Pedersoli Brown Bess

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shaman

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It's me. I'm back from Chemo Camp. I actually have one more round due, but the cancer is ostensibly gone. I've been suffering considerably. The 3rd round of Chemo almost had me done-in, because it coincided with the arrival of COVID. This, in turn, brought on a wee heart attack. Two week-long stays in the hospital resulted. However, 1 month on, I'm starting to feel half-way normal-- at least enough to start thinking about my Brown Bess again. I want to thank y'all; even from my hospital bed, I was lurking on here. I was too weak and had too many tubes in me to write, but I was enjoying the reading. I'm still on track for being in my treestand for the Kentucky Rifle Opener.

Back to the subject: The Pedersoli Brown Bess caught my fancy ages ago. I've had a yen for a 'Bess for decades, probably going to Williamsburg as a kid set it off. When I actually got serious about acquiring one, the Pedersoli version seemed like the best choice for a guy like me that wanted a solid, working tool for hunting. I acquired mine for well under list price over last winter. That sweetened the deal.

While I was laid up, I was doing some reading on my 'Bess. I see a lot of folks alluding to historical inaccuracies and other reasons for knocking the Pedersoli offering, but I've yet to see these lined out. My question to y'all is this: What are those gripes?

I can already see why the 'Bess is knocked about as a practical hunting arm. It certainly is heavy. It has all the subtlety of a fart in church. If Bess and I were back in high school, I'd imagine her playing bass drum in the marching band, but only because they wouldn't let her try out for varsity football. That's fine. I'm rather John Wayne-esque in my proportions. I can handle this fence post, and I figure when I get this brute figured out for turkey hunting, the long barrel is going to be an asset. For deer hunting, anything that chunks an 11-GA punkin' ball has my respect.

That brings me to a follow-on question: I know that the 'Bess was used here in America from before the French & Indian conflict all the way to the end of the Revolution. They had to have been ubiquitous. How much were they used in private hands for hunting for the pot?
 
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Not many of the land pattern Brown Bess muskets made it out to the civilian community as these were King's property and returned to government storage after being used for militia duty. Guns determined to be unserviceable were sometimes sold off. These seem to have been used as home defense weapons.

A Brown Bess can be used to hunt, but it will be cumbersome. Enjoy.
 
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Manual Lisa had a ‘sporterized Bess’ and we have an account of border ruffians in Texas being siezed about 1850 with some cut off besses.
Every ship had to carry a style of musket in the eighteenth century. These were privately made and not all the same. Many were patterned after the bess. And these were the first trade guns.
The English pre bess matchlock masker had evolved the proto-bess stock before William.
Bess and bess style guns filled the armory for militia men. And no doubt many got in to private hands.
In general a bess was the kings musket. And a civilian with one had best be able to explain it.
We know civilians got their hands on some. But In general they were uncommon for civilians
 
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Hi Shaman,
I am very happy to read you are healing after a bout with C&C (cancer and covid) hell. Unfortunately, your story is not unique these days. I wish you the best and full recovery. With respect to the Pedersoli Bess, I have written extensively and in great specific detail in this forum about the historical short comings of the Pedersoli Bess.

I am not aware of historical documentation of folks using Besses for hunting, however, we find numerous quasi-military and militia guns that were composites using old Bess parts and also fowling guns. Generally, the Brown Bess was not popular outside of its military context compared with lighter and handier French muskets. In a large portion of New England, captured French muskets, parts, and designs appeared to dominate. Having worked over a lot of Pedersolis, I find the stock much too straight to shoot well (it is straighter than the originals), and the gun is heavy and clumsy. I also have no need for its large bore. Moreover, the locks need a lot of work to balance the springs and lighten the trigger pull except you have to be careful about trigger pull. The lock has no fly detent and I've fixed many Pedersolis for which guys lightened their triggers and subsequently, the sear hits the lip of the half cock notch when fired. The notch and sear are eventually damaged. I am sure the Pedersoli will work as a hunting gun and there are folks on this forum that use them for that purpose. A big guy like you will adapt much better to shooting and carrying on. However, despite being 6' and big shouldered, I would not choose one for hunting. A nice 6lbs English fowler in 16 gauge with a Chambers or Kibler lock would be my choice.

dave
 
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I can already see why the 'Bess is knocked about as a practical hunting arm. It is certainly a heavy mofo. It has all the subtlety of a fart in church. If Bess and I were back in high school, I'd imagine her playing bass drum in the marching band, but only because they wouldn't let her try out for varsity football. That's fine. I'm rather John Wayne-esque in my proportions. I can handle this fence post, and I figure when I get this brute figured out for turkey hunting, the long barrel is going to be an asset. For deer hunting, anything that chunks an 11-GA punkin' ball has my respect.
Hilarious. 😂

I do not own a Bess myself, but I do know how cumbersome they can be. Is yours the full sized or carbine size?

EDIT- I see you've got the long barrel. Should make a great turkey gun like you said. Might consider a jug choke job if the pattern is too thin. That would be an inbound beehive on steroids. WHEW!
 
