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Brown Bess

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by gizamo, Aug 7, 2008.

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  1. gizamo

    gizamo Member

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    Have to say that Pedersoli makes some wonderful reproductions. This is my first Flintlock that is not a custom. Fit and finish are wonderful as are the details to the era....I am a believer in their guns, at this point...

    Pedersoli Brown Bess
    [​IMG]

    A carbine version of the English Brown Bess musket made from surplus guns bought from the English government in the early 1700's. The trade gun became a favorite amoung American Indians. One-piece, European walnut fullstock with satin oil finish, 42" long with 2 1/2" drop and 14" trigger pull. Browned barrel is 30 1/2" long .75 caliber, tapered round 1.250" at breech to .900" at muzzle, smoothbore .750" diameter. Front sight is steel square type for bayonet lug. Brass furniture, serpent sideplate, browned engraved lockplate marked "GRICE 1762" at the tail and with a crown over "GR" (George Rex) under the pan. Single trigger. Steel ramrod. Flintlock uses 1" flints. Load with 80 grains of FFg black powder and .735 patched round ball. Overall length 47" and total weight 7 1/2 lbs.

    Giz
     
  2. 72coupe

    72coupe Member

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    The Brown Bess maay be the most important weapon in world history. Sure you can argue that others maybe but I find it hard not to think the Bess is it.

    It was in service from the 1600s to the 1800s. It was used all over the world.

    Even in Texas history, it was the service arm of the Mexican army at the Alamo and San Jacinto.
     
  3. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    Most sweet! When you get out to the range, please be sure to take the camera and document it for all of us.
     
  4. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    They make a good gun, but their descriptions are more propaganda than accurate and really push the envelope on advertising claims (imho).

    The lock and the hardware on their carbine is most definately Post 1767, so much for "made from surplus guns bought ... in the early 1700's.

    While the trade gun did become a "favorite" (is something a favorite when it's the only option available? Akin to a model-T Ford being the favorite when all Ford sold was the model-T), the carbine is similar (not a copy) of a sergeant's carbine, not a trade gun, and is a little too long for a sergeant's carbine and the artillery carbine of the era was smaller still. Trade guns were not made to accept bayonets, nor did they have metal rammers.

    Again, they make good guns, although I have had to kasenit, reharden, and then temper many Pedersoli frizzens. At the current suggested retail price, one could afford a historic reproduction custom made.

    LD
     
  5. gizamo

    gizamo Member

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    LoyalistDave,

    I assume you are talking about artillery regiments...interesting thoughts..
    Let's have some fun. I am still trying to get my direction centered on the Brown Bess guns. So please share!

    And so~

    Ah, but what about the Navy? What were the barrel lengths of their guns? I assume they were shorter...no?

    And just a general question, but didn't the barrel lengths get shortened on the BB over the years?

    Giz
     
  6. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    The Pedersoli Bess and variations were produced prior to the Bicentenial, when not much documentation and research was widely known on those guns. Pedersoli produced a workable reproduction of what we refer to today as the 2nd Model King's Musket, The Short Land Model Brown Bess.

    Sea Sevice muskets were shortened by lopping off the barrel at the forend, and weren't fitted for bayonets, and had very different butt plates, as well as often having painted stocks for durability.

    The first version, King's Musket, was a 44' - 46" barrel, no forend reenforcing cap, wooden rammer, "banana" shaped lock, without a bridle supporting the frizzen screw between the screw and the actual frizzen. C. 1728 or so.

    Then around the beginning of the F&I they reenforced the frizzen screw by adding a bridle support, put a cap on the forend of the stock, and changed to a metal rammer. Some armories shortened the barrel to 44" or 42".

    About 1756 a shorter Sergeant's carbine was developed, but not readily deployed. An even shorter artiller carbine was developed between the F&I and the AWI.

    Just prior to the American Revolution, the barrel was set at 42", and the lock was further simplified, no longer "banana" shaped. This was later called the 2nd Model Bess, BUT very few regular units brought them to America, the deployed British units being armed with the older versions. Sergeant's carbines were shipped to America for British units as the sergeants stopped carrying halberds, and few of the older bess's were available for them. Arillery units too needed long arms, so they recieved the earlier artillery carbines in some cases

    Around the 1790's the 39" 3rd Model Bess was introduced, which was the model captured at the battle of New Orleans, as well as used by the Mexicans at the Alamo. Some of these 3rd Model Bess muskets were converted to caplock for use by Southern units during the Civil War.

    LD
     
  7. Iggy

    Iggy Member

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    [​IMG]
    One of the last Trade guns Curly made.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    Barrel should be a well polished "bright".
     
  9. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Well a Bess was kept by soldiers well polished, and they tried to keep trade guns shiny at the point of sale, but after that, who can say? During the F&I there were orders for the rangers and the 80th Regiment of Light Armed Foote to "brown" the barrels, but no info as to whether they actually did that and how they did it.

    The above photos are of a NW Trade Gun; not the only style but a very common one indeed.

    LD
     
  10. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Like Loyalist Dave says, barrels were browned or allowed to be darkened as an adaption to forest warfare. Something about Braddock's Defeat and the Indians' refusal to adopt linear warfare caused the British to modify their tactics.
     
  11. Loomis

    Loomis member

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    Nice.

    A good friend of mine has an original handed down generation to generation that had been converted to a percussion shotgun. Approximately equal to a 10ga I think.
     
  12. Brett Dixon

    Brett Dixon Member

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    Brown Bess front sight

    Has anyone heard of silver soldering a half cut dime on the brown bess for a front sight?

    Brett.
     
