Birthday gift for my youngest, French Fusil de Dragon M1842T

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johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
Not quite a year ago this arrived at my doorstep courtesy of UPS, the box was soaked through but everything inside was cleaned and repairable. I had been holding out for an M1859 but... well no complaints. This is not actually my rifle, it is owned by my son as it arrived just five hours after he was born. I came home to take a nap and UPS delivered it just as I was laying down on the couch.
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kevikens

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Jun 7, 2013
Location
New Jersey
I have owned three similar muskets. I know that, although designed by France and issued to their own troops, as this one seems to be, the armories of Liege, Belgium made many, many knock offs of these arms. Except for the Liege markings they were identical to those of St. Etienne. I don't know how many of the 'made in France' models wound up here in the US but thousands of those Belgian knockoffs did and it is possible that because the Liege copies were so common all of these arms, whether from France or Belgium were called Belgian rather than French so it may be difficult to separate them. One thing. The OP refers to the arm as an 1842 T. It is my understanding that the T was added to models originally made in flint and converted (or Transformed, hence the T) into percussion. As I look at the arm it looks to me that it was manufactured as a percussion lock to begin with, not converted from flint. It is, by the way, a beautiful arm and all were well manufactured. I assume by the sights it is a rifled gun. Do you know the caliber?
 
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johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
I have owned three similar muskets. I know that, although designed by France and issued to their own troops, as this one seems to be, the armories of Liege, Belgium made many, many knock offs of these arms. Except for the Liege markings they were identical to those of St. Etienne. I don't know how many of the 'made in France' models wound up here in the US but thousands of those Belgian knockoffs did and it is possible that because the Liege copies were so common all of these arms, whether from France or Belgium were called Belgian rather than French so it may be difficult to separate them. One thing. The OP refers to the arm as an 1842 T. It is my understanding that the T was added to models originally made in flint and converted (or Transformed, hence the T) into percussion. As I look at the arm it looks to me that it was manufactured as a percussion lock to begin with, not converted from flint. It is, by the way, a beautiful arm and all were well manufactured. I assume by the sights it is a rifled gun. Do you know the caliber?
She is in .71 as most French arms were. All French M1842 series arms were percussion arms. The M1842T series arms were the first arm adopted by any military w/ the intention of arming all troops w/ rifled arms. IIRC there were several different models: Line infantry, Light infantry, Dragoon etc with the only real difference being length.

There was a very real quality difference between the French Arsenal made and Belgian made arms w/ the French generally being of better quality.

Most of the French & Belgian arms would be sent to troops in the western theatre. While much is written about how poorly regarded they were the rifled French arms generally had a good reputation. The accuracy is acceptable though they aren't tack drivers by any measure. They also are not an interchangeable arm, no French, Belgian or German arm was until well after the ACW.

This one is the Dragon version intended for Dragoons and they were not imported into the US in large numbers. IIRC only a couple hundred made it into the US. Most that I have encountered were the Line & Light Infantry versions.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
As a note several western Regiments opted to keep their French Arms until given the chance to replace them w/ M1855 series arms. In several cases even when given the chance to replace them with Enfield arms they opted to keep their French arms. This is specific to French rifled arms not smoothbore. What version is up for debate. The US viewed the M1859 series arms as first class arms and most others as 2nd & 3rd.
 
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Package4

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Not quite a year ago this arrived at my doorstep courtesy of UPS, the box was soaked through but everything inside was cleaned and repairable. I had been holding out for an M1859 but... well no complaints. This is not actually my rifle, it is owned by my son as it arrived just five hours after he was born. I came home to take a nap and UPS delivered it just as I was laying down on the couch.
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Wait, which one came UPS? I thought the stork did the heavy lifting! Wow, what a lucky man you are! What a handsome young boy!
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
Wait, which one came UPS? I thought the stork did the heavy lifting! Wow, what a lucky man you are! What a handsome young boy!
LOL... UPS is on the no list for my wife and I'm not real impressed with their performance either... their next day air is merely a suggestion and a large extra charge.

The stork brought me a little bundle of heaven. Children teach us to hope for the future. Watching them claim a rifle on the day they were born... priceless.
 
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Patrick H

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Yes, that's a nice piece. Totally new to me. I am terribly uninformed about so many of these old long arms. Too bad about the crack in the stock, but it's in remarkable condition overall. Congrats on the birth of your son. Thanks for posting!
 
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johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
Adopt me!!! Please!!!
I dunno about that! My kids are the retirement plan for the wife. First she plans to move in with the oldest till they can't stand each other, the middle one pays her new hip and then she moves in with the youngest... rinse and repeat for at least 30 years. My wife has a sadistic mind when it comes to revenge. I knew there was a reason I adored her.
 

johan_steele

Regimental Armorer
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
South of the North 40
Yes, that's a nice piece. Totally new to me. I am terribly uninformed about so many of these old long arms. Too bad about the crack in the stock, but it's in remarkable condition overall. Congrats on the birth of your son. Thanks for posting!
The crack was expertly repaired, even so I was very careful about shooting her only gradually working up to a full military load. She's tight & secure as well as being surprisingly gentle w/ that big .71 bullet.
 
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