Colt Musket Finish And Markings

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#1
Here is a Colt musket I just acquired. I know all the info on the standard markings but some of the others and the finish perplex me. I believe the 2378 on the stock is a rack # but the 5188 0n the barrel and the AM on the butt stock is a ????? Also, it looks like the metal has been nickle plated??? and I can't find the name of the cartouch is it RHC or BHC?
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James N.

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#11
Very nice, but why nickle it? That is unusual, but there is no accounting for taste.
I really don't know unless it was a parade piece.
Nice piece ! Probably nickeled for parade use as stated. Would cut down on maintenance. Maybe for GAR or school use.
I don't know why but something else occurs to me: Naval arms were often nickel-plated to protect them from salt water; although I can't say what the AM stands for, M in France is Marine, which doesn't mean literally marines like ours but instead means navy; many surplus American arms found their way to France at the time of the Franco-Prussian War 1870-71.
 

Craig L Barry

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#12
It doesn't look nickel plated to me, but I am just looking at the pictures. What led you to conclude it was nickel plated? That finish is almost mirror-like in luster. This looks like polished steel. The proof marks in the barrel and lock plate marks don't appear to have anything metal plated over them...
 

Jobe Holiday

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#16
I have an appreciation for the Nickel plated muskets because the majority were done by, or for, the GAR and UCV, so they didn't have to polish them so frequently. I believe they should have an honored place in any Civil War collection.
J.
 
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#17
It doesn't look nickel plated to me, but I am just looking at the pictures. What led you to conclude it was nickel plated? That finish is almost mirror-like in luster. This looks like polished steel. The proof marks in the barrel and lock plate marks don't appear to have anything metal plated over them...
Is this possibly zinc vice nickel plated? I have heard this was sometimes done with Navy pieces to retard corrosion.
 
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#19
Based on all of the extraneous stampings, in addition to the plating I'm going to proffer a guess that this was a drill musket for a college. The AM markings could mean Agriculture and Mining; the number of colleges in the 1870s that had a Corps of Cadets is rather astounding. Just to throw it out there...…

Very nice piece by the way!
 

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#20
That is a good possibility but why not put the complete college such as Texas A&M. Here in the South its Agricultural and Mechanical.
 

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