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Scarce Springfield Armory Model 1816 Flintlock Musket c. 1833, Ohio Surcharged

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Scarce Springfield Armory Model 1816 Flintlock Musket, c. 1833, Ohio Surcharged

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This is a very rare and very fine condition, all original Springfield Armory Model 1816 Type III Flintlock Musket dated 1832/33 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, a 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 component pieces 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 died 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.

This particular US Model 1816 Flintlock Musket is a Type III musket. As noted, the Type III muskets exhibit a change back to the original National Armory Bright finish, which was authorized by Chief of Ordnance Colonel Bomford on July 7, 1831. The change was implemented at Springfield Armory sometime during the July-September 1832 quarter and Harpers Ferry probably implemented the change during the same period. This particular flintlock musket, which was manufactured in 1833 based on the barrel date, retains its correct National Armory Bright finish. Springfield Armory manufactured 12,400 Model 1816 Muskets in 1833.

This particular US Model 1816 Flintlock Musket is in fine condition and is all original and is in original flint in every respect. The original .69 caliber Barrel is present and still retains the majority of its National Armory Bright finish that is very fine in the protected areas under the stock and it exhibits some old corrosion from use on the top, exposed portion. 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 raised "P" proof mark set in a sunken oval cartouche, the eagle's head facing to the right and the "V" stamp. The upper left, rear most portion of the barrel has the unique serial number “I4.” 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 new 1816 regulations required that all muskets made at the National Armories be marked with serial numbers. Under the new serial number system the first musket was numbered “A0,” followed by “A1,” “A2,” etc., until “A99” was reached. The next musket would be stamped “B0,” etc. This continued through the alphabet except for the letters “J” and “V,” which were not used. This serial numbering system allowed for 2,400 muskets to be serial numbered between “A0” and “Z99.” The next serial number series added a lower case letter beneath the upper case letter, with the first musket being marked “A/a 0,” then “A/a 1,” etc. Using the lower case subset letters a unique serial number could be applied to just under 60,000 muskets. Once all of the available numbers in this system had been used, the Armories simply started over at “A1.” This unique numbering system was used until the late 1830’s. Just above this serial number is a “5” stamp and there is a serif “OHIO” surcharge stamped on the top of the barrel above the firing proof stamp.

The original Breech Plug is present with the rounded-end tang. The lower surfaces of the plug have the correct witness lines that match up with the corresponding witness lines on the rear of the Barrel. The top portion of the tang is correctly stamped "1833," when the barrel was completed. The rear face of the breech plug, underneath the tang, has several inspection and assembly mark stamps. The bottom of the Barrel has sub inspection stamps “A,” “DB” and “2,.” The bottom of the barrel, to the front of the witness mark, has the Roman numeral “V,” assembly mark and the correct corresponding “V” assembly mark overlapping the witness mark on the tang. The interior of the smooth bore Barrel is in remarkably good shape with moderate pitting near the muzzle. 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 fine condition and still exhibits the majority of its original National Armory Bright Finish. 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 "SPRING/FIELD/1832" stamping. 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 Lockplate exterior shows some pewter colored patina but is in remarkably fine condition.

The original Cock, or Hammer, is 3 1/2" in length has a convex outer surface and heart-shaped hole in the throat. There is a serif “H” stamp on the outer surface. The original Jaw Screw Head is correctly slotted at the top and the upper Jaw moves freely when the Screw is adjusted. The Upper Jaw is marked "R" on the top. The Cock itself exhibits a salt and pepper, pewter patina with small areas of old pinprick pitting, as does the original Cock Screw. The Original Pan is present and is Brass with an old, mustard yellow patina and is marked with sub inspection "V" stamp 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 and the rear, striking surface is flat with numerous flint impact marks. The original Frizzen screw is present and the Frizzen Spring, which is also original, is still strong. Both outer edges of the Frizzen Springs leaves are correctly beveled.

