Which Would You Choose, Italy or India-made Repros?


Al LaVodka
June 10, 2010, 10:49 PM
Do you prefer Italian, namely Pedersoli, or Indian made black powder reproductions, and why?

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Al LaVodka
June 10, 2010, 11:19 PM
Obvious to me: Pedersolis are more expensive but the quality is so much better and worth a wait and the price. They really are useable works of art to me...

June 10, 2010, 11:24 PM
"Quality" is a pretty subjective term. I'd sum up the pros and cons as follows:

+Excellent fit and finish
+Excellent accuracy
+Very thoroughly proof tested
+Replacement parts available

+Being handmade is good for historical accuracy
-Good luck getting replacement parts
-I've never seen an Indian gun with a rifled barrel, smoothbores only
-Fit and finish range from acceptable, to "interesting," to atrocious (a good importer will weed out the really bad ones)
-Not proof tested
-Some importers don't drill a flash hole, leaving that to the end user--those importers also tend not to carry caplocks

Really depends on the same factors as selecting any other gun. What you want to shoot, how far you want to shoot it from, and how much you want to spend.

IMO, the main reasons to get an Indian gun would be for re-enacting, or for a very cheap "beater" fowling piece. For medium or large game on a tight budget, though, a cheap in-line would be better.

June 10, 2010, 11:44 PM
Shooting the India made guns puts your life at risk. Would not own one.

June 10, 2010, 11:55 PM
Personally, I would not shoot anything made in India.

I like Indian Food, Tea, Textiles, though...

If a Sikh would own and shoot it, well, then I would too, trusting his opinion...otherwise, "nope".

June 11, 2010, 04:55 AM
I've never been one to believe that a person needs to spend a lot of money to enjoy a wide variety of muzzle loading guns.
And I've read enough to know that the performance of even some of the most expensive muskets without sights doesn't really appeal to me and isn't something that I'm willing to invest a lot of money in.
Everyone has their own priorities when it comes to the shooting sports.
Since I already have a .50 smooth rifle and shotguns, I'd rather not spend too much on a musket if any money at all. Their calibers are simply too large for me to enjoy shooting solid projectiles out of. So I'd just buy a less expensive Indian made gun of a decent known quality if anything at all.
And my decision would have nothing to do with judging Pedersoli quality at all. It would simply be based on what I think would be the best value for the least amount of money to get a gun at a price that I probably wouldn't even consider buying otherwise. And that's why I wouldn't choose the poll option saying that an Indian made gun is better than nothing.
Indian made guns are fine guns that to me simply represent the best value for the least amount of money spent. Especially if it was a unique model that I really liked enough to buy.
I'll make this one analogy about how nearly everyone in the USA has a car whether it's a Cadillac, a Volkswagon, a truck or an antique. The important thing is that every car on the road will function to take a person from point A to point B. So in that respect, no matter which make that anyone drives, each car on the road is relatively equal since every car serves to give each and every American equal mobility on our common roadways. All of their wheels simply turn alike. :)

Rock Island
June 11, 2010, 08:34 AM
I buy whatever strikes my fancy, I own both Indian and Italian made repops as well as a couple of Japanese ones. I have had no problems with any of the Indian made muskets, or the Italian ones, the Japanese pistols had soft frizzens. I have bought muskets from Pedersoli, and MVTco, Pete over at MVTco Middlesex Village Trading Company will take care of you if you drop him a line, great guy and they stand behind what they sell. The Indian guns are not fancy, they are just guns, but the four I have from MVT work, frizzens spark every time, no safety issues, and the build quality is good. My Pedersoli 1816 looks like it was made in a modern factory by machines, perfect, and it's covered in Italian proofs and other markings that might not be wanted by the reenactor. MVT's "ships carbine" is a lot of fun, it's a short Bess, I have 500+ rounds through it with the frizzen still sparking fine.

Al LaVodka
June 11, 2010, 08:47 AM
Your car analogy is counter-intuitive to me. Their wheels do not turn alike.

Disposable Yugos went over like a lead balloon, and rightfully so. Try buying a new Citroen. Look at the history of the American auto industry over the last few decades vs. a Honda and then Toyota -- squandered. We don't really buy Cadillacs today for a reason -- instead we buy Lexus', Audi's, BMW's and Benz's for top quality and the recognition that accompanies the choice. Some buy Chevy's 'cause they are bright and shiny, are good enough to make do, are affordable (albeit due to government bailouts and continuing subsidies to GM), and they have a tax-funded warranty and politically directed big ad agency campaigns... Not always the best foundations for a purchase. I know Stalin said that perfect is the enemy of good-enough. But oftimes, good-enough really isn't. Be careful and safe: it could just be cheap! You gonna buy one of these too?

