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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 6:54 pm 
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Mil-Surp Museum Curator
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Grabbed this beauty on gunbroker for only $400! The ONLY problem with the weapon is the barrel has been cut back 2 inches, just behind the bayonet lug. For an original Mexican War era musket for so cheap, I can live with that.

She is a Marine T. Wickham Model 1816 Contract musket, made in Philadelphia in 1826, converted to percussion and rifled by Hewes and Phillips in New Jersey in 1861 with their patented breech, and probably issued to a Pennsylvannia or New Jersey volunteer unit.

The rifled musket is in excellent condition, with a mirror bright rifled bore with excellent, sharp rifling. Has loads of stampings, all very clear, and even the H&P and 1861 stamps on the breech are still excellently visable. The rifle has minor surface corrosion, mostly from being in transit, all the screws are unbuggered, and the nipple even came out with no problem. I have not fully dismounted the musket yet, as the upper two bands need to be tapped off. The lock is in BEAUTIFUL condition with no wear, the half cock works flawlessly, and she busts a cap beautifully.

This was for sale at ccrelics.com for $675, and I saw it on gunbroker by that seller and managed to get my hands on her for $425 shipped. I call that a steal. (Which is why my Polish Mauser, Argie Mauser, and a Carcano are on gunbroker).

Since I have so relatively little invested, I think at some point I'm going to get a flintlock and flint barrel from the Rifle Shoppe, and have them fitted to this stock, so I can alternate between shooting a relatively inexpensive flintlock and an original rifled musket.

Pics!

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:03 pm 
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Mil-Surp Psychosis
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The H and P alterations are a desirable variation. Many did go to the NJ troops. As it has been modified from original I see no down side from shooting it as a flint. The only worry may be from stock erosion behind the pan.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:52 pm 
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That's really cool! Looks really nice too. I personally don't see the advantage in price in using flintlock over percussion... are you saving over time by not buying caps? Curious, as I am a relative BP n00b.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:28 pm 
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Oh I plan to shoot it as is plenty.

But I have also wanted a flintlock. The Indian made ones are, well... sketchy. I owned a Middlesex Village 1816, which is an oversized, clunky, and unsafe joke compared to this. MSRP for a Pedersoli 1816 is like $1,100, but a flint barrel and flintlock from The Rifle Shoppe is only $600, and if both could drop in, I'd have, in effect, both an original percussion 1816 and a repro flint 1816 for under $1,000 and could swap out barrels and locks whenever I wanted.

That's just an idea though, that may never happen.... I'm so in love with this thing as is I probably won't change a thing. The barrel is a downer, but $425 shipped for this thing is a steal I think.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:50 pm 
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JGPrince

looks like in great shape , I think you did very very will on it

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 9:51 pm 
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Durp. Basically you'd just have to bolt the other parts in and out to switch between them. Sorry, I was still thinking in bolt gun terms of rebarreling! Lol. Silly me.

Is the shortened barrel a period modification? Any way to tell when it was done?
It's cool no matter which way you slice it, that bore looks great.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:24 pm 
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I'm not sure who would have done this... I'm thinking maybe a militia unit, it's obviously not a shotgun sporter, but there's more. The stock has apparently been cut back an inch... a Model 1816 should have a 54" long stock, this one is 53". Ahead of the Front band spring's hole, 1" in front, is the original hole.

So sadly, the Flint barrel isn't going to work.... the stock is not full length.

As to who chopped the barrel... I'm inclined to say a collector or an armorer. Why? Well the barrel is chopped but also crowned, the stock has been cut an inch, and a new inlet for a front band spring made. That's a heck of a lot of work, and done so well neither I nor the seller I got it from noiced it.

The problem is because it's almost press-fitted in, with the nosecap an inch back from what it is supposed to be, it's jammed on and hard. What I will probably do over the next few days is tap it off, then sand around to give it a looser fit.

I'm almost wondering if the rifling at the muzzle hadn't worn out and a NJ or PA milita armorer cut off the muzzle, then moved the stock back to avoid damage on firing. No need to form a bayo lug, after all, it's the mid 1860s, Springfield rifle muskets are coming on line, this thing probably won't see combat unless Lee invades Pennsylvannia again. Just my thought, as this is not a sportered bubba job -- it's tastefully done, and has kept the arm into military specs.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:13 am 
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Well, I just couldn't sleep with dismounting the musket. :mrgreen: I had to know what the underside of the barrel looked like.

I tapped off the front band, after a few wraps with a rubber mallet it came free. Sure enough I was right, it has been shortened by an inch or a little over, as the band spring inlet continues past the band spring. I'll sand that down in the coming days so that sliding the band on and off is easier, and will no longer risk damaging the stock or band. The mid band was also on backwards, and had to be tapped off. When installed correctly, it slides on and off. :thumb:

Well, I can't believe it. The underside of my Nepalese Martini Henry Mk II was pitted, cosmetically pretty badly. Same with the Nepalese Pattern 1853 Enfield, although not as badly.



