Officer's Model Brown Bess – North Star / North Star West

Discussion in 'Smoothbore' started by GunCat, Jul 28, 2019.

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  1. Jul 28, 2019 #1

    GunCat

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    Pilgrim

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    Back when my old friend Mike “Kiwi” Rowe was working with Curly Gostomski he was telling me of a scaled down Brown Bess “Officer's Fusil” in 16 ga they were developing. When I saw the prototype that Mike had, and a few of the early guns that came to market I wanted one real bad, but not bad enough I guess, as life got in the way of things and I never got one.

    I've had a re-awaking of sorts in the recent years, got back into shooting flintlocks, etc. and remembered that Officer's Fusil I never got. Earlier this year I started a search for one of these guns - and as luck would have it I happened on not one, but 2, in a short period of time. One being a NSW gun as far as I can tell (Kiwi thinks it is too) and the other (maybe?) being the later version of NSW with the back of the side plate is initialed “M 10/14/05” (Matt?). As yall know North Star begat North Star West, and then North Star West changed hands again I think before closing up shop a few years ago.

    This past week I picked one the guns to tinker with, tune up, and see if I could make it into one of my shooters. A little “age” to the shiny finish, a new thinner front sight (to replace the bayonet lug front sight that had been snapped off the barrel in transit) and cut a “rear sight” groove and off to the range we went. The starting load of a reasonable charge of Goex 3F and a patched .648” round ball show plenty of promise at 50 yards. There are some Kentucky Whitetail that will be looking at the muzzle come this Fall.

    Other info I found about this gun: https://www.muzzleblasts.com/archives/vol1no1/articles/bess.shtml

    Any additional information, or correction, is appreciated.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  2. Jul 28, 2019 #2

    GunCat

    GunCat

    GunCat

    Pilgrim

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    Some sight work, and other pictures
     

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  3. Jul 28, 2019 #3

    Juice Jaws

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    I brought one from North Star West before Matt took over. I love mine and its a good shooter. I use 60 grs. of 3F, .10 patch, and a .648 ball.
     
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  4. Jul 31, 2019 #4

    FlinterNick

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    Nice Brown Bess, I’ve always loved this smaller scale versions by Northstar and the Rifle Shoppe, they really allow to be utilized in several period re-enactments mostly because fusils were so different and hard to place in time.
     
  5. Jul 31, 2019 #5

    Artificer

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    OK, this may sound bad in spots, but it is not intended to be, as I also looked at the North Star West Officer's Fusil for a long time and was not able to get one when they were still available.

    From the Muzzle Blasts article, I had plenty to agree with, but there were some minor differences to point out.

    Officers Fusils always had some kind of decorative engraving on at least the lock plate, if not the side plate as well. Checkering was VERY common on those guns so much so it would have been noticeable when one wasn't checkered. Actually, the only thing on the North Star West Fusil that may show it to be an Officer's Piece is the styling of the side plate, which is different than the standard Ordnance Pattern Carbine of the era.

    What this gun REALLY screams is "P1760 Artillery/Sergeant's/Highlanders Carbine," though it does not have sling swivels attached, but they can be readily be mounted on the Carbine and the side plate is different as noted above.

    A little background on the gun from Bailey on British Pattern Carbines of the period. In 1755, British Ordnance developed the then new "flatter bottom" Lock vs the older Banana Shaped Lock Plate. British Ordnance in 1756 began producing full length Muskets, Carbines and even Pistols with the "New Pattern 1755 Lock" which the North Star West Fusil uses. They also standardized the "Carbine Bore" at .66 cal. and the North Star West Fusil is close enough and probably within period specs for the Carbine Bore. The 37 inch length barrel on the North Star West Fusil is EXACTLY correct for a period British Ordnance Carbine.

    The P 1756 Carbine originally was issued with a Wood Ramrod and is well documented that Highland Units used it here in the FIW when they first came here during the War, as well as some Sergeants in other Units. Most of them were converted to Steel Rammer here and other places, while they were still used. Except for the Wood Ramrod on the original and maybe the slightly different side plate, the North Star West Fusil fits right in. The slightly different side plate may have been found on some of the P1756 Carbines, though.

    The P 1760 Carbine, which the North Star West Fusil resembles the most with the Steel Rammer and Rammer Pipes made to fit the Steel Rammer, MAY have been sent here in limited quantities as replacements for broken/damaged P 1756 Carbines. but there were no major amounts issued here during the FIW.

    However, I doubt that even a real persnickety FIW Juried Event, would have a problem with the North Star West Fusil, should you wish to use it to re-enact at one and the FIW general reenactments would welcome you using it, as they allow slightly later Muskets!

    From all accounts I've heard of this piece, you have a very nice Carbine and I would certainly like to have one as well.

    Gus
     
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  6. Aug 1, 2019 #6

    GunCat

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    Artificer,

    Thanks for the interesting information and history lesson.

    If you are still wanting a NSW carbine I can point you to a source, even has the bayonet with it.
     
  7. Aug 1, 2019 #7

    Artificer

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    You are most welcome and thank you for the kind words.

    I would take you up on your kind offer, but I'm working out having a slightly modified P 1756 Carbine built by another forum member in the near future.

    Gus
     
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  8. Aug 18, 2019 at 7:59 PM #8

    FlinterNick

    FlinterNick

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    Problem with pinning a standardized pattern on the NsW Fusil is that so many original period guns were customized and commercialized. No single 2 will ever be the same regardless of which period they’re being used for. The general facts of an officers fusil are smaller in scale, smaller bore and shorter barrel
     
  9. Aug 18, 2019 at 8:10 PM #9

    FlinterNick

    FlinterNick

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    Agree Gus!

    Not much protest for a NSW fusil in FIW; the steel rammers were bring slowly replaced in factory and in the field.

    I’ve seen ketland fusils used in all periods.

    Jim chambers has a nice British fusil too. Stocked to the muzzle like many civilian period guns.
     

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