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Rare Harpers Ferry Model 1816 Flintlock Musket c. 1828

Product Description

Rare Harpers Ferry Model 1816 Flintlock Musket c. 1828

Please check out my website at newmarketarms.com FIRST for this and other antique military firearms.

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This is a rare and all original Harpers Ferry Model 1816 Type Flintlock Musket dated 1828, in original flint.

Following the War of 1812, the War Department created the Ordnance Department, which would be responsible for all weapons development and acquisition. One of the first acts of the New Chief of Ordnance was a proposed new model of pattern musket, which began at Springfield Armory in 1815. Springfield Armory's design was sent to Chief of Ordnance Colonel Bomford on August 27, 1816. Colonel Bomford then wrote Springfield Armory Superintendent Roswell Lee on November 27, 1816, that the new pattern musket design had been approved by the Secretary of War. This established the year-model designation of the U.S. Model 1816 Musket.

While the U.S. Model 1816 Musket would remain in production, with various improvements, for nearly 30 years, confusion as to the correct model nomenclature was created in 1821 with many collectors, and many reference books, referring to a Model 1822 Musket. This confusion originated on September 3, 1821, when Colonel Bomford ordered thirty muskets each made "according to established standard pattern," at both Springfield and Harpers Ferry. The "established standard pattern" at that time was the US Model 1816 Musket. The purpose of this order was for Ordnance Department personnel to examine the two lots of thirty muskets from the two national armories and select one armory's muskets as the pattern for subsequent contractors to follow based on the uniformity of muskets within the lot.

Ultimately, the muskets made at Harpers Ferry were selected as the contractor pattern. Although no new model of musket was intended, the Harpers Ferry pattern Model 1816 Muskets had lower sling swivels riveted to the front of the trigger guard bow instead of being riveted to the vertical stud passing up through the front trigger guard extension. These Harpers Ferry muskets were all dated "1822," and were also stamped "MODEL" on many of the components as they were, indeed, "models" of the Model 1816 for purposes of the selection of a standardized weapon that could be reproduced by private contractors. Any apparent confusion would have ended then had someone at the Ordnance Department not made reference to a "Model of 1822" musket in an Ordnance Manual in 1841. From that point forward the confusion, and the myth of a Model 1822 Musket, has been perpetrated.

The US Model 1816 Flintlock Musket is generally divided into three "types," none of which were considered different Models by the Ordnance Department during the weapon's period of active service. The "type" classification was only used by the Ordnance Department later when stocks of Model 1816s were differentiated for purposes of determining which weapons were most suitable for alteration to percussion.

The Type I musket consists of the first production Model 1816 Muskets until late 1822 or early 1823 and were typically finished in the National Armory Bright finish. Type I muskets have a lower sling swivel riveted to a vertical stud that passes up through the trigger guard's forward extension and just forward of the trigger bow.

The Type II muskets were manufactured from late 1822 or early 1823 until sometime in 1832 and were finished "brown" instead of with the National Armory Bright finish. The Type II muskets also had a new trigger guard that eliminated the vertical stud and, instead, the sling swivel was riveted directly to the front branch of the trigger guard bow.

The Type III, and final of the US Model 1816 Flintlock Musket types, was manufactured from sometime in 1832 until the end of production. The Type III muskets were finished brown and later in the National Armory Bright finish and the sling swivel base, which was still riveted to the trigger guard bow, was increased in size with a rounded, barrel shape.

This particular US Model 1816 Flintlock Musket is a Type II musket. As noted, the Type II muskets exhibit the new trigger guard without the vertical stud that has the rear sling swivel riveted to the front branch of the trigger guard bow. Harpers Ferry manufactured only 10,000 Model 1816 Muskets in 1828. This particular Model 1816 Flintlock Musket is rare because it was never inspected, and subsequently stamped, as part of the later conversion to percussion inspection and marking process that is observed on the vast majority of Model 1816 Muskets.

