Original Item (except where specified): It is no secret that included in the extraordinary cache of arms purchased from the Royal Nepalese Armory by IMA there were a limited quantity of original 18th Century British Brown Bess Flintlock Muskets. Regrettably, they were in a deplorable condition having arrived in Nepal via the East India Company sometime before 1820 and laid undisturbed, and not cared for, since the 1850’s. These Brown Bess Muskets are the East India Company Pattern of 1771 featuring a 39" barrel. The British Government adopted the 39" barrel (reduced in length from the 42” Short Land Pattern) in 1796. This is why these muskets are commonly referred to as "The Brown Bess India Pattern of 1796" or the Brown Bess 3rd model.
The Flintlock Locks were all made in England for the East India Company and still retain English maker markings, and incredibly dates within the 1770 or 1780’s. Each lock also shows the East India Company heart symbol across lock tail. None of these locks however, bear a "Crown G.R." symbol as India was privately run as a corporation until after the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857/58 when the British Government assumed control. Once in Ghurka hands, after 1816, many of these original English manufactured and marked locks were remarked with the Nepalese Crest, we offer Gurkha re-marked lock Brown Bess sets separately. However, incredibly a handful remained unaltered with original English markings that we are happy to offer for the first time since the arrival of the Nepal Cache to the market. Because so many of the original stocks are broken, rotted and useless we have decided to offer a “Restoration Set” which consist of:
• Original unattached English made Flintlock lock with 1770/80’s date, EIC Heart & Manufacturer name (names vary). Light cleaning efforts have been made on these locks to reveal the markings, but typical condition will be dirty, with patches of rust and grime. However, no major pitting will be evident and the lock will be functional. See photos.
• Original Brown Bess 39” Barrel made by the East India Company in India and features Anglo Indian proof marks. Again, will arrive dirty, rusty and needing a good cleaning. However, no major defects will be present. The tang may be bent or cracked, but repairable.
• Original all steel button nosed ramrod.
• New Made unstained “inleted” hardwood stock assembly, pattern 1808, complete with all brass mounts, butt plate, trigger guard, side plate and ramrod pipes (3) together with a new made trigger assembly already fitted.
• New Made Lock Screws (2) also know as side nails, (1) Tang Screw and one upper sling swivel.
You will then need to clean and oil all the original parts, fit the barrel into the barrel slot, install the lock into the existing “inletted” aperture and then fit the new made screws. These screws will almost certainly need to be fitted to the lock, meaning rethreading of the lock plate may be required. The new made wood stocks are untreated so you can stain to suit your fancy. Basic skill is required to seat the barrel and lock assemblies, fit screws, and perhaps make a repair, so bear in mind fitting, cleaning, oiling of metal parts and minor engineering will be required. We do verify that every lock is in functional and in solid condition.
Save your very own piece of British colonial history. These original parts are old enough to have taken part in the American war for Independence but they didn't, they were half a world away building an Empire. We have offer this Brown Bess 3rd Model in assembled complete condition with an EIC 1770/80’s dated & Marked lock for $1995 (that’s a $800 savings to build one yourself!)
Please remember, that these kits are intended for display purposes. IMA does not recommend restoration of these antique firearms into "shooters" and any attempt to do so should be inspected by a licensed gunsmith before firing. Furthermore, please review our return policy as cleaned "untouched" parts are not eligible for return or exchange.
In order to assist in your appreciation for, and research of, this amazing piece of history, we will include our book “Guns of the Gurkhas” by renowned expert John Walter. These very flintlocks are featured on pages 24-29. “It can only be concluded therefore, that the locks were all made in England prior to the end of the Napoleonic War in 1815”. P29- John Walter ‘Guns of the Gurkhas’. Simply Amazing.
Want to see and learn the step by step process of cleaning, restoring and building one of these part sets? Check out IMA customer "Tommykid's" work on one of these very part sets at the British Militaria Black Powder Forum!
