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Rare Remington Maynard Conversion Frankford Arsenal c. 1857

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Fine & Rare Remington Maynard Conversion Rifle Musket, Frankford Arsenal, 1857

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This is a fine condition, all original and rare Remington Maynard Conversion Rifled but not sighted Musket from 1857. Only 8,763 of this type were ever made.

When the Model 1842 percussion musket, the first armory produced standard percussion musket in the United States, was adopted in early 1842, there were large numbers of flintlock muskets still on hand with the U.S. Army, in federal armories and in the possession of individual states. In addition, when the Model 1842 percussion musket was introduced Harpers Ferry was manufacturing the 1816 flintlock and Springfield Armory was manufacturing the Model 1840 flintlock with both expected to continue manufacturing those arms until 1844. Moreover, U.S. contractor Lemuel Pomeroy would continue to manufacture contract flintlock Model 1840 muskets through 1846, and contractor Daniel Nippes would do the same through 1848.

With the manufacture of the Model 1842 percussion musket, the U.S. Government suddenly found itself with large numbers of now obsolete flintlock muskets. As a result, the Secretary of War authorized an inspection of these flintlock muskets to classify them in terms of their suitability for alteration to percussion. On June 4, 1842, Ordnance Department Lieutenant Peter V. Hagner was assigned as the senior Ordnance officer in charge of this inspection and classification. This inspection led to all weapons on hand being classified as 1st Class, 2nd Class, 3rd Class or 4th Class, for suitability to alteration to percussion. This inspection and classification process took three years.

During the inspection and classification process, only unissued flintlock muskets manufactured between 1812 and 1831 and any musket manufactured and issued after 1831 received a classification stamp on the stock. This stamp was typically stamped on the left stock flat adjacent to the original musket acceptance cartouche.

During this same period, the Ordnance Department began experimenting with self-priming lock systems. Most of the early self-priming lock systems from around 1818 to 1828 were not successful. Two advancements to the self-priming lock system in the 1840s, however, caused the Ordnance Department to re-look at self-priming locks. These self-priming lock systems were the disc primer system and the Maynard tape primer system.

Edward Maynard was a dental surgeon in Washington, D.C., who was also an inventor. In the early 1840s Dr. Maynard invented a tape priming system for firearms, which consisted of a 3/16”-wide strip of double-thickness, varnished paper with small pellets of fulminate compound spaced ¼” apart between the layers. These strips were coiled into narrow rolls, each with 50 priming pellets. Maynard’s tape primer device used a sprocketed, toothed wheel to advance the primer pellets to a position directly over the nipple’s vent hole.

Dr. Maynard’s tape primer system proved sufficiently successful such that on March 20, 1845, the Ordnance Department purchased the right to use his Maynard Tape Primer system on 4,000 muskets. 2,000 of these would be altered by Daniel Nippes. Nippes, a contract firearms manufacturer from Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania, altered existing 1840 flintlock muskets using the Maynard Tape Primer system and delivered them to the U.S. Government from late 1848 until late August 1849. The Ordnance Department considered the Nippes contract Maynard Tape Primer-altered muskets to be experimental arms and these were issued in lots of 200 weapons to various military installations for field trials. The reports from the field were favorable and this led to the adoption of the improved Maynard lock in the Model 1855 Musket.

Once the Model 1855 Musket went into production, the Ordnance Department began to examine the feasibility of altering existing flintlocks with the new, improved Maynard lock system, consistent with the Model 1855 musket. Springfield Armory produced two pattern alteration muskets using the improved Maynard device and, shortly thereafter, Remington Arms Company was given a contract to manufacture 20,000 new locks and breech pieces needed to complete alterations. Remington manufactured and delivered to the Ordnance Department 20,000 locks and breech pieces over the period March 1856 through March 1858. Frankford Arsenal was selected to accomplish the alteration of Model 1816 flintlock muskets using these Remington parts.

Remington initially manufactured 20,000 Maynard locks and breech pieces and, on December 4, 1857, the Ordnance Department ordered an unknown number of additional Maynard lock parts from Remington. This number was probably around 2,000 as Frankford Arsenal eventually produced a total of 21,952 flintlock muskets altered at to the Maynard Tape Primer system. Of these, 13,189 were equipped with long-range sights and 8,763 were not.

All of the surviving examples of Frankford Arsenal altered Remington Maynard Tape Primer Lock weapons were original Model 1816 (Type III) flintlock muskets. The majority of these were originally classified as 1st Class arms but there are known examples, such as this musket, that were classified as 3rd Class arms, indicating the flintlock had originally been issued.

During alteration at Frankford Arsenal, 1” of the barrel was cut off at the breech end and a new breech piece with integral tang and nipple bolster was threaded to the barrel. The new percussion lock plate measured 6 ¾” by 2 3/16” and had a flat, beveled front plate that is .275” thick, considerably thicker than the original .190” thick Model 1816 Flintlock Musket lock plate because the Maynard primer magazine was recessed into the lock plate and mechanism. The Model 1816 stock was modified by enlarging the mortise to accommodate the new lock. The thicker lock also required a 1/8” longer front sidescrew to compensate for the added thickness.

Of the 21,952 Frankford Arsenal altered Maynard lock muskets, 820 were issued to the 10 companies of the 6th Infantry Regiment at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 1,200 were issued to the U.S. Marine Corps in 1857, 30 were issued to the state of Alabama and 960 to the state of New York (both in 1857), 1 was on hand at the Allegheny Arsenal, 400 at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Arsenal, 8,348 at Frankford, 107 at the Benicia Arsenal, 2 at Harpers Ferry, 396 at the San Antonio Arsenal, 1,502 at the St. Louis Arsenal and 4,000 were sent to California for Army forces in the west. The remaining 3,079 muskets were issued to the U.S. Army.

