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Good news on the bore, I found a light I could drop down inside on a string and the rifling appears to be clear and strong all the way down. It's hard to get a picture with a bright light shining at the camera, but here is one to give you an idea of the last few inches. So my hopes are increased that this one may be a good shooter. If I have time tomorrow I am going to tackle the nipple extraction (after two days soaking in PB Blaster), and I have a .58 cal. brush, worm and a bore scraper on the way.

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Discussion Starter #42
Looks better than some that I've shot and did very well with. If by chance it groups well, but shoots off you can buy a blank rear sight, cut, file, or drill a peep, your choice. Once you change out the nipple either take it to a machine shop and have them measure the bore with pin gauges, or buy a set yourself. I'm guessing it's probably .580 or slightly larger. Those big bullets get expensive if you buy them, I suggest (if you're not already) you become a caster. Mold should be slightly larger than bore and a push through sizer to bring them down to .001" under bore. Start with 40gr. powder and work up .5gr at a time until you find happiness.

A note on the bore scraper, if it's got a flat, 1/8" or so edge, sharpen it to a knife edge or it'll simply polish the fouling instead of removing it. Keep us posted as to your progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
Another fine example mentallapse! The last rifle manufactured by Harpers Ferry. The so called patchbox on these were actually designed to hold a "sharpshooter" sight which slipped over the barrel forward of the front sight and was retained by a thumb screw, a small globe with crosshairs sat on top supposedly giving a finer sight picture. DGW had reproductions available at one time, I bought one in the 70's, $8.00 at the time. The sword bayonets these rifles took was a long and heavy affair unpopular with the troops on the march and were sometimes "lost" along the way, (having that thing banging against their legs with every step I can't say as I blame them for being somewhat careless with them to the point they were either left behind or lost along the way).
 

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Discussion Starter #46
A fascinating aspect of American Civil War firearms is that it spans the era from muzzle loading flintlock muskets to self contained cartridge repeaters and everything between. The main arm of the conflict, the riflemusket had a lifespan of only about fifteen years from conception to demise as a military arm. In those fifteen years our National Armory at Springfield produced some of finest arms in the world, but it was the British Enfield Pattern of 1853 that became the arm of the world being produced in numbers in England, France, Belgium and other nations far exceeding those of Springfield and it's contractors. Springfield had a quality advantage though, every part of a Springfield and it's contractors were fully interchangeable within the same model. Enfield made arms would interchange with Enfield, LAC. would interchange with LAC, but that's where it ended, all others were a hand fit proposition and quality varied considerably from excellent to dismal. One NJ Regiment at Gettysburg armed with Enfields thought their quality so poor they stacked them after the battle and scoured the field for abandon Springfields of which they found an abundant supply. No matter a Springfield made arm or the product of a contractor, the troops, North or South all called them "Springfields".
 

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HARPERS FERRY PERCUSSION MUSKET & BAYONET MODEL 1842
A whole lot of what I show has come and gone. I am a collector
with a revolving inventory. My dream would be to keep everything
I've had or have. Just can't do it. By having a revolving a collection, I can
have some of what I want, just not all at once.




 

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Discussion Starter #48
Another great arm of the war! The U.S. 1842 was without a doubt one of the finest smooth bore muskets ever manufactured, and the first U.S. arm made fully interchangeable with Springfield or Harpers Ferry parts. Firing a .65 round ball and three buck shot propelled by 110gr. of musket powder made the 1842 an effective weapon for the tactics of the day. In the 1850's over 14,000 of these were rifled with about 10,000 being fitted with long range sights.

There were no less than 42 Union Regiments issued the U.S. 1842 smooth bore musket and 27 Regiments issued the U.S. 1842 rifled muskets.
 

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I have a couple of originals-a 1842 Harpers Ferry musket, stamped 1844 on the lock and 1845 on the barrel and a cut down 1863 Springfield, probably a cadet rifle put together after the War. The third is a 1853 Enfield rifle musket. This one was Confederate issue. BH Smith of the 14th Virginia Infantry, Co B, CSA carved his initials, regiment and company number on the buttstock.