"According to a USA Today report, GM officials have told members of Congress that the company planned to import 17,335 Chinese-made vehicles starting in 2011, growing to 51,546 vehicles in 2014."


June 11, 2010, 09:14 AM
I know for a fact that the Indian Made muskets are made for hanging on a wall and not shooting. I wouldnt want to try shooting any of them..

June 11, 2010, 01:20 PM
I've never entertained buying an Indian made gun. I do have a question though. Are the Indian made guns built in a factory or is it a cottage industry? If it is a cottage industry I wouldn't expect much out of them one gun could be a shooter the next could be a wall hanger. I don't have any use for a wall hanger because my shooters look great on the wall too.

Loyalist Dave
June 11, 2010, 02:11 PM
GAD the amount of misinformation is ASTOUNDING!

Shooting the India made guns puts your life at risk. Would not own one.

Based on what information? I know of ONE and only one that had a barrel failure. The failure would've caused an Italion or Japanese musket barrel to rupture as well. The breech plug held, the barrel split above the breech.

I know for a fact that the Indian Made muskets are made for hanging on a wall and not shooting

Well there are three that are made; they are NOT the same parts from the same houses, assembled and sold by different importers. Two are made to shoot, and do quite well. What is this "fact" of which you speak?

-Good luck getting replacement parts.

No luck needed. On March 13th of this year I inquired about parts in stock..., here is the reply from only one of the three distributors of musket with Indian parts, to which I enquired, as I am stocking up on parts that the privates break, wear out, or lose in the grass when cleaning. I did not inquire about frizzens as they tend to be pricey, and not something the reenactors can afford at the drop of a hat at an event...,

Top jaw screws for cock (Bess and Charleville) We have these in stock for both the Bess & the french.
Tops for the jaws for the cock. We have the Bess top jaws in stock.
Lock Screws, We have the Bess and Charleville screws n stock.
Four main lock springs Bess; We have these in stock.
Frizzen springs Bess; we have these in stock
Frizzen spring screws, Bess; We have these in stock
Fizzen springs Charleville; we have these in stock
Four frizzen spring screws, Charleville; We have these in stock

So..., exactly what parts are tough to find?

YES I think that the Italian made gus have better wood to metal fit. The Indian musket wood to metal fit isn't terrible, simply not as sharp as the Italian. The wood on both muskets is wrong. Sorry, if it ain't English walnut..., it's wrong.

Cosmetically, the Indian guns from at least one maker are closer copies to an original 1st Model King's musket, than the Italian is to a 2nd Model King's musket, no matter how good the wood to metal fit. When I bought my Pedersolies, they had competative prices, and the purchase made sense. That was twenty years ago in 1990, and the only Bess on the market were 2nd Models. Today, as I have maintained in another thread, I am not convinced that 50% - 100% more money justifies the purchase of a gun simply based on wood to metal fit.


June 11, 2010, 03:07 PM
To grossly over-generalize based on a lot of experience:

Italy: better made from better materials but not necessarily the best-functioning

Japan: best shooters but often not equal to best Italian repros (such as Pedersoli)

India: not worth the effort to drill out the vent.

Nomex on.

June 11, 2010, 04:53 PM
I have seen pictures of 4 blown barrels on Indian Bess muskets. Also, in an effort to get an indian made gun approved for N-SSA use, a friend sent the barel to a proof house to have it proved. He was refused by the proof house because of the type tubing used in the barrel. Same friend bought custom barrel for the gun and got approval. Subsequent trouble with lock was trouble over and over.

I have looked at dozens of the India guns. Yet to see one that I thought would hold up to regular shooting.

June 11, 2010, 05:07 PM
Loyalist dave:
1. I actually know one 'manufacturer' of the Indian made guns based out of rajasthan.
2. The guns are made ina cottage industry setting and are 'exported' as decorative items. Not meant for shooting.
3. I am from India and am intimately familliar with the manufacturing process, since I personally exported a bunch of the muskets to Europe a long time ago. The barrels were more pweter than steel.
At the end of the day, its a free world (largely) and one is free to do what they want. If you think the Indian made muskets are safe to shoot.. sure go ahead.
If you want to import them in bulk let me know. End of story. :cheers:

Loyalist Dave
June 11, 2010, 05:13 PM
I have seen pictures of 4 blown barrels on Indian Bess muskets.

There is a huge difference between decorative use guns sold to folks in Europe, and the guns sold in the United States. Anybody care to identify when and where and what?

The barrels were more pweter than steel.
At the end of the day, its a free world (largely) and one is free to do what they want. If you think the Indian made muskets are safe to shoot.. sure go ahead.

I am sure those guns are as you say. Since folks refuse to identifiy the defective brands, I will identify those of which I am speaking..., Loyalist Arms and MVTC both make shooting guns. LA will provide information to you to fire a test load if you wish to test the strength of the barrel yourself. I have, they work fine. It is not a question of "think" it is a question of "know".