This rifle has its original Model 1816 barrel, modified at Frankford Arsenal, that has the original sunken "P" in an oval firing proof near the breech end over the eagle head proof stamp. The rifling is still present in the barrel and the barrel is dark. The witness mark on the rear of the barrel lines up with the witness mark on the Remington-manufactured breech piece. The bottom of the barrel has the serif Springfield “S” stamp. The bottom of the barrel also has the serif “H” over serif “20” stamp, which are assembly numbers when the musket barrel was originally manufactured. The original Remington-manufactured bolster and cleanout screw are present. The original nipple is present and is in fine condition and is clear to the chamber. The tang has the date “1857” stamped into it above a mating number “P/C/46.” There is also a serif “JT” inspection stamp on the breech piece. The barrel retains much of its original national armory bright finish with evidence of pinprick pitting on the top, exposed portion. The original Tang Screw is present and the slot is unmarred. As noted, this rifle was not issued with a long-range rear sight so it has no screw taps on top of the barrel.

The original 3 1/2" hammer has the checkered straight thumb piece and sharp cutting edge on the bottom of the lip face, which was designed to cut the primer tape during firing. The hammer and original convex, single-slot hammer screw retains considerable original national armory bright finish. The hammer spring is strong and the trigger releases the hammer smoothly.

The Lock Plate is marked "REMINGTON'S/ILION. N.Y./1857/U.S." to the rear of the hammer. The Maynard Primer device is present and the door closes securely. The hinge is not bent and the door does not wobble. The original advancing arm and securing arm are both present and both work perfectly in advancing upon operation of the hammer. The inside of the compartment door has the serif “T” stamp of Frankford Arsenal inspector John Taylor.

The inside of the lock is in very fine condition. The inside of the lock plate retains considerable original fire tempered finish. The mainspring remains in the white. The 3-position Tumbler, Bridle and Sear all retain the majority of their original fire blue finish and all have John Taylor’s inspection “T” stamp.

The original Trigger and Guard Assembly retain considerable original national armory bright finish. The assembly is the original Model 1816 flintlock musket assembly that is 9 7/8” long with a 1 1/8” wide bow that is riveted to the plate. The rear sling swivel is also riveted to the ball branch mount on the front of the bow and it moves freely. The front of the plate has the serif “CBC” stamp. furniture assembler Samuel Dale. The rear of the plate has a Frankford inspector serif “B” stamp. The original Trigger is present and works smoothly on the trigger pin through the stock. Both convex, single slot wood screws that secure the plate are present and the heads both retain considerable original national armory bright finish.

The original Upper Barrel Band is present with a rectangular open space between the two ½” barrel rings. The brass front sight is tightly brazed to the rear ring. The band measures 2 7/16” long at the top and 3 ½” on the bottom. The upper band retains traces of the original national armory bright finish with areas of pinprick pitting. The band secures tightly on the stock by the upper band spring with integrated stud. The top edge of the band spring has a serif “N” stamp.

The Middle Barrel Band is 11/16” wide that is tapered to fit the barrel and it has a serif “S” stamp on the left side. The upper sling swivel is riveted to a lug on the bottom of the band and it moves smoothly. The middle band retains considerable original national armory bright finish and it secures tightly to the weapon via the middle band spring with shoulder, which has a serif “S” stamp on the top edge.

The Lower Barrel Band measures 5/8” long at the top and 1 ¼” long at the bottom and it retains considerable original national armory bright finish. The lower band secures tightly with its band spring and shoulder, which has a serif “S” stamp on the top edge.

The original Side Plate is 3 15/16” long and is the original, modified “L” shape with the Springfield Armory serif “S” stamp in the center. The Side Plate retains considerable original national armory bright finish. The Sidescrews include the original rear single-slot screw and the modified front sidescrew for the wider lock plate. Both screws retain considerable original national armory bright finish on the heads, which are slightly convex.

The original Butt Plate is present and measures 4 ½” by 2 1/8” with a 2 /14” tang. The rear profile is straight with a slightly convex surface. The tang has its original and crisp “U.S." stamp. Both original butt plate screws are present and both retain considerable original national armory bright finish on the convex, single-slot heads. The bottom edge of the butt plate profile has a serif “S” stamp.

The stock is generally in excellent condition, especially considering it is the original Model 1816 Stock. The left stock flat has its original Model 1816 final inspection cartouche containing script initials “ET” inside an oval. This is the stamp of inspector Elisha Toby who is known to have inspected Model 1816 Flintlock muskets at Springfield in 1817 and possibly later. Next to the original acceptance stamp is the 1840s classification stamp containing a script “E” and another letter over the script numeral “3” inside an oval. This indicates this was considered a 3rd Class arm when inspected. The bottom of the stock to the rear of the trigger guard has the original script and oval "JS" firing proof cartouche, which are probably the initials of inspector John Stebbins. This is next to a serif “SC” stamp. The ramrod is the original 39 5/8” long straight ramrod with a trumpet head. This ramrod is very scarce because many were exchanged during the Civil War with cupped ramrods for using the Minie Ball.

The Maynard Conversion rifles were gradually phased out by Union troops during the Civil War but Confederate forces continue to use them, substituting standard percussion caps when whatever supplies of primer tape ran out. This is a fine condition and all original and correct Maynard Tape Primer modified rifle that undoubtedly saw both pre-war and Civil War service.

This rifle is an antique and can be shipped to anyone. This rifle 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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