I still shoot N-SSA and I use a Parker-Hale 1858 Naval Rifle for competition.
 

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Discussion Starter #50 (Edited)
Not at all uncommon to have a lock date a year ahead of the barrel date as lock plates were usually made ahead of the barrels. I believe 1844 was the first production year for the 1842 muskets, so you have an early one there.

Have you traced B.H. Smith's service in the war? The 14th VA would have been with Armistead's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Longstreet's Corps at Gettysburg and suffered 45 killed and mortally wounded, and an estimated 46 wounded on July 3, 1863. I think I found him! Smith, Benjamin H. Lt. Co. B, 14th VA. mortally wounded and captured, July 3, 1863, most likely near "The Angle" along the Union line. He died at Camp Letterman, Gettysburg August 8, 1863, buried in row 4, grave 12 in the cemetery at Letterman until his remains were taken to Richmond, VA to his final resting place on June 13, 1872. He is in box I-71 in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery.

The above information comes from, "The Gettysburg Death Roster" by Krick and "Gettysburg's Confederate Dead" by Gregory Coco.
 

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Not at all uncommon to have a lock date a year ahead of the barrel date as lock plates were usually made ahead of the barrels. I believe 1844 was the first production year for the 1842 muskets, so you have an early one there.

Have you traced B.H. Smith's service in the war? The 14th VA would have been with Armistead's Brigade, Pickett's Division, Longstreet's Corps at Gettysburg and suffered 45 killed and mortally wounded, and an estimated 46 wounded on July 3, 1863. I think I found him! Smith, Benjamin H. Lt. Co. B, 14th VA. mortally wounded and captured, July 3, 1863, most likely near "The Angle" along the Union line. He died at Camp Letterman, Gettysburg August 8, 1863, buried in row 4, grave 12 in the cemetery at Letterman until his remains were taken to Richmond, VA to his final resting place on June 13, 1872. He is in box I-71 in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetery.

The above information comes from, "The Gettysburg Death Roster" by Krick and "Gettysburg's Confederate Dead" by Gregory Coco.
That is great history on a historic firearm! I'd be dancing a jig if I were Muley Gil.
 

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Discussion Starter #52
That is great history on a historic firearm! I'd be dancing a jig if I were Muley Gil.
I'm thrilled these dusty old books finally paid off! It would take considerable more research to find out when B.H. Smith became a Lt. I suspect he carried the Enfield while a Non-Com, not as a Lt. At any rate, it places the weapon at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, and that in itself at least doubles the value of it. There's always the chance there was another, B.H. Smith in Co. B, 14th VA Inf. a look at the 14th's roster would confirm if there was or not. Either way, I' very certain that rifle musket was at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 at or near "The Angle". Fantastic piece of luck matching it with a man, where and when it was carried, not to mention his death and burial was well recorded.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
I kinda thought he was enlisted before receiving a commission. He likely passed his Enfield on to a friend upon his promotion, but we can't be certain of it. What I am certain of is your Enfield made the march across the fields between Seminary Ridge and Cemetery Ridge on the afternoon of July 3, 1863. We cannot know if it were left on the field, gathered up with all the other discarded weapons and sent to Washington for inspection, cleaning, and re-issue or continued in Confederate service after that.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
One of the most popular breech loading shoulder arm designs of the war was the Sharps in both rifle and carbine configuration. Two model years were used during the war, the 1859 and the 1863. There was little difference in the two, for the carbine the patch box was eliminated and serial numbers were preceded with a "C'' for the rifles, just the serial number prefix, "C" was all the change there was.