IF they were barrels constructed as you say, they would've exploded into bits, but did not, during the test. They come ready to fire, they do not need to be converted from non-firing to firing.


June 11, 2010, 05:19 PM
Like I said its a free world. You want to shoot them.. go ahead. I will not.. my body parts do not grow back.
BTW: I couldnt find Indian muskets on Loyalist Arms, and MVTC returns Miami Valley Transport Club.

Dave Markowitz
June 11, 2010, 06:47 PM
MVTC: http://www.middlesexvillagetrading.com/

I have two guns from them, a Fusil de Chasse and a French M1717 musket. Neither one has a pewter barrel and the locks on both spark very well.

June 13, 2010, 06:32 PM
Until they are proofed barrels and can be shipped IN ONE PIECE with the vents drilled, stay away from them because what they are saying is this:


Friend's gun was one of those that was shipped in two boxes to get around US laws. Those are the ones I think you advocates are saying are okay to shoot. If they were okay to shoot, the proof house would have tested them. He also has spent over $200. and bunch of hours trying to get the lock to be consistent. We have had to shim and put bushings in the lock to get any consistency. The lock wore because of soft metal. Parts were also soft and had to be hardened.

To each his own. If you want to take the risk, go ahead. Just don't expect to be able to sue anyone for your injuries.

4v50 Gary
June 13, 2010, 08:48 PM

June 14, 2010, 12:08 AM
For general info.

From MTVC web site:

Frequently Asked Questions

#4: Is there a warranty?
A: Yes. We warranty the locks against breakage under normal operating conditions.

Note they do not warranty the barrels.

Loyalist Arms recommend you proof the barrels on their web site. No warranty on the barrels.

For what it is worth.

June 14, 2010, 12:34 AM
Middlesex Village does offer to proof test their barrels to a higher standard than Pedersoli does under Italian law for a $50 fee. Which of the American [semi-custom] gun makers or barrel makers offers to proof test their barrels and which ones don't? :rolleyes:

Q #7: Are the barrels proofed?
A: No. Here in the US, there are no proof houses. I checked with SAAMI as to their reccomendations about proofing. ("Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturer's Institute", the organization who sets standards for such things)
Here was the response:

"SAAMI is currently working on setting standards for muzzleloading guns. There is no proof standard at this time... Cartridge guns are proofed at 130% to 140% of service load pressures. Where and how proofing of muzzleloaders will be done is not yet set."

What does this mean? It means that here in America, there are no standards to proof barrels to, nor proof houses to do the testing. In countries where there are proof laws and proof houses (like the UK and Germany), these routinely pass proof testing.

If you really, really want a muzzleloader to be proof tested, we can perform that task for a fee of $50. The gun barrel will be measured, test fired with double the service load (far in excess of Italian standards that are only 130% of service load) and measured again. The barrel will be marked with our stamp and you will get a copy of the test report. We keep a copy of the test report on file here.


June 14, 2010, 01:12 AM
Not checked recently, but last time I checked, European BP ML rifles/muskets were proofed at 3 times max charge recommended, not 130%. 130% is what is standard for cartridge firearms and BP revolvers. The reason not higher % is that is what is about the max charge for the revolvers and cartridges due to space limits. More just will not fit.

I will check up on this.

Yes I know you can put hotter powders in the cartridges, but 1., most folks use factory loads and 2. Folks that reload usually are smart enough to use appropriate powders. The occassional idiots who violate this premise usually leave enough evidence to prove their stupidity.

June 14, 2010, 02:49 AM
Early research not promising on current standards for Europe BP weapons.

Seems that Europe is letting this area lapse a bit. The laws and treaties address modern guns and not the BP weapons. The standard is 130% for Smokeless powder guns. Those in power when they negotiated their treaties to govern the united Europe, addressed only smokeless, not BP guns and had language that abrogated all existing laws on proofing in the individual countries. This is how CVA got away with all of the bad barrels through the "proofing process" The only legal standard is 130%.

From what I have found out so far, reputable dealers and makers are holding to the old standards which were 3 times max recommended charge. For muskets, that is about 180 grains. This is easily enough to pass the legal standards.

If I find out more, I'll post. Anyone who wants to help is welcome.

rusty from italy
June 14, 2010, 03:21 AM

Bad reloader are always at work:(
Good notice is the guy that stripped this garand is still alive.
Proof house can't prevent accident like this.
Many people here try to understand from italian proof house how they test black powder arms, but nobody get a explicative answer, my be it's a top secret:)
Most probably they don't give information for a safety reason:)
For modern smokeless is 130% of maximum pressure.

June 14, 2010, 10:22 AM
Holy Chit !!!! That woud be unsettling !!