The interior of the Lock, and its component parts, are in excellent condition. The Mainspring remains strong. The Mainspring Screw has a "T" sub inspection stamp. The interior surface of the Lockplate exhibits a pewter and plum patina and there are numerous sub inspection stamps including “A” and “W.” The original Tumbler still shows traces of its original fire-tempered blue finish and has a “N” sub inspection stamp. The original Bridle also shows the vast majority of its original fire-tempered blue finish and has "B" and “N” sub inspection stamps. The Bridle Screw is unmarred. The Tumbler Screw has an “X” inspection stamp. The Sear retains considerable, original fire-tempered blue finish and the Sear Spring and Sear Spring Screw retain their original bright finish. 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 Front Barrel Band retains its National Armory Bright finish and has a pewter-colored patina present and is correctly marked "S" for Springfield on the bottom rear portion. The original brazed brass front sight is present and the front sight post shows a dark mustard patina. The original Middle Band is present and also shows its original National Armory Bright finish with a pewter patina and it has the correct "S" stamp on the bottom. The original Lower Band is present and shows its original National Armory Bright finish with a pewter patina with small brown aging spots. It has the correct and original upper sling swivel that moves freely. The bottom tip of the Lower Band has the correct "S" stamp.

The original oil-finished black walnut stock is present and is in very fine condition. The stock is 54 3/16" long with the low comb that intersects the wrist about 9 1/2" forward of the butt. There is a "C" sub inspection stamp under the Breech Plug recess. The top of the Stock adjacent to the tang has a "14" stamp. The Lockplate recess of the stock has an serif “D” stamp. The left side stock flat has the two original cartouches, an oval "JM" script cartouche, which stands for Springfield final inspector Justin Murphy, and an oval "TW" cartouche, which stands for Springfield Inspector Thomas Warren. There is also a vertically stamped serif “W.C.K.” stamp, which is the cartouche of William C. Kirby. Kirby was an inspector at Harpers Ferry Arsenal and it was probably there that this musket was probably stored at some point during its service or, possibly, Harpers Ferry could have been the arsenal through which the musket went as it was transferred to the state of Ohio. The bottom of the stock wrist, just to the rear of the Trigger Guard, is a box script “AH” cartouche, which is the cartouche of Springfield inspector Asahel Hubbard. The top, rear of the butt has a serif “OHIO” surcharge and a “14” stamp, which matches the stamp on the barrel. The Stock has very minor dings and scratches but is in remarkable condition given that it is over 180 years old.

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 and a 2 1/4" long tang with rounded end that is marked "US." The Buttplate shows considerable original National Armory Bright finish on the tang with some pitting on the rear side. Both Buttplate Screws are in fine condition.

The original modified "L" shaped Side Plate is present and retains the majority of its original National Armory Bright finish with some brown staining present. The Sideplate is correctly marked with the Springfield "S" stamp in the center and both Sideplate screws are in fine condition. All three original Band Springs are present and all have the correct "S" stamp on the sides. The Stock secures the original Ramrod, which is 42" in length with correct button-head end and threaded end for the ball screw and wiper.

The original Trigger Guard Assembly is present and it retains the majority of its original National Armory Bright finish that is taking on a pewter patina finish. The original Trigger is present and it still operates smoothly on its Trigger Pin. The front extension of the Trigger Guard has the "EF" inspection stamp.

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." 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. It should be noted that the 1st Class were not inspected because, by virtue of their recent manufacture, they were considered first-class arms and most suitable for alteration to percussion. The vast majority of the 1st 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. As Norm Flayderman notes in his "Guide to Antique American Firearms," page 553 (9th Edition), 1st Class muskets, which became what is known as Model 1816 Muskets, Type III, are rare in their original flintlock configuration because most of these were later converted to percussion.

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. This original Model 1816 Flintlock Musket from 1832/33 is considerably more rare when one considers the extraordinary condition that it is in and that it was one of the small number that constituted the initial changeover in 1832 back to National Armory Bright finish from the browning finish used up to that point. There is additional history of this musket as it is “OHIO” surcharged and was used by the Ohio Militia sometime after 1833. It was, perhaps, used by Ohio volunteers during the Mexican War when many Model 1816 Muskets, still in flintlock configuration, were used. While the rarity and historical significance of this unaltered Model 1816 Flintlock Musket would weigh against it ever being fired again, its condition is such that it probably could still fire just as it did when manufactured in 1832/33.

This musket is an antique and 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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