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shaman

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Hilarious. 😂

I do not own a Bess myself, but I do know how cumbersome they can be. Is yours the full sized or carbine size?

Thanks. Mine is the full-length version.


Hi Shaman,
I am very happy to read you are healing after a bout with C&C (cancer and covid) hell. Unfortunately, your story is not unique these days. I wish you the best and full recovery. With respect to the Pedersoli Bess, I have written extensively and in great specific detail in this forum about the historical short comings of the Pedersoli Bess.


I am not aware of historical documentation of folks using Besses for hunting, however, we find numerous quasi-military and militia guns that were composites using old Bess parts and also fowling guns. Generally, the Brown Bess was not popular outside of its military context compared with lighter and handier French muskets. In a large portion of New England, captured French muskets, parts, and designs appeared to dominate. Having worked over a lot of Pedersolis, I find the stock much too straight to shoot well (it is straighter than the originals), and the gun is heavy and clumsy. I also have no need for its large bore. Moreover, the locks need a lot of work to balance the springs and lighten the trigger pull except you have to be careful about trigger pull. The lock has no fly detent and I've fixed many Pedersolis for which guys lightened their triggers and subsequently, the sear hits the lip of the half cock notch when fired. The notch and sear are eventually damaged. I am sure the Pedersoli will work as a hunting gun and there are folks on this forum that use them for that purpose. A big guy like you will adapt much better to shooting and carrying on. However, despite being 6' and big shouldered, I would not choose one for hunting. A nice 6lbs English fowler in 16 gauge with a Chambers or Kibler lock would be my choice.

dave

Dave: Thanks. You've gone a long way towards answering my original question.

Y'all have to admit: If I can pull off the trifecta of a squirrel, a turkey and a deer all in the same year with this 'Bess, it'll be worth the bragging rights.
 

Rock Home Isle

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Not many of the land pattern Brown Bess muskets made it out to the civilian community as these were King's property and returned to government storage after being used for militia duty. Guns determined to be unserviceable were sometimes sold off. These seem to have been used as home defense weapons.

A Brown Bess can be used to hunt, but it will be cumbersome. Enjoy.
I must disagree. I’ve hunted with my Bess for much of the last 27 years and found it to be a solid hunting firearm.
 
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I use mine for squirrels and such!
 

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M1ashooter

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In 1975 I built a Navy Arms Brown Bess. I still have her. My mom wouldn’t let me have a center fire weapon but a flint lock and a few lbs of powder were ok. My friends and I used our muskets to hunt ground hogs and black birds.
 

Loyalist Dave

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That brings me to a follow-on question: I know that the 'Bess was used here in America from before the French & Indian conflict all the way to the end of the Revolution. They had to have been ubiquitous. How much were they used in private hands for hunting for the pot?
Not many of the land pattern Brown Bess muskets made it out to the civilian community as these were King's property and returned to government storage after being used for militia duty. Guns determined to be unserviceable were sometimes sold off. These seem to have been used as home defense weapons.

A Brown Bess can be used to hunt, but it will be cumbersome. Enjoy.

Well it actually depends on the colony.

Maryland issued King's Muskets to its militia, had an arsenal, and Maryland had its own Ranger companies. In contrast, Pennsylvania had no militia system.

The Maryland Rangers existed before the pattern of the musket that we call a "Bess" existed, so prior to Maryland getting old, surplus models of the Bess, the colony likely was issuing out muskets and carbines having an "English lock" (doglock muskets).

So the question then would be, would the Ranger use his free musket for hunting? The ammo wouldn't be free, but if the hunter reduced his load a bit, that one ounce ball would take the deer, and likely be recovered from the animal.

On the other hand, a fusil would cost about half a month's pay, and a rifle about two month's pay.... and that ammo would cost money too....

I can't say how many ended up as "civilian" owned later but, we "Rebels" sure did pick-up a few of them at Cowpens and Kings Mountain!

Actually, King's Mountain is a really odd battle, and it was the culmination of a series of engagements by the Over Mountain Men (Including the father of Davey Crockett, one John Crockett). Of the 1100 or so British combatants at KM, only about 100 were Provincial Soldiers (provided arms by Britain) with the rest being militia and having their own civilian guns, and probably only one man had a Ferguson rifle, that being Ferguson himself. Musgrove's Mill fought on August 18th, nearly two months before KM, ended with the death or capture of 200 British provincials, and would've netted twice as many Bess as should've been at KM.

LD
 

Steve Aubrey

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I'm 59 now, but got my Pedersolis BB when I was 32. I have been in love w/ her all those years.
She's a big girl, got the curves, and satisfies her man😆! Beautiful, loyal, trustworthy. She has taught me a lot.
She's dropped deer ( as in dead right there!),squirrels,rabbits,and doves.
She's so forgiving. She's not any heavier than my M1 Grand, so it's good.
Back in the mid 90s, the Pedersolis ramrod came apart while cleaning. All these repro metal rods are 3 piece affairs to cut production cost. There is a rod, and friction fit the end pieces north & south. Usually ok for loading, not so much for cleaning.