There is not one speck of pitting on this rifled musket. Not one. No where. The underside of the barrel has some discolorations, and a recessed line, but otherwise is smooth as a baby's butt. The insides of the barrel bands are pit free. I keep telling my wife, if I didn't know better based on the markings, size, shape, feel, and what repros are out there, I would think this is a repro it is in such good condition. Stock has a few dings and handling marks, but nothing serious.

I'm stopked, a desireable, and extremely shootable rifled musket. I love it! I have some .672 cal lead balls from when I had an Armi Sport 1842 repro, and they fit snug in the barrel, so I can finally send them downrange too. :)

Now I just need to get some gun grease and grease all my rifle and musket locks. I've always just oiled regularly, but the internals of this lock are casecolored, and I want to save that (part has worn off under the tumbler from the sear, as expected).

Pics!

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Barrel actually isn't this bad, stupid flash makes it seem that way.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:11 am 
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The rifled muskets were intended to fire Minie' balls not round ball. The sights would have been calibrated for the Minies. .69 caliber Minies weigh in the area of 700 gr and pack quite a punch.

Neat find and it looks like the shortening was done professionally. I'm not sure if that's the right ramrod but that wouldn't be too hard to fix if needed.

Mark

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:17 am 
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The seller said the ramrod was a repro, and it doesn't fit quite all the way down the barrel, but enough for loading. Might pick up a full length repro 1816 rod and cut it down some to ensure ease of loading. It looks period though.

Yeah, I'll be buying some .69 cal Minie balls soon, I don't expect the musket balls to be accurate but they are more ammo I have on hand. We'll see.

Also need to pick up some minies for my Nepal 1853.

What charge would I use? For my repro 1842 smoothbore I used 80-90 grains of FFg behind a .672 cal ball, and for my old 1861 Springfield repro and my 1863 Springfield repro I use a 60 grain FFg charge behind a .575cal minie ball. I was thinking start with a 65-70 grain FFg charge behind a .685 730 grain minie and maybe work up.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:23 pm 
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JG,

Nice looking rifle. I was just curious about the rifles you are selling, did you post them on this forum also or just on Gunbroker?? I just have to ask about the Carcano, what model is it.

thanks,


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:26 pm 
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I was thinking I'd start my charge around 70gr FFG. Have some premeasured 5 gr tubes so you can experiment going up from that in 5 gr increments.

Also, be aware that the Minie ball long arms shoot best if you can size your bullet so it is 1-2 thousands under bore size. If you put a .575 Minie in a .583 bore, you're accuracy will not be that great. So for serious shooting, you want to cast your own Minies and size them as needed.

Mark

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:17 pm 
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@garra: Normally I list the rifles here, but I chose this go around to list them on gunbroker. It's a non-Finnish issue Model 1938 Carcano short rifle, that comes with non folding bayonet and scabbard, original three piece cleaning rod, and Beretta 1938A submarine gun sling from IMA. Bright bore, little finish left, and some wood damage. Looks to be a pretty decent example, with a lot of extras, and more desireable non-Finnish issue (pretty uncommon in the States, it seems). Not a trophy queen, but a good shootable example that is complete with accessories.

@MAP Thanks, I was not aware of the accuracy dimensions. I've only had experience with the .575 minie balls in a Springfield rifle musket repro, and got pretty good accuracy out of that, but that was also the first gun I ever fired too. I'll probably have to cast my own, the only supplier I've seen for .69cal minie balls is Track of the Wolf.

What's the best way to mic the bore of a musket? I know how to with a breechloader, but, I'd rather not take the breech off of this thing hehe.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:46 pm 
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You could try using Cerrosafe and cast the bore or breech. It is available from either Brownells or Midway. I would check both as there is a difference in price between the 2. Whatever you do , do not forget to really lubricate the bore before you pour this stuff in there. I made the mistake once of not doing so and I thought I was going to end up with a wall hanger.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 4:52 pm 
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I'm adding this section, I forgot we're dealing with a .69. Same principles apply, you're looking at an actual bore size between .685 and .695. S&S Firearms also has several different sizes of .69 minie balls. http://www.ssfirearms.com

The very best way to measure the bore is to have a set of pin gauges runing from like .575 to .585 in .001" increments. If you know a michinest, he can probably make some for you. Find the largest pin that will fit in the muzzle.

The way I've done it is to have a set of minie balls sized using sizers, I look for the largest bullet that will go in and show as little play in the muzzle as possible. If the bullet can be moved or canted significantly in the muzzle then you need to go up in size. Make sure you're holding the rifle horizontal while using the bullet method... .you don't want to slip and end up with a bullet at the breech with no powder. Take the bullets you have and mic the diameter at the base of the bullet. I think if you go to S&S firearms website you can order bags of minie balls sized to .575, .578, .580, or .582.

Don't pull the breech plug on antique military muzzleloaders! They weren't intended to be un breeched like the modern muzzle loaders. Unless you have experience and the right tools you're more likely to mess up the breech plug and tang than to actually get the plug out. About the only reason to unbreech one of these barrels is if you're going to have it relined and that's a specialist operation.

Mark

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