Navy Arms Bess question

Discussion in 'Smoothbore' started by spudnut, May 13, 2019.

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  1. May 13, 2019 #1

    spudnut

    spudnut

    spudnut

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    Did Navy arms ever offer a brown bess in 69 cal? Theres a discussion going on on face book about such an animal
     
  2. May 13, 2019 #2

    hawkeye2

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    Not that I am aware of unless they offered an "officers model" that I don't know about. The original officers fusil was in .62 or .65 caliber (sources vary) and I'm not sure they should be really called Brown Besses. NA sold both the Italian and the Japanese versions over the years as I remember but they are .75 caliber.
     
  3. May 14, 2019 #3

    Loyalist Dave

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    YES by default.
    I have seen such an animal, though it's been almost 30 years.
    Miroku, according to my buddy Rick, the owner of said musket, made Bess and Charleville muskets to compete with Pedersoli. The Japanese made one musket barrel, in .69 , for the first run of these muskets, and used them for both muskets. They simply soldered the bayonet lug on the top and added barrel tenons on the Bess barrel, as well as adding a "wedding band" at the breech. THUS they sold .69 caliber Bess muskets, until they were told "No, the Bess should be a .75", and they corrected that on future models. Rick had one of the very first Miroku Bess, and as he was only shooting blanks, it was several years later that he checked the caliber, and found it was a .69.

    Another version of the story is that the factory finished Bess were .75, but the "kit" version used .69 barrels for both the Bess and the kit Charleville....

    That's the story, and I'm stickin' to it.

    LD
     
  4. May 14, 2019 #4

    hawkeye2

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    LD that's interesting and thanks for the info.
     
  5. May 14, 2019 #5

    GunCat

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    Interesting info.

    I can tell you that the circa 1987 Miroku Bess I have, built from a DGW kit, has the .75 barrel.
     
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  6. May 14, 2019 #6

    Loyalist Dave

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    I'm thinking more like circa 1974-76 time frame...;)

    LD
     
  7. May 14, 2019 #7

    rickystl

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    That's interesting to know. I bought a Miroku Bess, second hand at a pawn shop in Denver back in the early 1980's for $125.00. It had never been fired. I remember how well that lock sparked. Another gun I wish I had back. Darn.
    Speaking of Besses, does anyone remember the copies of the Long Land Pattern offered in the DGW catalog - that were actually made in England ? I'm thinking it was in the late 1960's or early 1970's. They were very expensive for that time. Think they were only in the catalog for a couple years (?)

    Rick
     
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  8. May 14, 2019 #8

    hawkeye2

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    I remember them and very expensive isn't even close, they were astronmical for me at the time. I've always wondered who made them.
     
  9. May 18, 2019 #9

    FlinterNick

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    My miruko bess is from the bicentennial, its calibered around .725, so it takes a .69 ball which is what I use. The barrel is also thinner and lighter for a Brown Bess, which I do think was done by mistake, no matter the lightweight barrel makes the gun very comfortable to handle and lighter, the steel miruko used for the Bess and Charleville is superbly manufactured.
     
  10. May 18, 2019 #10

    FlinterNick

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    Miruko Brown Bess locks were very good, strong springs and well designed. I would take my miruko and place it on a Pedersoli or another repro if I had an extra one, they work great.
     
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  11. May 18, 2019 #11

    FlinterNick

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    The Japanese Brown Bess Muskets by Miruko were patterned after the later second pattern Short Land bess circa 1778/79. Most of these muskets were used in the Napoleonic Wars, War of 1812 and Mexican American War shouldered by Mexican Troops. They were stocked with parts in Nepal and India during the later 1790's (according to DGW Gunsmith), in the manufacturing process they made them more for a fit of the American Revolutionary War market by using the 1755 lock and brass. Very well made repro.

    Most of the bicentennials I've seen are pretty old and beat up, Mine is due for a restock eventually, but I'm considering hard to sell it off on auction.
     
