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Old 02-03-2003, 09:08 PM
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colmurph colmurph is offline
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Default Converted Muskets

eds, your musket is a conversion of the 1816 musket done by Hewes & Phillips, Newark, NJ in 1862.

It's a type II bolster conversion, it's believed that almost all were supplied to US under contract. Easily distinguished by the large bolster made without a clean-out screw and marked on side of bolster H&P and usually bearing an 1861-1863 date at top. Barrel is rifled with 3 grooves although some were smooth bore.

There were 3 types of conversions;
1."French Style" - where the flashpan was ground off and all external lock parts were removed. A bolster with percussion nipple was then threaded into the enlarged toutch hole.
2. "Belgian Alteration" - lock altered by having all external parts removed and pan ground flush, the small remaining cavity in the pan then filled with brass to give it a level or squared off appearance on top. Vent hole welded shut and a nipple threaded off center, toward lock, on top of barrel. From existing records this is the only method used for conversion in National Armories
3. "Bolster type" - Lock altered as with Belgian Alteration.
Type I - Bolster merely brazed over vent hole on side of barrel. Small bolster with clean out screw.
Type II - Breech of barrel cut off and new breech with cast integral bolster screwed into barrel. No clean out screw. Large bolster.

The H&P conversions were both Type I and II Bolsters. The type I were mostly for the state of New Jersey Militia (appx 8,000)and the type II were all for the U.S. Govt. (appx 12,000)

The value of such a conversion is $550 in Good condition and $1,000 in Fine condition. A premium is added for the Bolster type conversions with the 2 leaf rear sight (Yours has one) and rifled barrel as these were issued to Federal Troops. (Get a small penlight, turn it on, and drop it down the barrel with the light shining up.....after you give the bore a good scrub. I bet yu'll find 3 groove rifling)

Yours would fall somewhere in between. Not bad for $10.00
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Old 02-04-2003, 04:34 AM
9th Inf. Doc. 9th Inf. Doc. is offline
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I acquired a Springfield smooth-bore musket of about .69 cal. through a blind auction for $15 some years ago.I believe that it had been converted by the "French style" conversion mentioned above.On fireing it was noted to be leaking gas around the threaded bolster and was promply retired from the fireing line.Any ideas on repairing this defect?Due to questions about the strength of the steel in the area, I am unsure weather it would be better to try a bolster with oversize threads,convert back to flintlock,or leave as a wall-hanger.
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Old 02-04-2003, 06:04 AM
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Default Leaking bolster.

Sounds like you also have a converted 1816 musket. The thing to remember is that the barrels were not made of steel. Steel did not come into use until 1894 with the advent of the Winchester Mod. 1894. The older stuff, even that which is marked "Cast Steel" is in reality malliable iron. You could have a gunsmith remove the old bolster, re-thread the hole, and install an oversized bolster. It is pretty difficult to restore a lockplate to Flintlock unless you get the proper replacement parts from someone like the Rifle Shop, that make exact replicas of replacement parts for museums, etc. The hole for the bolster would have to be welded by a gunsmith and a new vent hole bored through the weld. Re-converting to Flintlock does not alter the value of a converted musket. It still keeps the value of a percussion conversion (about 1/2 that of an original flint) even if the re-conversion is an excellent one. A careful examination of the lockplate and the inside of of the breech area of the barrel will show unmistakable signs of conversion. I'd go with a new bolster. When firing an original use a charge equal to the bullet, ie; 69 grains of FF for a .69 cal ball. DO NOT USE FFF in anything larger than .45 cal. as it will develop chamber pressures that are too high for the metal. If you have to use FFF, cut the charge in half. ie; 34 grains for a .69 cal.

One note of caution. If using Swiss Powder (a sporting grade of black powder) use half the normal charge of powder. GOEX and Elephant powders can be classed as "Blasting Powders" and are slower burning than Swiss. NEVER USE PYRODEX IN AN ORIGINAL GUN. Pyrodex is extremely corrosive, more so than black powder, and will start to rust the bore before you can get home from the range to clean it.
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Old 02-04-2003, 01:20 PM
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Default Heres some pictures.

of the different type bolsters.
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Old 02-04-2003, 07:26 PM
eds eds is offline
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Col:
Thanks much for the info on the 1816/36/62. I just brought my second rifle up from the basement-the rolling block comes next.
This one is a trapdoor marked " US MOdel 1884". Serial number 316317. It has a 36" barrel and is what I would call a carbine. I don't think it's been cut down but it doesn't look like the cleaning rod-if I had it- would fit in the hole for it. The stock ends 2 3/4" past the band. The stock is 29" long. On the top of the barrel near the breach are (2) P's, a A, a V and maybe an eagle but it's not clear. This is back by the breach. On the bottom of the barrel is a V and that screwy eagle again. There is a U on the single band, a US near the top screw on the butt plate and an 8 on the stock under the buttplate.
You have my juices flowing again. My rifles have been buried in the basement for about 20 years and they're now coming up. Thanks for heading this up.
Ed
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Old 02-05-2003, 03:03 AM
9th Inf. Doc. 9th Inf. Doc. is offline
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Thanks Col.,

It is indeed the spittin' image of your picture of the French style. I appriciate the advice.After thinking the matter over a little more, I believe I'm going to allow this old musket to continue on in honerable retirement.I expect it's probably earned it.I had two greatgrandfathers who fought in the War Between the States-one on each side.My Confederate greatgrandfather was killed at the battle of Franklin.My Union greatgrandfather was captured at the battle of Nashville and spent time in Andersonville.While I know that it's unlikely I sometimes wonder if maybe one or the other carried this musket.It was acquired in Nashville.Thanks again.
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Old 02-05-2003, 06:31 AM
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Your 1884 is a Rifle. Rifle barrels were 35 5/8" long whereas the carbine barrel was 22" long. The serial number range for this baby was 300000 to 500000 so looks like you have one of the earlier ones which were made in 1884. The rear sight should be of the "Buffington" type with adjustment for windage as well as elevation. (Buffington sights alone, are worth about $150 at gun shows). One interesting thing about the 1884......all preceeding 45-70 rifles used a 405 grain bullet whereas the 1884 used a 500 grain bullet. The other variant of this weapon was the "Cadet" rifle which had a longer wrist than either the carbine or the rifle and a barrel length of 29 1/2".If you are missing the cleaning rod you should be able to pick up an original 1884 rod at a gun show for around $25.
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