June 14, 2010, 10:37 AM

Trying to find a picture of a Euroarms Rogers and Spencer that blew during a match. Shooter had mis-loaded. Double loaded powder to one chamber, no powder other. Cap pushed ball into barrel, next chamber worked fine. Barrel split and rolled back from the muzzle so that it looked like a banana had been peeled, just like in some of the old cartoons.

June 14, 2010, 11:17 AM
This is how CVA got away with all of the bad barrels through the "proofing process" The only legal standard is 130%.

What I heard, that was due to different standards. The Spanish government has several proofing standards for BP arms, the lowest of which is firing a load which generates 5,000 PSI. CVA said "okay, proof 'em at that, since it's cheaper," then turned around and told the American consumer "yeah, you can fire 25,000 PSI loads in these all day, no problem."

Whereas Italian proofhouses will triple charge everything (IIRC), no exceptions except guns where that much powder won't fit, making Italian exports more expensive.

iron maiden
June 14, 2010, 11:28 AM
I have two of the Pedersoli reproductions:
Brown Bess
Plus I have a Blue Ridge/Frontier caplock rifle from Cabela's.

All of my Pedersoli's are excellent quality; fit and finish, lockwork, etc. are all top notch.

The only complaint I have against Pedersoli is that they don't make a Long Land pattern Brown Bess and an early Charleville.....for F&I war re-enactments. If Pedersoli had those, it would be darn near impossible for me to even consider an Indian made gun.

I almost got a used Indian made Long Land last year....but from talking to the guy at the gun show, he said he had problems with it not wanting to fire. He let me "spark test" it and there was no sparks as far as I could tell. The flint looked to be in decent shape....so I figure the frizzen metal needed tempered or something else. I've heard this before about the frizzens needing some work.

As for me, I'll stick with the Pedersoli's....they're just an outstanding piece of workmanship.

June 14, 2010, 12:27 PM
The poll is incomplete. The question is FOR WHAT PURPOSE and ON WHAT BUDGET.

Extensive shooting with full charges and a healthy budget, go with Pedersoli or much better yet, a custom recreation by a master builder.

For hanging on the wall and capping off a few light charges every few years for novelty, nothing wrong with Loyalist or Middlesex. They're also used a lot for historical recreations, where ball is never used.

June 14, 2010, 02:13 PM
Hanging on the wall, okay. Every once in a while, with light loads maybe. But I know of one failure that occured at a re-enactment without ball. As I understand it, heavy charges for loud booms combined with improper cleaning lead to fouling build up, which caused an obstruction which lead to the failure.

You can't fix stupid. Some folks will find a way to hurt themselves.;) But still, no ball was required to make that Indian Musket fail.

If you want to take the risk, go for it. But like someone else said, body parts don't grow back. I have enough aches and pains from mispent youth.:D I need to keep what's working for hopefully another 50 years.:)

June 14, 2010, 03:18 PM
I can pretty much guarantee the 1717 musket is not made in India. Maybe they get the roughs.. and finish them in the US. The Indian musket makers are not capable of that fit and finish.

Al LaVodka
June 14, 2010, 07:34 PM
Well Cosmoline;
You and Loyalist Dave can have a poll between the two of you but I think the vast majority have made their (and coincidentally my) points pretty clearly so far and, I thought, simply enough for everybody though there is always the odd exception...

Thanks everyone for your votes and thoughts.


June 15, 2010, 03:53 AM
That reminds me of the regular poster over on the Muzzle Loading Forum that bought a doglock blunderbus constructed of polished steel from Middlesex Village. After he reported how well it fired and how much he was thrilled with every aspect of it for $500, it would make almost anyone wish that they could shoot one, even if it was just once.
So there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting one, shooting one or buying one. And nothing that anyone says can take away the amount of personal satisfaction and pride of ownership that many folks do indeed have for theirs. ;)

Loyalist Dave
June 15, 2010, 07:43 AM
Hanging on the wall, okay. Every once in a while, with light loads maybe. But I know of one failure that occured at a re-enactment without ball. As I understand it, heavy charges for loud booms combined with improper cleaning lead to fouling build up, which caused an obstruction which lead to the failure.

WHICH by the way, would've ruptured an Italian barrel as well. I know the incident very well.

Could you folks who identify the guns where you found problems ever identify the makers? I mean so far we have the barrels are made of almost pewter, the one I saw didn't spark right, etc etc. You folks want to lump all of the Indian guns into one group, without facts, only stories. So by that logic, because Beretta has had numerous problems with their pistol breaking or blowing up in the faces of US military personnel, then all Italian guns, even Pedersoli, are unsafe? That wouldn't be fare to say or write.

So how is it fair to run down an entire group of guns, and the people who have jobs based on those sales, simply because one out of three manufacturers may have a poor product? And this scientific survey of what, 36 people?