Watch the results of a build of one of these kits by an IMA customer-
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- Legal Information
IMA considers all of our antique guns as non-firing, inoperable and/or inert. Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 921(a)(16) defines antique firearms as all guns made prior to 1899. This law exempts antique firearms from any form of gun control or special engineering because they are not legally considered firearms. No FFL, C&R or any license is required to posses, transport, sell or trade Antique guns. All rifles and muskets sold by IMA that were manufactured prior to 1898 are considered Antiques by the US BATF (United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms). Therefore, all of IMA's Antique guns may be shipped to all US States and most nations around the world. These antique guns are not sold in “live” condition. They are sold as collector’s items or as “wall hangers”. Any attempt at restoring an antique gun to be operational is strongly discouraged and is done so at the risk of the customer. By purchasing an antique gun from IMA you thereby release IMA, its employees and corporate officers from any and all liability associated with use of our Antique guns.
- Very good item Review by Ian
Quality Price Value
The original gun parts were much better than I expected. IMA was kind enough to find me A Nock marked lock made in 1777. The barrel is very nice. There is moderate shallow pitting on the bottom of the barrel however the bore, though dark with 200+ Years of filth, does not appear to have any pitting. The barrel came with half of the original stock still pinned to the barrel. Mine came with all three original ramrod pipes. The ramrod I got is useless due to severe pitting.
The stock was the only disappointment. The wood is a bit on the brittle side which I could live with. The disappointing part was that there were two factory stock repairs (wood splices) near the lock inlet. There was also a 4-6" long crack in the stock by the but plate. For a new stock I was expecting something that was closer to what was in the picture.
It is a good item overall and quite affordable and a good price compared to decent reproductions.
(Posted on 8/31/14)
- Absolutely Delighted Review by Andy C
Price Value Quality
This is my 6th IMA piece and just as expected but with the bonus of an original half stock with the barrel with all 3 pipes, end cap and front swivel. The wood will be used to repair breaks in my original, untouched Bess and I can substitute original brass for the repro in the rebuild of this one - so, all in all, great purchase. 1778 Rea lock, the first year they made them for the EIC, so a significant piece.
(Posted on 12/7/13)
- An Incredible Purchase Review by Brett M.
Quality Price Value
About two years ago, I purchased an East India Company Brown Bess from IMA. Though it's taken a bit long to put my thoughts down in writing since receiving the musket, I should say I'm still bowled over. The lock is in incredible shape for being over 200 years old. It honestly rivals similar examples in museums at home in the U.S. and here in Europe (to include a very fetching Bess in the White Tower and another at the Fusilier Museum). The barrel is an excellent piece of provincial craftsmanship which has held up well over the centuries and compliments the lock nicely. Throw in a good-looking ramrod and some nice reproduction furniture, and this is more than a bargain.
My hat's off to IMA for the opportunity to own such a splendid item. This isn't a rusty relic, but an amazingly well-preserved piece of British colonial history.
If you're on the fence here, all I can say is "go for it".
(Posted on 3/16/13)
- Unbelievable value! Review by Dennis
Quality Price Value
I am still amazed by the incredible products offered by IMA at such unbelievable prices. To own a piece of history for so little is stunning. The Brown Bess HEIC marked musket kit I purchased was better than shown, and when it turned out that one part was missing, IMA made good at once. That is unheard of customer service in this day and age. I cannot recommend IMA highly enough and am showing friends the website. Don't hesitate to purchase. You will be very, very glad that you did.
(Posted on 11/17/12)
- IMA Brown Bess Review by Paul
Price Value Quality
Just received my 2nd rifle from IMA, one of these EIC Bess parts set. 1st gun I got was an amazing untouched Snider, and this Bess kit certainly didn't disappoint either!. Stock is very well made and finished, should come out brilliantly. Barrel is perfect on top and rusty underneath. Should clean up nicely. The lock was the "crown jewel" in this kit. Absolutely stunning condition!. Just a wipe with a cloth was all that needed to bring up an unbelievable shine (1777 mine is dated). Can't wait to get started on it!, already looking for my 3rd IMA gun. Great guns, great company, cheers IMA!. My Brown Bess restoration is being written up here if your interested - http://britishmilitariaforums.yuku.com/topic/14921/Re-IMA-Brown-Bess?page=-1#.UKdPuYZ7ze4
(Posted on 11/17/12)
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