This particular US Model 1816 Flintlock Musket is in very good condition and is all original and is in original flint in every respect. The original .69 caliber Barrel is present. The barrel exhibits a largely plum patina with evidence of old pitting along its length. Evidence of the original brown finish on the top, exposed portion of the barrel is still very strong. The Barrel is 42" in length and has the correct bayonet lug brazed to the top of the barrel 1 3/16" behind the muzzle. The upper left, rear portion of the barrel has the correct serif “V” verification stamp over the serif “P” proof stamp over the eagles head stamp facing to the right. The bottom of the barrel, concealed by the stock, has the assembler numbers to include the letter “O” stamped on both the bottom, rear of the barrel and the bottom of the breech plug. The back portion of the breech plug is marked with a “4” as is the side of the tang. The rear of the barrel has serif “P” and “H” stamps.

There is, correctly, no serial number on the top, rear of the barrel. Harpers Ferry Armory had stamped serial numbers on its weapons from the beginning of production until the outbreak of the War of 1812, when the practice was discontinued. The touchhole is original and has not been reamed or otherwise altered and the touchhole's channel to the chamber is unobstructed.

The original Lockplate is in very good condition and it exhibits a mixed plum and pewter patina. The Lockplate is 6 11/16" by 1 3/8" and is approximately .19" thick. The front portion is flat with beveled edges and the rear portion is convex that arcs to a point. The rear portion has the original and still crisp "HARPERS / FERRY / 1828" stamped vertically. Forward of the Cock (or Hammer) is the crisp Federal Eagle, looking to the rear with lowered wings and open shield above the serif “US” stamp.

The interior of the Lock, and its component parts, are all original from 1828. The Mainspring is in very fine condition and is in National Armory Bright. The bottom of the Mainspring has a serif “V” stamp and the interior boss has a serif “I” stamp. The original brass Pan has assembly “4” and “O” stamped on the inside. The interior surface of the Lockplate shows its original National Armory Bright finish and there are numerous sub inspection stamps including serif two serif “V” stamps and a serif “M” stamp.

The original Tumbler has a crisp, serif “F” and a “G” assembler stamp. The original Bridle has the original and crisp “V” and “B” inspection stamps. The Sear remains in the white and has a serif “V” assembler mark on the bottom of the Sear and a punch stamp on the top of the Sear Spring. The Action is still very tight and the Cock and Tumbler action are still crisp and precise and the Sear still releases crisply.

The original Cock, or Hammer, is 3 1/2" in length has a convex outer surface and heart-shaped hole in the throat. The outer surface of the Cock, at the neck, has serif “V” and serif “W” inspection stamps. The original Upper Jaw has a serif “J” and a serif “M” inspection stamp on the top. The original Jaw Screw Head is correctly slotted at the top and the upper Jaw moves freely when the Screw is adjusted. The Jaw Screw Head has an assembly script “2” stamp. The Cock has a mottled finish that is a mixture of old corrosion and some pitting and a plum patina, as does the original Cock Screw, which is convex with an unmarred single-slot.

As noted, the original Pan is present and is Brass with an old, mustard yellow patina and is marked with sub inspection, serif “V” and “F” stamps on the bottom. The top portion of the Pan still exhibits some carbon buildup from firing at some point in the past. The original Frizzen is also present and is 1 15/16" by 15/16" with the top portion inclining forward. The front portion of the Frizzen is convex with a mottled, pewter patina. The front edge of the Frizzen has serif “V”, “P” and “12” marks. The rear, striking surface is flat with numerous flint impact marks. The Frizzen and Frizzen Spring screws are the original, convex type with unmarred single slots. Both outer edges of the Frizzen Springs leaves are correctly beveled.

The original Front Barrel Band is present and exhibits a largely plum patina over old pitting. The original brazed brass front sight is present and the front sight post shows a dark mustard patina. The interior, rear of the front band has a “4” assembler stamp. The original Middle Band is present and also exhibits generally a plum patina. It has the correct and original upper sling swivel that moves freely. The original Lower Band is present and exhibits the same plum patina with some old pitting and it has a “C” inspection stamp on the top.

