India made 1st pattern Brown Bess question


August 27, 2008, 10:22 PM
Whats the deal on these? I picked one up cheap enough, but I heard some rumble they may be fancy pipe bombs. The only marks on the barrel other than a coupe od "GR" "proof marks" are on the bottom, and look like this;

A/1216 1.10.82

Been thinking real serious about pulling the breech plug and seeing what kind of threads we have in there.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

All the best,

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August 28, 2008, 07:16 AM
It might depend on exactly on who made it and when. There are currently 3 different importers, and with one of them the touch holes aren't drilled and the breech plug may be threaded too long which could interfere with the drilling.
At least the more recent ones from Middlesex Village have quite a good reputation.
There's been previous threads about guns imported from India, but because of the age of your Bess it's difficult to say whether it's the same quality as those made more recently.

Maybe all the rumbling is from folks who don't know much about India guns and just don't like where it was made.
How does yours spark?
If it's used and has been fired, then it managed to survive this long. :)





Loyalist Dave
August 28, 2008, 07:43 AM
Actually, the date on the barrel is NOT the same as the date on the gun. I got a sergeant's carbine from one company, and the barrel was dated 20 years prior. Still shoots very well.

All three importers will sell you a gun without a touch hole un-drilled. This is due to European laws requiring non-firing replicas. IF you drill the touch hole yourself, you assume all liability, as YOU converted the gun from non-firing to firing.

Loyalist Arms in Canada can ship a ready to fire gun, whole, but due to Canadian law, you must schlep to the nearest international airport to pick it up from customs, as it is viewed when assembled as shipping a gun for importation into another country. OR.... you can have the lock shipped apart in a second box, and when the two pieces arrive, insert the lock and secure with the lock screws; the gun is then ready to fire WITH a flash guard installed!!

I have two different styles, a 1756 Long Land King's Musket, and a sergeant's carbine, and they are very good guns.


August 28, 2008, 08:15 AM
:barf:ya I want one! are you:cuss:kidding me:banghead::eek:
these are wall hangers thats all they are I do not care what the importer says.
you do not see them importing armi sport or euro arms this way just to get them in the country. there are reasons there is no flash hole. BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT SAFE TO MODIFY!

August 28, 2008, 09:54 AM
Wow Sharps 59 that is some messed up gun. Ya i think i would save up my money to buy a real gun. Not some toy the sell at disneyland

Loyalist Dave
August 28, 2008, 10:11 AM
Sir you are too much mistaken in this, and

No I AM NOT KIDDING YOU..., though I do understand your initial reaction but....

The gun that went up was sold as a shooter with a pre-drilled touch-hole, NOT modified from wall hanger to firing condition, and BEWARE as the site that you have quoted has secondary information with no data presented.

In fact, the breech plug remained in the barrel and is plainly visible in place in the photos, the piece to the rear of the breech is the tang assembly that broke off from the barrel, but remained in the stock. The barrel did not fail at the breech, for had it done so there would have been substantial damage to the lock especially to the soft, brass, flash guard adjacent to the crack. In fact, it is plain to see in the photos a bulge well forward of the breech in front of the stock swell, indicating the location of the failure which was a partial or full barrel obstruction!

I am very well versed in the investigation of the accident, as a member of the organization that hosted the event, AND as many reenactors have muskets from two importers (MV and Loyalist Arms) who obtain parts from India, the question was immediately raised about banning said muskets. The conclusions from the laboratory tests did not determine the barrel as fundamentally unsound, and shooter error was NOT ruled out.

BTW place a partial obstruction in any production musket at the same location where the barrel in this case first failed (Japanese and Italian included) and fire 110 grains of bp and it should cause a failure. In fact, it is a good indication that the barrel was well made that the breech plug did not exit the barrel through the shooter's face!

Neither Middlesex Village or Loyalist Arms muskets have been banned.


August 28, 2008, 10:26 AM
Well put. Question isnt 110 grains kinda high for that gun. i figure 90 max but 110.

Loyalist Dave
August 28, 2008, 11:56 AM
Correct if one was to be shooting a live round that would be nearly 4 drams, BUT, they only shoot powder, no wad, so it's probably 100 grains in the barrel with 10 grains in the pan...(they load the pan from the cartridge, then pour the remainder of the cartridge down the barrel). They could do with alot less if they used wadding BUT that would entail using the rammer to seat the wad, and they don't want anybody even removing a rammer (some locations require the rammers to be left off the battle field except for one kept by an Officer in each unit, and the officer doesn't carry a musket) let alone placing it into a barrel to ram a charge, as they don't want any "spear gun" incidents.

There is a good theory as to exactly what caused the problem, but the lab wasn't equipped to test that, only to test the metal in the barrel and its construction. Have to wait on further testing to see if the theory is right, and I won't elaborate on that theory as it's just that..., a theory.


August 28, 2008, 12:43 PM

August 28, 2008, 12:47 PM

My only complaints about this Indian made .667 Sea Service Pistol is that there was a gap
in the wood where it was inletted at the back of the breech, and that the wood is pretty soft.
Other than that I completely trust the integrity of the steel.
Even the percussion lock is stronger than most.
I loaded it up to the max. and wouldn't worry about doing it again.

August 28, 2008, 09:06 PM
My gun in question came from Loyalist Arms in Canada. It has only been fired a few times by it's first (and previous) owner at reenactments. He lives in Canada, and brought it to me here in the U.S.

I intend to fire it live, and I don't want any boom-face. So, am I correct in assuming that these thundersticks are generally good to go? I wasn't previously worried about it untill I was talking to some F&I buddies and they were filling me with dread.

BTW, the bore at the muzzel mics out at .760, what size mould should I get? .75o? .745? and how many grains of BP to start?

Thanks in advance for tolerating all my stupid questions.

