better manufacturers over in India. Two, they actually tune the guns for function before shipping them to customers. Yes, the springs were overly strong but at least I could fire it. I lightened them in about 10 minutes. And Glory Be, FFFFg will stay in the pan! I know, FFFg works fine as priming powder but it's more a point that the lock is properly constructed. I do note that running a cleaning patch on a jag down the barrel reveals a slight increase in diameter near the breech. This is a characteristic I've noted on every Indian Bess that has passed across my bench. In the case of the Loyalist Arms Bess the increase is slight, just enough to be felt. I remember one customer gun where the patch would sometimes slip off the jag when inserted all the way down.

There is no such thing as a Proof House in the United States so complaints about Indian guns not being "proofed" are moot. None of the guns built by any of the top builders in this country have been to a proof house. My suggestion of that you educate yourself about which importers sell the best guns. Avoid any gun that is sold without the touch hole drilled. Expect the lock to need some tuning. Respect any gun. Don't overload it and keep it clean. I find it interesting that every story of an Indian gun "blowing up" happened with a blank charge.
Have fun,
John
 

Kowalsk1

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Seventeen pages of entries in this thread running the spectrum from "they're all dangerous junk" to "they are okay". I've been a BP shooter for 60 years and a full-time gunsmith who retired in 2007. My true love has always been traditional flintlock rifles but about 7 years ago I was reading threads like this one and became curious about these Made in India guns. Being retired, and a little bored, I decided to check things out. Some of what I'm about to say has already been said so please bear with me.

First, there are MANY companies making black powder guns in India. All of them ship their products in a non-firing condition. The quality of their product varies from potential-pipe-bomb to safe-to-shoot. The better importers contract with makers they have found to be acceptable and often claim exclusive right to their output. Some simply import the "guns" as non-firing wall hangers. I had three examples of these come into my shop to be drilled and made fireable. All three had the breech plug apparently held in place by a strap of metal brazed in place. All three were sent back to the owners undrilled and the owner was asked to sign a Notice Of Unsafe Condition. That covers the "pipe bomb" end of the spectrum.

The middle ground is a Brown Bess I purchased from Middlesex Village Trading with the intent to compare it to a Pedersoli Bess I had picked up in unfired condition. On initial inspection the MVT looked pretty good. The touch hole was drilled in the correct "sunset position" relative to the pan. Then I tried to cock it. I had encountered strong mainsprings in my time but this one was in a class by itself. So, it turned out, was the sear spring. And the frizzen spring. The pull weight was somewhere off the scale on my trigger gauge. Pulling with my index finger was actually painful and when the sear did trip it promptly fell into the half-cock notch. Some metal removal from the springs reduced the pull to manageable levels. Now that the hammer would fall I learned that it would not kick the frizzen open. I tuned the frizzen spring, did a little polishing, and finally had a functional lock. Or almost. The fit between the frizzen and pan was so poor that FFFFg priming powder would dribble out. This is disappointing if you are walking around hoping to pot a rabbit or squirrel. I tried FFFg with the same results. FFg would mostly stay put. I sent the lock back to MVT and they did improve the fit although not to the extent that I could use FFFFg priming. The Pedersoli Bess? It worked perfectly from the get-go. I do have to admit that the Indian proved to be more accurate than the Italian when shooting round ball.

My next Indian Bess came from Loyalist Arms up in Canada. I can say two things about these folks if my gun is typical of what they sell. One, they must contract with one of the better manufacturers over in India. Two, they actually tune the guns for function before shipping them to customers. Yes, the springs were overly strong but at least I could fire it. I lightened them in about 10 minutes. And Glory Be, FFFFg will stay in the pan! I know, FFFg works fine as priming powder but it's more a point that the lock is properly constructed. I do note that running a cleaning patch on a jag down the barrel reveals a slight increase in diameter near the breech. This is a characteristic I've noted on every Indian Bess that has passed across my bench. In the case of the Loyalist Arms Bess the increase is slight, just enough to be felt. I remember one customer gun where the patch would sometimes slip off the jag when inserted all the way down.

There is no such thing as a Proof House in the United States so complaints about Indian guns not being "proofed" are moot. None of the guns built by any of the top builders in this country have been to a proof house. My suggestion of that you educate yourself about which importers sell the best guns. Avoid any gun that is sold without the touch hole drilled. Expect the lock to need some tuning. Respect any gun. Don't overload it and keep it clean. I find it interesting that every story of an Indian gun "blowing up" happened with a blank charge.
Have fun,
John
Thank you for your comments. Very useful and knowledgeable.
 

FlinterNick

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Seventeen pages of entries in this thread running the spectrum from "they're all dangerous junk" to "they are okay". I've been a BP shooter for 60 years and a full-time gunsmith who retired in 2007. My true love has always been traditional flintlock rifles but about 7 years ago I was reading threads like this one and became curious about these Made in India guns. Being retired, and a little bored, I decided to check things out. Some of what I'm about to say has already been said so please bear with me.

