View Full Version : Help with musket ID

March 4, 2011, 05:40 PM
A friend asked me to help identify their family's "civil war musket" because of my extensive knowledge (;)) of old rifles and pistols. I had previously helped get information on another friends Nambu pistol - that was easy.

This musket is a .69 caliber with a barrel o.d od .82". Measurements were taken with a caliper. Total length is 58", the ram rod is 41 5/8 but has threads at the end. The barrel length is 41 3/4" from the end of the barrel to the front of the percussion nipple.

This had me baffled for many reasons plus I know zero about muskets. My concerns are whether it is even real because there isn't a single identifying mark on the metal anywhere - nothing! There are two small cartouches on the left side of the stock, but not one thing on the metal. The entire gun appears to be covered in old varnish or shellac. I will attach some photos taken in my garage. Better photos will come later when the sun comes out and my digital camera gets taken outside.

Photo three shows the cartouches while the other two show the left and right side of the mechanism. More photos below.

Thank you for your help.


March 4, 2011, 05:45 PM
Photo five shows the bottom of the butt stock; photo seven shows the percussion nipple and photo ten shows the ram rod with threads. My issue with the percussion nipple is that it appears solid and completely non-functional. It doesn't appear to have a hole that was filled in with solder or anything else. A dental pick won't penetrate the nipple where there should be a hole. Another issue is my perception of how thick the barrel side wall should be - this one is .13". Is this real?

March 4, 2011, 05:48 PM
More photos. Sorry for the poor photos but I am heading out the door and wanted to get this posted.

If anyone has a lead or any hint of information on this musket, I would appreciate it. I will have high quality photos in a few days.

James K
March 4, 2011, 11:09 PM
Sometime when you have the time, could you provide a good closeup picture of the lockplate?

Those pics are entirely too small and dark to tell much of anything.


March 5, 2011, 05:11 AM
From what I can tell from the pics it appears to be a converted 1816 Springfield.

March 5, 2011, 08:02 AM
I am on a business trip right now and will provide better photos later. Yes I was aware of the photos poor quality and lighting but I was headed out and wanted to post them. For some reason, they came out as 1-2 mbs when I took them but 300k when I posted them. I will use a better camera later.

Jim, what is the lock plate? I told you I knew nothing about muskets. HH, wouldn't there be a Springfiled roll mark somewhere on this gun? As I posted originally, there isn't any marking on the metal anywhere.

I should have new photos by mid-week.

March 5, 2011, 08:19 AM
The lock plate is the plate behind the hammer. Yes there should be markings on it.

March 5, 2011, 08:29 AM
HH, yeah I just Googled lockplate and figured it out. I also Googled 1816 Springfield Musket and came up with many good photos of 1816 Springfields. Several of them have a lock plate identical to the one on my work bench. The scrolled piece of metal on the left side is also identical. Hmmm.

Thank you all and, again, better photos later.

James K
March 5, 2011, 09:09 PM
I think it is a Model 1816 converted to percussion, a common conversion in the 1840's and as war approached, but better pics would certainly help confirm or refute that.


March 5, 2011, 09:13 PM
Thank you Jim and others. I will send in better photos later when I get home. My biggest problem was the lack of stamps anywhere on the metal, as I have already said. After looking online at various 1816 conversions, I have some additional areas to check. However, as a gun owner, seeing any gun without roll marks, stamps, or even patent numbers throws me for a loop.

Photos later.

4V50 Gary
March 5, 2011, 11:35 PM
Concur with Jim, but it must have been sporterized as there is no nosecap and the wood stock seems shortened near the muzzle.

March 6, 2011, 05:55 AM
Most arsenal converted 16's simply had the barrel drilled and tapped for a nipple and the hammer changed. Some were contracted out. Yours (if it is indeed an 1816) appears to be one of these. It has had a snail breech installed and the lock plate doesn't appear to have enough holes to have started out as a flint lock. It's also the wrong shape to be a 42. Many private contractors changed entire locks which would explain the lack of Springfield markings. However most had their own name on them. Many old military rifles, especially smooth bores were cut down and used as shotguns. Gary is right, there is no nose cap and there's too much barrel showing at the muzzle.