  13. PRM

    PRM Member

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    Lugs and such

    One of my first flintlocks was a Japanese Bess, Dixie Gun Works. I used the lug for a front site and had a buck horn style rear sight silver soldered on. The combo worked great. Sorry, I sold that gun. About a year ago I replaced it with a Pedersoli Bess carbine. Other than browning it - I've kept it like it came. Agree, the fit and finish of Pedersoli is on par with custom guns I've owned.
     
  14. mykeal

    mykeal Member

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    Yep. But, to be authentic it needs to be a silver dime. Even that's not PC but if you're going to go to the trouble, who cares?

    A regular laminated dime will work, but the silver dime just adds some extra class.
     
  15. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    Re: post #2 above, almost certainly the longest-serving, if you count the first, second and third versions as the same weapon!

    I have a Pedersoli that was worked over by the late Kit Ravenshear to make it a faux first model with a shortened barrel. Only a Scot would even think of such an economy. They are truly marvels!
     
  16. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Actually, there is good evidence that the 10th TN, the Rebel Sons of Erin marched out of TN carrying flintlock 3rd models, when they marched in the Civil War in 1861.

    As a general pattern, it is indeed the most successful military longarm, lasting more than 130 years.

    LD
     
  17. Coyote Rider

    Coyote Rider Member

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    A silver six pence from the eighteenth century would be more authentic...
     
  18. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    Actually, when you add the front sight you destroy the musket's ability to mount a bayonet. I took triangular file, and filed a little notch in the front blade / bayonet lug. I line up the bull in the bottom of the notch, and no worries. Another variation is to gently cut a groove in that bayonet lug with a saw, then apply silver solder and a torch to melt it into the groove (be carfule you don't remove the lug altogether). Then use emory cloth to remove excess solder, so a groove of silver solder is then part of the original lug. Now cold brown the lug a bit, and the iron will brown but the solder stays silver, giving you a shiny line in your lug to use as an aim point.

    LD
     
  19. Brett Dixon

    Brett Dixon Member

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    Sight

    That sounds like a nice fix for the sight.

    Thanks Brett.
     
  20. Macmac

    Macmac Member

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    This is another of Curley's guns. This one was a kit he made, and I finished.

    You can't see the oak leaves and acorns in the picture well, but they impressed Curley. I had no idea who he was, when an old geezer tore the gun from my hands, but the grin on his face was telling, and so I wasn't nervouse... much
    [​IMG]

    I have a Japanese Bess also made for the bi-centenial. The last thing you ever want to do is really bayonet something. BECAUSE that lug is soldered on.

    I have no idea what kind of solder it is, but if you stick a punkin, you can count on loosing that lug. I did, and so did everyone else.

    Mine was remade and is welded on, and it don't come off anymore..

    Dimes? You don't need to be cutting silver dimes in half.. I make trade silver from sterling, and a part of that is buttons for gorgets and the like..

    Pm me if you want a 1/2 like dime, and don't be cutting real antique coins either. The way I see it is you will wreck something that was history, even if it is a USA silver dime and worn..

    No silver dimes you can get will be right, so you would sand off the surfaces anyway. So knowing there will be a guy here or there who wants a half dime like ft sight I will make them free, and pay shipping too I guess.

    I don't want to get busted making adds in this room and it isn't an add this way is it? I expect no more than about 5 or 6 guys wanting this deal.

    The what: I will take a real USA silver dime and gauge it, then make it as a sterling disk, and cut that in half.

    You get to sand and polish yer hearts out and silver solder it to the barrel on yer guns.. I would need some mailing address.
     
  21. SE-Okla.shooter

    SE-Okla.shooter Member

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    I have owned a Pedersoli Bess for several years. I don't have any problem using the bayonet lug for a front sight. I have even hit a few clay pigeons with 80 gr. FFF bp and same volume of shot. I killed a turkey from 25 yards a couple of years ago. I have not ever had a problem with the frizzen. I installed a white lighting flash hole because it had started self priming.
     
  22. SeekHer

    SeekHer Member

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    What about the Indian Pattern Bess (4th Model) still in sefrvice well after Napoleonic War...

    I have a 2nd Tower 1754 Carbine but in .69 cal not .75 and were called officer's models and has the bayonet lug...

    IIRC didn't the 1st have both the straight and curved lock?

    For good information, read Redcoat & Brown Bess by Historical Arms
     
  23. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    There really is no 4th model. The India pattern was the 3rd and final model being dropped in 1839 for a percussion arm. Some people confuse copycat and modified 3rd models for additions to the line of King's Muskets.

    Not really sure about the "officer's models" either. There was an NCO carbine and an "artillery carbine", both were often issued to officers. "Carbine" first meant with a bess a smaller caliber, not a shorter gun, otherwise they would be exact copies of the larger caliber muskets, only in .69. Officers were supposed to obtain their own weapons with funds from their own pockets, and usually bought their own fusils custom made, or drew existing arms for free, but the government didn't cater to them as far as I have read.


    LD
     
  24. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Not to go way off topic, this is a Gostomski 24 guage smoothbore barrel and furniture paired to an original English Ketland Lock.
    One of the first guns I ever built, the stock was hand carved from a curly maple quarter sawn board.
    [​IMG]
    A smoothbore gun is one of the most practical blackpowder long guns today as well as two hundred years ago.
    They are capable of killing any animal, big or small, out to 75 meters.

    Pedersoli guns are simply fantastic, the only downfall to aquiring one today is the variation in value between the Euro and the Dollar which makes the Italian made guns a tad overpriced on the American market right now.
     
  25. Brett Dixon

    Brett Dixon Member

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