June 15, 2010, 11:28 AM

I wish you well with your business. My family has been in retail sales for over a 100 years. We still exist because we are honest in our dealings. If a customer doesn't need a commercial grade Item, we tell them the difference between the grades and let them decide. Most often they buy the higher grade but if they want the lower grade, they know what they are buying. If the item wears out or fails for some reason, they remember and appreciate our honesty. Ergo, we get a return customer. That's why we have survived against the giant big box stores for so long.

I don't know of an Italian gun failing firing blanks. I don't know the cause of the other three failures. None of the barrels were pewter, or even pewter like. They were some type of steel tubing. I do not know enough about steel to tell you the type, but it was definitely not what I consider to be barrel material.

As to the identity of the MFG. of the pieces that failed, we can't tell you because the sellers don't list the names or disclose them. If not told which MFG by the dealers, how can we distinguish between them.

Here is a direct quote from the Middlesex Web sight:

Q #6: Who is the manufacturer?

A: Exactly who is proprietary information. We have most our flintlocks made in India by a company who has in it's third generation and has been in the gun business since 1952 (that is even before Turner Kirkland started Dixie Gun Works). We also deal with several other suppliers in the same area.

I looked for the information on Loyalist Arms web site, could not find that anywhere. If it is there, please point it out to me. I know folks that will not buy different Italian MFGs for various reasons, even buying different guns, one model,from Pietta or Euroarms and different models from Uberti or Armisport. This is because they can believe one is better at making that particular model. If we were told the MFG of the Indian guns, we could distinguish between them. Until that information is available, the Indian guns will be lumped together.

This brings up another point why these guns should not be fired with live fire. Federal law requires all firearms be marked with the name of the MFG for them to be shipped to this country. This applies to the Reproduction muskets as well. This has led to a cottage industry of "de-farbing" the Italian guns for re-enactors. (I don't like this practice, but have to accept it because, other than preach against it, there is nothing I can do about it. It will continue until the Feds stop it. My beef is that it allows disreputable dealers to take advantage of the novices claiming they are originals.) If the MFG does not consider or ship them as firearms, why should we?

These muskets have no markings on them IDing the MFG. The ones, according my research, are shipped into this country with either vents not drilled, or with the lock shipped seperately so that they are shipped as "gun parts". Both methods are used by importers to slip through a loop hole in the law.

Beretta has paid the price for the errors and defects in their guns. The principal defect was the slide fracturing. The slide ws not strong enough to meet contract specs after mass production began. The fix as I understand it is coming out of Beretta's pocket. Where is the Indian Mfg when one of the barrels fail with live fire?

The poll is just that. An expression of opinion. I view the Indian guns as nothing more than a prop. Maybe a re-enactor gun IF the re-enactor takes proper care and precautions. ( My experience has been that a high percentage of them don't.) I wish you luck with your business, but I think safety should trump historical accuracy which from my research is the biggest plus for the Indian guns: That they are the most accurate repro of the of the commonly used Rev. War British musket.

June 15, 2010, 12:03 PM
So you don't believe the MVT assertion that their barrels routinely pass European proof testing is truthful?
And you don't believe that MVT's own proof testing procedure is valid or proves the integrity of the barrel being tested?
How come there hasn't been any mention of a rash of lawsuits against MVT for barrel failure and how have they managed to stay in business for so long?
What do you really know about the strength of MVT's barrel steel?
If it was bad steel then that should be easy for any injured party to prove and report far and wide.
We do know from experience that they are not failing and that their locks are great sparkers that are backed by a warranty.
And their guns and many parts are individually hand fitted.
Don't you think that the MVT guns are much, much safer than the originals?
It's too bad that Pedersoli doesn't offer a blunderbus. I haven't heard about any reports of the MVT blunderbus failing and some of the U.S. guns and kits are even made with brass barrels. Those are suppose to be safer?

June 15, 2010, 12:38 PM
You and Loyalist Dave can have a poll between the two of you but I think the vast majority have made their (and coincidentally my) points pretty clearly so far and, I thought, simply enough for everybody though there is always the odd exception

All your poll has done is show that the Peds have a better rep for quality than the India made muskets. No big news there. Your poll does not show that people think India-made muskets are unsafe. Nor have you established that. It's like a poll asking someone if they'd prefer a Colt Python to a Smith K frame magnum. There's no dispute which one is stronger over a lifetime of magnum loads, but also no dispute which one is cheaper and easier to conceal.

Furthermore, I'm not at all convinced that Pedersoli is the Colt of muskets. I've owned numerous caplocks of theirs, all of which suffered from very poor and rough machining in the patent breach and consequently had numerous failures to fire after about ten to twelve shots. This was true of the various Kodiak doubles and the Tryon. So much for the glories of Italian engineering.