  12. May 18, 2019 #12

    Loyalist Dave

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    I know that Turner Kirkland, the man behind DGW had some Bess locks made, with the name of a dear, departed friend engraved on them instead of Grice or Tower, that were offered by DGW, and some of those were built into quasi LLP's (the locks were SLP locks still). An old reenacting friend..., "Sam"...(her name is Heidi) had such. Wooden rammer on it too. She thought it custom built but perhaps it was in fact a factory gun.

    LD
     
  13. May 18, 2019 #13

    FlinterNick

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    The long land Dixie sold was by coach harness co of England. They collected parts and sold them completed or as kits to distributors; from 1973-77; They used the Pedersoli grice lock and a barrel designed by don Getz; stock and brass were by ravensheer and ghoring; I bid on one at auction for the Arnes collection but got beat by the gavel. Sold for $2100
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  14. May 18, 2019 #14

    cositrike

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    You still see one or two here in England. I’ve personally owned two during my lifetime so far. Nice guns they are too.
     
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  15. May 27, 2019 #15

    rickystl

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    FlinterNick: OK, that's interesting to know ref the English made Besses. It was in their catalog longer than I remembered. I'm not too surprised it went for that price at auction.
    Once in a while one of the earlier Navy Arms marked Bess or Charleville muskets show up at auction. They sell very quickly. Only seen the Miruko Bess show up a couple times on Gunbroker over the years. They sold instantly.
    About 5 years ago while at the Antique Arms Show in Baltimore I saw a Navy Arms marked Charleville that showed only light usage. Could have had it for under $800.00. But their were two others at the Show I wanted more. Still kicking myself for not buying it. Darn.

    Rick
     
  16. May 27, 2019 #16

    MikeEasy

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    Rather than titling your thread "Just a question" it would be better to title it so as to reveal the contents, e.g., "Did Navy arms ever offer a brown bess in 69 cal? ". There are at least three reasons to do that:

    1) the user immediately knows something about the thread's contents,

    2) the system search can use titles only and find useful information. If every thread were titled "Just a question", "Was thinking about this...", "Oops!", "Afternoon Delight" or "Have you ever tried to do this?", etc. then the title search would be useless,

    3) It requires less typing.

    FWIW I usually don't bother to look at posts that do not have an informative title.
     
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  17. May 27, 2019 #17

    Loyalist Dave

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    DGW also marketed "Stowe" locks. Which were SLP locks without the Grice or Tower that I mentioned. Mr. "Stowe" was the old friend of Turner Kirkland that had passed.

    LD
     
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  18. May 28, 2019 #18

    FlinterNick

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    It’s important to remember that most shorthand BB reproductions use the 1755 lock; which was used on the 1755 longland, 1769 shortland, and marine and militia muskets of that period.
    DGW also sold blank perdersoli locks so reinactors could mark and date them. Grice is ok for 1755-1766 period arms; perfect for a long land Bess.
     
  19. May 28, 2019 #19

    Loyalist Dave

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    Um well no according to Dr. Bailey's book the size and shape of the lock and the engraving of "1762" isn't OK for a LLP.

    LD
     
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  20. May 28, 2019 #20

    FlinterNick

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    respectfully ...

    My Miruko lock is around 6 3/4, I have a Rifle Shoppe 1755 lock that measures just under 7 inches, Goldstein's book has the 1756 long land contracted by Grice with the similar features as the 1756 lock, with minor differences to the frizzen spring length and top jaw screw.

    I've seen a few originals with locks that measured different lengths.

    I don't see why the Grice Lock wouldn't be an appropriate lock for a 1760's period long land at all, in fact Coach Harness used it on their bicentennial longland, the lock was produced by Pedersoli.

    I've seen a few original LLP bess's with Grice 1760 and 1766.

    The Shortland Brown Bess incarnation used three different locks, the 1755 lock on the 1769 pattern, on the 1777 lock the smaller design was used with a different cock, frizzen spring an shorter sear spring, the Liege Locks and Irish Locks I'm not familiar with.

    One thing is for sure, there are no 2 brown bess's that look alike.
     
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