In the 2000s I found a guy who made one piece iron rammers in an advert in Muzzleloader. I bought one and it was a great investment.

Still, I made my own range rod from a 48 inch dowel I bought at Lowes. Soaked it in a 50/50 mix of kerosene & Boild Linseed Oil.

For transparency, I hurt my rotator cuff in my shoulder, and Bess was a big girl - so it gave me a chance to pick up a little French tart. A Fusil de Chasse in 20 gauge/ .62 calibre. She's light, doesn't kick hard. I'm better so I went back to Bess and she's good .
 
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I can't say how many ended up as "civilian" owned later but, we "Rebels" sure did pick-up a few of them at Cowpens and Kings Mountain!
Hi,
We took a lot more Besses after Saratoga and Yorktown but probably gave a bunch back to the British at Quebec, Trois Riviere, Long Island, Kip's Bay, Fort Washington, White Plains, Brandywine, Paoli, Charlestown, and Camden.

dave
 
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I can't say how many ended up as "civilian" owned later but, we "Rebels" sure did pick-up a few of them at Cowpens and Kings Mountain!
Well it actually depends on the colony.

Maryland issued King's Muskets to its militia, had an arsenal, and Maryland had its own Ranger companies. In contrast, Pennsylvania had no militia system.

The Maryland Rangers existed before the pattern of the musket that we call a "Bess" existed, so prior to Maryland getting old, surplus models of the Bess, the colony likely was issuing out muskets and carbines having an "English lock" (doglock muskets).

So the question then would be, would the Ranger use his free musket for hunting? The ammo wouldn't be free, but if the hunter reduced his load a bit, that one ounce ball would take the deer, and likely be recovered from the animal.

On the other hand, a fusil would cost about half a month's pay, and a rifle about two month's pay.... and that ammo would cost money too....



Actually, King's Mountain is a really odd battle, and it was the culmination of a series of engagements by the Over Mountain Men (Including the father of Davey Crockett, one John Crockett). Of the 1100 or so British combatants at KM, only about 100 were Provincial Soldiers (provided arms by Britain) with the rest being militia and having their own civilian guns, and probably only one man had a Ferguson rifle, that being Ferguson himself. Musgrove's Mill fought on August 18th, nearly two months before KM, ended with the death or capture of 200 British provincials, and would've netted twice as many Bess as should've been at KM.

LD
What would have happened to the arms surrendered at Yorktown, after the final treaty In 1783?
 
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It's me. I'm back from Chemo Camp. I actually have one more round due, but the cancer is ostensibly gone. I've been suffering considerably. The 3rd round of Chemo almost had me done-in, because it coincided with the arrival of COVID. This, in turn, brought on a wee heart attack. Two week-long stays in the hospital resulted. However, 1 month on, I'm starting to feel half-way normal-- at least enough to start thinking about my Brown Bess again. I want to thank y'all; even from my hospital bed, I was lurking on here. I was too weak and had too many tubes in me to write, but I was enjoying the reading. I'm still on track for being in my treestand for the Kentucky Rifle Opener.

Back to the subject: The Pedersoli Brown Bess caught my fancy ages ago. I've had a yen for a 'Bess for decades, probably going to Williamsburg as a kid set it off. When I actually got serious about acquiring one, the Pedersoli version seemed like the best choice for a guy like me that wanted a solid, working tool for hunting. I acquired mine for well under list price over last winter. That sweetened the deal.

While I was laid up, I was doing some reading on my 'Bess. I see a lot of folks alluding to historical inaccuracies and other reasons for knocking the Pedersoli offering, but I've yet to see these lined out. My question to y'all is this: What are those gripes?

I can already see why the 'Bess is knocked about as a practical hunting arm. It certainly is heavy. It has all the subtlety of a fart in church. If Bess and I were back in high school, I'd imagine her playing bass drum in the marching band, but only because they wouldn't let her try out for varsity football. That's fine. I'm rather John Wayne-esque in my proportions. I can handle this fence post, and I figure when I get this brute figured out for turkey hunting, the long barrel is going to be an asset. For deer hunting, anything that chunks an 11-GA punkin' ball has my respect.

That brings me to a follow-on question: I know that the 'Bess was used here in America from before the French & Indian conflict all the way to the end of the Revolution. They had to have been ubiquitous. How much were they used in private hands for hunting for the pot?
Welcome back! Good to hear from a fellow traveler... Reading each thread in this forum every day was a big part of maintaining some level of brain function in the midst of pain meds and my first round of chemo last year... It was, many days, my only predictable accomplishment. I'll think about you and your Bess during this Florida muzzleloader season w/ my new (to me) Kibler .54 Colonial across my knees!
 

Rock Home Isle

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Welcome back! Good to hear from a fellow traveler... Reading each thread in this forum every day was a big part of maintaining some level of brain function in the midst of pain meds and my first round of chemo last year... It was, many days, my only predictable accomplishment. I'll think about you and your Bess during this Florida muzzleloader season w/ my new (to me) Kibler .54 Colonial across my knees!
My Mother-in-Law is on chemo for the 2nd time. She’s very tough, walks everywhere…I love her dearly
 
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