The standard infantry rifle used a socket bayonet and featured a single trigger, rifles ordered by Berdans sharpshooters specified a set trigger and were 1859 Models. The navy had a contract with a lug under the barrel for a saber bayonet. All 1859 and 1863 Model locks used the "Lawrence" automatic pellet priming system, an affair which loaded with priming pellets in a spring loaded well fed primers to an arm which in turn fed the primer to the nipple via a cam cut into the back side of the hammer, but could use standard wing musket caps also. In theory all the soldier had to do was load a linen cartridge into the breech, cock the hammer, aim, and fire. The Lawrence system while fast was normally used as a back up to the standard percussion cap as it lacked the power of the standard cap to reliably ignite the powder. The Lawrence primers could be held in reserve by a cut off located on top of the well. Lawrence primers were packed 25 in a small copper tube with a tab of wood attached to a dowel to feed them into the well.

The cartridge consisted of a linen or skin casing treated with nitrate to insure full combustion in the chamber, powder and a lubed .52 tapered bullet with a ring on it's base to afix to the cartridge giving it a, "Christmas tree" look. The powder charge was 70gr. powder making the Sharps an accurate, quick to relaod, and powerful arm capable of effective long range shooting. To load a soldier would place the hammer on half cock, pull the trigger guard lever down exposing the chamber, load a cartridge, and raise the lever which cut the end off the cartridge with the sharp breech seal ahead of the main block, fully cock the hammer, cap, aim, and fire. The breech face "floated" forming an effective gas seal upon firing. This floating breech face did require frequent cleaning and lubrication to keep the Sharps shooting smoothly. Modern shooters of the Sharps often employ a rubber "O" ring behind the floating breech to ensure a proper gas seal over extended shooting sessions.

The Sharps proved popular among the troops of both sides during the war, so popular the Confederates made their own version by the Robinson firm in Richmond, devoid of the Lawrence priming mechanism. Over all 42 U.S. infantry regiments carried the rifles into combat, and 59 U.S. cavalry regiments carried the Sharps carbine making the Sharps the most common breech loader of the war. On the Confederate side, 6 cavalry regiments were issued Sharps and 1 issued Robinson Sharps. This number does not reflect Confederate individuals who carried the Sharps into battle, just regiments armed uniformly with Sharps carbines.

The Sharps was not without it's problems, as mentioned earlier, the gas seal required frequent cleaning and lubrication to remain effective. Aside from that, the arm could accumulate enough powder with improper unloading under the forearm to blast a splinter of it out. I had one such 1859 Sharps Rifle which bore the repair of such a detonation along the right rear of the forearm. A tapered 3/4 x 2" repair being evident.

After the war some 31,000 Sharps carbines and over 1,000 Sharps rifles were converted to .50/70 centerfire for Gov't issue. Very few carbines also converted to .52/70 rimfire.

1859 Sharps rifle
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1863 Sharps carbine
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Sharps New Model 1859 Rifle with Documented Confederate Use.


The butt is inscribed with the name F.M. Cogbill, Poinsett Company, 5th Arkansas Regiment.
According to a letter, with a sworn Notary seal, a piece of paper was found in the trapdoor with this information. The piece of paper has been lost. According to the person who wrote the letter, this Sharps Model 1859 was found in an old house in Illinois in approximately 1975. It was wrapped in a quilt and had been placed in a blanket chest. Lieutenant Cogbill joined the 5th Arkansas Regiment on July 27, 1861, in Pineville, Arkansas. He rose through the ranks from Private to 2nd Lieutenant. Lt. Cogbill was killed in action September 1, 1864 in the battle of Jonesboro, Georgia, as General John Bell Hood's Confederates attempted unsuccessfully to stop the Union forces of General Sherman from capturing Atlanta.


 

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Discussion Starter #57
I kinda figgered you might come up with an example. A Confederate used saber bayonet model at that! Very well done, mentallapse!
 

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Jenks U.S. Navy Mule Ear Carbine. Made in 1846. These were used in the Civil War and Mexican War. It retains original case color and original lacquer.

You can see the two ears on top of the action. One is on the right attached to the side hammer for cocking purposes. The other is on top and is used to open the breech for loading ammunition.





 
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