June 15, 2010, 03:27 PM

The problem is no one knows what they are getting with the India made guns. They are not proofed by independent agencies. They are not identified to distinguish between good MFG and shoddy MFG. You know the reps of all of the Italian guns and have the proof house stamp. This info helps you make an intelligent decision.

All of the Italian guns are proofed at a government operated Proof house which has no interest in ultimate sales. The fee is paid for the test, not finishing a sale.

Thee Middlesex folks may be great honest folks, but I don't know them. So I base my opinion on what I can find out from independent sources and their own web site. When Middlesex has a vested interest in the sale, no I don't trust their proofing. This is made more so by the fact that these guns are imported through a loop hole by Middlesex and that they refuse to identify the MFG.

Under some current laws in Europe, some countries will only proof to 130% of recommended charge. So yes, I believe that they might pass a European "proof" at that level. I doubt that it would pass an Italian proof test at 3 times the recommended charge. (130% of 60 grain charge= 78 grains; versus 3 times 60 grains = 180 grains)

So far, I have not heard of any major injuries due to failures. Due to the cost of Experts, It takes considerable injury for a lawyer to take a case on. I do know that two of the people had minor injuries and probably soiled trousers. Based on what I heard, nothing more than a few stitches and minor burn. Not enough to justify a lawsuit.

With the Italian guns, You get an extra measure of safety with this independent test and knowing who makes them. When the Indians come out of the shadows and independently test the guns, great. I would love to get some more competition in the market.

If you trust Middlesex, Great. Go for it. :) Just be aware of the history and known facts related here and on their webs site.

Just for the record, I am not a big fan of the Italian guns, Pedersoli included.:what::confused::D

ALL I have ever been exposed to have needed lock work and other repairs/modifications to make them reliable shooters. I shoot mostly originals and custom builds, including some I do myself. The Italians I shoot are modified by myself with lock jobs, custom barrels and Sights. The Sharps I shoot is American made by Shiloh, by far in my view the best Re-production Sharps in the World. No modifications necessary except for taller front sight.

June 15, 2010, 03:41 PM
Forgot to say also, no I don't think the MVT guns are safer than the originals. I also think the fit and finish was generally better on the original BRITISH made guns which were also proofed. Many of the colonial made arms, like those recently on the market from Nepal, I would have doubts about. If an original gun is checked out by a gunsmith, and safe to shoot, I would go with it before an Indian OR Italian. I have won 1st Place Expert Aggregate medals with 2 different original guns, the oldest made in 1834.

Sparking poorly actually doesn't bother me. It is a relatively easy fix usually. I like the lock warranty claimed by MVT. If they honor it, it is one of the best I have seen.

Loyalist Dave
June 15, 2010, 05:07 PM
You wish me luck with my business? Well thank you, but I don't have a business related to black powder guns. I researched the availability of parts because several of the new folks to 18th century reenacting were thinking of buying LA 1st Model Bess muskets, and I wanted to be sure extra parts were available. I know how to, and have done several, rehardening of frizzens, Italian, Japanese, and lately a pair of Indian. Sorry if I gave the impression that I am in this as a sort of business hence the defence of the product...

OK now I understand. You don't like the fact that the contractor/importer puts their name on the gun, warranty or not. You want to know where the part was made with some independent assurance that it was made well. Got it!

So..., IF any barrel doesn't have a maker's origin stamped someplace upon it, i.e. the name of the maker and where it was made..., AND a proof mark..., then you would not trust the barrel? Is that correct? (Just trying to clarify)

AND if you went out and put 180 grains and a 1 oz. ball down the barrel (or is it three times the mass as well for 3 one-ounce balls?) and fired the barrel from a remote location and it held, that would not be enough. Is that correct? (Again just trying to clarify the standards here.)

It sounds reasonable. I just wanted to be sure. After all, I will grant that the reason for the invention of the "proof house" or "proofing a barrel" was because there was some question at some time in history (probably as a result of blowing up a few privates) of the quality of the barrels being sold to European governments.

So, if the barrels were submitted to a proof house that did just that, proofed at 3x the standard load, (though I wonder who says the standard load is 60 grains as shotguns routinely shoot 3 drams and that's like 81 grains of 2Fg..., well that question is for another time) and passed, and were then thus marked, .., I guess it wouldn't matter where they came from as long as they passed, right? If they will hold they will hold, regardless of the origin I suppose

So..., I guess they need to pull the barrels and ship them off for proofing, to satisfy some concerns.


June 15, 2010, 11:09 PM
You got it. :) In my profession, I get lied to a Lot!!!:what: When things are hidden on purpose AND not independently tested for safety, I start looking for a reason and found there had been failures in the Indian barrels.:eek: I buy India made products often, when they are cheaper, and equal and/or better than what is offered. My problem is not India origin.

