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My 1st Musket - 1816 Harpers Ferry with ?'s

Discussion in 'Civil War Weapons and Ammunition' started by MikeW, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. MikeW

    MikeW Cadet

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    20161030_120543.jpg
    I found my way here while researching a musket that I bought locally yesterday. I was told that it has been in a Tennessee family fir a "long time". It is a 1816 dated Harpers Ferry musket in pretty good shape. The percussion conversion does look crude at best {non arsenal}.

    How badly does this conversion hurt the collectability? Just a "wall hanger" with little value at this point? 20161030_153357.jpg 20161030_153425.jpg 20161030_153443.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2017

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  3. Grayrock Volunteer

    Grayrock Volunteer Corporal

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    Your musket isn't actually a Model 1816, it is a very late 1795 type musket. Harpers Ferry did not start production of the M1816 until late 1818 or 1819. The two models are easily distinguishable by the lock plates and the barrel band springs.
    On the 1795, the lock is flat with a beveled edge and an iron pan. The 1816 has a flat front lock with a convex rear portion and a brass pan. The band spring location is different on each, with the 1795 being located behind the bands and the 1816's rear and middle band springs being forward of the bands.
    There are numerous other differences, but those are the most salient.
    Yours is a drum conversion, which as you said, is non-Arsenal, although some CS arsenals did use that style of alteration. The hammer has undoubtedly been replaced with a M1861 type hammer. When originally percussion altered it would have likely had a civilian sporting rifle or fowler hammer.
    Since it has been percussion altered it is worth less than an unaltered flintlock, but the good news is that the gun is still full length and appears to have all of its original components, save the hammer. The missing cone and replaced hammer are the biggest drawbacks, and it looks as if the ramrod may be a replacement as well (I would need a better pic to tell). In any event, the gun ought to bring $500 to 600 as is. Pre-m1816 muskets are much more difficult to find in military configuration than later muskets. If it weren't for the hammer and missing cone it would be worth another couple hundred dollars.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Garrett
     
  4. MikeW

    MikeW Cadet

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    Thank you Garrett, that is very helpful information and it will help me going forward by looking for model 1795 musket information.

    What is the missing "cone"?

    Pictures of the ramrod

    30040403643_829d34ce75_k.jpg 30042651604_1da519e61d_k.jpg 30042651794_f2375207d5_k.jpg
     
  5. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday First Sergeant

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    With all due respect to Garret, who has a wealth of information and isn't here to answer the questions, the "cone" is the threaded tube that the percussion cap fit on. The ram rod is a modern reproduction.
    J.
     
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  6. Grayrock Volunteer

    Grayrock Volunteer Corporal

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    Beat me to it on both accounts.
     
  7. MikeW

    MikeW Cadet

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    Thanks Jobe

    I do have the cone ...I had it off while trying to tell if the musket is "loaded". I will put it back on now
     
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  8. Camp Randall Armory

    Camp Randall Armory Private

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    Looks like the clean out screw is missing. (or covered with junk)
     
  9. JOHN42768

    JOHN42768 Sergeant Major Trivia Game Winner

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    Welcome, enjoy
     
  10. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday First Sergeant

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    If I were to speculate a bit further, I am rather sure the hammer, hammer screw, and drum, are of a much more recent addition to this musket. IMHO, the drum and hammer screw are new, and the hammer, although original, appears to be close to a battlefield dug and cleaned specimen.
    J.
     
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  11. MikeW

    MikeW Cadet

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    If the clean out is on the side of the drub ... it was full of gunk and there is not a crew in the hole.

    Thanks Jobe
    How recent do you think those "newer" parts are age wise? Do you think they may have been added for use in reenactments?
     
  12. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday First Sergeant

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    MikeW - The parts could have been added for re-enactment purposes, or just cosmetic reasons to give the musket more eye appeal for sales purposes. A dealer friend told me years ago "It is much easier to sell a musket with a ram rod, than one without a ram rod..... is even if it is a reproduction ram rod!
     
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  13. originalrebelyell

    originalrebelyell Corporal

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    It has been worked on a bit, different hammer and hammer screw and repro ram rod, but not a bad looking musket. It looks to be in pretty good condition. Does the lock work ? Looking at the wood behind the hammer it has been shot a good bit. I agree $500 - $600 maybe $650 to the right person.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2016
  14. tbuckley

    tbuckley Private

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    I believe that Jobe is correct about the hammer being dug. I wonder if the original conversion hammer had been lost and a previous owner obtained a dug hammer and a non-dug screw from a relic dealer to "repair "it.
     
  15. Package4

    Package4 First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    Actually a very nice piece and fairly rare in that configuration, of course if it were in original flintlock, it would command a hefty price. As stated before, the hammer and screw are recent additions, as is the ramrod (you can tell by the weld seam just south of the tip). The burnout near the nipple screams Confederate to me as their caps were very corrosive and a tell tale of usage. Early in the war the Confederacy obtained a large supply of Mercury from Mexico and to make it last, used more sulfuric acid than the required amount of Mercury, thus creating a more corrosive cap, than what was ordinarily used. The last year of the war substitutes for Mercury were used, chloride of potash and sulphuret of antimony, which seemed to work satisfactorily, but were even more corrosive than the previous version.
     
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  16. Package4

    Package4 First Sergeant Trivia Game Winner

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    The lockplate also has some metal filler around the drum, which does not appear contemporaneous to the time of conversion, in fact I would expect more pitting from the caps around that area.
     
  17. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday First Sergeant

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    If you look closely, you will see that the drum is of a modern construction and the lock plate behind the drum has been welded up to accommodate the new, smaller diameter, drum. This is evidenced by the pre-existing flat spot on the side of barrel where the older, larger diameter, drum had been.
    J.
     
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  18. Craig L Barry

    Craig L Barry Sergeant Major

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    Good catch Jobe Holiday...I am arriving a little late to this party but all that aside I'd say it's still a nice wallhanger.
     
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  19. Jobe Holiday

    Jobe Holiday First Sergeant

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    Absolutely, I would make a place for a Model 1795 Type 3, anytime!
    J.
     
  20. MikeW

    MikeW Cadet

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    The lock does work


    Thanks for the additional replies ... they have really helped me.
     
  21. Musket Man

    Musket Man Private

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    I agree with Craig L Barry. It's a very nice wall hanger and a good conversation piece.
     

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