All the best,

August 29, 2008, 01:36 AM
About the Indian made Brown Bess, here's another thread that says not to worry about it, these are sold at rondezvous all over:

About the balls, smoothbores usually use a ball that is .020 smaller than the bore, while rifled barrels usually use balls that are .010 smaller than the bore.
Your muzzle may or may not reflect the internal bore dimensions, but several posters use .735 balls in their .75 caliber Bess.
A .735 ball and a .015 patch equals .765. (.015 X 2)
Even a .715 ball can be used used with a slightly thicker patch.
Folks can buy their own patch material at some Walmarts or a fabric shop as long as it's 100% cotton. (They sell stripped pillow ticking at about .018)
A thicker patch will still compress when loaded, and a dirty bore will make a loose load tighter from powder residue after several firings.
The powder charge mentioned in one thread is 80 grains of ffg, but there's nothing wrong with starting with less at closer range until you learn the sighting and loading method.

Loyalist Dave
August 29, 2008, 07:39 AM
Both of my muskets are Loyalist Arms, and both came ready to fire out-of-the-box, with flashguard installed. All I had to do was take the lock out of the second box, insert it into the stock, and tighten the screws.

I wonder about your F&I buddies and what they use for muskets, as until Loyalist Arms began the developement of a 1st Model King's Musket and a complimentary 1728 Charleville, there wasn't a production musket made ever that was historically suitable for thier war.


August 30, 2008, 09:08 AM
Thanks for the insight gentlemen, you were very helpful in putting my mind to rest.

August 30, 2008, 09:16 AM
One last stupid question, with the First pattern, what bayonet (if any) would be used?

I thinking of doing a Jacobite/ F&I impression with it. Would a plug bayonet be correct?

Thanks again.

Loyalist Dave
September 2, 2008, 02:27 PM
Loyalist Arms sells a proper length, proper fitting bayonet, for a little less than half of an Italian bayonet, AND....., it will fit while an Italian won't unless it's a 2nd Model Bess.


Bryan James
September 3, 2008, 12:37 PM
anyone know where to get a ram rod long enough for the bess to use common cleaning attachments. I have the metal ramrod that has what looks like the screw end on the other,

September 3, 2008, 02:10 PM
RMCsports makes custom ramrods from a variety of materials that are tapped on both ends. Click on "ramrods & accessories", 7th item from the bottom in the left hand column:

October Country also has a lot of ramrods and may make custom ones too.
Contact them to inquire:

September 7, 2009, 12:19 AM
sorry for the thread necromancy, but origional brown bess's were known for exploding, and regularly WERE underloaded for safety reasons, so the indian imports are probably more accurate to the origionals than you think.

4v50 Gary
September 7, 2009, 08:18 AM
The original Besses didn't necessarily go Glock (with apologies to those enamored with Glock out there) on the soldier. Rather, there were other reasons as cited below:

In 1792 when Maj. Congreve improved the quality of British gun powder, the muskets were re-proofed and the faulty barrels were revealed. Bulged barrels that were hammered down and latent fissures that had been patched were discovered when they reopened. Higher standards made the British musket of the Napoleonic era safer than its predecessors.

September 7, 2009, 08:31 AM
The only Indian made gun I ever examined was a brass barreled blunderbuss imported by Navy Arms. Some brilliant fellow was loading it with a 12 ga shell full of black & newspaper wadding just for blanks. The breechplug came out & fortunately went somewhere past, rather than through, his head. Minor lawsuit. Forgett at the time, as I recall, had not been aware of how the Indians made this fine gun.
The plug had a very fine pitch on it. One does NOT use fine pitch screws/bolts in brass, it is too soft. Always coarse pitch.
But the pitch wasn't the problem. I looked at the threads and only the very tips got smeared over when the plug blew out. I screwed it back in, easily, by hand. It rattled. In other words, the plug was simply too small for the hole & barely held in place.
If I had an Indian gun with the touchole not drilled I'd leave it that way.
But then, I am really wimpy where potential loss of life & limb is concerned. A decent Pedersoli costs much less than may the hospital bills & prosthetics.

To paraphrase someone on another thread, these things are not toys.

You are holding a violent explosion in your hands each time you shoot. The gun must actually hold together through explosion after explosion. A proof test alone doesn't mean squat. The gun must be made by someone who really understands how to make guns.

Loyalist Dave
September 7, 2009, 03:57 PM
But then, I am really wimpy where potential loss of life & limb is concerned. A decent Pedersoli costs much less than may the hospital bills & prosthetics.

Actually the verdict of the incident is in, and the accident would've blown a Pedersoli to hell as it did the Indian musket. Italy is the home of Beretta, and I recall Beretta model 92 blew up a bunch of times before they finally "fixed" the problem. So much for the superiority of Italian guns.

Some how, in the use of blanks, a very bad habit became the norm for many reenactors. They have a misfire, with a flash-in-the-pan. Now the proper method of clearing is to prick the touch hole, and feel the powder in the breech, then reprime, and fire. What many reenactors do, however, is they dump their blank load by pointing the muzzle at the ground, then start from scratch. What happened was the reenactor ended up coating the interior of the barrel with powder, and had bit built up beyond the chamber. When he finally touched off the charge after some misfires, and reloading..., the expanding gases moved forward and detonated the residual powder causing a pressure spike, and BOOM.

BTW this can also happen on the first round of the day, if the muzzleloader is not thoroughly cleaned, and a deposit, a sort of donut-of-crud is formed near the breech, when the first charge is poured down the muzzle, and nothing is rammed down on top of that charge, powder can deposit on the shelf caused by the crud, and cause over pressure. Not a problem when one rams, but for safety reasons, nothing is rammed down on the charge at a reenactment. I have seen a thick rifle barrel bulge due to second situation.


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