I have actually considered buying an Enfield and having the barrel re-lined with a steel liner for someone. Price difference was almost worth it to get the gun relined. The extra Shipping only made it more expensive. Never asked Hoyt or Whitacre if they would re-line the Indian Barrel.

BTW, The 60 grains was off of one of the web sites as a recommended load. I would be happier with the level of proof you suggest at 3 times 81 grains of 2FFg, 243 grains.

June 16, 2010, 03:26 AM
I wonder how large of a proof load the originals were tested at in the equivalent amount of today's improved powders?

June 16, 2010, 12:05 PM
The originals were tested at 3 times the service load for original powders. Each lot of powder was grade by granulation size(Fg, FFg. etc. today, Then they were called rifle, pistol, musket, cannon, etc.). As today, different companies had better powders than others. They tended to use the best powders at proof houses. I really doubt that today's real BP is better. My personal opinion is the subs are not as good as real BP.

For the Army, Powder was bought in very large lots and graded according to potentcy(today this would be psi). As long as the lot of powder fell within a range deemed acceptable, it was then rolled into cartidges. Civilians bought by the name brand preference or most often what was cheapest and available.

I have accidentally doubled loaded my Smoothbore 1834, double powder and ball. :uhoh: The 2 balls and 140 grains of powder did no damage at all, other than a very bruised shoulder.:D

June 18, 2010, 11:33 AM
Real good info on this post... I for one voted Pedersoli orver India made firte arm, but anyone not wantin' they're india made guns ...please contact me and I
'll pay shipping to have ya send un to me... :O)
(not kiddin') I want a Boen Bess especially ... heeheehee!
Great Post by the way...

Al LaVodka
June 18, 2010, 09:42 PM
All your poll has done is show that the Peds have a better rep for quality than the India made muskets. No big news there. Your poll does not show that people think India-made muskets are unsafe. Nor have you established that. It's like a poll asking someone if they'd prefer a Colt Python to a Smith K frame magnum. There's no dispute which one is stronger over a lifetime of magnum loads, but also no dispute which one is cheaper and easier to conceal.
You're confusing me with someone else perhaps and with your example to be perfectly honest. "Safe" isn't in my poll per se and was not a point I personally focused on subsequently although I did encourage safety in conjunction with recognizing that sometimes "cheap" is not just inexpensive. That said, I confess I think quality is highly correlated to inherent safety. The participants' resulting theme of the thread, not surprising to me but counter to Loyalist's drumbeat on this forum recently, is clearly that there are quality (and, yes, if only by extension, safety) differences in a Pedersoli-level arm that are overwhelmingly preferred, sometimes splurged on, but usually considered well worth the premium.

I have to say I continue to be encouraged, informed, and proud of the level of knowledge and sharing I find here on THR.


June 18, 2010, 10:28 PM
The thing I wanted to get across is that while I would welcome a GOOD Indian made gun, Price, fit, and historically accurate are not the only issue. A poorly made cheap gun can be much more exspensive in the long run. You need to know the differences and reputations.

The Italian guns early on had problems also. They responded by improving the safety issues as well. Early, the Italians, some of them anyway, took short cuts, mainly brazing when welding or a machined part was needed. As it was realized that heavier use was not going to be safe, they started doing them right. It was mainly N-SSA complaints that lead to this. (The Early Re-Enactor movement was heavily influenced/poulated by the N-SSA membership.)

The Italians focus in the US is the re-enactor market. They are still, even Pedersoli, not catering to the true shooters market who shoot the guns extremely often. They don't really pay attention to internal fit and durability on their locks. That is why you hear about the need for such things as "o-ring modifications" to make the Italian Sharps shoot more than 6-7 rounds without locking up. The Barrels and basic guns are fine for the most part now. They do need fine tuning for the serious shooter.

Al LaVodka
June 19, 2010, 09:34 AM

Makes perfect sense: my India-made Sharps works flawlessly and cost only half the Italian one (though there are tidal-waves in the barrel as you look down the tube but I can live with them, I hope...).



Loyalist Dave
September 29, 2010, 04:05 PM
Proof houses testing of .75 caliber smooth bore barrels fire 200 grains of powder, and launch 2.29 ounces of lead to proof them.

Since some folks simply must have them proofed, and since the logic so far has been [paraphrased] Since one Indian made musket blew up, and none are proofed, then all are dangerous, therefore since now there has been a test of one Indian made musket barrel, and gee it well exceeded the proof house pressures, then by the previous arguments, ALL Indian made musket barrels are now good quality.

Incidentally, the proof house standards in Italy and England are the same by law.

veteran arms (http://www.veteranarms.com/VALNov09/Proofing.html)


September 29, 2010, 06:49 PM
Post hoc ergo proctor hoc.