The original oil-finished black walnut stock is present and is in very good condition. The stock is 54 3/16" long with the low comb that intersects the wrist about 9 1/2" forward of the butt. The left side stock flat has the original cartouche, a clipped corner rectangle with script “AB” initials, which is the final inspection stamp of Harpers Ferry Master Armorer Armistead Beckham, who was in that position at Harpers Ferry from 1818 to 1830. It also has the Harpers Ferry serif “P H” stamp over a serif “V” stamp. The Stock has normal minor dings and small gouges and scratches but is in remarkable condition given that it is over 190 years old. The bottom of the stock wrist has a very faint and nearly impossible to read script firing proof cartouche. The initials can no longer be read. The absence of the classification cartouche, the rarity of which is discussed below, makes this a very scarce stock.

The Stock wears its original Butt Plate that is 4 1/2" by 2 1/8" with a straight rear profile and convex rear surface. The butt plate exhibits a dark plum patina and has a fairly heavily pitted surface on the back and tang. The Tang Screw slot is unmarred and it has a “O” stamp. The rear Butt Plate Screw also has a “O” stamp.

The original modified "L" shaped Side Plate is present and retains generally a plum patina. The side plate is marked with a “O” stamp in the center and both side plate screws are present, both of which are marked with an “O” stamp on the face. All three original Band Springs are present and each secures its respective band properly. The two rear bands have the “O” inspection stamp on the bottom edge. The Stock secures the original Ramrod, which is 42" in length with correct button-head end, which has a “4” assemblers stamp. The ramrod exhibits a plum patina with old pitting.

The original Trigger Guard Assembly is present and it still retains considerable remnants of its original brown finish that is largely taking on a plum patina finish with areas of old corrosion. The original Trigger is present and it still operates smoothly on its Trigger Pin. The front extension of the Trigger Guard has the serif "R" and “O” inspection stamps. The original rear sling swivel is still securely riveted to the front of the trigger bow and it moves freely.

As noted, the "Type" classification of US Model 1816 Flintlock Muskets was undertaken to prioritize weapons based on their suitability for conversion to percussion. This became necessary because the adoption of the US Model 1842 Musket in the early spring of 1842, which was a percussion musket, rendered all existing flintlock muskets obsolete. Because so many flintlock muskets were then in service, and to return as many of those flintlocks as possible to current, serviceable condition, the Secretary of War authorized an inspection of muskets owned by the federal government to classify them in terms of suitability for alteration. On June 4, 1842, Ordnance Lieutenant Peter V. Hagner was assigned as the senior Ordnance officer in charge of inspection and classification of flintlock muskets.

The classification system that was adopted involved four classes of flintlocks. The 1st Class included those "good and serviceable arms made since 1831," and these weapons were not examined. It was directed that all 1st Class muskets be kept in stores and not issued except on special orders. The 2nd Class included all "good and serviceable arms made from 1821 to 1831 inclusive," and it was ordered that they be issued for ordinary purposes and held as "suitable to be altered to percussion." This particular flintlock musket would have been have fallen into the 2nd Class of weapons.

The 3rd Class included "all arms made from 1812 to 1820 inclusive," and these were considered unsuitable for ordinary use and were not suitable for alteration although they could be used in cases of emergency. The 4th Class included all "arms made prior to 1812," which were to be collected for later sale. What makes this flintlock musket rare is that the vast majority of the 1st and 2nd Class Muskets were later altered to percussion using the Maynard Tape Primer System and many of these were later issued during the early days of the Civil War. What makes it even more rare is that this musket was never even inspected, and then stamped, during the classification process. This musket was probably in the hands of a private soldier before classification process began in the 1840s.

This Model 1816 Flintlock Musket is in its original flintlock configuration and was never altered, making it one of the few survivors of the period when the vast majority were selected, and later altered, to percussion. My view is that this musket was somehow "appropriated" by someone after it was initially issued, perhaps at the end of the Mexican War when many Model 1816 Muskets, still in flintlock configuration, were used, and that it was then put in an attic for a long time.

This flintlock musket is an antique so it can be shipped to anyone. This musket will also come with an historic writeup and a CD containing all of the photos in the listing. I accept Visa and MasterCard and charge NO FEES. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like additional photos posted.

 

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