First, there are MANY companies making black powder guns in India. All of them ship their products in a non-firing condition. The quality of their product varies from potential-pipe-bomb to safe-to-shoot. The better importers contract with makers they have found to be acceptable and often claim exclusive right to their output. Some simply import the "guns" as non-firing wall hangers. I had three examples of these come into my shop to be drilled and made fireable. All three had the breech plug apparently held in place by a strap of metal brazed in place. All three were sent back to the owners undrilled and the owner was asked to sign a Notice Of Unsafe Condition. That covers the "pipe bomb" end of the spectrum.

The middle ground is a Brown Bess I purchased from Middlesex Village Trading with the intent to compare it to a Pedersoli Bess I had picked up in unfired condition. On initial inspection the MVT looked pretty good. The touch hole was drilled in the correct "sunset position" relative to the pan. Then I tried to cock it. I had encountered strong mainsprings in my time but this one was in a class by itself. So, it turned out, was the sear spring. And the frizzen spring. The pull weight was somewhere off the scale on my trigger gauge. Pulling with my index finger was actually painful and when the sear did trip it promptly fell into the half-cock notch. Some metal removal from the springs reduced the pull to manageable levels. Now that the hammer would fall I learned that it would not kick the frizzen open. I tuned the frizzen spring, did a little polishing, and finally had a functional lock. Or almost. The fit between the frizzen and pan was so poor that FFFFg priming powder would dribble out. This is disappointing if you are walking around hoping to pot a rabbit or squirrel. I tried FFFg with the same results. FFg would mostly stay put. I sent the lock back to MVT and they did improve the fit although not to the extent that I could use FFFFg priming. The Pedersoli Bess? It worked perfectly from the get-go. I do have to admit that the Indian proved to be more accurate than the Italian when shooting round ball.

My next Indian Bess came from Loyalist Arms up in Canada. I can say two things about these folks if my gun is typical of what they sell. One, they must contract with one of the better manufacturers over in India. Two, they actually tune the guns for function before shipping them to customers. Yes, the springs were overly strong but at least I could fire it. I lightened them in about 10 minutes. And Glory Be, FFFFg will stay in the pan! I know, FFFg works fine as priming powder but it's more a point that the lock is properly constructed. I do note that running a cleaning patch on a jag down the barrel reveals a slight increase in diameter near the breech. This is a characteristic I've noted on every Indian Bess that has passed across my bench. In the case of the Loyalist Arms Bess the increase is slight, just enough to be felt. I remember one customer gun where the patch would sometimes slip off the jag when inserted all the way down.

There is no such thing as a Proof House in the United States so complaints about Indian guns not being "proofed" are moot. None of the guns built by any of the top builders in this country have been to a proof house. My suggestion of that you educate yourself about which importers sell the best guns. Avoid any gun that is sold without the touch hole drilled. Expect the lock to need some tuning. Respect any gun. Don't overload it and keep it clean. I find it interesting that every story of an Indian gun "blowing up" happened with a blank charge.
Have fun,
John
I've worked on a few Indian guns. I've found some of the same issues as you. As with the locks, they're not good quality locks, and to make it worse, there are few replacement parts available for Indian guns, most have to be forged or fit from useable castings. The geometry of the locks is terrible too, as you said with the Pan's not being covered, very common issue with Indian guns, Pedersoli locks have much better geometry.

Regarding blowing up barrels, most of the time its because of fouling build up and if there's too much built up and breech plug isn't threaded correctly or if a lug is dovetailed too deep it would cause gas to escape and boom. I've never actually seen it happen, but I've come across some brown bess's that had their under lugs dovetailed and soldered rather than soldiered to the surface of the barrels, if this isn't done correctly more than .50 then it would possibly cause an opening in the barrel. While I respect the aim of being historically accurate, those underdogs that were dovetailed by British contractors were done with high spots on the barrel's underside, meaning slightly thicker on the underside.

What I've found is that they're hit or miss, just as you said.

The reason for the Middlesex Long Land being more accurate than the Pedersoli, is because of the extra 5 inches on the long land's barrel, I have a 1756 long land by Rifle Shoppe and its more accurate than my Pedersoli.
 
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Seventeen pages of entries in this thread running the spectrum from "they're all dangerous junk" to "they are okay". I've been a BP shooter for 60 years and a full-time gunsmith who retired in 2007. My true love has always been traditional flintlock rifles but about 7 years ago I was reading threads like this one and became curious about these Made in India guns. Being retired, and a little bored, I decided to check things out. Some of what I'm about to say has already been said so please bear with me.

First, there are MANY companies making black powder guns in India. All of them ship their products in a non-firing condition. The quality of their product varies from potential-pipe-bomb to safe-to-shoot. The better importers contract with makers they have found to be acceptable and often claim exclusive right to their output. Some simply import the "guns" as non-firing wall hangers. I had three examples of these come into my shop to be drilled and made fireable. All three had the breech plug apparently held in place by a strap of metal brazed in place. All three were sent back to the owners undrilled and the owner was asked to sign a Notice Of Unsafe Condition. That covers the "pipe bomb" end of the spectrum.