September 29, 2010, 07:04 PM
Ruger Old Army.

September 29, 2010, 07:58 PM
whew, what a blow up, I bet that smarted some. Now as to the quality of Indian firearms, yes the Indians can make acceptable weapons, don't forget, they made many a Lee-Enfield and Stens and Brens, but that was under strict British scurtiny. Who runs these muzzle loading outfits there? Would I buy an Indian musket, only if I knew it was made correctly to handle normal black powder loads. At the current time, the Italians make some fairly nice replicas, though, their steel is a bit soft too in some of their 1860s and 1858s. SASS members who buy Peacemaker replicas often have them worked over by the addition of properly heat treated parts too.

September 30, 2010, 10:54 AM
I have an indian made 2 band enfield. For 225 I knew I couldnt do much better for my confederate interpratation. NOW I havent shot it live yet but offhad I know the barrel is marked that its a 55 cal barrel and said something along the lines of max charge 2 and a half drams(could be wrong dont have the gun with me currently). It has all sorts of markings on it and is more historically correct then most Italian models. A few weeks back I shot at minimum 100 blanks at 60 grains a pop out of it, easially 50 or so without cleaning with no issues. I would buy another one at the right price. Will I ever shoot it live I dont know. I do know it has a pistol nipple on it though, And Ill have to replace that eventually so I stop loosing caps in the field.

My 2 cents


September 30, 2010, 05:45 PM
I've owned many Pedersoli's....mostly Sharps and one Mortimer...

My one Middlesex Village Trading Co's Indian made gun is the most accurate gun out of the box that I have owned. It's a Ketland and I managed to redo the lock, stock and barrel to make it more than acceptable to my standards...

Loyalist Dave
October 5, 2010, 09:08 AM
Post hoc ergo proctor hoc

Actually, it's Post hoc ergo proPtor hoc, but yes it's a fallacy, just as the previous ones that all muskets are unsafe when made in India, see cum hoc ergo propter hoc, . :D Neither assertion proves anything. Nore does proofing do more than give a buyer the feeling of safety. One can proof any barrel by one's self, by simply following the link that I provided. :D If one demand's proofing..., which would also include American made barrels as well.


October 5, 2010, 09:51 AM
I have had both.I had a very nice Indian made Enfield Cavalry carbine [different from the Musketoon, or Artillery Carbine] and it shot very nicely, indeed.I REALLY should never have got off of that carbine....

January 5, 2011, 09:39 AM
I have two of the India-made guns from Middlesex Village, a steel-barrelled blunderbuss (not the doglock, unfortunately, but alas, they were out of stock for a while), and the double-barrelled percussion howdah pistol.

I haven't had a chance to shoot the blunderbuss yet - I'm awaiting the arrival of a .311 ball mold so I can cast my own buckshot - but the lock sparks beautifully and the fit and finish, if not up to Pedersoli standards, is acceptable to me. The barrel walls seem quite thick - no tubing here, apparently.

I shot the howdah over the holidays. The right-hand lock needed some minor gunsmithing, as it had a tendency to get caught on half-cock on the way down. The tumbler had burrs and the sear nose was badly shaped, but I have the necessary skills to fix minor problems like that (took a course in gunsmithing from Penn Foster a few years ago). The nipples are oversized for #11 caps and undersized for regular musket caps (I have since been told that British musket caps tend to be a bit smaller than US musket caps), but musket caps will stay on if you pinch them and the nipples will eventually be replaced with "modern" machine-made ones. My load was 55 grains of FFg KIK powder, a pillow-ticking patch greased with "Bore Butter", and a .600 round ball. Recoil was not unpleasant, gun didn't blow up, no problems (once the lock was fixed).

So far, I'm happy with both guns.

I also have a P-1853 I bought in "as found, uncleaned condition" from IMA a couple of years ago, and which I had reworked by Todd Watts at The Blockade Runner (refinished, British marks added, etc) so I can use it as a reenactment gun. I pulled the breechplug to clean and inspect the bore (some pitting, as expected, but not to an unsafe level), and test-fired it, and it, too, is safe to shoot with live rounds. These were made under British supervision, IIRC, so I'm not really surprised.

No, I would not hesitate to buy more India-made guns from a reputable importer like Loyalist Arms or MVTCo. The Indian guns tend to come in more varieties than Italian or Japanese guns, and the real rarities (wheel-locks, English locks, and matchlocks) tend to be more affordable than the alternative - which seems to be custom guns for most of these ancient lock mechanisms (Loyalist sells a wheel-lock for about $700.00. Try to get Pedersoli to make one for that price - I dare you!).

January 5, 2011, 10:15 AM
Here's a link to the report done on the one musket that is known to have blown up, and which seems to have started the whole flap about India-made guns being "pipe bombs":


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