"Mississippi" Question

limberbox

Private
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Moller states that "U.S. contract Model 1841 rifle barrels were stamped 'US' over two or three inspectors' initials, over the letter "P" in three lines. The 'US' signifies federal ownership." All contractor M. 1841'a were also marked "US" on the lockplate and on the butt plate tang. (Moller, v. III, p. 120)

If one encounters a contractor-made M. 1841 that is so worn it does not have visible cartouches in the wood, is the presence or absence of "US" on rifle's barrel the determinant of whether it was accepted into federal service?
 

Craig L Barry

Sergeant Major
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
Murfreesboro, TN
I am not sure if this answers your question, but as I understand it the US 1841s made by several independent contractors and accepted into service by the US Government were marked US with VP proof marks and inspection marks. My understanding is that if the arm was not marked, you should not assume it was accepted into service by the US Government. A number of Whitney made US 1841s in particular did pass the government inspection with gauges and were rejected. Whitney claimed they lost money on the government contract for that reason. Some of the condemned parts from those contract arms (and others) were used to make the amalgamated Whitney "Enfield." I would say that if the correct markings were absent from an otherwise intact US 1841, it was probably not accepted into Federal service.
 
Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Moller states that "U.S. contract Model 1841 rifle barrels were stamped 'US' over two or three inspectors' initials, over the letter "P" in three lines. The 'US' signifies federal ownership." All contractor M. 1841'a were also marked "US" on the lockplate and on the butt plate tang. (Moller, v. III, p. 120)

If one encounters a contractor-made M. 1841 that is so worn it does not have visible cartouches in the wood, is the presence or absence of "US" on rifle's barrel the determinant of whether it was accepted into federal service?
A picture of the barrel would help with a determination. Is the barrel also quite worn in the area where the proofs would go? If it isn't worn, and there are no proofs, then Craig L Barry's advice would be the correct conclusion.
 

limberbox

Private
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
After doing more research and talking further with the dealer, I decided to proceed. This very well-used gin arrived today and I'm glad I did.

The clincher was the four digit number underneath the barrel in front of the upper band. When Colt performed its alterations in 1861-62 re-boring to .58, rifling for Minie ammunition and adding long range rear sights (same as on M. 1855 Colt revolving military rifles), it stamped a consecutive serial or alteration number on the underside of the barrel of each of the 10,411 altered. This gun has a still legible no. 5240 right where it should have.

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Colt also reproofed the barrels after re-boring them to .58. Per Moller, a "barrel reinspection mark, such as '200' or '3cc', is stamped into the barrel's left breech flat." This one has at least a clear "2" there.

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limberbox

Private
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
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Moller also writes that "Most rifles are also stamped with a reinspection acceptance cartouche in the left side of the butt." This one has the faint outline of a now illegible cartouche on the left side of the butt, a few inches up from the heel (just below the shine in this picture):
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While pretty beat up, the left breech face also does seem to have faint outlines of two now illegible original acceptance cartouches:

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The gun saw a great deal of use and has heavy flash pitting around the nipple area, which has obscured the "U.S." (though I can see remnants of the "U" in strong light but it does still have the "S.K." inspection stamp and the original "V P" barrel proofing stamps.

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And of course the "US" on the butt plate tang.

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One unexpected bonus was a spare nipple inside the patch box.

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All in all, a good honest gun, and is the version of .58 caliber-altered Model 1841 most likely carried by my ancestor's battalion of the Third Iowa cavalry in Missouri in 1862-63.

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