The middle ground is a Brown Bess I purchased from Middlesex Village Trading with the intent to compare it to a Pedersoli Bess I had picked up in unfired condition. On initial inspection the MVT looked pretty good. The touch hole was drilled in the correct "sunset position" relative to the pan. Then I tried to cock it. I had encountered strong mainsprings in my time but this one was in a class by itself. So, it turned out, was the sear spring. And the frizzen spring. The pull weight was somewhere off the scale on my trigger gauge. Pulling with my index finger was actually painful and when the sear did trip it promptly fell into the half-cock notch. Some metal removal from the springs reduced the pull to manageable levels. Now that the hammer would fall I learned that it would not kick the frizzen open. I tuned the frizzen spring, did a little polishing, and finally had a functional lock. Or almost. The fit between the frizzen and pan was so poor that FFFFg priming powder would dribble out. This is disappointing if you are walking around hoping to pot a rabbit or squirrel. I tried FFFg with the same results. FFg would mostly stay put. I sent the lock back to MVT and they did improve the fit although not to the extent that I could use FFFFg priming. The Pedersoli Bess? It worked perfectly from the get-go. I do have to admit that the Indian proved to be more accurate than the Italian when shooting round ball.

My next Indian Bess came from Loyalist Arms up in Canada. I can say two things about these folks if my gun is typical of what they sell. One, they must contract with one of the better manufacturers over in India. Two, they actually tune the guns for function before shipping them to customers. Yes, the springs were overly strong but at least I could fire it. I lightened them in about 10 minutes. And Glory Be, FFFFg will stay in the pan! I know, FFFg works fine as priming powder but it's more a point that the lock is properly constructed. I do note that running a cleaning patch on a jag down the barrel reveals a slight increase in diameter near the breech. This is a characteristic I've noted on every Indian Bess that has passed across my bench. In the case of the Loyalist Arms Bess the increase is slight, just enough to be felt. I remember one customer gun where the patch would sometimes slip off the jag when inserted all the way down.

There is no such thing as a Proof House in the United States so complaints about Indian guns not being "proofed" are moot. None of the guns built by any of the top builders in this country have been to a proof house. My suggestion of that you educate yourself about which importers sell the best guns. Avoid any gun that is sold without the touch hole drilled. Expect the lock to need some tuning. Respect any gun. Don't overload it and keep it clean. I find it interesting that every story of an Indian gun "blowing up" happened with a blank charge.
Have fun,
John
It's nice to read informed comments, based on actual first-person observation. I deal with a gunsmith who is knowledgeable about Black Powder guns, and he 'thinned' the mainspring on my Indian Bess; it was almost impossible to cock! This thread has been really helpful. Thank you. I wonder why the Importers don't insist that the factories change up and improve the springs, etc. Wouldn't it be great to see a u-tube "video tour" of one of the better Indian musket factories?
 

fourbore

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It seems to me, it would be better for all concerned if some of these so called Indian companies put a brand or mfg name on the product. I am not a big Pedersoli fan, at the least there is a name on the gun and I have a confidence level associated with that name. I believe in the honesty of the posts here that MTC imports vary. Also MTC is one person. He may have improved and learn much over time. I will guess the same for the some other importers. It is a big mess. And a lot of special interests and big talkers spreading manure over the web. Although, I really like this forum. Very informative. But it is still the internet.

My 2c on proofs, I dont need a proof if I see the name like TC, CVA or Pedersoli. One reason a person might like a proof done on an Indian gun should be obvious from reading the last 17 pages. That is an easy DIY effort.
 

RAEDWALD

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My 2c on proofs, I don't need a proof if I see the name like TC, CVA or Pedersoli. One reason a person might like a proof done on an Indian gun should be obvious from reading the last 17 pages. That is an easy DIY effort.
The British. German and French Proof Houses publish their proof loads if you need a guide. Also note that they fire them remotely. I only say the last as I have seen two Youtubers demonstrating their proof loads by firing them off the shoulder in an effort to improve the gene pool.
 

FlinterNick

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The British. German and French Proof Houses publish their proof loads if you need a guide. Also note that they fire them remotely. I only say the last as I have seen two Youtubers demonstrating their proof loads by firing them off the shoulder in an effort to improve the gene pool.
Most people don’t need to proof test a musket or rifle.

the reinactor who loads with 24 150-200 grain blanks without cleaning might want to or the reinactor who thinks an extreme muzzle flash is a cool thing may want to.

otherwise .... the responsible shooter who uses an appropriate load and swabs when required has no real need to proof test.
 

Rudyard

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If theres 10 new posts yesterday they didn't make it .Though about every thing for & against Indian muskets has been said ,So the missing ten are likley much the same . And I've written of my experiences with them They where getting like the Waltons anyway . Rudyard
 
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